A federal appeals court ruled on Wednesday that the author of the so-called “torture memos” during the Bush administration could not be sued by an American citizen who claims he was tortured while being held without charge in military detention for three years and eight months.It's probably because of a technicality, right? You know how it goes, somebody didn't cross all their Ts or some of the legal paperwork was filed after a drop dead date. It's got to be something of that nature.
~ from 'Torture Memos' Author Can't Be Sued for Harsh Interrogations by Warren Richey ~
But it's not! No, the appellate court has penned a new legal precedent, one that basically provides anyone in power with a "get out of jail" free card. If this decision stands, we're all in big trouble!
In throwing the lawsuit out, the panel of the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals said that [former Deputy Assistant Attorney General] Yoo was entitled to qualified immunity because it was not clearly established in the early years of the Bush administration that Padilla’s treatment amounted to torture.Let's break this down. Padilla "was subjected to extreme isolation, including sensory confusion techniques, sleep deprivation, and stress positions." All of these techniques have been considered torture since, at least, World War II! So, how is that during the Bush years the standard definition of torture somehow disappeared amongst supposed "confusion" as to what it might entail?
“We assume without deciding that Padilla’s alleged treatment rose to the level of torture,” Judge Raymond Fisher wrote for the three-judge panel. “That it was torture was not, however, beyond debate in 2001-03.”
He added: “In light of that debate…, we cannot say that any reasonable official in 2001-03 would have known that the specific interrogation techniques allegedly employed against Padilla, however appalling, necessarily amounted to torture.”
It disappeared because Team Bush created a false controversy! To further their political aims, they decided to manufacture a dispute in regards to what everyone commonly refers to as torture. By kicking up a dust storm to make it appear that there was disagreement about a commonly held definition, in the eyes of the court today there WAS a controversy.
This is the precise strategy many are following in terms of global warming. Despite the fact there is a strong consensus among scientists on this issue, conservatives and multinational corporations are kicking up dust to make it appear as if there is no consensus. They are manufacturing a controversy simply because they don't want to change the way they conduct business.
Thanks to the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals, it looks like they will be shielded in the future from any of their detrimental actions today because they can claim that, because of the current "controversy" surrounding the issue of global warming, they were unsure how to proceed and so they proceeded along their current unsustainable course!
What's worse, this precedent will be applied to every meaningful topic imaginable. There will be no way to hold government and corporate leaders accountable for anything. All they have to do now to prevent future lawsuits is to manufacture one fake controversy after another and they are home free!