back to article Rendition lawsuit targets aerospace giant Boeing

Alone, in the middle of the night and nowhere, Khaled El-Masri discovered himself once again to be a free man. He had been left on a hilltop in Albania by his CIA captors, after nearly six months of torture in squalid detention at one of the CIA's black site prisons. The German citizen eventually sued the CIA and lost after the …


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  1. Jeff Danaher
    Thumb Down

    More anti-American sentiment from an ambulance chaser.

    More fron the self serving hate fron the Down with America crowd at the ACLU. What tripe! Pass the Kool-Aid.

  2. Andy Bright

    Can we posthumously convict this administration?

    The only good thing that we can be sure of in 50 years time is that this current Administration will be dead.

    Unfortunately this does mean when the truth of the lawbreaking is revealed there won't be anyone around to prosecute.

    What continues to astonish me is that having so many checks and balances to prevent these sorts of abuses of power, no one is able to do a damn thing to stop it.

    Everyone knows whats going on and everyone knows the excuses are bullshit. No one can be that chicken-shit of a few scruffy yobs with homemade bombs.

    So what I want to know is can we posthumously convict a dead President for treason, torture and murder. He famously suggested he be judged by future generations for his actions, I'm just asking for this to be done properly as no one currently serving in Congress has the guts to do it now.

  3. Adrian Crooks

    I need more cofee

    Most of that was a bit tough for me to follow, but from what I've read about the state secrets issue it is a bit of a mess. Just because the state abused the privilege of declaring something a state secret doesn't mean that the logic behind the ability to declare hands off on a state secret is wrong. At the same time we can't ignore that the courts based their decisions on the abuse of such ability. It is just mind boggling to just let things go with that.

    IMO the courts are being way too lenient on the other branches. I wish they would take the credibility of the source of the declaration of such supposed secrets into consideration.

  4. Chris C

    re: More anti-American sentiment...

    Exactly what I would expect from a southerner or mid-westerner (read: republican). Yes, I'm sure there are many intelligent people in those areas, but the idiots seem to outnumber them about a million to one.

    No, Jeff, this wasn't an anti-American article. It was an article about the government abusing its power. In the United States, there USED to be a thing called "Checks and Balances". That was the reason the government is comprised of three branches (executive, legislative, and judicial) -- so that none of the branches is powerful enough to abuse its power. Unfortunately, the judicial branch has been crippled so as to be useless in protecting the citizens against their rulers (the government), and the two-party system has rendered the legislative branch completely ineffective (because the parties often vote against each other, not based on valid reasoning, but out of spite). And the executive branch does whatever the hell it wants without regard to petty things like laws or facts.

    The "State Secrets" pledge was enacted to protect the country's national security, not to prevent it from embarrassment or to hide the truth.

    The same is true for classified documents. JFK was assassinated in 1963. The government claims it was an individual (Lee Harvey Oswald) that killed him. And yet the documents regarding his death are still classified. It's the same now as it was then -- the government will do whatever it wants, it will cover up whatever it wants, and the people are powerless to stop it. Welcome to 1984.

  5. Gene Cash Silver badge

    @Jeff Danaher

    Well, they're right, ya know.... that's what sucks.

    I will be so glad when King George is gone and I no longer have to be quite so ashamed of being American. Thank God for term limits. Though I wouldn't be surprised if he invoked some sort of "state of emergency" to suspend them, like the two-bit religious-freak petty tyrant he is.

    The only times I ever voted was to vote AGAINST Bush. Since that's failed, I'm voting with my pocketbook.

    I now buy Chinese before I ever would think of ever buying American again. I shop at Harbor Freight instead of Sears. I drive a motorcycle totally made in Japan with tires made in France instead of a car even partially made in the US. I buy ASUS instead of Dell.

  6. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Burn, baby, burn!

    That would be the same peace-loving El-Masri that spat in a female shop assistants face and then burnt down the store because he claimed they sold him a dodgy iPod? The one suspected of beating up a truck driving instructor? Didn't he admit to being a member of a Druze militant group? Yeah, he sounds such a nice guy, I'd take everything he said at face value too......

    So he got mistaken for Al-Masri and got a free holiday to Afghanistan, he doesn't seem to have any physical evidence to backup his claims of vicious beatings and rape. Dare I suggest him and his lawyer are exaggerating in the hope of a nice, big windfall from suing Boeing?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: More anti-American sentiment from an ambulance chaser.

