Another Civil Right Gone — Thanks, Supremes!

I think it was Lenny Bruce who remarked, after one of his busts for "obscenity" (which we now call "social commentary"), "In the halls of Justice, the only justice is in the halls."

Apropos of that, the New York Times has published an excellent editorial about Khaled el-Masri (or sometimes "al-Masri"), the German guy, Lebanese by descent, who got "extraordinarily renditioned" (kidnapped) by the CIA and wound up being imprisoned and tortured in a secret Afghanistan prison for about six months before being released in some rural part of Albania ... without ever even having been charged with a crime!

Well, el-Masri tried to sue his kidnappers/torturers in an American court — foreigners can sue Americans in American courts, you (I'm sure) know — and guess what? The case got thrown out at the district and appeals court levels after the government pleaded that "state secrets" needed to "protect classified intelligence sources" would be revealed if those courts even gave el-Masri a hearing on his lawsuit — so, of course, they didn't.

But the real travesty occurred last week, when not even four justices on the U.S. Supreme Court (the minimum number required) would agree to hear el-Masri's case — in effect telling the rest of the world that the U.S. government, through its various agencies, can kidnap and torture any foreigner it wants, and there's not a damned thing that person can do about it.

Dude, that's fucked up! 

Of course, we know that Scalia, Thomas, Roberts and Alito would have voted "No," and in this case, probably Kennedy as well, but who was the sixth "No" vote? Obviously not Ginsburg or Stevens, and I'm thinking Souter has been on the right side of a number of civil liberties issues recently ... so my money's on Breyer ... which leads me to worry about how he'll come down on a couple of important cases the Court is taking this session. 

And Dude ... that's really fucked up! 


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