MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Biden Tells Supreme Court That Publicly Documented Torture Is a State Secret

Posted by M. C. on October 12, 2021

In 2016, Margulies said that Abu Zubaydah is “the poster child for the torture program, and that’s why they never want him to be heard from again.”

https://truthout.org/articles/biden-tells-supreme-court-that-publicly-documented-torture-is-a-state-secret/

By Marjorie Cohn, Truthout

Part of the Series

Human Rights and Global Wrongs

When Abu Zubaydah was apprehended in Pakistan in 2002, the George W. Bush administration falsely characterized him as chief of operations for al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden’s number three man. For the next four years, the CIA sent Zubaydah to its “black sites” in Thailand and Poland where he was viciously tortured. In 2006, Zubaydah was taken to Guantánamo, where he remains to this day. He has never been charged with a crime.

The torture of Abu Zubaydah is thoroughly documented in the 2014 report of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. In fact, several of the justices at the October 6 Supreme Court oral argument in United States v. Zubaydah referred to his treatment as “torture.”

Zubaydah’s lawyers detailed the torture he suffered in their brief (which referenced the Senate torture report) as follows:

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On 83 different occasions in a single month of 2002, he was strapped to an inclined board with his head lower than his feet while CIA contractors poured water up his nose and down his throat, bringing him within sight of death. He was handcuffed and repeatedly slammed into walls, and suspended naked from hooks in the ceiling for hours at a time. He was forced to remain awake for eleven consecutive days, and doused again and again with cold water when he collapsed into sleep. He was forced into a tall, narrow box the size of a coffin, and crammed into another box that would nearly fit under a chair, where he was left for hours. He was subjected to a particularly grotesque humiliation described by the CIA as “rectal rehydration.”

Nevertheless, the Biden administration told the high court that Zubaydah’s well-known torture is a “state secret” because former CIA Director Mike Pompeo said publicizing it would harm national security. Thus, Solicitor General Brian Fletcher argued, the two contractors who orchestrated Zubaydah’s torture in Poland should not be permitted to testify in a Polish court’s criminal investigation into the treatment of Zubaydah.

But as Justice Elena Kagan said, “At a certain point, it becomes a little farcical, this idea of the assertion of a privilege, doesn’t it? I mean, if everybody knows what you’re asserting privilege on, like, what exactly does this privilege.… It’s not a state secrets privilege anymore.”

See the rest here

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