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I nearly choked on my cereal this morning whilst listening to NPR. Apparently the White House worked behind the scenes to get Saudi Arabia to arrest Akmed Abu Ali and 3 other American citizens two years ago. The other three have been indicted in the U.S.; one of these was released due to lack of evidence.  Abu Ali is still being held in Saudi Arabia, his lawyers cannot see the evidence, and he may have been tortured (fingernails torn out).

Listen to the story on NPR here.

This is apparently the FIRST time in U.S. history that secret evidence has been denied to the lawyers of an imprisoned U.S. citizen.  Secret evidence has been used by the White House in recent years to deport suspects to the U.S.  This represents a new abuse of unchecked power.

What is Abu Ali accused of, and why can't he be brought before a U.S. court?  He is an American citizen - why is he being held and tortured in Saudi Arabia?  Does this one man really know so much that he cannot possibly be tried in court?  Is he presumed guilty, with no hope of being proven otherwise?  If he is found to be guilty, wouldn't a public trial and public, humane punishment be a much better message to give to the world?

I believe that America's position in the "War on Terror" (whatever that entails) is radically weakened by these abuses.  What message do we send terrorists and allies around the world when our government takes this Machiavellian approach to human rights?  

Where is the outrage?  Why isn't this story attempting to share the should-be crowded front pages of our newspapers with GannonGate, or Rove's Reward, or any of the Bush Administrations many lies and injustices?  

Finally, in a stroke of hypocrisy, or idiocy, NPR's very next story started with a cheery lead-in about Bush's goals for his second term including "spreading freedom and liberty around the world."  In spite of the fact that the story was a critical look at the upcoming joke that will be Saudi Arabian men voting in limited district council elections, it is never pointed out that what Bush & Co. SAY and what Bush & Co. do are dangerously different.  Bush will be toting these limited elections as another victory, while he and his minions continue to blatantly ignore our Constitution.  Welcome to the occupation.

Originally posted to Rainman on Thu Feb 10, 2005 at 10:06 AM PST.

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