Biden Tells Supreme Court That Publicly Documented Torture Is a State Secret, by Marjorie Cohn

Bad as politicians are in public, what they try to hide is always much worse, usually criminal. From Marjorie Cohn at truthout.org:

President Joe Biden takes the stage before delivering remarks on the September jobs numbers in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on October 8, 2021, in Washington, D.C.

President Joe Biden takes the stage before delivering remarks on the September jobs numbers in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on October 8, 2021, in Washington, D.C.Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

When Abu Zubaydah was apprehended in Pakistan in 2002, the George W. Bush administration falsely characterized him as chief of operations for al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden’s number three man. For the next four years, the CIA sent Zubaydah to its “black sites” in Thailand and Poland where he was viciously tortured. In 2006, Zubaydah was taken to Guantánamo, where he remains to this day. He has never been charged with a crime.

The torture of Abu Zubaydah is thoroughly documented in the 2014 report of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. In fact, several of the justices at the October 6 Supreme Court oral argument in United States v. Zubaydah referred to his treatment as “torture.”

Zubaydah’s lawyers detailed the torture he suffered in their brief (which referenced the Senate torture report) as follows:

On 83 different occasions in a single month of 2002, he was strapped to an inclined board with his head lower than his feet while CIA contractors poured water up his nose and down his throat, bringing him within sight of death. He was handcuffed and repeatedly slammed into walls, and suspended naked from hooks in the ceiling for hours at a time. He was forced to remain awake for eleven consecutive days, and doused again and again with cold water when he collapsed into sleep. He was forced into a tall, narrow box the size of a coffin, and crammed into another box that would nearly fit under a chair, where he was left for hours. He was subjected to a particularly grotesque humiliation described by the CIA as “rectal rehydration.”

Nevertheless, the Biden administration told the high court that Zubaydah’s well-known torture is a “state secret” because former CIA Director Mike Pompeo said publicizing it would harm national security. Thus, Solicitor General Brian Fletcher argued, the two contractors who orchestrated Zubaydah’s torture in Poland should not be permitted to testify in a Polish court’s criminal investigation into the treatment of Zubaydah.

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