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United States Government

How the FBI Can Detain, Render and Threaten Without Risk (nytimes.com) 318

schwit1 writes: Patrick Eddington has a disturbing article in the NY Times about a court decision that seems to give U.S. law enforcement agencies the ability to have an American citizen sent from one foreign country to another for interrogation, to do that interrogation themselves, and to threaten the use of torture to get them to talk. "If this decision stands, it will mean that an American citizen overseas who is unlawfully targeted by the United States government for rendition, interrogation and detention with the help of a local government will have no form of redress in the courts." The case centers around Amir Meshal, a U.S. citizen who lived in New Jersey.

While Meshal was traveling abroad, he got caught up in a wave of refugees leaving Somalia for Kenya. There Kenyan authorities detained him, and FBI agents interrogated him. He was transported back to Somalia, and then to Ethiopia, where he had never visited. In Ethiopia, FBI agents once again quickly got access to Meshal, accusing him of being trained for terrorism in Al-Qaeda camps. They threatened him and denied access to lawyers.

Months later, when he was released, he returned to the U.S. He has never been accused of a terrorism-related offense. He filed a lawsuit based on his Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights, but U.S. courts have thus far denied his claims. Eddington concludes, "The appellate court decision means that American citizens have no means available to hold the government accountable for violating their constitutional rights, simply because the United States conveniently denied those rights in another country of its choosing."

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How the FBI Can Detain, Render and Threaten Without Risk

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  • drones (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ganjadude ( 952775 ) on Tuesday November 03, 2015 @05:43PM (#50859069) Homepage
    they have already killed an american overseas with a drone without due process. this seems tame in comparison.

    can we please elect someone who can actually fix things????
    • Re:drones (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Scutter ( 18425 ) on Tuesday November 03, 2015 @05:54PM (#50859177) Journal

      When increasing numbers of our younger citizens believe that the US Constitution is an out-dated [caffeinatedthoughts.com] relic with no [townhall.com] contemporary relevance [abajournal.com], it's no wonder our leaders behave with such contempt of the document.

      • When increasing numbers of our younger citizens believe that the US Constitution is an out-dated [caffeinatedthoughts.com] relic with no [townhall.com] contemporary relevance [abajournal.com], it's no wonder our leaders behave with such contempt of the document.

        Well, that's a shitty excuse.

        Those relics we vote for who represent us should fucking know better, because they aren't the ignorant youth. Shit, they were probably around for the last half-dozen Amendments to be ratified. Using the attitude of the ignorant is no excuse to understand the law you should be following.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          It is a shitty excuse. It is also a shitty outlook by the same people who think that it is Out-Dated, relic without contemporary relevance. These kids have been taught by liberal elites with a twisted SJW attitude.

          • Re:drones (Score:4, Insightful)

            by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2015 @06:35AM (#50861889) Journal

            No the problem is foolish SJWs like yourself trying to blame it on some loopy partisan theory. Rah rah my team! My party! You suck! We rock! If you stop your social justice bleating you will see that it's a non partisan issue. People with power in either party want more. The constitution's supposed to limit power, so it's got to go.

            So stop your tribalism ans pull your head out of your ass.

        • Re:drones (Score:4, Insightful)

          by davester666 ( 731373 ) on Tuesday November 03, 2015 @07:06PM (#50859629) Journal

          you are confused over who they represent. hint, it's not who voted for them.

        • Those relics we vote for who represent us should fucking know better, because they aren't the ignorant youth.

          Of course they "know better". They know better than to believe for one single moment that they need to give a rat's ass about the law or the Constitution, because they are in a position to do whatever they like - and nobody can stop them or exact any retribution.

          Your mistake (I think) is to believe that, just because someone wins an election or is appointed to public office, they automatically become altruistic and unselfish in some mystical way. Look around you at your fellow men (and, increasingly, women)

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        Dude grow up, they are called amendments and if the majority want to change the constitution than that is exactly what should happen, it's called democracy. Until a countries constitution is changed of course they should adhere to it. To be clear freedom of speech is freedom of opinion and not freedom to make up facts and perhaps that amendment needs to be made to craft that distinction between freedom of opinion versus freedom to lie, cheat and pay others to kill (money is speech according to the US gover

      • You know what they say ...