    Can you think of anything more associated with USA than an ambulance chaser?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Boeing will still exist in 50 years time

    The current politcial establishment will all be dead in 50 years time, but Boeing will still be around. Perhaps if any of those kidnapped by the US government are still alive they can take Boeing to court then... unless there is a amazingly unlikely coincidence of accidental file cabinet fires, email record dissapearances and back-up tape losses in the next few decades.

    Powerful people are like viruses - always looking for a way to dodge the system's defences so as to exploit the host for their own benifit. Even if this harms the host.

  9. Alex Rose

    @Matt Bryant

    If you'd bothered to read the article you'd have realised El-Masri tried to sue the CIA and failed. You also then wouldn't have made your own comment totally worthless by demonstrating to everyone your inability to understand a fairly simple article.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Lying to a court?

    Reynolds sure sounds like certain persons in, or formerly in, the US government can be charged with perjury...

    Nothing new there. All the other governments do the same.

  11. Jeff Dickey

    Mission Accomplished, Chris!

    The one, singular and only thing that the present occupant of the White House has accomplished has been to so completely polarize the country - and the world - that there won't be any middle ground - or much of a middle class to stand on it - for at least a hundred years. This case (Mohamad vs. Jeppeson) is a perfect example of that, and the boorish, Know-Nothing yobbishness displayed in these comments (yes, I'm talking about *you*, "Chris C") is embarrassing and humiliating to anyone who has ever cared about the United States or especially her Constitution. I would suggest, Chris, that in between your readings of the Weekly Standard, the Wall Street Journal, and The Turner Diaries, that you might wish to make some time to familiarize yourself with the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence - along with other appropriate materials of the time such as the Federalist Papers.

    Why do I care? I was born in what once was the United States of America and, in my callow youth, volunteered to serve in the Navy of what was then the USA. In so doing, I swore the same oath that every other sailor, soldier, Marine or airman has sworn since The Beginning Of Time (either about 1830 or the founding of their service) - including, specifically, swearing to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic." Note the last three words there; Congress understood that not all existential threats were external. In fact, virtually every democracy that has ever fallen (think Rome, Weimar Germany, etc.) did so due to the greed and treachery of some of its citizens necessarily coupled with the apathy and/or ignorance of the vast majority. Unfortunately, what once was the United States of America appears clearly, at this juncture, to have gone down the same sorrowful path.

    And as far as your criticism of the ACLU or civil-rights groups in general is concerned, Chris, I would strongly encourage you to familiarize yourself with a certain poem by Pastor Martin Niemöller. I'm sure that if you went through the educational system in Western Europe, or even what's left of the system in America, you'd have heard of it. "First the came for..."

  12. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    RE: Alex Rose - oh, I understood!

    In my comment, I questioned El-Masri's credibility given that he has a widely-known history of violent criminal behavior. Would you like me to use shorter words for you, it seems three syllables is a bit of a challenge to your comprehension?

    Yes, I do think the US and German Governments, the CIA and the BND have jointly handled the whole affair extremely badly and they should apologise and pay some form of compensation. He couldn't get a payout from the CIA (big surprise) so now he wants to go after the pilots and owners of the plane that flew him out of Croatia to Baghdad and possibly on to Afghanistan. You seem to hope they will be punished for doing that job, despite them being in no position to either question the validity of any CIA claims against El-Masri or his own protestations. El-Masri's team have made sure that the crew's names have been publicly aired and smeared in the German press as a tactic to try and force Boeing and the CIA to settle. I assume you didn't know that either, but then I'm not surprised. Would you like to post a "worthless" rebuttal of either El-Masri's criminal behavior or his tactics in the Boeing case?

  13. Alex Rose

    @Matt Bryant

    I'd like you to do nothing more than actually read the article and thereby understand that it discusses 2 different lawsuits brought by 2 different people against 2 different respondents. Merry Christmas.

  14. Robert Hill

    @Jeff Dickey

    I was going to write something, but Jeff wrote it all better. Very well said, Mr. Dickey...very well said.


  15. laird cummings

    @Jeff Dickey

    From one former squid to another: Amen!

