Tuesday, February 10, 2009

OBAMA AIDES SAY OUTSOURCING TORTURE IS 'STATE SECRET'

ACLU - The Justice Department repeated Bush administration claims of "state secrets" in a lawsuit against Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen DataPlan for its role in the extraordinary rendition program. Mohamed et al. v. Jeppesen was brought on behalf of five men who were kidnapped and secretly transferred to U.S.-run prisons or foreign intelligence agencies overseas where they were interrogated under torture. The Bush administration intervened in the case, asserting the "state secrets" privilege and claiming the case would undermine national security. Oral arguments were presented in the American Civil Liberties Union's appeal of the dismissal, and the Obama administration opted not to change the government position in the case, instead reasserting that the entire subject matter of the case is a state secret.

Said Ben Wizner, a staff attorney with the ACLU, who argued the case for the plaintiffs:

"We are shocked and deeply disappointed that the Justice Department has chosen to continue the Bush administration's practice of dodging judicial scrutiny of extraordinary rendition and torture. This was an opportunity for the new administration to act on its condemnation of torture and rendition, but instead it has chosen to stay the course. Now we must hope that the court will assert its independence by rejecting the government's false claims of state secrets and allowing the victims of torture and rendition their day in court."

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