The Supreme Court: Torture and Illegal Arrest? No Big Deal

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Imagine being arrested without a charge, shipped to a foreign country, being tortured, and then released in a remote part of the countryside. Clearly unacceptable for any democratic government to condone, right? Well, not according to the Supreme Court, who declined to review the 4th Circuit’s opinion that "state secrets" trump international law and human rights.

When agents of the United States government can, without repercussion, arrest someone and take him to a foreign country to be beaten and tortured without legal review, a formal arrest or even a charge and the Supreme Court upholds that action, what can be said to be left of American justice?  How can the rest of the world possibly look to us as a model for democratic governance and equal protection under the law?

Don’t let the euphemism "extraordinary rendition" fool you. It’s a cover for a program of incredible violence. Secret prisons, beatings, torture, psychological torment, all the tools of a repressive Third World regime, are being employed by your government, in your name.

In the words of former CIA agent Robert Baer: "If you want a serious interrogation, you send a prisoner to Jordan. If you want them to be tortured, you send them to Syria. If you want someone to disappear — never to see them again — you send them to Egypt."

The Supreme Court’s decision to refuse to hear the case of Khaled el-Masri may well be the Dred Scott decision of the Bush Era. In effect, the Court has endorsed the view that anyone suspected of being involved in terrorism is less than human and does not deserve the fundamental protections of international law and human decency.

For the United States to be using the rhetoric of democracy promotion abroad in places like Iraq and Afghanistan while we are operating secret, state-run gulags and exporting suspects to nations that perform torture is more than the height of hypocrisy; it nears the depth of depravity.

How far can we sink, in the eyes of the world, and in the vision of our forefathers?

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it’s a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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