Americans Don’t Have the Right to Learn Just How Detainees Were Tortured


Submitted by Lawrence Rafferty (rafflaw), Guest Blogger

Earlier this week I read on the ACLU website the Appellate Court decision in ACLU, et al v. Department of Defense, et al,  which decided you and I are not entitled to learn how our government tortured detainees illegally. “A federal appeals court today ruled that the government can continue suppressing transcripts in which former CIA prisoners now held at Guantánamo Bay describe abuse and torture they suffered in CIA custody. The ruling came in an ACLU Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit to obtain uncensored transcripts from Combatant Status Review Tribunals (CSRTs) used to determine if Guantánamo detainees qualify as  “enemy combatants.” It didn’t surprise me that the ACLU lost this appeal, but what surprised me is the lack of attention this case got in the main stream media.

This decision is a stark example of just how weak the Freedom of Information Act really is. At least in the eyes of the Courts when the Government presents its proverbial “get out jail free card” by arguing that the documents that were withheld or heavily redacted, fell under an exemption of the FOIA due to national security and intelligence gathering needs. It is important to note here that the documents that the ACLU was asking for were the transcripts of the detainees’ own statements detailing just how they claim they were tortured. As the ACLU attorney, Ben Wizner, put it,  “The notion that the CIA can classify torture victims’ descriptions of their own first-hand experiences is dangerous and far-reaching,” said Wizner. “No court has ever held that unconfirmed allegations offered by detainees concerning the treatment to which they themselves were subjected could be classified and suppressed.”  The gist of the Government’s claim is that even though these detainees’ allegations of torture are not proven, they are too dangerous to our National Security to disclose just what those allegations are! Am I the only one that thinks that by arguing the national security exemption here that the Government is admitting the truth of these detainee’s allegations? 

Isn’t it time for the Freedom of Information Act to actually provide us the freedom to see what our government is doing under our names?  When the Courts grant the government the broad leeway under the label of “national security”, how are crimes that were committed by the government supposed to be uncovered and prosecuted?

Lawrence Rafferty, (rafflaw), Guest Blogger

29 thoughts on “Americans Don’t Have the Right to Learn Just How Detainees Were Tortured

  1. Excellent post.

    Rafflaw said:”It is amazing that the “liberal” media missed this one.”

    What amazement? Leftists ARE gestapo types. Including those at the NY Times and so forth.

    Speaking of gestapo and left-wingers, here is an article about how the Department of Homeland Security wants to follow you around everywhere in public (the mall, sports facilities, and etc).

    If they cannot get you a home, they will get you buying a dress or enjoying the game and it won’t be just for pot.

    Of course, this is Obama’s newest jobs program. Please remember that the only people letting terrorists into the country is Congress and if they can spend a trillion dollars on a bigger scam than the war on drugs they will. And they are doing this to terrorize you into submission to the totalitarian police-state they wish to create.

    Here an article (appears at Alex Jones’ site) about the fascist growth of power over at the White House with our Dictator In Chief. Oh, I know. It’s that tin-foil guy, Alex, but if the “liberal” media (like the Nazi types at the NY Times) weren’t Nazi types they really are THEY would be reporting about the rise of the gestapo instead of Alex Jones.

    The author calls it the Stasi. I won’t quibble about that.

  2. If truth is not suppressed, someone might learn what it is.

    Is it not treason to know any truth?

  3. Tootie-

    How to tell whether those voices under your bed are Communists or Nazis:

    The ones singing “The Internationale” are Communists.

    The ones singing “Deutschland Uber Alles” are Nazis.

  4. HenMan:

    Our American Nazis and Marxists are very quiet about their real intent. They just “do” their evil deeds.

    If I’m deaf, I cannot hear them anyway.

  5. Tootie,
    With all due respect, I am not suggesting that the courts refusal to actually force the government to prove how the accusations coming to light will harm national security is evidence of any Nazi or Marxist influence. I am not suggesting that the Main Stream Meida are Marxists or Nazis because they missed what I consider a very important story. Now, if you want to talk about the influence of corporations on the media, I might listen.

  6. raff,

    There’s the problem right there: corporate media.

    They have only two loyalties and neither are the good of the United States or its citizens.

