Monday, February 09, 2009


They want us to trust them, but trust is broken.

ABC News' Jason Ryan reports that Justice Department spokesman Matt Miller said [in Federal court today]:"It is the policy of this administration to invoke the state secrets privilege only when necessary and in the most appropriate cases, consistent with the United States Supreme Court's decision in Reynolds that the privilege not 'be lightly invoked.' ...

"The Justice Department will ensure the privilege is not invoked to hide from the American people information about their government's actions that they have a right to know. This administration will be transparent and open, consistent with our national security obligations," Miller said.

ABC News
February 9, 2008

I do not trust them -- and with this, they, our new Democratic rulers, forfeit their claim to have renounced the Bush Administration policies of torture, lawless imprisonment and monarchical executive power.

As they admit, we have every reason to believe that the previous regime invoked the legal doctrine of "state secrets" to hide its crimes. The facts of the particular case at issue today have been spread all over the media -- see for example, the New York Times. Employees and contractors of the U.S. government snatched up individuals they believed to be "terrorists," tortured them in hidden prisons, passed them on to compliant governments that tortured them further, and then locked them up under brutal conditions at Guantanamo.

All of this is known. Oh, there is probably more, but the outlines are quite clear. The only purpose served by keeping any ramification of it hidden is to make it impossible (harder?) to identity which individuals in our government are guilty of human rights law abuses.

The "state secrets" policy is a claim to a court that stops legal proceedings because -- well, they don't have to say why, they just say, "stop because the President says so." This is not the rule of law, it is an exercise of arbitrary power. We were told that President Obama would restore the rule of law, but his Justice Department today signaled that it is on the same track as the Bush guys.

"Trust us," they say. That's the appeal of a government of men, above the law. We weren't supposed to have one of those.

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