Saturday, September 01, 2007

Swift, State Secrets, BushCo

State Secrets have been used as an excuse to shut down litigation and effectively enough for the director of the National Security Archives at George Washington University, Tom Blanton to note, "...when the government raised the ‘state secrets’ claim. It was a neutron bomb — no plaintiffs left standing." In the case of Belgian banking consortium Swift, it may not do, Chief Judge James F Holderman of the Chicago Federal District Court ruled that the suit based on Swift providing the Federal Treasury Dept with a broad range of documents may proceed. In the past 6 years BushCo has used state secrets 39 times compared to 59 times in the preceding 24 years according to NYT.

Swift routes trillions of dollars each day between banks, brokerage houses and other financial institutions. Millions of private financial records were provided to the Federal government since several months after September 11, 2001. This access was supposed to be for the purposes of tracing money supplied to terrorists.

It begins to look as though courts are wanting to have a look at what is behind some of the government's claims of state secrets.

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