President Obama and Extraordinary Rendition

By Dschabner

Feb 8, 2009 11:12pm

A hearing tomorrow in San Francisco before the Ninth U.S. Court of Appeals could provide some insight into the Obama administration’s policy on extraordinary rendition — secretly flying terrorist suspects to countries or secret CIA camps where torture is allegedly practiced.

The San Francisco Chronicle has the story HERE.

The case is Mohamed et al v Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc. The ACLU’s description of the case can be read HERE.

Five men who claim to have been victims of this practice — including current Guantanamo detainee Binyam Mohamed, another plaintiff in jail in Egypt, one in jail in Morocco, and two now free — are asking the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reinstate a lawsuit against San Jose Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen Dataplan, accusing the flight-planning company of aiding the CIA in performing extraordinary renditions against them.

Jeppesen, alleges the ACLU, "through its travel service known as Jeppesen International Trip Planning, has been a main provider of flight and logistical support services for aircraft used by the CIA in the U.S. government’s extraordinary rendition program. The CIA rendition flights transfer terror suspects to countries where the U.S. government knows detainees are routinely tortured or otherwise abused in contravention of universally accepted legal standards. The complaint also alleges that Jeppesen has facilitated flights to U.S.-run detention facilities overseas where the U.S. government maintains that the safeguards of its laws do not apply."

In February 2008, the Bush administration convinced U.S. District Judge James Ware to dismiss the case, saying it would harm national security. But the five men are asking the court of appeals to overrule Ware.

What’s the Obama administration’s position?

Justice Department spokesman Charles Miller told the Chronicle he had no information on what stance DOJ would take at the hearing Monday.

Attorney General Eric Holder has not withdrawn his predecessor’s arguments in the case. Nor has Holder asked for a postponement for time to reconsider the Justice Department’s past position.

After being picked up in Pakistan, Mohamed, a 30-year-old Ethiopian who lived in the United Kingdom, was in July 2002, according to the ACLU, "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, the ACLU says, 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, where he still remains."

- jpt

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