Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Another State Secrets Case

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against the Obama administration, and reinstated a lawsuit by five men who claim to have been subjected to "extraordinary rendition." The men are suing a subsidiary of Boeing,

accusing the flight-planning company of aiding the CIA in flying them to other countries and secret CIA camps where they were tortured.
Without knowing critical details of this case -- such as whether any or all of the five are actually terrorists -- it is difficult to reach any firm conclusions about the court's action. But I have three observations, based on what is in the article.

1. If we are going to use rendition, we need to be extremely selective about it, and do a far better job of keeping it secret in the first place. Any allegations of rendition should simply be denied and all evidence eliminated. No one we plan to ever set free should be considered for rendition at all.

2. If someone is seized by mistake, let alone tortured, they should be well-compensated. They should be given no cause to file a lawsuit.

3. This particular lawsuit appears to be directed at the wrong target. If a company was cooperating with the CIA, it was assisting the U.S. government and should not be liable. Making companies liable for cooperating with the government is idiotic, plain and simple. I don't care what ridiculous legal justification is used.

Assuming any of their allegations are even true, the key question remains: are the plaintiffs terrorists, or were they innocent victims mistakenly seized and mistreated? 

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