Let No One Forget: 9/11 Lawsuit On Illegal Detention Goes Forward
October 17, 2016 (Fault Lines) — The facts alleged in this lawsuit filed by those who were held and beaten incognito on the wake of the September 11th attack on civil society are not in dispute. Even the DOJ’s Inspector General conceded that these events took place, on American soil as opposed to the usual disclosure of sadistic torture done abroad by those on taxpayer dime. From The Atlantic:
In New York, many “high interest” detainees were held in the federal Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. MDC created a maximum-security unit stricter than even many high-security federal prisons. There, the detainees—many of whom, in ordinary times, would likely not have even been arrested—were held in tiny cells for 23 hours a day, strip-searched repeatedly, kept awake by constantly burning lights and by frequent shouts from guards, shackled, pushed, tripped and beaten, barred from the telephone and the commissary, denied the right to possess Korans, and physically harassed during Muslim prayer rituals. A number were held in these conditions even after the FBI had cleared them for release.
This happened in NYC in 2001, not in a backwater country that regularly jails people based on feelz, or some other place that specializes in arbitrary detention in the face of a non-event. Hysteria, whether caused by a terrorist attack or a run-of-the-mill natural disaster, bats 1.000 when bringing out people’s cowardice & prejudice true colors
It speaks volumes how in the weeks following 9/11, everyone’s inner snitch came out in spades: the FBI received 100 thousand “tips” from the public in just a few days (that’s “see something, say something” on steroids and crack). But that’s why there are rules, law, due process, etc. Well, at least in theory this time.
And every single legal bludgeon (figuratively speaking first, literally once they got to their cells) at the government’s disposal was used to kidnap the plaintiffs and hold them without basis, even the rarely enforced visa “overstay” provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The. Second Circuit Court of Appeals held that their lawsuit can go forward, ruling that those who were shackled and abused had alleged enough misconduct, on the part of government screws, that could be shown at trial.
This is vindication, at least in part, for those who are persistent with their cynicism when it comes to the government and its noblesse oblige. Any defense attorney worth his salt will tell you that the “overstay” bludgeon is usually used when an ulterior government motive is afoot. If an overstay minds his P’s and Q’s and doesn’t get involved in stupid street crime, he’s likely to be left alone while he remains stateside. No one ends sitting at defense table in immigration court as an overstay unless something else purportedly went down (e.g., bar fight, DUI, or pinched by Customs on his way back into the country after his brilliant defense attorney told him to stay put and forego that stupid cruise).
The article notes how the plaintiffs’ victory in the Second Circuit might be short lived, given the U.S. Supreme Court’s record when it comes to counter-terrorism suits by torturées (as per the article, 0 wins for last 8 cases):
The Supreme Court is unlikely to be quite as friendly to their cause—especially since two moderate-liberal justices, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, will not sit. (The Court, as usual, gave no explanation, but Kagan as solicitor general may have discussed the case with government lawyers, and Sotomayor was on the Second Circuit when the case came before that court for the first time in 2009.)
Maybe it’s because the Supreme Court is devoid of any trench lawyers, let alone defense ones. By the last count, the last justice to primarily handle criminal cases before taking the bench was Thurgood Marshall. Perhaps the Supreme Court, and the courts below it, could do better if it retained judges who have the plumber mentality when it comes to handling cases.
The “system” is only as good as how it functions when it’s put to the test. On 9/11, every single aspect of the American way of life was put to the ultimate one, when nihilistic fascists used civil aviation to commit mass murder. When it comes to the 762 people who were rounded up on a hunch and then beaten in a NY detention center, the system failed miserably, for shame. This episode will hopefully “live in infamy,” just like other cases that have made a stain on the national character.F