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"National Security" claims can, if invoked, wipe out all U.S. legal protections.
on 9 November 2013
The two prior reviewers miss the dynamite in this book --- the shocking revelation that by invoking "state secrets" the government (no matter which party is in power) has succeeded in garnering a series of court judgements that effectively geld judicial inquiry into any alleged crimes committed by the government. This is demonstrated by Paglen's reference to court decisions and verbatim quotes from government advocates and the final summing up by the judges --- all verbatim from the record. There's nothing vague or hunchy about this. More than adequate documentation is provided and pp.144-167 nails down the boiler plate that the executive branch can stop judicial inquiry into anything, that is: ANYTHING that the government is doing or has done.
Here's a key exchange:
Judge: "Suppose you had a collision between a [U.S.] mail truck and a taxicab and the attorney general came in said that in his opinion discovery in the case [even in tightly controlled, closed session] would imperil the whole military position of the United States, and so forth. Would the court have to accept that [& be barred from looking into any aspect of the validity of the government's claim to immunity] ?" The government replied that was exactly their position. Mention "state secrets" and the case will be kicked out at the start. No inquiry, no examination of alleged abuses, period. Carrying this point up the ladder in a series of appeals, the government triumphed. Mumble the two magic words and the executive can do whatever it wants. This included the case, documented by Paglen on pp. 158-159 where it's been demonstrated that the government invoked the "state secrets/national security" defense, shut down the case and knowingly lied while doing so --- it emerging later that no classified materials or state secrets were involved at all. The issue was government negligence in a B-29 plane crash with 9 crew members killed and at stake was the financial compensation sought by the families. As a family member later asked on p. 161: " . . . how could the government stand before the Supreme Court and lie?"
As Mickey Spillane has Mike Hammer say in the final sentence of his hard boiled crime noveI, "I the Jury":
"It was easy."
And it remains easy until this day.
THIS is the reason for reading this book. The surrounding materials of project acronyms and base locations are just verifiers to show the extent of the concealed empire that that has brought about an unchallengeable executive that knows it can do anything it wants --- to anybody.