Source: Witness Against Torture
September 10, 2011, New York City — Witness Against Torture, a grassroots organization dedicated to closing Guantanamo and ending US torture, condemns the decision of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Mohamed, et. al. versus Jeppesen DataPlan, Inc. to accept the “states-secret privilege” as grounds for dismissing lawsuits brought by victims of CIA rendition and of torture – whether in CIA-run “black sites,” in countries to which they were rendered, or in Guantanamo Bay.
Witness Against Torture likewise condemns the decision of the Department of Justice under the Obama administration to adopt the position of the Bush administration that fraudulent concerns over national security should over-ride the plaintiffs’ right of due process and redress for the gross crimes committed against them.
The Ninth Circuit Court’s decision grants the United States government effective immunity for the breaking of domestic and international law. It represents a profound violation not only of the rights of men who were kidnapped and tortured, but of also of due process and the rule of law.
“When the law itself becomes an instrument for justifying and excusing torture, the law is meaningless,” says Matt Daloisio of Witness Against Torture. “The clear message is that no one will be held to account, that torture will not be punished.”
“The Obama administration may well have reached a point of no return on a dangerous path that both exonerates and continues the criminal policies of the Bush administration,” says Jeremy Varon of Witness Against Torture. “President Obama has betrayed his campaign promises, large parts of his Party, and millions of Americans who supported him in hopes of a decisive break with the Bush administration.”
“Our hearts go out to Mr. Binyam Mohamed and the other plaintiffs in the case,” says Helen Schietinger of Witness Against Torture. “To the massive injury of rendition and torture is now added the grave insult of being denied a day in court. This isn’t the America I know."
Witness Against Torture will continue to press for the closure of the detention facility at Guantanamo and for accountability for torture. Towards these ends, it is pursuing dialogue with high-ranking officials in the Obama Justice Department.
Witness Against Torture formed in December 2005 when twenty-five activists walked to Guantanamo to protest the detention camp. Since then, it has engaged in public education, lobbying, community outreach, and non-violent civil disobedience.