          "Those that forget the past are condemned to repeat it."

        • You know what they say ...

          "Those that forget the past are condemned to repeat it."

          Further.. Those who know history are condemned to watch while other's repeat it.

      • When increasing numbers of our younger citizens believe that the US Constitution is an out-dated [caffeinatedthoughts.com] relic with no [townhall.com] contemporary relevance [abajournal.com], it's no wonder our leaders behave with such contempt of the document.

        When the governments blatantly ignore it can you blame young people for seeing that the constitution is barely worth the paper it's written on?

    • Re:drones (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Tuesday November 03, 2015 @05:55PM (#50859187)

      can we please elect someone who can actually fix things????

      Nope. Because the American People are more focused on taxes and sex than they are about the government committing murder.

      • Re:drones (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 03, 2015 @06:37PM (#50859469)

        Nope. Because the American People are more focused on taxes and sex than they are about the government committing murder.

        To be far, far more Americans pay taxes and have sex than are targets for government-sanctioned killing. So it's hardly surprising people will vote on things that affect them more.

        • It's not whether or not you are a target. The issue is what the government is doing on your behalf. The people elected and those in the public service are to uphold the fundamental principles of the nation in the most efficient manner. If they aren't doing it then there needs to be an mechanism to remove them.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        Perhaps.

        But I'm pretty sure that the majority of folks who voted for Obama the past two elections, did so on his claims that he was going to fix everything that was evil / corrupt / wrong with government and the previous administration. We all know how that turned out :| He was SUPPOSED to be " THE ONE " to set everything straight. Get America back on track. Make it great again. . . . . . wait . . . any of this stuff sound familiar ? From current candidates perhaps ? :|

        Yeah, same rhetoric. Every fo

        • The problem is that voters believed the president has much more power than the position really does. The US does a great marketing job to push that line with things such as "the leader of the Free World" and "the most powerful man in the world." But in reality the president has to negotiate for most of what they want to achieve. And when they have to do that with people that don't want to negotiate then not much gets done.

          Though some of the things he was saying were over the top and you pretty much expect

      • I would also add in NippleGate, Sex tapes, Unreality crap such as the Kartrashians, and robbing from Paul to pay Peter.

        "Oh noes, we were all born sucking a nipple but heaven forbid little Johnny see one on TV for 1/2 second! Violence? /sarcasm That's ok!"

        • by AK Marc ( 707885 )

          I would also add in NippleGate, Sex tapes, Unreality crap such as the Kartrashians,

          Sex sex and, well, sex.

          and robbing from Paul to pay Peter.

          Taxes.

          Sure, they dress it all up, and try to make it look like something else, but almost every wedge issue comes back to sex or taxes, and most of the distractions are sex and violence.

    • by tnk1 ( 899206 )

      Actually, this case is more concerning to me than the drone strike.

      The guy killed by the drone was operating as a military enemy in a foreign country where there was no prospect of him coming into the custody of Federal law enforcement. That sort of action on a US citizen is rare and was approved by the National Security Council.

      The person in this article was in custody and being interviewed in a controlled environment by law enforcement. There seems to be no excuse for the FBI not following proper proced

      • by whit3 ( 318913 )

        The person in this article was in custody and being interviewed in a controlled environment by law enforcement. There seems to be no excuse for the FBI not following proper procedure and requesting his return for an appropriate interrogation and investigation.

        Actually, the FBI is the wrong place to complain. He should instead point out that the State Department (in the person of one or more ambassadors) did not properly aid a US citizen being detained abroad, without any legal charge against hiim. I'm

        • by tnk1 ( 899206 )

          The State Department apparently complained about him being removed from Kenya to Somalia, to no avail. And in Somalia, there is no US diplomatic presence. However, I admit it is unclear why the State Department didn't help out while he was in Ethiopia, which does have US diplomatic presence. It is possible that they were unaware of his presence at the time.

