When I was growing up, I was taught that the primary interest of the courts in America, especially the appeals courts, was to ensure that justice was done in our judicial system. Under the Bush administration, that is no longer true.
The primary purpose of our federal courts under Bush is to protect the dirty secrets of lawbreakers in the CIA and other government organizations. Consider the following case.
On New Year's Eve of 2003 Khaled el-Masri, a German citizen of Lebanese descent, was trying to legally enter Macedonia. He was kidnapped by CIA operatives and "renditioned" to a CIA-run prison in Kabul, because he was mis-identified as an associate of the 9/11 hijackers.
He was held there illegally, secretly and without charges for five months. While there, he was beaten and sodomized with various objects in an attempt to extract information that he did not have. In fact, after the five months of torture they realized they had kidnapped the WRONG PERSON!
The Bush administration has not denied that this happened. They are still convinced they have the right to do anything to anyone as long as they use the magic words "national security".
Khaled el-Masri felt he had been wronged - imagine that! He sued George Tenet, the CIA and the corporations who owned the airplanes used to illegally transport him to Kabul. But instead of hearing his legitimate case, the court dismissed it, saying the case could not go forward because it would reveal national security secrets.
He then appealed this outrageous dismissal to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Surely he could get justice from them - right? Wrong! They backed up the ridiculous action of the lower court.
Judge Robert King, who wrote the cout's opinion, said that the case could only go forward by using "evidence that exposes how the CIA organizes, staffs and supervises its most sensitive intelligence operations."
ACLU attorney Ben Wizner probably puts it best when he says, "What's most troubling about this is it literally grants the CIA complete immunity to engage in any kind of misconduct."
It also shows us that under the Bush administration, the priorities of our federal judicial system have changed. The number one priority is to cover up crimes committed by government organizations. The second priority is to not embarrass the Bush administration. If we're lucky, administering justice comes in a distant third. Disgusting!