State Secrets Breakthrough


On Wednesday, a British court ruled that the British government must release evidence of torture in the case of Binyam Mohamed. Mohamed is also one of the plaintiffs in a US court case, Mohamed et. al. v. Jeppesen. Mohamed and several other men who allege they were subjected to “extraordinary rendition”—that is, sent to other countries to be tortured—are suing Jeppesen Dataplan, the Boeing subsidiary they say was used to “render” them. But the Obama and Bush administrations have invoked the controversial state secrets privilege to try to prevent the case from even being heard in US courts. The British decision blows a hole in that strategy. Here’s why: The UK court has ordered the British government to release, among other things, records of the US government informing the British that Mohamed was tortured. Marc Ambinder explains why that’s crucial:

[T]he government routinely insists on the distinction between public information and publicly confirmed information. That is—just because some bit of classified information is widely known does not mean that the government has acknowledged it. And only information that the government has acknowledged can beat, in US courts, a state secrets claim.

Now the plaintiffs have exactly what they need to beat the state secrets claim—an acknowledgement by the US government that Mohamed was illegally interrogated. That will have huge implications for the Jeppesen lawsuit.

OUR NEW CORRUPTION PROJECT

The more we thought about how MoJo's journalism can have the most impact heading into the 2020 election, the more we realized that so many of today's stories come down to corruption: democracy and the rule of law being undermined by the wealthy and powerful for their own gain.

So we're launching a new Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption. We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We'll publish what we find as a major series in the summer of 2020, including a special issue of our magazine, a dedicated online portal, and video and podcast series so it doesn't get lost in the daily deluge of breaking news.

It's unlike anything we've done before and we've got seed funding to get started, but we're asking readers to help crowdfund this new beat with an additional $500,000 so we can go even bigger. You can read why we're taking this approach and what we want to accomplish in "Corruption Isn't Just Another Scandal. It's the Rot Beneath All of Them," and if you like how it sounds, please help fund it with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate