Monday, July 27, 2009

Jeppesen UK Gives In, Will Give Up "Ghost Plane" Evidence on Renditions

H/T Gitcheegumee at FDL
Sunday's UK Guardian, 7/26/2009

Secrets of CIA 'ghost flights' to be revealed

Confidential documents showing the flight plans of a CIA "ghost plane" allegedly used to transfer a British resident to secret interrogation sites around the world are to be made public. The move comes after a Sussex-based company accused of involvement in extraordinary rendition dropped its opposition to a case against it being heard in court.

Lawyers bringing the case against Jeppesen UK on behalf of the former Guantánamo Bay detainee, Binyam Mohamed, claimed last night the climbdown had wide-ranging legal implications that could help expose which countries and governments knew the CIA was using their air bases to spirit terrorist suspects around the world.

It was only three months ago that the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court ruled against the Obama administration's invocation of "state secrets" privilege in trying to squash Mohamed and his co-defendants' lawsuit again Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen DataPlan for its role in Bush's extraordinary rendition program. While the suit in the UK is separate from that in the U.S., which is being fought by the ACLU and the British charity organization, Reprieve, the decision by Jeppesen in the UK will have a profound effect upon the question of "state secrets" in the U.S., and perhaps other countries.

The Guardian article explains:
The US government is seeking to have the case against Jeppesen dismissed, saying it would breach national security. But Jeppesen UK's decision to drop its opposition to fighting the case in a British court means a wealth of confidential information relating to the alleged rendition process will become public....

Reprieve's renditions investigator, Clara Gutteridge, said the CIA could not have acted alone and the case would raise questions over which governments were complicit in extraordinary rendition.
It's great to finally receive some good news, and hats must go off to Reprieve and Mohamed's London lawyers, Leigh Day & Co. Deserving of a similar victory are the hard workers at ACLU. As for Jeppesen UK, I guess they got a sense the jig was up, and it would better to hang out now. Or maybe they think the fix is in or they can finesse it in court.

In any case, greater openness is something to celebrate. The whole sordid tale of renditions to torture is one of the worst episodes of this country and its allies descent into moral turpitude and crime. Another lingering Obama scandal in the egg his administration's insistence that they will keep the rendition program, with yet another governmental promise that no one will be sent to torture. But if you think Obama really has control over the brutal rulers of Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Yemen, etc., then you've really drunk the Kool Aid.

Hey, where's Andy Worthington when you need him?

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