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WAR: Bush Using "state secrets privilege" To Squash Anti Terror Suits

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posted on Mar, 5 2005 @ 02:23 AM
In an attempt to stop court challenges to its anti-terrorism campaign, the Bush Administration is using a rarely used executive power. Called the state secrets privilege, Judges will rarely challenge the governments assertion of it in a case. AT issue is an attempt to use this privilege in the matter of "rendition" or the secretive and controversial practice of sending terror suspects to foreign countries where they might be tortured.

The Bush administration is aggressively wielding a rarely used executive power known as the state secrets privilege in an attempt to squash hard-hitting court challenges to its anti-terrorism campaign.

How the White House is using this privilege, not a law but a series of legal precedents built on national security, disturbs some civil libertarians and open-government advocates because of its sweeping power. Judges almost never challenge the government's assertion of the privilege, and it can be fatal to a plaintiff's case.

The government is invoking the privilege in an attempt to wipe out the heart of a lawsuit that seeks to examine rendition, the secretive and controversial practice of sending terror suspects to foreign countries where they might be tortured.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

According to a study, the use of this has occurred at least 60 times since the 1950's and only 5 times has it been denied by a judge. This is quite powerful when used as it seems. The question is should the courts and plaintiffs be denied access to information? It does not have an easy answer. The government has an obligation to protect information and its sources in the interests of national security.

posted on Mar, 5 2005 @ 06:27 AM
Yep, and to think Nixion was a criminal!!!!

posted on Mar, 5 2005 @ 09:41 AM

Originally posted by FredT

The question is should the courts and plaintiffs be denied access to information? It does not have an easy answer.

The answer is easy Fred. It's "NO, Americans no longer should be denied access to information critical to protecting democracy."

The government has an obligation to protect information and its sources in the interests of national security.

Used in this way, the "state secret privilege" obviously is being abused. Time to pull in the reins.


posted on Mar, 6 2005 @ 03:24 PM
After intentionally:
Blanking out 28 Saudi-Incriminating pages describing evidence of possible Saudi funding for 2 of the 15 Saudi hijackers contained in the 2003 congressional panel report exposing the roots of the 9/11 attacks; strategically denying 9/11 victims families & American citizens crucial evidence we deserved after the worst intelligence failure & terrorist attack on US soil,

Then invoking Executive Privilege to defy compliance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act, 5 U.S.C. App. 2 (“FACA”), and the Freedom of Information Act; Fighting to deny American citizens right to know whether lobbyists (i.e. Kenneth Lay of ENRON) became de facto members of the Energy Task Force that for instance was behind the "gouging" of California's energy crisis in 2001,

And the latest on-going case against the Department of Defense seeking disclosure of records under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), 5 U.S.C. ' 552 concerning Pentagon funded programs engaged in “strategic influence, perception management, strategic information warfare and/or strategic psychological operations” through media consultants, “think tanks,” foreign expatriate political organizations and Internet sites,

(*The Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 (22 U.S.C. ' 1461), forbids the domestic dissemination of U.S. government authored or developed propaganda or “official news” deliberately designed to influence public opinion or policy.)

Judical Watch

Then why doesn't the invoking of this latest kevlar by the "Privileged" kabbal for circumventing the constitution & propagating ignorance to the American public surprise me.I think there really needs to be a non-government non-business independent committee of perhaps party-unaffiliated US born law professors on what constitutes or jeopardizes "National Security",and then more specifically what discerns 'state' secrets from 'military' secrets.

I am all for doing everything possible to protect our courageous military & intelligence agents from being compromised and put in even more danger,as well as preventing any breaches of our state-of-the-art weaponry & tactics for gathering foreign intel.However, I don't think any individuals who aren't willing to risk their butts or not directly involved in doing everything they can to improve our defense advantage or protection from foreign threats should also be included under the "national security" defense just to cloak their shameless self-benefitting illegal business ventures.I fear under this current system it is being abused more than ever.

