- US to expand drone attacks into Pakistani cities - Monday, December 14, 2009
- 'US fighter jets attack Yemeni fighters' - Monday, December 14, 2009
- US 'sends special forces to Yemen' amid crisis
- Yemen rebels say air raid kills 120, accuse U.S
- Obama Declares War On Pakistan - Monday, December 14, 2009
- Obama's Afghan Surge Will Rely Heavily On Private Contractors Mercenaries
- Report: U.N.-Backed Congo Troops Killing Civilians
- UK court 'issued warrant for Livni'
- Rothschild Zionist Miliband Steps Up Bid to Hide Proof of Torture
- Camp Delta, MKUltra and Cheney House Cleaning
- DoD to add $100B to 2011-15 spending
- Torture Roulette
Update: White House To Add $100 Billion More To Pentagon's 2011-15 Budgets
The Obama administration has picked the worst possible case for its first torture trial.
By Dahlia Lithwick, Slate, Dec. 14, 2009, at 6:38 PM ET
For close to a year now, the Obama administration has been playing judicial Whac-a-Mole over accountability for Bush administration torture policies. Each time an opportunity arises to assess the legality of Bush-era torture, the Obama administration shuts it down. When another case pops up, the administration slaps it down. This all started last February when the Justice Department invoked the alarming "states secrets" privilege in an effort to shut down an ACLU lawsuit against Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen DataPlan Inc. for its role in Bush's "extraordinary rendition" program. (That case will be reheard at the 9th Circuit tomorrow).
Since then, Attorney General Eric Holder's Justice Department has worked tirelessly to shutter or pre-empt torture litigation in cases ranging from a civil suit against former Bush lawyer John Yoo filed by Jose Padilla, (in which the Obama administration has now taken the position that Justice Department lawyers' advice on torture issues should have absolute immunity from lawsuits) to shifting its position on the release of torture photos.
This morning, and with the blessing of the Obama administration, the Supreme Court declined to revisit an appeals court ruling dismissing a lawsuit filed by four British citizens released from Guantanamo in 2004. The men sued former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and 10 military officials for alleged acts of torture and religious abuse. The Obama Justice Department urged the court not to hear the appeal, claiming the lower court got it right when it determined, among other things, that Guantanamo detainees were not "persons" for purposes of American law and that "torture is a foreseeable consequence of the military's detention of suspected enemy combatants." Lawyers for the detainees asked the court to hear the appeal because, "[l]eft in place, the court of appeals' decision will be a final assertion of judicial indifference in the face of calculated torture and humiliation of Muslims in their religion."
No luck. That means today yet another path to accountability for government-sanctioned torture was blocked at the starting gate. To be clear, it's not that torture victims are losing these trials. They can't even find their way into a courtroom. And, time after time, it's the Obama administration barring the door.
In a conference call with reporters late last week, ACLU lawyers pointed out that, as of this month, not a single torture victim has had his day in court, and that no court has yet ruled on the legality of the Bush-era torture policies. Jameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU's National Security Project, put it bluntly: "On every front, the [Obama] administration is actively obstructing accountability. This administration is shielding Bush administration officials from civil liability, criminal investigation and even public scrutiny for their role in authorizing torture." Jaffer added that "The Bush administration constructed a legal framework for torture. Now the Obama administration is constructing a legal framework for impunity.".. Read all