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Wake-Up Call: More scary stuff at DIA

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The devil horse. The one-world murals. The underground tunnels where aliens (the extraterrestrial ones) hang out. Yes, Denver International Airport has a lot of scary stuff.

Starting with the name of its terminal: Jeppesen. It was supposed to honor pioneering aviation navigator Elrey Jeppesen, who founded the Colorado-based Jeppesen Company and was a truly remarkable man. (Robin Chotzinoff profiled him in a Westword story that, sadly, predates our online archives.) But Jeppesen is gone now, and in 2000, his company, which remains headquartered in Centennial, became a subsidiary of Boeing.

And this week, it's back in the news, as the ACLU seeks to reinstate a lawsuit charging that Jeppesen Dataplan falsified flight plans for more than seventy flights in order to disguise the CIA's delivery of suspected terrorists to secret prisons -- the "black sites" where they were reportedly tortured. (Here's the Bloomberg News story.) Last year, a lower-court judge dismissed the case; the ACLU is trying to revive it -- although the Obama adminstration has joined with Boeing in opposing the reinstatement. According to Leon Panetta, Obama's recent executive order closing secret prisons makes the matter moot.

The cabbie who drove me back into town yesterday morning hadn't heard about Jeppesen's tie to the torture story. He said the only thing any travelers talk about is the blue horse. They want to know what it means. "Is it the Broncos?" he asked.

"Why don't you just tell them it just represents the 'freedom and power of the West'?" I suggested, willing to trump any Broncos connection with a booster-worthy line. And one that, given the ACLU argument now being considered by U.S. Court of Appeals judges in San Francisco, far from the Jeppesen Terminal, suddenly has added, eerie resonance.

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