The Masri Case: White House Fears ACLU Campaign

The Masri Case: White House Fears ACLU Campaign - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News:

Khaled El-Masri was innoncently detained in a secret CIA prison. Now US civil liberties advocates are helping him take the intelligence service to court. His chances of winning the trial are slim -- but his case is stirring up negative publicity for the Bush administration.
Fear of a legal watershed

And while that may sound harmless, it isn't. The White House fears it could prove to be a legal watershed, and the US Department of Justice is watching the attack mounted by the civil rights activists with growing concern. Charges have been brought against Donald Rumsfeld, the US Defense Secretary who recently resigned but remains in office, before a German federal court. Italy has initiated police investigations into a number of CIA agents following a kidnapping in Milan. The Munich court that is investigating Masri's case could possibly make the same decision. US President Bush and the members of his administration fear they may all find themselves in court one day.

When Masri's innocence was conclusively established, his release was ordered by then National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice. Were the decisions as to who should be detained made in her office as well? Washington's policy is to confirm or concede nothing. Masri is demanding clarification 'and an apology.' He doesn't want money, only justice.

His chances aren't very good. In a Kafkaesque move, the Justice Department is now trying to muzzle even those former detainees at the so-called 'black sites' who have since been moved to Guantanamo and keep them from speaking openly about their experiences. The Justice Department is going so far as to try to prevent them from discussing the top-secret interrogation techniques even with their lawyers, claiming that the interrogation techniques are classified infromation. Thus, torture victims have become carriers of state secrets.


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