          Still, this is a US citizen being interrogated by a Federal law enforcement agency. If he's safely in custody, he needed to have his Constitutional r

        • so you are saying its hillarys fault?
    • We did elect someone who can fix things. He just chooses not to, and all the people that voted for him twice choose to look at their feet in shame. If you want a million people marching in protest in Washington DC, you have to elect a Republican.
    • can we please elect someone who can actually fix things????

      I don't think any such person exists within the current system here in the U.S.; I'm really starting to think that POTUS is more like PUPPET, and the corporations and three-letter agencies (NSA, FBI, CIA, etc) are the real wielders of power in this country, and that today it may be mainly brown people and black people who are getting their rights as citizens ignored and basically treated like dogshit, but the day is probably coming where it won't matter what color your skin is, what your ancestry is, whethe

    • Uhh its been going on a LOT longer than that friend, they have killed Americans on American soil and have been doing so since at least the 1960s [wikipedia.org] so the constitution literally isn't worth the paper its written on, at least if you are not rich and part of the ruling class.
    • Isn't this more to do with jurisdiction I mean if I'm arrested in another country for committing a crime in that country surely I'm at the mercy of the local equivalent of due process.
    • can we please elect someone who can actually fix things????

      You have put your finger accurately on the source of the problem. Unfortunately, the answer is, "No, you cannot".

      Consider. US elections, at almost all levels but especially at the federal level, give citizens the chance to cast a vote for any of the official candidates. Aha, but who chooses the candidates? The official parties - namely Republicrats and Demoblicans. And they don't select any official candidates who don't toe the party line. The real party line, that is, not the carefully crafted set of lies

  • by Ionized ( 170001 ) on Tuesday November 03, 2015 @05:44PM (#50859081) Journal

    cmon editors - where is the link to this so called article?

    • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Tuesday November 03, 2015 @05:54PM (#50859173) Homepage Journal

      Apparently, some articles now "clearly" show the story link in light green font on the dark green of the article header now (in parenthesis no less so we know it is a detail rather than the main point).

      • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

        Is there a newsletter I can sign up for or a changelog I can read so I don't have to guess where things have moved every few weeks?

      • by erice ( 13380 )

        Apparently, some articles now "clearly" show the story link in light green font on the dark green of the article header now (in parenthesis no less so we know it is a detail rather than the main point).

        It is actually worst than that. The text is merely the host name of the site where the article comes from. There is nothing to suggest a link pointing to the article rather than the main page or an advertisement for the New York Times. So, it is really just a button whose behavior is only learned by trial and error and which may very well change in the future. That is what a lack of context gives you: no guaranty or even suggestion that future behavior will be consistent with current response.

        The web, a

    • The article linked is actually an editorial in the New York Times:
      http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11... [nytimes.com]

      Links to the actual case, from the Associated Press, on the Boston Globe site:
      "American can't sue FBI over abuse claims, federal appeals court says", https://www.bostonglobe.com/ne... [bostonglobe.com]

      Link to the decision:
      https://www.cadc.uscourts.gov/... [uscourts.gov]

  • No link, which is too bad. I'm curious how one gets caught up in a wave of refugees sneaking into Kenya.

  • 9th amendment (Score:4, Informative)

    by gcnaddict ( 841664 ) on Tuesday November 03, 2015 @05:45PM (#50859089)
    • AND the tenth.... Boy we might as well burn these two these days. Actually, most of the Bill of Rights get's trampled by today's system.
  • Article Link (Score:3, Informative)

    by mtxmorph ( 669251 ) on Tuesday November 03, 2015 @05:48PM (#50859133)
    C'mon, editors!

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11... [nytimes.com]
    • It is in the title line. They are trying out this new thing about not putting the links in the summary and instead listing the source up near the title.

  • by neonedge ( 540164 ) on Tuesday November 03, 2015 @05:53PM (#50859171) Homepage
    This really makes no sense. If an American citizen isn't protected by the U.S. Constitution when travelling overseas then they can't be bound by it either. This negates the whole concept of extradition. If a user breaks a U.S. law in another country then they aren't subject to extradition. This would therefore mean that Julian Assange would not be able to be extradited as he isn't beholding to U.S. laws while overseas. The opposite side of that coin would indicate that if persons *are* subject to U.S. laws while overseas then those responsible for the rendition of Amir Meshal are in fact beholding to those laws. They can't have it both ways.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      I've seen no evidence that the US Government wants Assange for any reason. Just a lot of unsupported claims.

