I have always hoped that our leaders who actively advocate torture would someone be asked to answer for their crimes. Unfortunately, it seems highly unlikely that anything of the sort will happen. We’ll have strings of cover-ups, denials, and granting of amnesty to people who should be war criminals. While I have grown somewhat accustomed to that, information about a recent judicial ruling is really disgusting. Presscue reports in Guantanamo detainees are not human beings – US judges. From the article:
On the sixth anniversary of the imprisonment of detainees at the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base, a United States judge threw out lawsuit brought by four former British detainees against Donald Rumsfeld and senior military officers for ordering torture and religious abuse, ruling that th the detainees are not “Persons” under U.S. Law, which according to another judge, means that they are less than “human beings”.
In a 43-page opinion, Circuit Judge Karen Lecraft Henderson found that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a statute that applies by its terms to all “persons” did not apply to detainees at Guantánamo, effectively ruling that the detainees are not persons at all for purposes of U.S. law.
The Court also dismissed the detainees’ claims under the Alien Tort Statute and the Geneva Conventions, finding defendants immune on the basis that “torture is a foreseeable consequence of the military’s detention of suspected enemy combatants,” and ruled that even if torture and religious abuse were illegal, defendants were immune under the Constitution because they could not have reasonably known that detainees at Guantánamo had any constitutional rights.
I’m not even sure what I can add to this. I would hope that the nature of the ruling would speak for itself (and would invite public outcry). Perhaps the conclusion of the article says it best:
“We are disappointed that the D.C. Circuit has not held Secretary Rumsfeld and the chain of command accountable for torture at Guantánamo,” Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights, co-counsel on the case, commented. “The entire world recognizes that torture and religious humiliation are never permissible tools for a government. We hope that the Supreme Court will make clear that this country does not tolerate torture or abuse by an unfettered executive.”
A few years ago, something like this would have made for great fiction (or a huge national uproar, at the very least). Nowadays, it’s completely commonplace and has become part of the American way of life. Sadly, it’s likely that many people will devote far more attention to the latest escapades of Hollywood celebrities than to outright travesties of justice such as this.