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. “When the truth is found to be lies and all the joy within you dies …” (Jefferson Airplane / Starship)

  2. Customers?


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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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?

  6. 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?

  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,

    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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

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

    Is it not treason to know any truth?

  13. 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.

  14. So where is this ‘change we can believe in?’

    Oh, wait, it’s on hold due to the bad economy; right?

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