      • A fair assortment of government officials in the US, including multiple current presidential candidates and at least one former vice-presidential candidate, are on record as having stated (quite publicly) that the US should concoct a way to seize and execute Assange. Fortunately, cooler heads have prevailed in the executive branch's leadership... so far. But it's still anybody's guess as to who wins the election. And it is quite possible that part of the "kidnap and murder him" wing will be sitting in th

        • by tnk1 ( 899206 )

          That's politician hot air speaking. Candidates say whatever someone wants to hear.

          Just like when Obama was going to definitely close the internment camp at Gitmo. It didn't happen because reality and the Republicans got in the way.

          You could argue that there is a case to extradite Assange, but no one in the US Government has really done a thing to try and even charge him. The only legal cases against him are Britain for him jumping his bail and Sweden for rape. Both of which are more or less entirely pro

      • by rsborg ( 111459 )

        I've seen no evidence that the US Government wants Assange for any reason. Just a lot of unsupported claims.

        Right up until he disappears in a black site. Of course, no one could have predicted or foreseen...

        • He could also be captured by elves and cut up for unicorn food. I've seen the same amount of evidence for both possibilities.

    • Julian Assange hasn't broken any laws in the US. He hasn't had any extradition proceedings brought against him by the US. That is pure conspiracy theory territory.

      As he isn't a US citizen, even treason can't be used against him.

      • Edward Snowden on the other hand is a US Citizen who is wanted for breaking US laws (albeit, he did so while in the country). Outside of terrorist sympathizers who defected to Middle Eastern countries to participate in terrorist plotting, I can't think of very many US citizens who committed crimes outside the US and were extradited back to the US for trial.
      • That is pure conspiracy theory territory.

        So those two guys kidnapped from Sweden by the CIA and then tortured, would you mind reminding me which laws they broke in the US and whether extradition proceedings were brought against them?

        It's a bit silly calling something "conspiracy theory territory" when there's a non disputed public record of such things actually happening.

    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      if persons *are* subject to U.S. laws while overseas

      Depends on the law. If it involves extraordinary rendition or torture of detainees, it appears to be 'game on' for US law enforcement. On the other hand, if it's hiring a couple of Columbian prostitutes*, no way.

      I'm beginning to think our government is populated by a bunch of perverts. A little restraint, light whipping and humiliation is OK. But straight sex? Not on our watch!

      *BTW, no US law was broken in this instance. There are no federal laws against prostitution, only state. The only laws broken were

    • This really makes no sense. If an American citizen isn't protected by the U.S. Constitution when anywhere then they can't be bound by it either.

      This has been the case for quite some time but people are slow to figure things out. Assuming you have enough power in the US, you can break a whole lot of laws and never be brought up on charges. With no power, you are jailed for carrying a small amount of marijuana for personal consumption. In rare cases you might be killed for selling loose cigarettes.

      While my comment may seem very broad, it is intentionally worded that way. The FBI is fine breaking the Constitution, as is the NSA, as is DHS and the

    • whatever's good for our corporate masters is what stands. See, you're making the mistake of having principles, ideas, and believing in the law. Our ruling class does none of that. They have one and only one agenda: expanding their wealth and power. So while you're bound by all these rules and ideas and you try your best to fit your beliefs and worldview into the US Constitution they're just doing whatever makes them the most $$$...

      Yeah, I'm kinda bitter. My kid is a senior in high school and went to scho
    • They can just say "stuff you" to the average citizen and coat it under a glaze of legalize. As long as it does not come to the SC, or the SC does not take it up, they have free reign to do that.
    • by JigJag ( 2046772 )

      If an American citizen isn't protected by the U.S. Constitution when travelling overseas then they can't be bound by it either. [...] This would therefore mean that Julian Assange would not be able to be extradited as he isn't beholding to U.S. laws while overseas.

      You also know that Julian Assange has never been a U.S citizen, right?

