Tuesday, May 17, 2011

On eve of full Moon, Supreme court protects the President's right to protect penis-slicers

U.S. Supreme Court lets stand a ruling against five men who sued a CIA contractor for its alleged role in abducting them abroad and spiriting them to secret interrogation sites. The court says the president has the power to scuttle their lawsuit because of national security.
[...]
Lead plaintiff Binyam Mohamed, an Ethiopian-born British resident, spent four years at the U.S. detention compound at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, after confessing to plotting terrorism. Mohamed told the war crimes tribunal at Guantanamo that he confessed to crimes he didn't commit because he was tortured during his CIA detention, including having his genitals sliced with a scalpel.
What is the state secrets privilege?

The state secrets privilege (SSP) is a common law privilege that allows the head of an executive department to REFUSE to produce evidence in a court case on the grounds that the evidence is secret information that would harm national security or foreign relation interests if disclosed.

When and how was the SSP established?

The state secrets privilege originates in England where the law allows the king or queen the “Crown Privilege,” which grants the monarch the absolute right to refuse to share information with Parliament or the courts.

The U.S. Supreme Court then borrowed the SSP almost entirely from the Duncan standard during a Cold War case, Reynolds v. United States, 345 U.S. 1 (1953). . The Court did so without discussing the differences between our system of checks and balances and England’s system where Parliament is all powerful.

Dear President Obama:

I know that the use of penis-slicing as a national strategy is a very touchy subject because we never know when we're going to have to whip it out, and if such information were to leak out all over the internet and become common knowledge worldwide, our intelligence agencies' tiny cadre of highly-trained penis-slicers, as well as the rest of the US military, would be put at risk of reprisals. Besides, terrorists might take countermeasures, such as blowing themselves up to avoid capture, or cutting off their penises. So, I assume that you cannot reply to the following questions, but I hope you will think about them.

A) Are you satisfied that the rationale for slicing penises as a means of defending the US was ever valid?

B) Has the US government sponsored any research into penis-slicing to refine its use as a means of interrogation?

C) What would you say to those whose penises have been sliced in the name of national security even though there was no chance that they knew anything useful?

D) Have you and/or Secretary Gates met with penis-slicers in private to thank them for their service to the nation? Have you considered moving them around the world from luxury hotel to luxury hotel to protect them, while cutting the pay of the US military in half and sending them out on IED patrol in blistering heat?

E) Have you considered telling idealistic young Americans that they too might be called upon to slice penises to defend their country? Have they been warned that other countries might adopt this practice, now that the US President has declared that it is not a war crime to do so, and that their penises might be sliced by foreigners who have not been through the rigorous training given to US intelligence agents? Might you consider working with the UN to establish international penis-slicing standards in order to ensure that it is performed legally everywhere?

Well, that's the questions I have with for the time being, but if I have more, I'll send them along, you old penis-slicer lover, you.