Here's some more 411 on this state secrets privilege:

By seeking records under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), 5 U.S.C. ' 552
1. "The state secrets privilege is a common law evidentiary rule that allows the government to withhold information from discovery when disclosure would be inimical to national security." Zuckerbraun v. General Dynamics Corp., 935 F.2d 544, 546 (2d Cir. 1991). After the privilege is properly invoked, the privileged material is completely removed from the litigation, and the court must determine how the unavailability of the privileged information affects the case. See, e.g., In re United States, 872 F.2d 472, 476 (D.C. Cir.) ("Once successfully invoked, the effect of the privilege is completely to remove the evidence from the case."), cert. dismissed, 493 U.S. 960 (1989). In some instances, the case may be able to proceed based solely on non-privileged evidence. See United States v. Reynolds, 345 U.S. 1, 11 (1953) (concluding that, despite the government's assertion of the state secrets privilege to bar certain evidence, "it should be possible for respondents to adduce the essential facts as to causation without resort to material touching upon military secrets").

In other cases, an action may be dismissed, even if constitutional claims are involved, when a plaintiff cannot establish his case without the use of such information.2 Dismissal is likewise required if the inability to disclose the information deprives the defendant of evidence essential to a defense. See, e.g., Molerio v. FBI, 749 F.2d 815, 825 (1984) (holding that privileged information completely prohibited government from defending its decision not to hire plaintiff).

Petitioners contend that the dismissal of their case violated separation of power principles because they were deprived of a remedy for the claims of unlawful discrimination. Pet. 18-27. Under the state secrets privilege, however, "even the mot compelling necessity cannot overcome the claim of privilege if the court is ultimately satisfied that military secrets are at stake." Reynolds, 345 U.S. at 11. The action in this case was dismissed only after both courts carefully reviewed the government's assertion of the privilege, as well as the materials filed under seal, and properly determined that the action could not proceed without disclosure of state secrets.

Petitioners also contend that the court of appeals erroneously held that the state secrets privilege extends to cases whose core allegation involves unlawful discrimination by government officials. Pet. 10-15. That contention lacks merit. Contrary to petitioners' suggestion, the court of appeals did not hold that unlawful discrimination itself was a matter of state secret. The court of appeals rather held that dismissal of the case was warranted because the government could not respond to the claims of discrimination in the complaint without revealing state secrets. Pet. App. 13a-14a. That fact-bound application of settled law does not warrant further review by this Court.3

2. Petitioners also err in claiming (Pet. 16-17) that the court of appeals' decision conflicts with In re United States, supra. In re United States merely declined to issue mandamus based on a district court's decision to require the government to make an item-by-item assertion of the privilege with respect to specific information or evidence. Contrary to petitioners' assertion (Pet. 16), In re United States did not hold that the state secrets privilege was unavailable in cases concerning alleged government violation of the law. Indeed, the D.C. Circuit specifically acknowledged that successful invocation of the privilege may result in dismissal of an action, either because the plaintiff cannot prove a claim without disclosure of the privileged information or because, as in this case, "the privileged information, if available to the defendant, would establish a valid defense to the claim." 872 F.2d at 476. That conclusion is entirely consistent with the court of appeals' decision upholding the government's assertion of the privilege.

DOJ Source

In claiming the state-secrets privilege, "the government always overreaches," Blanton said. "It always misleads and in some cases it lies, because it believes its authority is at stake.


"The state secrets privilege is not explicitly authorized by the Constitution or Congress, but has been recognized by federal courts as an extension of the president's power since the early 19th Century." Not explicitly authorized by the Constitution, but rather given shape through a series of court decisions.Made by judges.

Secrecy in International and Domestic Policy Making:
The Case for More Sunshine

...secrecy is that secrecy provides the opportunity for special interests to have greater sway... Secrecy is the bedrock of [this] persistent form of corruption, which undermines confidence in democratic governments in so much of the world.

Moynihan and Wyden on Secrecy

In these troubling times with increasing tendency to conveniently overclassify information in the interest of 'national security' to obscure odvious quid-pro-quo-racies to increasing violations of the constitution from public scrutiny,the petition for a writ of certiorari should not be denied to the American people regarding these matters.After all, on 9/11 it was mostly the civilians who paid with their lives for trusting this ultra-secretive administration.

[edit on 6-3-2005 by Vajrayana]

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