Last week the D.C. Court of Appeals threw out a suit by three British former prisoners at Gitmo, and in their ruling legitimated the use of torture at Guantanamo’s Camp Delta, saying that such “seriously criminal” actions by the government was “foreseen”, and that no one could be held responsible for following orders. It also stated that Guantanamo prisoners were not legally “persons.” Could I be making this up?
No chance. Here’s Scott Horton’s take at Harper’s:
Three British detainees held at Gitmo, who were seized for bounty payments for no good reason and who were pried free by the British Government, filed suit alleging that they had been tortured and denied their religious freedom. They sought redress from the authors of the Gitmo system, including former Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, who crafted a series of once-secret orders directing the Guantánamo torture system. Among the practices introduced and used were waterboarding, hypothermia, long-time standing, sleep deprivation in excess of two days and the use of psychotropic drugs-each of which constitutes torture under American law and under international standards. These orders and their implementation were criminal acts under United States law….
The judges hearing the case, all movement conservative Republicans appointed by a President named Bush- Karen LeCraft Henderson, Janice Rogers Brown and A. Raymond Randolph-concluded that the plaintiffs were not “persons” for purpose of the relevant statute protecting religious freedom. They further concluded that acts of torture and contempt and abuse targeting religious belief were within the legitimate scope of conduct of an American cabinet officer, so that official immunity blocked the suit.