Boeing / Jeppesen involved in CIA torture taxi ‘rendition’ flights

Stumbled on to some news this morning about my former employer, Jeppesen ( A Boeing company). This appears to have popped up 6 months ago, but from posts found in google news, it still seems to be under active litigation.

Here are some snippets, click the links to see the rest.

Boeing unit subject of refiled CIA-flight suit

Bloomberg News, Chicago Tribune

A Boeing Co. unit falsified flight plans to disguise the Central Intelligence Agency’s transporting of terrorism suspects to secret prisons overseas, the American Civil Liberties Union claims in an updated lawsuit.

Jeppesen Dataplan, a provider of navigation charts, refueling plans and route planning based in Englewood, Colo., helped in more than 70 flights to move suspects to countries where they were not protected by U.S. law, the group said. The prisoners were tortured and interrogated, the ACLU said Wednesday in the suit.

The organization first sued Jeppesen in May, representing three people it said were on the flights. It refiled the case to add two others. The ACLU, citing a Council of Europe report, said Jeppesen misled European officials on the flights’ destinations.

“Jeppesen falsified flight plans submitted to European air traffic control authorities to avoid public scrutiny of CIA flights,” according to the suit, which was filed in federal court in San Jose. “Jeppesen intentionally submitted ‘dummy flights’ to various aviation authorities in order to conceal the true flight paths of the rendition planes.”

It is not unusual for aircraft operators to file multiple flight plans because final destinations have not been determined or to avoid bad weather, said John Dern, a spokesman for Chicago-based Boeing.

He said the company’s services are confidential. “As a matter of policy we don’t comment publicly on any of the work done or services for any of our customers without their consent,” Dern said, declining to say whether the CIA is a Jeppesen customer.

The ACLU sued under a law allowing non-U.S. citizens to bring claims against the government for violating the law of other nations or an American treaty. ACLU lawyer Ann Brick was not available to comment.

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The ACLU charged that the U.S. government is improperly invoking the “state secrets” privilege to avoid judicial scrutiny of this unlawful policy.

Steven Watt, an attorney with the ACLU’s Human Rights Program, told IPS, “Five men have been brutally abused with the help of a U.S. corporation, and they are entitled to their day in court.” He added, “Jeppesen must not be given a free pass for its profitable participation in a torture program. And the government should not be allowed to use the national security defense as a way to cover up its mistakes or, worse, its egregious abuses of human rights.”

The ACLU filing comes in a lawsuit brought on behalf of five victims of the rendition program who were kidnapped and secretly transferred by the CIA to U.S.-run overseas prisons or foreign intelligence agencies where they were interrogated and tortured.

According to the lawsuit, Jeppesen knowingly provided flight planning and essential logistical support to aircraft and crew used by the CIA for the clandestine rendition flights.

After the lawsuit was filed, the U.S. government intervened to seek its dismissal, contending that further litigation of the case would be harmful to national security. But the ACLU contends that the information needed to pursue this lawsuit, including details about the rendition program, is already in the public domain.

It adds that Jeppesen’s involvement in the program is also a matter of public record. It has been confirmed by extensive documentary evidence and eyewitness testimony, including the sworn declaration of a former senior Jeppesen employee, which was submitted in support of the ACLU filing.
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A former Jeppesen employee, Sean Belcher has entered an affidavit reporting that Jeppesen executive Bob Overby bragged, “We do all of the extraordinary rendition flights,” further explaining to staff that he was speaking of “the torture flights,” and that they paid very well
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Boeing’s Unfriendly Skies
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