You are an American citizen on vacation in Thailand. You are arrested by local authorities on suspicion of being a member of the Freedom Revolution Underground Movement in Myanmar. It is a case of mistaken identity. You are turned over to the Myanmar Junta Secret Police who fly you to a “rendition” prison in the mountains of China where you are imprisoned and tortured for a year before being released in a remote section of Laos.
The American government strongly and officially protests. U.S. prosecutors issue warrants for the Myanmar Junta secret agents, charging them with kidnaping. You hire lawyers and seek redress in the Myanmar court system. The Myanmar Supreme Court upholds a lower court decision against you and dismisses the lawsuit on the grounds that trying the case might expose state secrets. While conceding you were likely kidnaped and tortured, the court decreed it must not interfere with the Junta’s duty to maintain the nation’s security.
That is what happened to a German citizen of Lebanese descent who was kidnaped by the CIA and accused of having a relationship with Al Qaeda and the Islamic Brotherhood. It was the most extensively documented case of the Bush administration’s “extraordinary rendition” program in which terrorist suspects are abducted, sent to other countries in which torture is practiced.
In Mr. Khaled el-Masri’s case, he was flown to a “rendition” prison in Kabul, Afghanistan where he was kept for most of a year, in a small cell, shackled, drugged and beaten while being interrogated before finally being released.
A three judge panel for the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals dismissed the case pointing out that while it was “difficult” it pit the search for truth “against the executive’s duty to maintain the nation’s security.”
So, this is what it has come down to. Acquiescence to the arrogant lawlessness and unconstitutional actions of the Bush White House has bestowed upon us the character and behavior of a third world dictatorship. Imagine that.