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And, yes, I DO take it personally: Sending somebody to be tortured is a "state secret"
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Thursday, September 09, 2010

Sending somebody to be tortured is a "state secret"

i saw this decision announced yesterday and just sighed... what else are we to expect from the administration of george bush barack obama...?

despite his current bout with the flu, glenn holds forth...

[T]he 9th Circuit Court of Appeals handed the Obama administration a major victory in its efforts to shield Bush crimes from judicial review, when the court upheld the Obama DOJ's argument that Bush's rendition program, used to send victims to be tortured, are "state secrets" and its legality thus cannot be adjudicated by courts. The Obama DOJ had appealed to the full 9th Circuit from last year's ruling by a 3-judge panel which rejected the "state secrets" argument and held that it cannot be used as a weapon to shield the Executive Branch from allegations in this case that it broke the law.


I wanted to highlight the first paragraph from The New York Times article on this ruling, written by Charlie Savage. Just marvel, in particular, at the last sentence:

"The ruling handed a major victory to the Obama administration in its effort to advance a sweeping view of executive secrecy power." That says it all.

The distorted, radical use of the state secret privilege -- as a broad-based immunity weapon for compelling the dismissal of entire cases alleging Executive lawbreaking, rather than a narrow discovery tool for suppressing the use of specific classified documents -- is exactly what the Bush administration did to such extreme controversy.


Just to give a sense for how far we've traveled, how low we've fallen, here's what The New York Times' John Schwartz reported in February, 2009, when the Obama DOJ first told the 9th Circuit that they were going to assert the same "state secrets" arguments in this case which the Bush DOJ made: "In a closely watched case involving rendition and torture, a lawyer for the Obama administration seemed to surprise a panel of federal appeals judges on Monday by pressing ahead with an argument for preserving state secrets originally developed by the Bush administration." Schwartz described how the judges on the appellate panel were so startled that they actually asked multiple times if the Obama DOJ was really sticking with the Bush position, as though they couldn't believe what they were hearing. What a quaint time that was, when people were surprised by Obama's replicating Bush's secrecy and Terrorism positions -- the very ones he so vehemently condemned when running for President. After 18 months of seeing this over and over in multiple realms, nobody would react that way now.

even the nyt ain't happy about it...
Five men who say the Bush administration sent them to other countries to be tortured had a chance to be the first ones to have torture claims heard in court. But because the Obama administration decided to adopt the Bush administration’s claim that hearing the case would divulge state secrets, the men’s lawsuit was tossed out on Wednesday by the full United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The decision diminishes any hope that this odious practice will finally receive the legal label it deserves: a violation of international law.

just another case in which accountability and the rule of law, fundamentals which the u.s. claims to live by and which we shove down the throats of the rest of the world, simply does not, in practice, function in the u.s...

oh, and btw, fuck you, barack obama...

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