In an extraordinary statement, an employee for the government contractor Jeppensen International Trip Planning ( a Boeing subsidiary) referred to flights taking individuals to other countries as part of the Bush Administration’s “extraordinary rendition” program as “torture flights.” The company director, Bob Overby, reportedly told an August 2006 breakfast of new employees, that these were torture flights but that the flights paid well.
The ACLU is pursuing a novel lawsuit against the company and fighting to keep it in court. Overby resigned five days later — apparently the victim of his own frank admission. Various newspapers have quoted Administration officials admitting that they use rendition to torture suspects. However, Overby failed to follow the script that public admissions are not allowed for legal and political reasons. However, this disclosure follows a public admission by a former CIA employee that waterboarding was used against detainees and that he also understood that waterboarding is torture.
In the meantime, leaders in Congress are again resisting acknowledging that the President has ordered torture — a crime. We are seeing the same pattern that we saw with Iraq. Democrats waited until it was safe to oppose the war and then became serial apologists for giving Bush a blank check. Now, they are waiting to see if it is safe to be against waterboarding and torture. Yet, in the ACLU case and public statements, various government contractors and former employees are making it difficult to avoid recognizing a knowing and comprehensive torture program implementing by the United States.
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