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Is This the Accountability We Were Promised?

By       Message WILLIAM FISHER       (Page 1 of 7 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   No comments

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It would be a slam dunk.

 

If there were a Nobel Prize for Tenacity, I would nominate half a dozen organizations that, in the face of years of lost court cases and rapidly graying hair, continue to seek justice for some of the most egregious victims of the Bush/Obama "war on terror."

 

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These legal bulldogs keep getting their lawsuits bounced out of one federal court after another -- and keep coming back for more. They have names like the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights First, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty USA, and literally hundreds of others.

 

Consider this: The despicable practice of "extraordinary rendition" began in the Clinton Administration, expanded during the eight years of George W. Bush, and remains alive and well under President Obama.

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At its most fundamental level, extraordinary rendition means the CIA kidnaps people it believes are terrorism suspects and ships them off, drugged and blindfolded, to the CIA'S own secret prisons or those operated by allied countries who have long and well-documented histories of systematically torturing prisoners.

 

For years, small groups of people who have survived the waterboarding and the electric shocks and the sleep deprivation have, with the help of human rights organizations, filed lawsuits against the US government, seeking to hold top American policy-makers accountable for their years of pain.

 

And each time the survivors bring such an action, the courthouse doors are slammed in their faces. Typically, the government invokes what is known as the "State Secrets Privilege." This once-little-used legal quirk holds that disclosure of any of the secret evidence would compromise national security.

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Some lawmakers have been discussing in committees revisions to this statute since the beginning of the Obama Administration, but no one has taken any action despositive whatever.

 

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William Fisher has managed economic development programs in the Middle East and elsewhere for the US State Department and the US Agency for International Development. He served in the international affairs area in the Kennedy Administration and now (more...)
 

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