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ACLU Sues George Tenet Over Secret Rendition

The ACLU has filed a lawsuit against former CIA Director George Tenet alleging that Khaled El-Masri was illegally kidnapped, detained and tortured.

The American Civil Liberties Union today announced the first ever lawsuit against former CIA director George Tenet challenging the CIA’s abduction of a foreign national for detention and interrogation in a secret overseas prison. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Khaled El-Masri, an innocent German citizen victimized by the CIA’s policy of “extraordinary rendition.”

“Kidnapping a foreign national for the purpose of detaining and interrogating him outside the law is contrary to American values,” said Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU. “Our government has acted as if it is above the law. We go to court today to reaffirm that the rule of law is central to our identity as a nation.”

The lawsuit charges that George Tenet and other CIA officials violated U.S. and universal human rights laws when they authorized agents to kidnap El-Masri, and that his unlawful abduction and treatment were the direct result of an illegal CIA policy known as “extraordinary rendition.”

The lawsuit also charges that the three corporations that owned and operated the airplane used to transport El-Masri to detention in Afghanistan are legally responsible for assisting in the violation of his civil and human rights. These corporations supplied the aircraft and provided the personnel used in the illicit transportation of El-Masri, knowing that the transfer was illegal, according to the ACLU.

The ACLU held a press conference to announce the lawsuit. Crooks and Liars has some video of the news announcement. El Masri tried to attend but was prevented from entering the United States:

...when his plane landed at Hartsfield International Airport in Atlanta on Saturday night, he was denied entry to the United States by officials of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. El-Masri was sent back to Germany on the next available flight. U.S. officials have provided no reason for their refusal to admit El-Masri, a German citizen who has never been charged with a crime.

More information about the lawsuit is available here. TalkLeft background on el Masri is here, and here and here.

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    Re: ACLU Sues George Tenet Over Secret Rendition (none / 0) (#1)
    by wg on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:43 PM EST
    George Tenet is the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Nation's highest civil award awarded for precisely the accomplishments the ACLU finds actionable. Weird times aren't these? -- Rendering is presumably done so things that are illegal or impossible to do in one country can be done somewhere else. Now reasonable people would agree that the chances of prosecuting torture/abuse promoters in this country are basically zero. So how about CIA rehabilitating themselves and rendering some of them (Chenney or Gonzales for example) to Uzbekistan where torture is apparently a national pastime. To find out who is behind their schemes. I'm sure Uzbek interrogators would love to lay their hands on them.

    Re: ACLU Sues George Tenet Over Secret Rendition (none / 0) (#2)
    by kdog on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:43 PM EST
    Didn't our govt. just swear that we have never done what this man alleges? Lying govt. with no credibility vs. a total stranger. Sad to say I believe the stranger.

    Re: ACLU Sues George Tenet Over Secret Rendition (none / 0) (#3)
    by wg on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:43 PM EST
    a) read me again I'm alleging nothing, and b) you know me by now, kdog.

    Re: ACLU Sues George Tenet Over Secret Rendition (none / 0) (#4)
    by kdog on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:44 PM EST
    I was referring to Mr. El-Masri, not you wg. He is the stranger whose words carry more weight with me than my elected officials.

    Re: ACLU Sues George Tenet Over Secret Rendition (none / 0) (#5)
    by Johnny on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:47 PM EST
    I wonder how the torturer in chief would feel if he had to get blood on his hands... The powerful never do their own dirty work.