On 8, Sept the 9th Circuit ruled that the state secrets doctrine bars a court action for torture. That means that you (yes you, citizen!) can be dragged away in secret, held for years without charges, tortured etc etc and if the government wants to call their own law breaking a secret (meaning that there are "state secrets" involved) there is not fuck all that you can do. Full stop.
This case requires us to address the difficult balance the state secrets doctrine strikes between fundamental principles of our liberty, including justice, transparency, accountability and national security. Although as judges we strive to honor all of these principles, there are times when exceptional circumstances create an irreconcilable conflict between them. On those rare occasions, we are bound to follow the Supreme Court’s admonition that “even the most compelling necessity cannot overcome the claim of privilege if the court is ultimately satisfied that [state] secrets are at stake.” United States v. Reynolds, 345 U.S. 1, 11 (1953). After much deliberation, we reluctantly conclude this is such a case, and the plaintiffs’ action must be dismissed. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the district court.From the Jeppesen Dataplan suit.
This is a big deal in that the same branch of the government that is breaking all these international laws, is the same one that defines what should be kept secret in the name of national security. You do the math.
You can not tell me that the current administration is somehow innocent of this as well - they have pushed for a growth of executive privilege and pledged to ignore the self admitted crimes against humanity from the previous administration.
The ACLU’s Ben Wizner on the decision:
This is a sad day not only for the torture victims whose attempt to seek justice has been extinguished, but for all Americans who care about the rule of law and our nation’s reputation in the world. To date, not a single victim of the Bush administration’s torture program has had his day in court. If today’s decision is allowed to stand, the United States will have closed its courtroom doors to torture victims while providing complete immunity to their torturers. The torture architects and their enablers may have escaped the judgment of this court, but they will not escape the judgment of history.I need a fucking drink.