Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Obama’s DoJ making some very weird arguments

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Daphne Eviatar in the Washington Independent:

I’ve been following the small but growing number of lawsuits brought on behalf of torture victims against U.S. government officials for more than a year now, but the opening statement in a brief filed with the Supreme Court on Monday on behalf of four British former Guantanamo prisoners may be the most eloquent statement on the issue I’ve seen yet.

While conceding that “Torture is illegal under federal law, and the United States government repudiates it”, even now the Solicitor General stops short of acknowledging that torture directed, approved and implemented by officials of the United States is so repugnant that it also violates fundamental rights; no less so when hidden from public view at Guantánamo Bay. Respondents appear willing to let the final word on torture and religious abuse at Guantánamo be that government officials can torture and abuse with impunity and will be immune from liability for doing so. Yet whether United States officials are free to engage in despicable acts in a place wholly controlled by the United States is the pre-eminent constitutional issue of our time, and it is squarely presented to this Court for decision in this case.

Rasul v. Rumsfeld, as I’ve explained before, is one of the first lawsuits brought by victims of the Bush administration’s torture and abuse policies. The plaintiffs claim they were in Afghanistan to do humanitarian relief work when they were captured by the Northern Alliance and turned over (or sold for bounty) to U.S. authorities. They were eventually shipped to Guantanamo Bay, where they were imprisoned in cages and, they claim, tortured and humiliated, forced to shave their beards and watch their Korans desecrated. All of these claims are backed up by the legal memos that have since been produced from the Department of Justice that authorized such techniques as part of “enhanced” interrogations. The men were returned home to the UK without charge in 2004.

Many other victims of the Bush administration’s abuse policies have been precluded from suing because …

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Written by LeisureGuy

25 November 2009 at 2:17 pm

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