U.S. Courts Failed

After a fruitless five-year battle in U.S. federal courts to hold accountable those who unlawfully detained and tortured her son José Padilla, Estela Lebron today sought to have their claims heard by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). You can read today’s filing here.

Padilla is the only American citizen to have been seized on U.S. soil, detained as an enemy combatant, kept in incommunicado military detention, and tortured. Until U.S. courts stop using national security arguments to bar Bush-era torture survivors from seeking remedies for abuses, victims, like Padilla and Lebronwill have to resort to international bodies for any chance at redress…



The last several years have found us in the midst of more catastrophes than we could ever, in our worst nightmares, have dreamed of. We could never have envisaged that the history of the new century would encompass the destruction and distortion of fundamental Anglo-American legal and political constitutional principles in place since the 17th century.

Habeas corpus has been abandoned for the outcasts of the new order in both the US and the UK, secret courts have been created to hear secret evidence, guilt has been inferred by association, torture and rendition nakedly justified (in the UK our government’s lawyers continue to argue positively for the right to use the product of both) and vital international conventions consolidated in the aftermath of the Second World War – the Geneva Convention, the Refugee Convention, the Torture Convention – have been deliberately avoided or ignored…


Also related:

A military judge has ruled that statements made by defendants on trial for their involvement in the September 11th attacks could be censored if they make statements about how they were tortured or abused.

Judge Col. James Pohl ruled the government had “submitted declarations…from representatives of the CIA, [Department of Defense], and FBI invoking the classified information privilege and explaining how disclosure of the classified information at issue would be detrimental to national security in that the information relates to the sources, methods, and activities by which the United States defends against international terrorism and terrorist organizations.” These explanations included how the government believed disclosure of methods of interrogation or torture would be harmful…


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