State Secrets Breakthrough

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


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.

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly 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