I realise these are early days, and we don’t yet have all the information, but this business of the Obama administration invoking the state-secrets privilege is not good.
A guy is kidnapped, tortured and detained for years without charge, and when he tries to take his case to court, he is promptly told to go fuck himself by a representative of the most liberal Justice Department the country has seen in decades.
This is all well and good, but just so we won’t forget what’s really at stake — what actually resulted from the extraordinary rendition that Obama now feels is a state secret –, here’s how Binyam Mohamed described to his lawyer Clive Stafford Smith what was done to him by Moroccan interrogators in August 2002, according to the book Ghost Plane by Stephen Grey:
‘Strip him,’ shouted Marwan. They cut off my clothes with some kind of doctor’s scalpel. I was naked. I tried to put on a brave face. But maybe I was going to be raped. Maybe they’d electrocute me, maybe castrate me. They took the scalpel to my right chest. It was only a small cut, maybe an inch. At first I just screamed… I was just shocked, I wasn’t expecting… Then they cut my left chest. This time I didn’t want to scream because I knew it was coming.
Marwan got agitated at this. ‘Just go ahead with the plan,’ he said.
One of them took my penis in his hand and began to make cuts. He did it once, and they stood still for maybe a minute, watching my reaction. I was in agony, trying desperately to suppress myself, but I was screaming. I remember Marwan seemed to smoke half a cigarette, throw it down, and start another. They must have done this 20 to 30 times, in maybe two hours. There was blood all over.