UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

April 29, 2009

COURT SLAPS DOWN OBAMA TORTURE COVER UP

Washington Post - A federal appeals court reinstated a lawsuit by five former detainees who sued a Boeing subsidiary over its alleged role in transporting them to foreign countries, where they say they suffered brutal interrogation under the CIA's "black site" prison system.

Three judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit batted aside claims by the Obama administration that the suit would reveal "state secrets" at the heart of the agency's covert operations and so should be dismissed.

The former detainees claim that logistics company Jeppesen Dataplan should pay monetary damages for its role in conspiring with officials in the United States and other countries to fly the men overseas, where they allegedly experienced electric shocks, beatings and sleep deprivation, among other things.

But the lawsuit foundered after the Bush White House, and later the Obama administration, invoked the state-secrets privilege and asked a trial judge to throw out the claim, which stems from the CIA's disbanded program of "extraordinary rendition" for suspected terrorists. Then-CIA Director Michael V. Hayden told the court that disclosure of some of the information could cause "serious and in some instances exceptionally grave damage to the national security of the United States.". . .

The judges asserted that the plaintiffs did not necessarily need to delve deeply into the CIA's clandestine rendition program. Rather, the ruling said that detainees needed to prove only that Jeppesen provided support for the flights on which the five men were transported to foreign prisons while knowing the passengers would be subjected to torture there.

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