British government settles rendition cases, avoids court battle in which details of CIA torture would come out

Map of flights to CIA "black site" prisons where it could waterboard prisoners and use other forms of torture--while US government officials denied that these illegal practices were being used

Britain to Settle Rendition, Torture Case for Millions

By William Fisher

NEW YORK, Nov 16, 2010 (IPS) – The British government will reportedly pay millions in compensation to seven British nationals who were unlawfully “rendered” to U.S.-run prisons and tortured with the cooperation of British intelligence.

The British press is reporting that ministers and the security services appear to have decided that exposure of thousands of documents in open court was a risk they could not take. The documents presumably would confirm British complicity with the U.S. in the so-called “extraordinary rendition” of terrorist suspects.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) represents two of those slated to receive reparations in a lawsuit against Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen DataPlan for its role in the U.S. extraordinary rendition programme. The organisation said in a statement it was “deeply troubling that while the U.K. and many other countries are now acknowledging and addressing their official complicity in the Bush administration’s human rights abuses, here in the United States the [Barack] Obama administration continues to shield the architects of the torture program from civil liability while Bush-era officials, including former President Bush and former Vice President Cheney, boast of their crimes on national television.”

The ACLU added, “To date, not a single victim of the Bush administration’s torture program has had his day in a U.S. court. The U.S. can no longer stand silently by as other nations reckon with their own agents’ complicity in the torture programme. Reckoning with the legacy of torture would restore our standing in the world, reassert the rule of law and strengthen our democracy.” Continue reading