Sunday, May 22, 2005

"extraordinary rendition" - Outsourced torture?

I've seen articles about this for some time .. the idea is that the CIA has leased a few private jets, and is using them to ferry prisoners to countries that have fewer compunctions about torture than does the U.S. We apparently then get that other country to torture the prisoners, and get the information that's desired, while supposedly keeping our hands clean.

New Swedish Documents Illuminate CIA Action Probe Finds 'Rendition' Of Terror Suspects Illegal (By Craig Whitlock, Washington Post Foreign Service, Saturday, May 21, 2005; Page A01)

STOCKHOLM -- The CIA Gulfstream V jet touched down at a small airport west of here just before 9 p.m. on a subfreezing night in December 2001. A half-dozen agents wearing hoods that covered their faces stepped down from the aircraft and hurried across the tarmac to take custody of two prisoners, suspected Islamic radicals from Egypt.

Inside an airport police station, Swedish officers watched as the CIA operatives pulled out scissors and rapidly sliced off the prisoners' clothes, including their underwear, according to newly released Swedish government documents and eyewitness statements. They probed inside the men's mouths and ears and examined their hair before dressing the pair in sweat suits and draping hoods over their heads. The suspects were then marched in chains to the plane, where they were strapped to mattresses on the floor in the back of the cabin.

So began an operation the CIA calls an "extraordinary rendition," the forcible and highly secret transfer of terrorism suspects to their home countries or other nations where they can be interrogated with fewer legal protections.

The CIA's Kidnapping Ring U.S. ally Uzbekistan teaches interrogators how to boil suspected terrorists to death (by Nat Hentoff, April 15th, 2005 1:13 PM, THE VILLAGE VOICE)

During a White House press conference on March 16, George W. Bush was asked: "Mr. President, can you explain why you've approved of and expanded the practice of what's called 'rendition'—of transferring individuals out of U.S. custody to countries where human rights groups and your own State Department say torture is common for people under custody?"

The president: "[In] the post-9-11 world, the United States must make sure we protect our people and our friends from attack. . . . One way to do so is to arrest people and send them back to their country of origin with the promise that they won't be tortured. That's the promise we receive. This country does not believe in torture."

Question: "As commander in chief, what is it that Uzbekistan can do in interrogating an individual that the United States can't?"

George W. Bush repeated his talking point: "We seek assurances that nobody will be tortured."

That's the official denial ...

In a segment of CBS's 60 Minutes on these CIA torture missions (March 5), former British ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray told of the range of advanced techniques used by Uzbek interrogators:

"drowning and suffocation, rape was used . . . and also immersion of limbs in boiling liquid."

Two nights later on ABC's World News Tonight, Craig Murray told of photos he received of an Uzbek interrogation that ended with the prisoner actually being boiled to death!

... On the BBC (October 15), Steve Crawshaw, director of the London office of Human Rights Watch, spoke plainly about George W. Bush's continual, ardent assurances that this country would never engage in torture:

"You can't wash your hands and say we didn't torture, but we will use what comes out of torture."

CIA director Porter Goss also engages in what George Orwell called doublespeak. Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee on March 17, Porter Goss said, "The United States does not engage in or condone torture."

These are the kind of things the bad-guy countries do. The U.S. isn't supposed to do this kinda thing, we're the good guys, we do things with high moral standards. Right?