Court Dismissed Case Against Boeing Subsidiary Jeppesen DataPlan

 

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Court Dismissed Case Against Boeing Subsidiary Jeppesen DataPlan

By
Mike Mitchell
 

September 9, 2010 - A federal appeals court on Wednesday dismissed a case against Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen DataPlan, Inc. for its role in the Bush administration's extraordinary rendition program. The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Northern California filed the lawsuit in May 2007 on behalf of five men who were kidnapped by the CIA, forcibly disappeared to U.S. run prisons overseas and tortured.

The Bush administration intervened in the case, improperly asserting the "state secrets" privilege in an attempt to have the lawsuit thrown out. In April 2009, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the government must invoke the state secrets privilege with respect to specific pieces of evidence – not over an entire lawsuit. 

 

The Obama administration appealed that ruling, and in December the appeal was heard by an en banc panel of all 11 Ninth Circuit judges. According to the ACLU, the ruling all but shuts the door on accountability for the illegal program. The ACLU intends to seek Supreme Court review of the decision. "This is a sad day not only for the torture victims whose attempt to seek justice has been extinguished, but for all Americans who care about the rule of law and our nation's reputation in the world. To date, not a single victim of the Bush administration's torture program has had his day in court. 

“If today's decision is allowed to stand, the United States will have closed its courtroom doors to torture victims while providing complete immunity to their torturers. The torture architects and their enablers may have escaped the judgment of this court, but they will not escape the judgment of history." 

During the Bush administration, the practice of "extraordinary rendition" was used to apprehend and detain foreign nationals suspected of involvement in terrorism. The suspect would be arrested and secretly transferred to prisons run by foreign intelligence agencies in countries know to torture, or to CIA-run "black sites." 

In 2007, the ACLU filed a federal lawsuit against Jeppesen DataPlan, Inc., a subsidiary of Boeing Company, on behalf of five extraordinary rendition victims. The suit charges that Jeppesen knowingly participated in these renditions by providing critical flight planning and logistical support services to aircraft and crews used by the CIA to forcibly disappear these five men to torture, detention and interrogation.

 

According to published reports, Jeppesen had actual knowledge of the consequences of its activities. A former Jeppesen employee informed The New Yorker magazine that, at an internal corporate meeting, a senior Jeppesen official stated, "We do all of the extraordinary rendition flights - you know, the torture flights. Let's face it, some of these flights end up that way."

Shortly after the suit was filed, the government intervened and inappropriately asserted the "state secrets privilege," claiming further litigation would undermine national security interests, even though much of the evidence needed to try the case was already available to the public. To date, not a single torture victim has had his day in court. 

Binyam Mohamed  In July 2002, Ethiopian citizen Binyam Mohamed, while in CIA custody, was stripped, blindfolded, shackled, dressed in a tracksuit, strapped to the seat of a plane and flown to Morocco where he was secretly detained for 18 months and interrogated and tortured by Moroccan intelligence services. 

In January 2004, Mohamed was once again blindfolded, stripped, and shackled by CIA agents and flown to the secret U.S. detention facility known as the "Dark Prison" in Kabul, Afghanistan where he was again tortured and eventually transferred to another facility and then to the U.S. Naval Station at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. He was released in February 2009. 

Abou Elkassim Britel In May 2002, Italian citizen Abou Elkassim Britel was handcuffed, blindfolded, stripped, dressed in a diaper, chained, and flown by the CIA from Pakistan to Morocco where he was tortured by Moroccan intelligence agents and where he is now incarcerated. 

Ahmed Agiza In December 2001, Egyptian citizen Ahmed Agiza was chained, shackled, and drugged by the CIA and flown from Sweden to Egypt where he was severely abused and tortured and where he still remains imprisoned. 

Mohamed Farag Ahmad Bashmilah In October 2003, Mohamed Farag Ahmad Bashmilah was taken into custody by the Jordanian General Intelligence Department and tortured and interrogated for days. On the morning of October 26, 2003 he was turned over to agents who beat, kicked, diapered, hooded and handcuffed him before secretly transporting him to the U.S. Air Force base in Bagram, Afghanistan. Bashmilah was finally freed on March 27, 2006, never once having faced any charges related to terrorism. 

Bisher al-Rawi In November 2002, Iraqi citizen and long-term British permanent resident Bisher al-Rawi was kidnapped and later secretly flown by the CIA to Kabul, Afghanistan. For two months al-Rawi was imprisoned, interrogated and tortured at two separate CIA facilities in Afghanistan, before being transferred to the U.S. detention facility in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba in February 2003. There, he was imprisoned for more than four years until his release on March 30, 2007. On his release, al-Rawi returned to his home in London where he currently resides freely. No charges have ever been brought against him.

 

 
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