To our surprise and disappointment, the new Justice Department urged a federal appeals court to dismiss our lawsuit charging a Boeing subsidiary with providing critical support for the CIA’s rendition program based on the same “state secrets” claim that the Bush administration had repeatedly invoked to avoid any judicial scrutiny of its actions. During the course of the argument, one judge asked twice if the change in administration had any bearing on the Justice Department’s position. The attorney for the government said that its position remained the same.
This isn’t the kind of change we need if we want an America we can be proud of again.
If the judges rule in the government’s favor, our clients -- who were tortured as part of the government’s rendition program -- will never get their day in court.
We’re still hoping the court will rule in our favor and allow our case to move forward. But, in the meantime, we must do everything we can to end the abuse of the “state secrets” doctrine both in the courts and on Capitol Hill.
Senators Kennedy, Leahy, Specter and Representative Nadler (as well as Rep. Petri from Wisconsin) introduced legislation in 2008 to narrow the scope of the state secrets privilege -- and open the courthouse doors to people who have suffered real and legitimate harm by the government. Clearly, this legislation is needed now more than ever.
Send a message to these members of Congress to let them know you support the State Secrets Protection Act.
This crucial civil liberties bill recognizes the need to take precautions when it comes to national security. But, it also acknowledges that courts have been competently managing the balance between the security of classified information and the right to a fair trial in criminal cases for years. And, most important of all, it makes it much more difficult for the government to abuse the state secrets doctrine to escape accountability for illegal behavior.
We can’t allow any administration to invoke state secrets to hide a reprehensible history of torture, rendition and the most grievous human rights violations.
Send a message to support the State Secrets Protection Act today.
Yesterday, the Obama administration had an opportunity to act on its condemnation of torture and rendition. But, instead, the Justice Department opted to stay the course.
Now, we must hope that the court will assert its independence, reject the government’s false claims of state secrets, and allow victims of torture and rendition their day in court.
Thanks for standing with us as we work to pursue justice on this critical civil liberties issue.
Anthony D. Romero
P.S. The ACLU has been working on this case for years. To learn more about rendition and the people impacted, watch our short video.