    @Chris C:

    This Republican suggests that you go pack sand. Harking back to "small government" conservatism, I read the article, I found the issue compelling, and generally agree that that the 4th Circuit abused the law in stetching it so far. They stretched so far, indeed, that we may never get the wrinkles out. OTOH, the 9th Circuit, despite taking a properly narrow view of State Secrets claims, is also the most overturned Curcuit on appeal. Partly that's because they're so busy, and thus have more cases to review, leading to higher raw numbers to start with, but it also stems from the 9th Circuit taking stances that diverge strongly from the rest of the country. I'll be watching closely, to see how this plays.

  16. Andrew

    @Matt Bryant

    He committed those crimes *after* he had been kidnapped and tortured without charge by the US Government and its agents and after he had been shunned from getting *any* recompense for such a barbaric act.

    I'd say that the things that were done to him (even leaving it at that) would be enough to drive anyone slightly skewed mentally.

    PTSD does terrible things to a person's sense of balance...

  17. Andus McCoatover

    Sins of the father...

    <<So what I want to know is can we posthumously convict a dead President for treason, torture and murder. He famously suggested he be judged by future generations for his actions>>

    No, we just prosecute his daughters (future generations juged and found guilty), and sequestrate his estate. Piece of pis*s.

    Or, maybe, his kids better be looking over their shoulders for the rest of their lives. And, their kids (etc.)

  18. PT

    Shome confusion here, surely...

    It looks to me as if Chris C is attracting unwarranted attacks from both left and right, and his detractors appear to be under the illusion that they're on the same side.

    Perhaps everyone is tired and emotional this week.

    In any case, NOBODY in this administration will EVER be brought to justice for ANYTHING. Get real, folk. Truth, Justice and the American Way is so *September 10th*.

  19. kain preacher

    @ Gene Cash

    "I now buy Chinese before I ever would think of ever buying American again"

    Great thinking kill off whats left of the middle class for lead line x mas ornaments. Poison pet food. Mercury lined human food .

  20. Alex Rose

    @Matt Bryant

    "You seem to hope they will be punished for doing that job, despite them being in no position to either question the validity of any CIA claims against El-Masri or his own protestations." - A quote from your post directly above my last one.

    I now want you to not only read the article but to read my posts. You'll find I said no such thing, in fact I haven't offered any opinion, on the subject under discussion in the article, whatsoever.

    If you can't be bothered to read an article properly then fair enough, but to put words into my mouth, that's a pretty pointless act in any discussion. Happy New Year.

  21. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    RE: Andrew and Alex

    Whilst I agree El-Masri should get some compensation and an apology from the US and German governments, I don't agree with the idea of labelling the Jeppesen Dataplan Inc employees and their employer criminals and torturers. Despite your obvious belief that El-Masri must be whiter-than-white (or maybe that is that the CIA must be blacker-than-black?) I find it very hard to believe some of his stories, especially as he has admitted discussing with other prisoners what they should say on their release. His behaviour since has not helped his case.

    And to try and smear the Jeppesen employees by inferring they knew what was going to happen to El-Masri or any of their other passengers is dishonest. He was held by the CIA, not Jeppesen or its employees. If he was tortured, it was by the CIA, not Jeppesen employees. It was the US government and the German government that colluded over the cover-up, not Jeppesen. But it is Jeppesen that has had its name published, leaving them open to personal attack and slander. El-Masri's lawyer is too smart to try releasing CIA or BND agents' real names, seeing as they have state protection and plenty of scope for legal response, whereas the Jepessen's are limited.

    The obvious aim of the people pushing this is to stop the rendition process and restrict CIA activity by making companies that work with the CIA fearful of both public slander and their own employees' safety - El-Masri is just as much a pawn in their game as he was to the CIA when he was kidnapped.

  22. Keith T
    Jobs Horns

    Will Americans ever choose to restore their country's lost honour?

    Name-calling, burning evidence, and bald-faced lying won't do the job.

    America would need to either prosecute its own war criminals to regain its honor, or have the International War Crimes Tribuneral do it for them.

    That will mean US politicians impeaching US politicians, US civil servants and judges indicting and convicting their peers, and US military officers court marshaling and convicting their peers.

    Will a sufficient majority of US voters decide to force their governments to do this?

