Friday, September 17, 2010


Six federal judges of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals voted to prohibit a man who

had been kidnapped and tortured by the United States to sue the people who were

responsible. Five judges wanted to let the suit go forward. In their ruling, the six judges

agreed with President Obama and his contention that a lawsuit might reveal state secrets

which could harm national security. We can get into Obama's hypocrisy on this issue another

time. I am trying to figure out just what secret is so important that its protection means a man

so egregiously violated by our government will not be permitted his day in court. What secret

is so vital to our national security that serious human rights protections are suspended and

the criminals never brought to justice and held accountable?

If there were a trial, it would certainly come out our government engaged in tactics more

identified with the Soviet Union, China, North Korea, and Iran rather than a nation of laws.

Is this a secret? It is public knowledge, under George Bush, the CIA used American companies

to fly kidnapped victims to foreign countries so they could be tortured. The man who wanted

to sue was kidnapped, flown by an American subsidiary of Boeing to Morocco, where he was

handed over to be tortured. He was then taken to Afghanistan for more torture and eventually

ended up at Guantanamo. He is currently free in Britain because they decided there wasn't

enough evidence to try him for any criminal acts. None of this is a secret. Since it's already

known, how could a lawsuit hurt national security?

It is a matter of public record, the CIA was kidnapping people all over the world to

transport them to Eastern Europe, Egypt, Morocco, and even Syria, so they could be tortured

outside the purview of American law. A court in Italy convicted a number of CIA agents, in

absentia, of the kidnapping of an Italian citizen off the streets of Rome. A current law professor

at UC Berkeley's School of Law, John Yoo, wrote opinions advising President Bush he could

ignore any law or abrogate any treaty in his role as Commander in Chief. None of this

information is secret and it doesn't need to be protected. (That our taxes go to pay for

Mr. Yoo's salary should probably be kept a state secret.)

It is not a secret Bush and Co. set up a series of "black" prisons all over the world to

engage in illegal international crime. It is not secret many of the people they kidnapped had

not done anything wrong. A Canadian citizen was taken to Syria and tortured for more than

a year before anyone realized it was a mistake because his name was similar to a well known

terrorist. What is it these judges thought they had to protect? This country engages in

assassination of our enemies. We fly drones all over Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, possibly Iran,

Egypt, and other countries as well as our own border with Mexico. We now know Obama

thinks it's legal to kill an American citizen without a trial or conviction in violation of the

Fourteenth Amendment. The government illegally spied on us and American telecom

companies helped them. The FBI and Department of Homeland Security have abused the

provisions of the Patriot Act, claiming national security as a defense. The Vice President

outed a covert CIA operative for political purposes and got away with it. Do our enemies

not know we listen in to every conversation, tap every computer, intercept their mail, and

issue orders for their death?

This government kidnaps and tortures people. Attorney General Eric Holder says we

don't do that anymore. Actually, he said we still kidnap, we just don't torture. Is that the

secret which needs protecting? Are they lying to us? Is it possible Obama hasn't changed

procedures to counteract what occurred under Bush/Cheney? Is it possible many of the worst

illegal practices initiated during the Bush years are still going on despite pronouncements

from the President?

Everything I have listed is public knowledge. There is enough there to easily win a lawsuit

against the company who provided the jets to transport the victims. What we know on the

record is enough to prove what the government was doing should be punished. So what is it

those six judges felt they had to protect? Since when is the judiciary, which is supposed to be

a constitutional check on executive power, in the business of protecting illegal and immoral

government actions? We have all been told no one is above the law in this country. We now

know that statement is not true. You can torture, kidnap, maim, steal, murder, and commit

all kinds of mayhem and use national security as a shield to protect against ever being held

accountable. It really troubles me what secrets are being protected by those judges. What is

the government up to? How comfortable are you when the courts give the government carte

blanche as long as they cite national security as a defense? Do you have any ideas what secrets

we are missing? What could they be doing which is more important than the rule of law?

What do you think? I welcome your comments. Please send them to

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