Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Secret crimes are not prosecutable...

The Supreme Court has turned down an appeal in Khaled El-Masri's case. For those of you who don't want to click the link, he's claiming he was abducted, kept imprisoned, and tortured.

I saw one news announcer call it a "victory for the Bush administration". I suppose it is; it says that even if the Bush administration broke a bunch of laws, they don't have to admit to wrongdoing, or even face a civil trial's finding of fact.

It's a tragic day for our nation.

At the same time, I start to wonder... I wonder if the case could be refiled, and El-Masri could change the claim to simple kidnapping. Forget where he was taken; forget what was done to him. He was kidnapped and held against his will for four months. No questions can be raised about where he was held, or under what conditions. I'd very much like the Bush administration to argue that whether or not they abducted him or held him at all is a state secret.

But then I get a bit nervous. What if they did argue that? And worse, what if they won?

Suddenly, unless caught in the act, kidnapping and arbitrary imprisonment would be de facto powers of the President.

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