Tag Archives: State secrets doctrine

The Supreme Court Uses Twisted Logic to Protect US Agents Committing Torture, by James Bovard

For some Americans who still believed they weren’t living in a totalitarian state, this Supreme Court decision may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. From James Bovard at lewrockwell.com:

The Supreme Court declared last week that Americans have no right to learn the grisly details of CIA torture because the CIA has never formally confessed its crimes. The verdict symbolizes how the rule of law has become little more than a form of legal mumbo-jumbo to shroud official crimes. Why should anyone expect justice from a Supreme Court that covers up torture?

In 2002, the CIA captured Abu Zubaydah, a Palestinian radical, in Pakistan, mistakenly believing he was a kingpin with al-Qaeda. The CIA tortured him for years in Thailand and Poland. As dissenting Justice Neil Gorsuch noted, the CIA “waterboarded Zubaydah at least 80 times, simulated live burials in coffins for hundreds of hours,” and brutalized him to keep him awake for six days in a row. The CIA has admitted some of the details and Zubaydah’s name was mentioned more than a thousand times in a 683-page Senate report on the CIA torture regime released in 2014.

This case turned on the invocation of a holy bureaucratic relic of dubious origin—state secrets. As the court’s 6–3 ruling, written by Justice Stephen Breyer, noted, “To assert the [state secrets] privilege, the Government must submit to the court a ‘formal claim of privilege, lodged by the head of the department which has control over the matter.’” After a government agency claims the privilege, the court “should exercise its traditional “reluctance to intrude upon the authority of the Executive in military and national security affairs,” Breyer wrote. And the most important role for the Supreme Court nowadays is apparently to sanctify the privileges it has awarded federal agencies that committed crime sprees.

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The Torturers’ Apprentice, by Andrew P. Napolitano

The Supreme Court has crafted a “state secrets” exception to discovery rules, a notion that’s blatantly unconstitutional, particularly when the state secret concerns torture. From Andrew P. Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:

Last week, a bitterly divided Supreme Court dismissed a case brought by a detainee at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba against the Department of Justice because the government claimed the information sought in the case was a state secret, the revelation of which will impair national security.

The plaintiff in the case has already testified publicly at Gitmo about his torture by Polish intelligence agents in Poland at the request of their American counterparts, and he sought an acknowledgement by U.S. officials that the torture did take place.

The American psychologists who crafted and managed the torture wrote a book about it and have discussed it publicly. The European Court of Human Rights has found that the torture occurred as the detainee in Gitmo described. And Polish prosecutors have indicted the Polish intelligence agents for violating the human rights of this detainee.

Still, the government wants to keep secret its torture from nearly 20 years ago. Last week, the Supreme Court agreed.

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