    My bet is that the majority of American voters are so disconnected from world opinion and generally accepted concepts of right and wrong that they will choose to live with their national dishonor in perpetuity. These people voted GWB in for his second term after he claimed they shared his moral values. These are the people who have continued to fail to bring their My Lai Massacre war criminals to trial.

    And I seriously doubt that the minority of US voters who do know right from wrong will be able to educate enough of their fellow countrymen sufficiently to shift their country back to the path of courage and honor.

    I hope I'm wrong. I truly hope they take the necessary steps to restore their country's honor.

  23. Keith T
    Thumb Down


    If you, as a citizen, have and continue to vote to support a government that conducts torture, war crimes and/or crimes against humanity, are you not a more serious violent criminal than some mere individual spitting in the face of a store clerk?

  24. Infernoz Bronze badge

    US fanatics, you are suckers

    Torture, a cruel, evil, useless, wasteful and criminal way to attempt to obtain intelligence, worse still, it makes tortured groups hate you even more and often creates martyrs. I think the real purpose of torture is to provide the illusion of constructive action, to terrorise groups and to dehumanise the torturers.

    Anyone who thinks this US state behaviour at all justified, seems a fool, many career politicians (worldwide) see working people as peasants, so routinely lie to them, and usurp their power and freedoms, under the cover of fabricated crises. Corporations often have the same lack of regard, for humanity e.g. IBM (Nazi Germany Death Camps), the medical industry (fatal drugs) etc.

  25. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    RE: Keith T & Infernoz

    Keith T - if you want to label me that way, sure! I have no problem with your labels if it makes you feel better, in fact I'll even vote for the government that uses those same "dirty tactics" (what, are we playing croquet here!?!?) to defend your right to label me. Of course, that means I also get the right to say that in my opinion you're an intellectually-deficient hippy with limited ability to form an opinion truly his own, whether it's true or not. Do you often find yourself frowning and saying "if only we could all get along?"

    Infernoz - actually, the limited torture that has been applied to Al Quaeda operatives (I suppose you want to call them "freedom fighters"?) has been very successful because the techniques instill not a fear of injury but of death. Abu Zubaydah coughed up half the AQ network after less than a minute of waterboarding. That's the guy that did the planning for 9/11, which means he killed 3000+ people. Guys like him already hate us (I say "us" loosely as I assume you think your moral superiority automatically makes you immune to their wrath), so I don't think we're going to lose much by making his buddies hate us a bit more, duh! The CIA has access to years of research into LSD, morphine, temazepam, scopolamine derivatives, etc, etc, and with all those high-tech biochemicals on offer they still rate good old fashioned scare-the-sh*t-outa-them torture as more effective. But then maybe I shouldn't tell you any more, maybe you should just back away from the PC and go hide in the corner with your tinfoil hat on (don't you know the CIA can read your mind through the screen!!!).

  26. Steve

    @ Matt Bryant

    "And to try and smear the Jeppesen employees by inferring they knew what was going to happen to El-Masri or any of their other passengers is dishonest."

    It is not an attempt to "smear" them - it's the central point of the entire case!

    FTA: "The filings even include a declaration by a former Jeppesen employee, who recounts the story of a senior manager reveling in how profitable the rendition racket was at an employee meet-and-greet in San Jose, only to have to explain to the confused new employees that he was talking about the "torture flights"."

    That seems to be somebody telling the court that senior Jeppesen management knew that the people on these flights were going to be tortured. While an argument may be made that it's not as serious as torturing someone yourself, that quote would suggest that they knowingly aided in the commission of a crime.

    You say that Abu Zubaydah is guilty of killing 3000+ people becasue he planned 9/11 so how guilty would you say someone was if they helped transport the terrorists knowing that they intended to commit a crime?

  27. Morely Dotes

    @ Jeff Danaher


    I spent 23 years in the US Army, the last 11 of them in the Mech Infantry, where I was a Bradley commander. I commanded the guard detail at a nuclear weapons facility (with enough live warheads to sterilize any major city in the world down to the bedrock) in Germany. I had my kneecap smashed while on active duty in service to my country. I draw a Disabled Veteran's pension. I am certainly anything but anti-American.