    Their only loyalties are to their profits and political influence in furtherance of said profits.

  7. Brian,

    Treason is a very specific crime. It has nothing to do with suppressing the truth other than those who commit the crime want the knowledge of their actions kept secret – like any criminal. Treason is defined by Art. III, sec. 3 as “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court. The Congress shall have power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.” In fact, since the establishment of justice is a requirement of the Constitution and justice cannot be had without first discerning the truth of a matter, knowing the truth helps the Constitution, not hinders it.

  8. Raff and BIL: Look at it this way: The SCOTUS is the best law money can buy. And he who has the money gets their money’s worth. Reckon one day our coinage will reflect a name change to the Corporate States of America? A wholly owned subsidiary of Citizens United?

  9. The Courts are protecting national intelligence agents from the citizens of the country these agents serve … what we would call such behavior if it were happening in any other country but ours?

  10. Buddha you are right. The corporate media are in it for the money not for the truth. You would think that SCOTUS would have seen that making corporations persons would be a bad thing!
    Well said OS!
    Blouise, I would call it criminal and despotic. I will also call it a night. See you all tomorrow.

  11. From the CIA’s web site under the heading “CIA Vision, Mission & Values”

    Core Values

    Service. We put Country first and Agency before self. Quiet patriotism is our hallmark. We are dedicated to the mission, and we pride ourselves on our extraordinary responsiveness to the needs of our customers.

    Integrity. We uphold the highest standards of conduct. We seek and speak the truth—to our colleagues and to our customers. We honor those Agency officers who have come before us and we honor the colleagues with whom we work today.

    Excellence. We hold ourselves—and each other—to the highest standards. We embrace personal accountability. We reflect on our performance and learn from that reflection.


    If this were the case then our Courts would have no need to act in a despotic manner by ruling that the citizens of this nation accept, without question, the torture inflicted on other human beings by agents employed by the CIA.

  12. Customers?


    And which customers might that be?
    The highest bidder?
    Guns, weapons, coercive information or drugs.
    Open for business!

  13. When will Americans learn the truth about Bush’s (and now Obama’s) Terrorist Surveillance Program? Americans deserve to know what’s going on domestically, just as we have the right to know the details about torture.

    If American’s knew…, but they don’t, and so it continues.

    Thanks for this posting, rafflaw.

    Former Spy With Agenda Operates a Private C.I.A

    Duane R. Clarridge still runs a private spy agency, after the military ended his contract.

    By MARK MAZZETTI Published: January 22, 2011

  14. Good point AY,but I still want to know!
    Dredd, it is always a great day when you can quote a Jefferson Airplane song!
    Anon nurse, Thanks and a great link!

  15. Two quick Book recommendations:

    Gore Vidal’s Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace
    and Iain M Bank’s Transition

    The first speaks for itself (it’s a collection of essays), the second reminds us just what we as a society have signed off on.

  16. I should mention that Bank’s work is fiction, possibly of the science variety (I’m not really sure it qualifies as Science Fiction, but there’s more than a bit of Multiple Universes in there).

    It also should be handed to anyone who like Rand as an example of how you tell a story with a point and NOT have characters give the same 20 page speech three times in the same book.

  17. We insisted on sending Milosevic to the Hague. It’s time we stop holding others to a higher standard than we hold ourselves to. Cheney, Rumsfeld and GW Bush should be sent to the Hague.

  18. Long ago have our Courts – with honorable exemptions – lost their position in our tri-partite government. The Judges are paid – are they not? By the same government? In the same form – worthless fed notes – that are illegaly circulating since the early 20th century, correct? So, now we are deeply entrenched in the banksters, oil-robber-barons, military junta and civilian-contractors-drug dealers government, right? So of course we don’t have the right to know – if we did – and applied that knowledge correctly, we’d live in a Republic again!

  19. By the way, have you considered that milosevic, a permanent resident of the U.S. and a Wall-Street banker in the ’80 – is a member of the above-mentioned circle? He took orders, like norriega, pinochet, etc., and then he ‘died’ in custody – has anyone ever seen his body? I bet ya he’s confortambly numb and silent and alive in russia now…so add putin to the above circle-of-friends and get the whole picture…no more nations…its already one world tyrrany…of psychopaths…

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