Tuesday, October 9, 2007

"State Secrets" Fascism

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A German citizen who alleges the CIA mistakenly kidnapped, detained and interrogated him was denied a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court when the justices rejected his appeal for review Tuesday.

The German citizen is Khaled el-Masri, who was kidnapped in Macedonia on New Year's Eve, 2003 by U.S. government agents and taken via secret "extraordinary rendition" to a prison in Afghanistan. El-Masri was beaten, humjiliated and drugged. When the U.S. could get nothing out of him, or recognized it was a case of mistaken identity -- we don't know because it's a "state secret" -- he was unceremoniously flown and dumped in a forest in Albania.

With the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, el-Masri sued the CIA and private air charter companies that operated the overseas flights. He sought monetary damages, a public apology and an explanation for why he was detained.

Lower federal courts all rejected el-Masri's legal claims.

The U.S. government said acknowledging el-Masri's detention or even discussing details of the program would compromise national security. In a legal brief filed with the high court, Justice Department lawyers wrote, "The United States can neither confirm nor deny petitioner's allegations."

The ACLU had called the government state secrets privilege in this case a hollow argument because President Bush publicly discussed that the United States was holding some terrorism suspects overseas in secret locations.

Let's call it what it is. The secret police can arrest you. Should they throw you back, rather than hold you indefinitely, you have no recourse to clear your name or seek damages. Why? "State secrets" could be revealed. This is a government out of control, answerable in its actions to no one. It has revealed itself to be a fascist state in ovo.

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