Sunday, May 17, 2009


Footnote of the Day: "The rendition flights paid very well"

Plaintiffs cite, among other things, the sworn declaration of Sean Belcher, a former Jeppesen employee, who stated that the director of Jeppesen International Trip Planning Services, Bob Overby, had told him, “‘We do all the extraordinary rendition flights,’” which he also referred to as “‘the torture flights’” or “spook flights.” Belcher stated that “there were some employees who were not comfortable with that aspect of Jeppesen’s business” because they knew “‘some of these flights end up’” with the passengers being tortured. He stated that Overby had explained, “‘that’s just the way it is, we’re doing them’” because “the rendition flights paid very well.” —Footnote from the Opinion of Judge Michael Daly Hawkins for the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in the matter of Mohamed v. Jeppesen Dataplan [pdf]

Where are our economists just when we need to discuss "perverse incentives"?

"The rendition flights paid very well" is the place to which our econo-political system has brought us. This is not a place of freedom—except of course to exploit—nor consciousness nor reward, unless you feel the dollars are worth "Hey, Daddy, what did you do during the War on Terror" and you say—or avoid saying—"Oh, I flew people to foreign countries to be tortured."

Oh, well. A euphemism or two should take care of that. This is why it is so important to speak of "enhanced interrogation" and "extraordinary rendition" and for the Obama administration and Congress to leave the legality of torture, as it was practiced, in question. We have all these little people to think of.


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