See the following articles about this lawsuit in
The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Justice Department Still Asserting State Secrets Privilege in
Extraordinary Rendition Suit
(Scroll to 4th article)
Supreme Court Rejects
Human rights supporters across the country deplored the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal on May 16 to review the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling dismissing the case of plaintiffs, Binyam Mohamed, Abou Elkassim Britel, Ahmed Agiza, Mohamed Farag Ahmad Bashmilah and Bisher al-Rawi, against Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc. for its role in the Bush administration's extraordinary rendition program. In their complaint filed in 2007, plaintiffs charged that Jeppesen provided flight planning and logistical support services to the aircraft and crews used by the CIA in the plaintiffs' forced disappearance and secret transfer to U.S.-run prisons or foreign intelligence agencies overseas for interrogations involving torture impermissible under U.S. and international law. (See April 2008 Washington Report, p. 50).
Charlotte Casey, former president of the Peace and Justice Center in San Jose, the city where Jeppesen, the flight-planning company and subsidiary of Boeing Commercial Aviation Services, is based, expressed her feelings about the decision to the Washington Report: “It is not surprising that the Roberts Supreme Court rejected the appeal by the ACLU, but the bigger disappointment was the adoption by Obama's Justice Department of the ‘state secrets’ privilege as a way to dismiss the claims of torture victims like Binyam Mohamed and the other men who were flown to secret prisons and tortured. Torture is illegal under U.S. and international law and we have to hold our government, and the corporations they rely on, responsible for their criminal activities during the so-called war on terror.”
Denouncing extraordinary rendition and torture, members of the South Bay Coalition to Stop Torture have protested outside of the San Jose Federal Building and Jeppesen’s downtown San Jose headquarters for several years to bring awareness to the lawsuit.
Last year the American Civil Liberties Union petitioned the Supreme Court for review arguing that the government had misused the "state secrets" privilege to deny justice to torture victims.
Since the high court declined to review the case, the appeals court’s Sept. 8 decision, which held that there was simply no feasible way to try the case without the risk of divulging state secrets and that the suit could not proceed “even assuming plaintiffs could establish their case solely through non-privileged evidence,” will remain in effect.
"With today's decision, the Supreme Court has refused once again to give justice to torture victims and to restore our nation's reputation as a guardian of human rights and the rule of law," said Ben Wizner, litigation director of the ACLU National Security Project who argued the case before the appeals court. "To date, every victim of the Bush administration's torture regime has been denied his day in court. But while the torture architects and their enablers have escaped the judgment of the courts, they will not escape the judgment of history."
On May 16, twenty organizations, including Amnesty International USA and Alliance for Justice, signed a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder stating: “The Court’s refusal to hear this case, along with its refusal to hear similar cases in the past few years, scuttles any hope that the courts will provide either justice for victims of rendition and torture or accountability for the governmental officials who designed and carried out these programs.”
To serve the interests of justice, the letter called for an investigation in accordance with the Department of Justice’s September 23, 2009, policy “to provide greater accountability and reliability in the invocation of the state secrets privilege.” The letter’s signatories further argued, “Where government wrongdoing is uncovered, providing plaintiffs appropriate redress could at least grant some small measure of recompense for the denial of these plaintiffs’ day in court.”