    But the Administration of George W. Bush is the most loathsome, fascist, un-American organization I have ever witnessed in my 57-plus years of life, and I heartily wish to see Bush, Cheney, and their cronies tried for their high crimes against the Constitution of the United States of America, because they have done nothing in the interests of the nation, and everything in the interests of their own power, and the profits of their "pet" contractors, such as Halliburton. They have ignored (and mutilated, far beyond violated) the law of the land, grabbed powers which are legally denied to them, abused American citizens without cause other than the opposition of those citizens to the unlawful acts of the Bush Administration, and made American freedom an object of derision everywhere.

    They make me regret my decision to serve my country. You make me question the point of defending it, as well, but [...excised...] I am inclined to write that off as the inevitable price of defending the majority of citizens, who are upright, moral, and just as horrified by the rule of Bush's Terror Brigade as I am.

  28. Morely Dotes
    Black Helicopters

    @ Keith T

    Sorry I missed this first time around.

    "These people voted GWB in for his second term after he claimed they shared his moral values."

    There is a growing body of evidence that the machines used to tally the votes in the "swing" States were easily tampered with. There is certainly plenty of evidence that Florida, the State which cast the deciding Electoral College votes during Bush's first campaign, was suborned:

    1. Bush's campaign manager in Florida was also the Secretary of State, who was legally bound to declare the vote legal or illegal, based on her own investigation of any charges that it may be suspect. She declared it legal.

    2. The same Florida Secretary of State was the only person who could have open ballot boxes and resealed them with apparently untampered seals.

    3. At least 14 ballot boxes went "missing" for several hours between the polling stations and the vote-counting location.

    4. The districts in which ballot boxes "went missing" also tallied an overwhelming majority of votes for Bush.

    Do the math. Personally, I am convinced that Bush was never elected the *first* time, and therefor could not legally run for a second term.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Matt Bryant

    "Abu Zubaydah coughed up half the AQ network after less than a minute of waterboarding. That's the guy that did the planning for 9/11, which means he killed 3000+ people."

    Odd, according to the 9/11 commission report, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed planned the 9/11 attack. So if you're trying to justify Zubaydahs torture because of that supposed action, you have already made a big mistake. No he's not innocent, but how many inhabitants of these "black camps" are ?

    And if you are naive enough to believe anything gained from a man who believes he is about to die, then it's no wonder they found it so easy to get through in the first place.

    But then you twist the story to suit your own agenda, much like your administration.

    Question . Who planned the war in Iraq ?

    Because whoever that was deserves a waterboarding session because as of June 2007, over 3500 US citizens had died as a result of that action.

    but I suspect that's "different".

  30. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    RE: Alan & Steve

    So what has El-Masri got to do with Iraq? The original question was whether he could be accepted as giving a 100% honest version of events. For all you know, he could have just been locked in a comfortable room and fed three squares a day. Even if he was or wasn't, Jeppessen Dataplan didn't control the room. And even if the senior execs had an idea of what was going to happen to those they transported, what evidence do you have that they even knew about El-Masri, or what was alledgedly done to him? None.

    If you get wrongly convicted of a crime, you sue the government or the police, you don't sue the prison van driver, even if the van driver had a fair idea that prison wasn't going to be too nice. El-Masri tried to sue the CIA, he lost. Now he's just looking for an easier target, and the ACLU amongst others are using him to attack the rendition process. It seems that far too many of these institutions claiming they want to protect our way of life are much happier protecting and aiding those trying to end those lives.

    Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Zubaydah planned and controlled the 9/11 attacks. Mohammed came up with the overall strategy, Zubaydah did the operational bit (fine detail planning and selection of the teams). Or are you a pair of those morons that insist it was all a Pentagon inside job....? Don't tell me, the twin towers are still there, there just hidden by an ultra-secret cloaking technology dreamt up by the neocons so they can use it to attack Iraq (via Afghanistan, which of course is just brimming with oil)....

    Iraq? Nothing to do with the article, but then it's standard loon tactic when losing the argument to fall back on Bush-bashing over Iraq. The 3000+ US service people killed were killed by Iraqi militias and AQ in Iraq, not by Bush. Those same militias and AQ "fighters" are also responsible for the massive majority of civilian deaths in Iraq, mainly Muslim-on-Muslim. By your own (ludicrous) logic, and using the same totally disproven material you no-doubt hold up as holy, I can take the totally-debunked and unrelated Lancet figures and claim that those militias and AQ are therefore responsible for 600,000+ civilian deaths in Iraq. Seeing as logical discourse isn't your strength that should get you spinning like tops!

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