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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 10-09-2007, 11:03 AM Thread Starter
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The New Fascist Court Bears Fruit

The Supreme Court that conservatives begged for is nowing bearing fruit. This case gives the government a new legal rationale and right to torture you, with no worry of you having any recourse at all:

Court nixes man’s suit claiming torture by CIA
Justices throw out German’s challenge to alleged abduction by U.S. agents

Updated: 9:22 a.m. CT Oct 9, 2007

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court on Tuesday terminated a lawsuit from a man who claims he was abducted and tortured by the CIA, effectively endorsing Bush administration arguments that state secrets would be revealed if the case were allowed to proceed.

Khaled el-Masri, 44, alleged that he was kidnapped by CIA agents in Europe and held in an Afghan prison for four months in a case of mistaken identity.

The administration has not publicly acknowledged that el-Masri was detained, and lower courts dismissed his suit after the administration asserted that state secrets would be revealed if the lawsuit were not blocked. The justices rejected his appeal without comment.
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The case had been seen as a test of the administration’s legal strategy to stop it and several other national security lawsuits by invoking the doctrine of state secrets. Another lawsuit over the administration’s warrantless wiretapping program, also dismissed on state secrets grounds, still is pending before the justices.

A coalition of groups favoring greater openness in government says the Bush administration has used the state secrets privilege much more often than its predecessors.

At the height of Cold War tensions between the United States and the former Soviet Union, U.S. presidents used the state secrets privilege six times from 1953 to 1976, according to Since 2001, it has been used 39 times, enabling the government to unilaterally withhold documents from the court system, the group said.

El-Masri’s case centers on the CIA’s “extraordinary rendition” program, in which terrorism suspects are captured and taken to foreign countries for interrogation. Human rights groups have heavily criticized the program.

President Bush has repeatedly defended the policies in the war on terror, saying as recently as last week that the U.S. does not engage in torture.

El-Masri, a German citizen of Lebanese descent, says he was mistakenly identified as an associate of the Sept. 11 hijackers and was detained while attempting to enter Macedonia on New Year’s Eve 2003.

He claims that CIA agents stripped, beat, shackled, diapered, drugged and chained him to the floor of a plane for a flight to Afghanistan. He says he was held for four months in a CIA-run prison known as the “salt pit” in the Afghan capital of Kabul. The lawsuit sought damages of at least $75,000.

‘I don’t believe what he says’
The U.S. government has neither confirmed nor denied el-Masri’s account. But German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that U.S. officials acknowledged that El-Masri’s detention was a mistake.

El-Masri’s account also has been bolstered by European investigations and U.S. news reports. In January, German prosecutors issued arrest warrants for 13 suspected CIA agents who allegedly took part in the operation against him.

El-Masri’s lawyers also tried to use a comment by former CIA director George Tenet to show that both the program and el-Masri’s case are well-known to the public.

Rather than refuse to comment when asked about El-Masri’s claims, Tenet told CNN in May, “I don’t believe what he says is true.”

The state secrets privilege arose from a 1953 Supreme Court ruling that allowed the executive branch to keep secret, even from the court, details about a military plane’s fatal crash.

Three widows sued to get the accident report after their husbands died aboard a B-29 bomber, but the Air Force refused to release it claiming that the plane was on a secret mission to test new equipment. The high court accepted the argument, but when the report was released decades later there was nothing in it about a secret mission or equipment.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 10-09-2007, 11:09 AM
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Ehhh...there's really nothing new here, even US Citizens have always pretty much had to have the government's permission to sue it.

Moreover this guy's not a US citizen and wasn't nabbed in his country; hopefully you agree that your rights would be a bit different if say the Saudis wanted to check you out and snagged you while you were traveling internationally.

Not that I don't have any sympathy for the guy; his situation is awful, but labeling the Court as "facist" because of this is neither fair nor appropriate. The Court didn't approve, reject or even address the "state secrets" argument, rather they simply declined even to address his appeal, which is the result of the vast majority of appeals to the S.Ct.

Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy; its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery. (Winston Churchill)

Last edited by Check Codes; 10-09-2007 at 11:13 AM.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 10-09-2007, 11:14 AM
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I have been surprised so few counter intuitive decisions have been made by this court thus far. I am still waiting for the ball to drop, this ruling appears at the surface to open the chute.
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