The Supreme Court Uses Twisted Logic to Protect US Agents Committing Torture• https://www.lewrockwell.com, By James Bovard
The verdict symbolizes how the rule of law has become little more than a form of legal mumbo-jumbo to shroud official crimes. Why should anyone expect justice from a Supreme Court that covers up torture?
In 2002, the CIA captured Abu Zubaydah, a Palestinian radical, in Pakistan, mistakenly believing he was a kingpin with al-Qaeda. The CIA tortured him for years in Thailand and Poland. As dissenting Justice Neil Gorsuch noted, the CIA "waterboarded Zubaydah at least 80 times, simulated live burials in coffins for hundreds of hours," and brutalized him to keep him awake for six days in a row. The CIA has admitted some of the details and Zubaydah's name was mentioned more than a thousand times in a 683-page Senate report on the CIA torture regime released in 2014.
This case turned on the invocation of a holy bureaucratic relic of dubious origin—state secrets. As the court's 6–3 ruling, written by Justice Stephen Breyer, noted, "To assert the [state secrets] privilege, the Government must submit to the court a 'formal claim of privilege, lodged by the head of the department which has control over the matter.'" After a government agency claims the privilege, the court "should exercise its traditional "reluctance to intrude upon the authority of the Executive in military and national security affairs," Breyer wrote. And the most important role for the Supreme Court nowadays is apparently to sanctify the privileges it has awarded federal agencies that committed crime sprees.
The court upheld a "state secrets" claim to block Zubaydah's lawyers from serving subpoenas on the psychologist masterminds of the CIA torture program to learn the details of his interrogation in Poland. The court's ruling also blocks Polish investigators seeking information about the crimes committed at a CIA torture site in their nation.
This case illustrated the fantasy world that permeates official Washington controversies. Federal judge Richard Paez rejected the CIA's argument in 2019 because "in order to be a 'state secret,' a fact must first be a 'secret.'" Even the president of Poland admitted that crimes were committed at that CIA torture site.