Secret Arrests Okayed

Longtime readers know that through my website publication (The Multiracial Activist), I am a plaintiff in a lawsuit launched by the Center for National Security Studies (CNSS) regarding secret arrests and detentions by the Administration since September 11. Background on the case can be found here with links to the major filings regarding this legal action. Reprinted below is a press release sent by CNSS regarding today’s judicial setback. We will continue to fight this travesty:

COURT OKAYS SECRET ARRESTS

June 17, 2003 — In a 2-1 decision released today, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia reversed a lower court ruling that the Department of Justice must release the names of the individuals and their attorneys secretly jailed in the post-9/11 dragnet holding that secret arrests are “odious to a democratic society.”

“We are disappointed that for the first time in US history, a court has approved secret arrests and we plan to pursue the case. ” said Kate Martin, Director of the Center for National Security Studies and lead counsel in the case, CNSS v. DOJ.

Martin continued: “We now know that keeping the arrests secret allowed the Justice Department to cover up its abuses of the detainees documented by the Inspector General’s report this month.” That report contradicted the Attorney General’s repeated statement that everyone’s rights were being respected. (For example: Ashcroft on November 27, 2001: “One of the accusations suggests that detainees are not able to be represented by an attorney or to contact their families. As you have just heard me discuss, this is simply not true.”)

“There is every reason to fear that the Attorney General continues to cover-up the fact that people were jailed because of their religion or ethnicity. There is more and more evidence that none but a tiny handful of the detainees had any links to terrorism.”

Judge David Tatel said in his dissent, “[B]y accepting the government’s vague, poorly explained allegations, and by filling in the gaps in the government’s case with its own assumptions about facts absent from the record, this court has converted deference into acquiescence.” (Dissent at 5)

The Appeals Court decision is available at: http://pacer.cadc.uscourts.gov/docs/common/opinions/200306/02-5254a.pdf; the case in its entirety can be viewed at http://www.cnss.gwu.edu/~cnss/cnssvdoj.htm.

The New York Times has published an Associated Press piece on the decision here.

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