In a case that highlights the United States government’s ability to detain persons at will, and to hold them incommunicado, for “interrogation,” while denying any semblance of due process, the Supreme Court has dismissed without comment the case of Khaled al-Masri, who “alleges he was tortured during five months in detention, four months of which were spent in a prison in Kabul, Afghanistan, nicknamed the ‘salt pit’.
“On his flight to Afghanistan, he says, he was stripped, beaten, shackled, made to wear ‘diapers’, drugged and chained to the floor of the plane.
“By his account, he was finally released in Albania after the Americans realised they had got the wrong man.”
Lower courts had refused to hear the case on grounds of national security. By this action, the Supreme Court has affirmed that a government claim of “national security” trumps the inalienable rights of human beings. Until now, it has been possible for me to hold out hope that many actions taken by the Bush administration and all too often endorsed by Congress to abridge civil liberties would not survive a court challenge. I can no longer hold that hope. Where before I merely suspected that we live in a police state, I no longer see any room for dispute.
This set of thugs must be replaced. We have asked questions for too long. The time has come for action.