Friday, December 02, 2005

ACLU Sues the CIA, Challenges "Extraordinary Rendition"

The ACLU will be suing the C.I.A. (at least according to this BBC Report) alleging C.I.A. officials broke U.S. and international law "when they authorised agents to abduct an innocent man, detain him in incommunicado, beat him, drug and transport him to a secret CIA prison in Afghanistan. . ." The BBC refers to a press release, but I can't find it on the ACLU website yet nor a copy of the complaint. I assume at least part of the claim will be brought under the Alien Tort Statute alleging violation of customary international law, but I'll have to wait and see.

I've called this and other lawsuits challenging the U.S. government's conduct in the war on terrorism the "Third Wave" of Alien Tort Statute lawsuits (see here for my essay). The first wave was against foreigners, the second was against corporations, and the third is increasingly against the U.S. government itself. Each lawsuit may have merits in their own right, but I have to believe that these third wave lawsuits will ultimately lead to the eventual elimination of the ATS in its current form.

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