Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Govt Lawyers Seek to Quash Rendition Lawsuit

When Barack Obama was running for the Presidency he promised a new openness and unprecedented transparency in government.  This does not deliver on the promise.

renditionmap The long road to the proverbial day in court just got longer for five men who claim they were "disappeared" and tortured by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

The men, who say they were victims of the extraordinary rendition programme conducted during the administration of President George W. Bush, have been trying since 2007 to get their cases heard on the merits.

But it is now far from clear that the merits of these cases will be heard any time soon - if ever. The reason is that the Department of Justice - first through Bush administration lawyers, now through Barack Obama administration lawyers - has invoked the so-called "state secrets" privilege, claiming that a public trial would endanger U.S. national security.

The latest development in the case came last week, when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals set aside an earlier ruling by three of its own judges and said a majority of its judges had voted to refer the case to an 11-judge panel for a new hearing. The request to rehear the case, now scheduled for Dec. 15, came from the Obama administration.

That decision put on hold the earlier findings of the three-judge panel, which had reinstated the Mohamed suit in April. That 3-0 ruling rejected arguments by the Bush and Obama administrations that the case concerned secrets too sensitive to disclose in court.

In its tortuous journey toward justice, the Jeppesen case has taken on many aspects of an international spy thriller - involving high courts, senior diplomatic officials in two countries, prisoner abuse and threats to withhold intelligence-sharing among allies if the abuse was publicly disclosed.

The case is known as Mohamed et al v. Jeppesen Dataplan. The Mohamed is Binyam Mohamed, an Ethiopian citizen and British resident who, while in CIA custody in 2002, 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… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Common Dreams>

We have the power to dry up the support for organizations like Al Qaeda.  What we call “terrorist” is really nothing more than guerrilla warfare, the same tactic we used against the British in our War of Independence and that the Vietnamese used against us in their War of Independence.  Defeating a guerrilla force is almost impossible as long as that force enjoys popular support.  The popular view among Muslims is now that the US is engaged in an anti-Islam campaign to the end of controlling their natural resources.  The eight years of the Bush/GOP Regime solidified that view.  Osama could not have had more recruiting assistance than he got from Bush and the GOP.  In order to undo that damage, and in the process earn the support of the world’s Muslim population, the US needs to tangibly demonstrate that the US has changed.  To deny Bush/GOP victims a fair hearing in US courts under the guise that the truth will somehow imperil our national security tangibly demonstrates that nothing has changed.  It ensures continued support for Muslim guerilla forces.  It contradicts Obama’s promise of openness and security.


Stimpson said...

A Canadian victim of rendition had his right to appeal dismissed this week by a U.S. court:

In 2002, Maher Arar was on a stopover in New York on a trip back to Canada from Tunisia when U.S. authorities took him into custody. The Canadian government did not intervene; in fact, it appears to have encouraged the U.S. to send him to Syria where he was tortured. He has since been completely cleared of any ties to terrorists.

TomCat said...

Stimson, I posted extensively on Arar in the previous incarnation of this blog. I think his suit should have proceeded. Unfortunately the complicity of your RCMP has muddied the water of culpability. It's easier for both governments to blame each other and join together and make recompense.