20 Facts About Extraordinary Rendition, Torture, and Secret Detention

John Glaser, February 05, 2013

The top officials in the Bush administration were not ones to let the law get in their way. If they wanted to torture and detain people beyond what any conceivable interpretation of US law, even in Guantanamo, could allow, they were going to do it.

The solution, they found, was extraordinary rendition, a program where individuals were sent to other countries with unscrupulous governments so they could do the dirty work of tormenting detainees and depriving them of due process.

According to a new report by the Open Society Justice Initiative, the CIA rendered at least 136 individuals and at least 54 governments around the world participated in the program. Many of these people were completely innocent, something the CIA’s Office of Inspector General called  “erroneous renditions” in their investigation of the program.

Read of the report in the New York Times here. Read it in full here.

Below are 20 findings covered in the report, provided by Open Society:

1. At least 136 individuals were reportedly extraordinarily rendered or secretly detained by the CIA and at least 54 governments reportedly participated in the CIA’s secret detention and extraordinary rendition program; classified government documents may reveal many more.

2. A series of Department of Justice memoranda authorized torture methods that the CIA applied on detainees. The Bush Administration referred to these methods as “enhanced interrogation techniques.” “Enhanced interrogation techniques” included “walling” (quickly pulling the detainee forward and then thrusting him against a flexible false wall), “water dousing,” “waterboarding,” “stress positions” (forcing the detainee to remain in body positions designed to induce physical discomfort), “wall standing” (forcing the detainee to remain standing with his arms outstretched in front of him so that his fingers touch a wall five four to five feet away and support his entire body weight), “cramped confinement” in a box, “insult slaps,” (slapping the detainee on the face with fingers spread), “facial hold” (holding a detainee’s head temporarily immobile during interrogation with palms on either side of the face), “attention grasp” (grasping the detainee with both hands, one hand on each side of the collar opening, and quickly drawing him toward the interrogator), forced nudity, sleep deprivation while being vertically shackled, and dietary manipulation.

3. President Bush has stated that about a hundred detainees were held under the CIA secret detention program, about a third of whom were questioned using “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

4. The CIA’s Office of Inspector General has reportedly investigated a number of “erroneous renditions” in which the CIA had abducted and detained the wrong people. A CIA officer told the Washington Post: “They picked up the wrong people, who had no information.  In many, many cases there was only some vague association” with terrorism.

5. German national Khaled El-Masri was seized in Macedonia because he had been mistaken for an Al Qaeda suspect with a similar name. He was held incommunicado and abused in Macedonia and in secret CIA detention in Afghanistan. On December 13, 2012, the European Court of Human Rights held that Macedonia had violated El-Masri’s rights under the European Convention on Human Rights, and found that his ill-treatment by the CIA at Skopje airport in Macedonia amounted to torture.

6. Wesam Abdulrahman Ahmed al-Deemawi was seized in Iran and held for 77 days in the CIA’s “Dark Prison” in Afghanistan.  He was later held in Bagram for 40 days and subjected to sleep deprivation, hung from the ceiling by his arms in the “strappado” position, threatened by dogs, made to watch torture videos, and subjected to sounds of electric sawing accompanied by cries of pain.

7. Several former interrogators and counterterrorism experts have confirmed that “coercive interrogation” is ineffective. Col. Steven Kleinman, Jack Cloonan, and Matthew Alexander stated in a letter to Congress that that U.S. interrogation policy “came with heavy costs” and that “[k]ey allies, in some instances, refused to share needed intelligence, terrorists attacks increased world wide, and Al Qaeda and like-minded groups recruited a new generation of Jihadists.”

8. After being extraordinarily rendered by the United States to Egypt in 2002, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, under threat of torture at the hands of Egyptian officials, fabricated information relating to Iraq’s provision of chemical and biological weapons training to Al Qaeda. In 2003, then Secretary of State Colin Powell relied on this fabricated information in his speech to the United Nations that made the case for war against Iraq.

9. Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded at least 83 times by the CIA. FBI interrogator Ali Soufan testified before Congress that he elicited “actionable intelligence” from Zubaydah using rapport-building techniques but that Zubaydah “shut down” after he was waterboarded.

