Friday, May 19, 2006

The Government's All-Purpose Defense Against Court Cases

The United States is wielding it's trump card--national security--to quash lawsuits against the government more and more often in recent years.

Yesterday, the all-purpose defense again worked it's wonders.

A federal judge yesterday threw out the case of a German citizen who says he was wrongfully imprisoned by the CIA, ruling that Khaled al-Masri's lawsuit poses a "grave risk" of damage to national security by exposing government secrets.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III in Alexandria acknowledged that Masri "has suffered injuries" if his allegations are true and that he "deserves a remedy." Sources have said Masri was held by the CIA for five months in Afghanistan because of mistaken identity. Masri says he was beaten, sodomized and repeatedly questioned about alleged terrorist ties.

But Ellis said the remedy cannot be found in the courts. Masri's "private interests must give way to the national interest in preserving state secrets,'' the judge wrote in dismissing the lawsuit filed last year against former CIA director George J. Tenet and 10 unnamed CIA officials...

The ruling was a victory for Justice Department prosecutors, who had invoked the once rarely cited state-secrets privilege to argue for dismissal. Created in the 1950s, it allows the government to urge courts to dismiss cases on the grounds of damage to foreign policy or national security. The privilege has been used far more frequently since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Judges have usually acceded to the government's request. Last year, for example, the government won dismissal of a lawsuit by a Canadian citizen who claimed that he was taken to Syria by U.S. officials for detention and was tortured.

When defense attorneys in criminal cases attempt to use "graymail" by demanding access to classified documents in the discovery phase of a trial, the government vigorously objects.

When the government does the same thing by invoking the "national security" clause, judges just bend over and toss the case.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well as long as the Decider + friends continue to export democracy and freedom to other countries they never have to look at the unholy mess they've made of their own, right?

Really, I understand that 9/11 was a terrible tragedy -- but was the veneer of democratic ideals so paper thin, so brittle, so easily burned on the alter of national security??

What is it in the US psyche that they feel "safer" installing and being led by a psychotic, delusional nut? And then why does the rest of the world have to suffer? And how can we avoid such a calamity from happening again?

... and where is George Orwell when we need him??

Just some questions I'm pondering on this Friday morning... I guess there aren't any answers and it's our curse to live in interesting times... :-)


5/19/2006 11:10 AM  
Blogger Effwit said...


The decider and cronies publicly claim to be exporting democracy while in reality they are exporting American-style fascism.

Opening these unfortunate countries up to corporate rule is the real goal. That's why the U.S. objects to results of democratic elections when the agenda of the winner doesn't match up with the "globalization" program.

About the corrosive effect of 9-11 on the American body politic. There are probably as many different answers as there are people for whom that day was a life-changing experience. Not all, but many Americans fall into this category. Those who do almost all support Bush.

I suppose that for them, fearful helplessness combined with a desire for blind retribution (in whatever varying combinations unique to each person) have replaced the formerly sunny and optimistic American persona.

Interesting times indeed. There must be something to those Chinese curses. ;-)

5/19/2006 12:14 PM  
Blogger DrewL said...

9-11 certainly has served its intended purpose. And that intent went far beyond the seemingly trite belief that it was just a bunch of terrorists wanting to do us harm. Proof of conspiracy may be impossible to come by, but I for one will believe it 'til the day I die. I lost a friend in the South Tower that day. I screamed to the heavens when that tower fell (unknown to me at the time that my friend was inside).

I felt the pain that not only every American felt but most around the world felt that day, that week, that month, that year. It was awful. But those who understand the human psyche know well just how such horrific and graphic events can leave an indelible imprint on the hearts, minds and souls of those who survive. And that stain allows those with an agenda to manipulate those who are unable or unwilling to looking behind the facade. Fear begets power and control. Scare the populace into submission and the world becomes one's proverbial oyster. And Americans' succumbing to that fear shows just how weak we are when the very essence of our nation's heritage is on the line.

What am I trying to say? Eff if I know, except that the made-for-TV event that took place on 9/11/01 served well the purposes of some very sinister people. They're just not the people that our government and our media would have us believe. Not by a longshot.

5/20/2006 12:04 AM  
Blogger Effwit said...


Very well put.

We may never be able to prove who did what that day. But we can definitely draw some conclusions about who has since profited from and exploited the events of that day.

And your bit about the effects of trauma upon the human psyche harkens to the fact that mind controllers (cults, child abusers and the like) often break down their victims using violence and mental trauma. The abused person is thereby made to follow the direction of the abuser.

The American public has been the victim of an intentional psychological campaign to exploit the 9-11 trauma to create a willing population of sheep that aquiesce to and even support the policies of their abusers.

So basically, I agree 100% with your comment.

5/20/2006 7:53 AM  

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