How Can the Justice Department Help CIA Torture Victims? In This Case, By Doing Nothing.

Suleiman Abdullah, a Tanzanian torture survivor who has sued the psychologists who devised and implemented the CIA program.

Is the Obama administration going to stand in the way of justice for torture victims? We’ll know soon enough.

Last month, the ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of three torture victims against the psychologists contracted by the CIA to design, implement, and oversee its post-9/11 torture program. In past cases involving the CIA’s former “extraordinary rendition” and torture program, the Bush and Obama administrations stepped in to shut down the lawsuits before they even got underway. The government previously claimed that the CIA’s torture program was too secret for U.S. courts to consider. But this time is different, and the ACLU has formally asked Attorney General Loretta Lynch not to invoke the “state secrets privilege” so these torture victims can soon have their day in court.

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Under both the Bush and Obama administrations, the government invoked the “state secrets privilege” to shut down lawsuits by victims of torture. The government repeatedly claimed that even considering the claims of torture victims would harm national security. Unfortunately, judges largely gave in to these efforts to keep courts from confronting flagrant violations of the law. As a result, despite numerous lawsuits against the architects and perpetrators of the torture program, not a single victim has had their claims considered by an American court. 

Whatever the government’s arguments in previous cases, however, things have changed. Now that there are official public reports naming our clients, describing their torture, and detailing the two psychologists’ responsibility, any attempt to claim that the torture of our clients is a state secret would be absurd. 

Using secrecy to slam the courtroom door shut compounds torture survivors’ trauma and violates U.S. treaty obligations to provide a judicial remedy for government torture. Our national failure to provide justice, apologies, and compensation to torture victims has led to the erosion of our credibility as a human rights leader in the world.

But as The New York Times noted, this lawsuit offers “a chance for Obama to do the right thing on torture” — simply by not standing in the way of justice. Accountability for torture is a moral and legal imperative, and it is long overdue.  

It’s not too late for the Obama administration to do right. It can start by simply not blocking the courtroom doors.

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“Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster... for when you gaze long into the abyss. The abyss gazes also into you.” -- Friedrich Nietzsche


How do we take action in prosecuting the corrupt politicians who believe they are above the law? These war criminals must be brought to justice.


The biggest civil liberties issue of the 21st Century for the ACLU is "blacklisting" which are lethal programs and tactics - not based on probable cause or reasonable suspicion of any wrongdoing whatsoever. It's essentially Chinese Water Torture that results in premature death perpetrated by local, state and federal agencies - a life sentence of punishment without charge, judge, jury or a guilty verdict.

The United States has adopted the Cold War domestic spying model of the East German Stasi that was depicted in the Bush-era film "The Lives of Others". Under this system of our former enemies, there is no "legal standing" in a court of law for a judge or jury to review and victims can't file a police report.

For example: If a citizen is blacklisted by their state's "Fusion Center" and that life sentence of police/intelligence harrassment and employment tampering results in premature death - the bureaucrats that perpretrated those Title 18 "color of law" crimes likely don't record that death as premeditated homicide.

This should be the top priority for the ACLU in the 21st Century - articulating harm and injury of communist style blacklisting to judges, juries and the voters - choosing James Madison's model of government over Erik Honaker's model of government.


We must turn our eye to torture and human experimentation for intelligence purposes or otherwise in the United States. See DOD regulation 5240.01-R, CIA regulation AR2-2 and the regulation for the Protection of Human Subjects (CFR Title 45 Part 46). U.S. citizens and others including children are being experimented upon in the United States. We must show compassion to our own citizens in addition to the detainees.

william walls

I was incarcerated in EAST JERSEY STATE PRISON AKA RAHWAY I did a 3 flat For perjury And I walked out after 3 years with a Brain transmitter Dumped in my body with out consent no Bullshit they drop me too a table no meds out cold like a Lab rat they threat us

Fawad Siddiqui

CIA has been talking to me in my head. They controlled my mind and made me finish all my money. Then they made sets all over Karachi, Pakistan for their game which they were playing with me. They also made me get into fights and harass people. They controlled my physical movement through my mind. They also got me admitted in a pshychiatric facility and diagnosed with schizophrenia. I know for sure that it was CIA as a CIA agent narrated everything in my head and 2 of my relatives have admitted that it was CIA as they used them in their little game. I want to do a case against CIA if somebody could guide me how I should go about it. Thanks

Lisa Rocha

The US Goverment has been torturing more victims than u think ....." US Federal Case "Operation Black Widow "

Silvanna Finnerty

Hi there. I am Silvanna Finnerty. I feel very disappointed that ACLU and ACLU Idaho writes huge stories in ( my stories date 2017)about mental torture etc.. without at least asking the actual person which the story originally comes from, to have at least that woman's name and picture included in the article or lawsuits.. I filed at least 2 requests with details with ACLU Idaho in the past 3 years. And I noticed possible ACLU presence in North Idaho in 2016/2017 but no one actually talked to me face to face my request for help. 2089467461

Silvanna Whitw...

I remember a similar situation in North Idaho around 2013-2016 where a woman was mentally tortured (herrassed) and physically chased by some sort of loud technology ..

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