The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Robyn Shepherd, (212) 519-7829 or 549-2666;

Federal Court Will Hear Government Appeal In Rendition Case


federal appeals court today announced that it will hear the
government's appeal of an earlier ruling that allowed an American Civil
Liberties Union lawsuit to go forward against a Boeing subsidiary,
Jeppesen DataPlan Inc., for its role in the Bush administration's
unlawful "extraordinary rendition" program. The government claims that
allowing the case to be heard would endanger national security.

In April, a three-judge panel of the
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed a lower court
dismissal of the lawsuit, brought on behalf of five men who were
kidnapped, forcibly disappeared and secretly transferred to U.S.-run
prisons or foreign intelligence agencies overseas where they were
interrogated under torture. The lawsuit charged that Jeppesen knowingly
participated by providing critical flight planning and logistical
support services to aircraft and crews used by the CIA to forcibly
disappear these men to detention and interrogation. The Bush
administration had intervened, improperly asserting the "state secrets"
privilege to have the case thrown out. The appeals court ruled, as the
ACLU has argued, that the government must invoke the "state secrets"
privilege with respect to specific evidence, not to dismiss the entire
suit. The Obama administration's appeal of that decision will be heard
by an "en banc" panel of 11 judges.

The following can be attributed to Ben Wizner, staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project:

"We are disappointed by the court's
decision to re-hear this case, but we hope and expect that the court's
historic decision to allow the lawsuit to go forward will stand. The
CIA's rendition and torture program simply is not a 'state secret.' In
fact, since the court's decision in April, the government's sweeping
secrecy claims have only gotten weaker, with the declassification of
additional documents describing the CIA's detention and interrogation
practices. The Obama administration's embrace of overbroad secrecy
claims has denied torture victims their day in court and shielded
perpetrators from liability or accountability. We hope that the court
will reaffirm the principle that victims of torture deserve a remedy,
and that no one is above the law."

More information about the case is available online at:

The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 and is our nation's guardian of liberty. The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

(212) 549-2666