Tuesday, October 9, 2007

US Supreme Court Deaf to Torture Case

The Roberts Supreme Court benched itself from participating in the rendition and torture case of a German citizen, Khaled el-Masri, captured and secreted away in the dead of night by the American CIA. The Bush Administration, already on the defensive about its QED dishonorable use of torture, back slaps the Robert's Court's lack of participation which stops further identification of their secret prisons and Geneva Convention-busting prisoner techniques. The administration claimed national security was at stake and they should not be forced to share that information. Except, the genie escaped the bottle a while ago on Vice President Cheney and head of state factotum Bush being trustworthy in their claims about national security and is treatment of prisoners.

Military professional and John McCain state with no equivocation that tortured people will tell their interrogators anything to stop the pain, simulated drownings, frigid conditions, loud rock music, lack of sleep and being twisted in stress positions hours on end to make it end. Abu Gharib was no accident. To commit a nation to acting on intelligence wrung from a pain racked sleep deprived human is the height of folly, except that is exactly what happened under the Bush league rules. The CIA made a mistake and took the wrong guy really pissing off Germany, an American ally, in the process.

The justices’ refusal to take the case of Khaled el-Masri let stand a March 2 ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Richmond, Va. That court upheld a 2006 decision by a federal district judge, who dismissed Mr. Masri’s lawsuit on the grounds that trying the case could expose state secrets.

The Fourth Circuit acknowledged the seriousness of the issues when it dismissed Mr. Masri’s suit. “We recognize the gravity of our conclusions that el-Masri must be denied a judicial forum for his complaint,” Judge Robert B. King wrote in March. “The inquiry is a difficult one, for it pits the judiciary’s search for truth against the executive’s duty to maintain the nation’s security.” (emphasis mine)

The ordeal of Mr. Masri, who is of Lebanese descent and was apparently the victim of mistaken identity, was the most extensively documented case of the C.I.A.’s controversial practice of “extraordinary rendition,” in which terrorism suspects are abducted and sent for interrogation to other countries, including some in which torture is practiced.

The episode has already caused hard feelings between the United States and Germany, whose diplomatic ties were already frayed because of differences over the war in Iraq. Mr. Masri’s lawyer in Germany, Manfred Gnijdic, said the high court’s refusal to consider the case sends a message that the United States expects other nations to act responsibly but refuses to take responsibility for its own actions. (photo courtesy NYT Karen Bleier/AFP Getty)

That whole marble montage outside the Court showing blind Justice and Mercy with the iconic Equal Justice Under Law should make every American cringe that Justice is inconvenient and not always worthy of making national security claims verifiable. the US Government can't seek accountability from other governments when it won't admit it's own terrible mistakes out of hubris and the useful rubric of national security.
In late January 2004, Masri said he was blindfolded, taken to the airport and turned over to U.S. authorities, who flew him to a prison in Afghanistan. He says he was beaten and tortured by men who wore masks and were dressed in black. He also says U.S. authorities would not permit him to contact the German Consulate. After several months, the CIA apparently realized it had made a mistake, and Masri was returned to Europe. But rather than return him to his home in Germany, he was dropped off at night on a hillside in Albania.
A Government by the People, of the People and for the People must admit its mistakes and be held accountable. Rampant Bush cronyism makes it impossible to be taken seriously when the US asks the rest of the world to join in future endeavors. The Roberts Supreme Court gave an assist to Bush today.

One of the amazing gut-wrenching books detailing the Bush/Cheney torture policies that consume the administration in trying to keep them quiet is Ghost Planes: The True Story of the CIA Torture Program by Stephen Grey.

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