  • by tomhath ( 637240 ) on Tuesday November 03, 2015 @05:54PM (#50859175)

    Per the article, Mr. Meshal was detained by Kenya, who turned him over to Somalia, who turned him over to Ethiopia.

    FTFA:

    In my mind, that raised the very real prospect that either the F.B.I. or another element of the United States intelligence community asked its Kenyan counterparts to ship Mr. Meshal to Ethiopia for further questioning.

    In other words, there's really no evidence that the FBI ever had control of him, just that they were able to interrogate him. Maybe Kenya and Somalia did what the US requested, maybe not. The court ruled that no evidence was provided by him that the FBI had control.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 03, 2015 @06:18PM (#50859337)

      Except that the judges never examined any evidence to that effect. The judges ruled that they did not have the authority to adjudicate the claim, as there is no specific redress for the wrongs alleged. Your claim that there is no evidence is absolute bullshit- we don't know if there's any evidence or not, because the case didn't make it that far.

      • Exactly this. It seems to me to be an unbelievably bad idea to decide that it doesn't matter if someone's rights were violated because there's nothing the courts can do about it, but that's (as far as I could tell, IANAL, etc.) what the court decided.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    FTA: "Mr. Meshal had originally traveled to Egypt in 2005 to visit family members, but subsequently went to Somalia, ostensibly to provide humanitarian aid to what was then known as the Islamic Courts Union, the Islamist rebels opposed to the existing pro-United States Somali government. After the Ethiopian government helped drive the I.C.U. into retreat, Mr. Meshal was caught up in a wave of refugees who fled to neighboring Kenya, and was detained by Kenyan authorities in early January 2007."

    Just a totally

    • by rastos1 ( 601318 )

      Just a totally ordinary American, helping the Islamic rebels in Somalia. /sarc

      You would not believe what Russian soldiers do when they go on holiday.

  • by RandCraw ( 1047302 ) on Tuesday November 03, 2015 @06:15PM (#50859309)

    Traditionally, gov't misconduct are redressed through lawsuits and repeated judicial decisions and appeals, until a high court ends the cycle. In the slow motion days of horses and buggies this process used to work reasonably well. But today, with the high speed prosecutorial activism of modern US presidents (from both parties), and the rapid rise of new police technology, this sort of crap has spun out of control. The appeals process simply takes much too long (years or decade). By that time a whole new round of activism and spy tech has arrived and been abused, and The Rule of Law falls even further behind.

    Obviously adding more kangaroo courts like FISA to deter presidential/police abuses before they arise doesn't work. So what will?

    • In this case the courts found there wasn't even a judicial redress, because Congress hadn't specifically created one, and this case didn't fall into a number of traditional categories. Which strikes me as very backward -- one of the main purposes of the constitution should be to act as a brake on the power of Congress, yet here the court has decided it's only effective if Congress on certain classes of laws if Congress decides it is.

      But really the government will only stop this kind of stuff when the avera

    • We all like to looks back on some mythical glory days when everything was fine. It wasn't. Life was nasty, brutish and short. We tortured people all the time. Shit, the stuff we did in South America is the stuff of nightmares. Don't spend too much time thinking about it, you won't be able to sleep at nights.

      I really wish people would stop pining for some idealized past that never existed. If we'd acknowledge just how fucked up things were, have been, and still are we could start attacking the problem. A
  • Comon FBI, if you're going to stoop to being just as bad as the bad guys, what the fuck are you even bothering fighting the bad guys for?

  • by triffid_98 ( 899609 ) on Tuesday November 03, 2015 @08:27PM (#50860131)
    "Former CIA agent Robert Baer described the policy to the New Statesman: "If you want them to be tortured, you send them to Syria. If you want someone to disappear â" never to see them again â" you send them to Egypt"
  • Absolutely ridiculous! It doesn't matter where an American citizen is, the Federal government is still bound by the Constitution to respect and uphold their rights.

    The FBI can threaten to torture so long as they don't actually do so (the police are allowed to lie in interrogation), but they can't violate habeus corpus. Where did they find a judge with his head so far up his own ass that there isn't enough light to read the Constitution?

  • So the FBI is taking a page out of Pinochet's book. Nice.

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