Globalizing Torture: Report Reveals International Rendition Ring

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Common Dreams

Globalizing Torture: Report Reveals International Rendition Ring

New report details the murky channels of rendition after 9/11, and the many countries who had their hand in it

by
Lauren McCauley, staff writer

A photo of the CIA secret prison where Khalid Sheikh Muhammad and other ghost detainees were tortured and interrogated; it's on a residential street in Bucharest. (Photo via Google Maps)

A new report published Tuesday titled Globalizing Torture reveals the 136 people who were channeled through and the 54 countries that were complicit in the CIA's covert, worldwide kidnap, detention and torture operation.

Compiled by the human rights group Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI), the 231-page report details in excruciating detail the practice, known as “extraordinary rendition,” of taking detainees to and from U.S. custody without legal process and, as Danger Room's Spencer Ackerman writes, often "handing detainees over to countries that practiced torture."

"There is no doubt that high-ranking Bush administration officials bear responsibility for authorising human rights violations associated with secret detention and extraordinary rendition, and the impunity that they have enjoyed to date remains a matter of significant concern," said report author Amrit Singh. "But responsibility for these violations does not end with the United States. Secret detention and extraordinary rendition operations, designed to be conducted outside the United States under cover of secrecy, could not have been implemented without the active participation of foreign governments. These governments too must be held accountable."

The Guardian reports:

The states identified by the OSJI include those such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt and Jordan where the existence of secret prisons and the use of torture has been well documented for many years. But the OSJI's rendition list also includes states such as Ireland, Iceland and Cyprus, which are accused of granting covert support for the programme by permitting the use of airspace and airports by aircraft involved in rendition flights.

Canada not only permitted the use of its airspace but provided information that led to one of its own nationals being taken to Syria where he was held for a year and tortured, the report says.

Iran and Syria are identified by the OSJI as having participated in the rendition programme. Syria is said to have been one of the "most common destinations for rendered suspects", while Iran is said to have participated in the CIA's programme by handing over 15 individuals to Kabul shortly after the US invasion of Afghanistan, in the full knowledge that they would fall under US control.

The report does not presume that these practices have completely subsided under the Obama Administration. In 2009, after taking office, President Obama rejected calls for a national commission to investigate such practices, saying he wanted to "look forward and not back."

And, as Ackerman adds, "while Obama issued an executive order in 2009 to get the CIA out of the detentions business, the order 'did not apply to facilities used for short term, transitory detention.'"

Much of the information revealed is likely to also reside in a 6,000-page study recently completed by the Senate Intelligence Committee of the C.I.A. detention and interrogation program; however, that report remains classified.

"Despite the efforts of the United States and its partner governments to withhold the truth about past and ongoing abuses, information relating to these abuses will continue to find its way into the public domain," the report promises.

Critics suspect that the publication of the report was meant to coincide with Thursday's confirmation hearing of John Brennan, Barack Obama's choice to head the CIA.

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