For Immediate Release
(212) 549-2689 or 2666
Britain Announces Investigation Into Complicity With U.S. Torture Program
ACLU Calls On Obama Administration To Broaden U.S. Investigation
NEW YORK - British Prime Minister David Cameron today
announced an independent investigation into allegations that U.K.
agents were complicit in the torture of detainees in United States
custody, and said the U.K. government would compensate torture survivors
if the allegations were found to be true. U.K. residents and American
Civil Liberties Union clients Binyam Mohamed and Bisher Al Rawi have
long claimed that U.K. officials were aware of their CIA-orchestrated
rendition and torture.
Following Prime Minister Cameron's
announcement, the ACLU called on the Obama administration to broaden its
own investigation into the Bush-era torture program to include
top-level government officials who may have known about and authorized
such abuse. Despite disavowing torture, the current administration
continues to shield Bush administration officials from legal scrutiny or
accountability for their role in the program. An ongoing Justice
Department investigation of the torture program excludes top-level
"An investigation into the role of
government personnel in the abuse and torture of prisoners is exactly
what the Obama administration should be initiating. And while we welcome
Prime Minister Cameron's commitment to ensuring that torture survivors
are acknowledged and compensated, this announcement also serves as a
reminder of how little has been done here in the United States to reckon
with the abuses of the last nine years," said Jameel Jaffer, ACLU
Deputy Legal Director. "The Obama administration continues to suppress
documents that would allow the public to understand the full scope of
the Bush administration's torture program. It continues to use the
'state secrets' privilege to extinguish civil litigation by torture
victims. And thus far the only criminal investigation this
administration has initiated is one that appears to be focused on
interrogators, not on the senior officials who authorized torture."
Mohamed and Al Rawi are plaintiffs in
the ACLU's lawsuit against Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen DataPlan for its
role in the CIA's extraordinary rendition program, in which prisoners in
U.S. custody were forcibly transferred to CIA "black sites" or prisons
in countries known to torture. The United States government has asserted
the "state secrets" privilege in an attempt to block the case from
moving forward. In February, a British court ordered the U.K. government
to turn over seven previously suppressed paragraphs from an earlier
court ruling that summarize British government documents related to
Mohamed's rendition, detention and torture while under the control of
"Evidence of U.S. torture is widely
known throughout the world. Yet, to date, no survivors of the United
States' rendition and torture program have had their day in a U.S.
court," said Steven Watt, staff attorney with the ACLU Human Rights
Program. "The Obama administration should not only end its efforts to
prevent accountability for torturers and justice for survivors, but
follow Britain's lead and broaden the investigation here in this
country. It is time to reaffirm our commitment to human rights and the
rule of law."
More information about the ACLU's
lawsuit against Jeppesen DataPlan is available online at: www.aclu.org/national-
This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.
Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.