10. Torture is prohibited in all circumstances under international law and allegations of torture must be investigated and criminally punished. The United States prosecuted Japanese interrogators for “waterboarding” U.S. prisoners during World War II.

11. On November 20, 2002, Gul Rahman froze to death in a secret CIA prison in Afghanistan called the “Salt Pit,” after a CIA case officer ordered guards to strip him naked, chain him to the concrete floor, and leave him there overnight without blankets.

12. Fatima Bouchar was abused by the CIA, and by persons believed to be Thai authorities, for several days in the Bangkok airport. Bouchar reported she was chained to a wall and not fed for five days, at a time when she was four-and-a-half months pregnant. After that she was extraordinarily rendered to Libya.

13. Syria was one of the “most common destinations for rendered suspects,” as were Egypt and Jordan. One Syrian prison facility contained individual cells that were roughly the size of coffins.  Detainees report incidents of torture involving a chair frame used to stretch the spine (the “German chair”) and beatings.

14. Muhammed al-Zery and Ahmed Agiza, while seeking asylum in Sweden, were extraordinarily rendered to Egypt where they were tortured with shocks to their genitals.  Al-Zery was also forced to lie on an electrified bed frame.

15. Abu Omar, an Italian resident, was abducted from the streets of Milan, extraordinarily rendered to Egypt, and secretly detained for fourteen months while Egyptian agents interrogated and tortured him by subjecting him to electric shocks. An Italian court convicted in absentia 22 CIA agents and one Air Force pilot for their roles in the extraordinary rendition of Abu Omar.

16. Known black sites—secret prisons run by the CIA on foreign soil—existed in Afghanistan, Lithuania, Morocco, Poland, Romania, and Thailand.

17. Abd al Rahim al Nashiri was secretly detained in various black sites. While secretly detained in Poland, U.S. interrogators subjected al Nashiri to a mock execution with a power drill as he stood naked and hooded; racked a semi-automatic handgun close to his head as he sat shackled before them; held him in “standing stress positions;” and threatened to bring in his mother and sexually abuse her in front of him.

18. President Obama’s 2009 Executive Order repudiating torture does not repudiate the CIA extraordinary rendition program.  It was specifically crafted to preserve the CIA’s authority to detain terrorist suspects on a short-term, transitory basis prior to rendering them to another country for interrogation or trial.

19. President Obama’s 2009 Executive Order also established an interagency task force to review interrogation and transfer policies and issue recommendations on “the practices of transferring individuals to other nations.” The interagency task force report was issued in 2009, but continues to be withheld from the public. It appears that the U.S. intends to continue to rely on anti-torture diplomatic assurances from recipient countries and post-transfer monitoring of detainee treatment, but those methods were not effective safeguards against torture for Maher Arar, who was tortured in Syria, or Ahmed Agiza and Muhammed al-Zery, who were tortured in Egypt.

20. The Senate Select Intelligence Committee has completed a 6,000 page report that further details the CIA detention and interrogation operations with access to classified sources. However, the report itself remains classified.




39 Responses to “20 Facts About Extraordinary Rendition, Torture, and Secret Detention”

  1. I think it's important to highlight that while the facts in the report occurred under the Bush administration, it's not just their problem and still needs to be addressed today.

    First, fact #18 points out that Obama's executive order didn't actually prohibit extraordinary rendition, only torture, so as far as we know the program could still be occurring.

    Second, there hasn't been much accountability for victims swept up in these renditions. We need public investigations (including releasing the SSCI report on detention and interrogation), acknowledgements, and reparations to understand what the program involved and move forward from this era in our foreign policy.

    Finally, officials that supported the program continue to hold (or be nominated for, ahemm John Brennan) key positions in our government. Their records should be seriously scrutinized so that they do not support similar policies in the future.

  2. Out of all those countries few are from Europe.., one in particular is Sweden.., during the time the right wing social democrats were governing the country.., now the country runs by the Neo fascism openly supporting the Saudis those who attacked twc and the one who support the barbarians in Syrian war.., now Sweden use to have a very good reputation regarding human rights and being engaged internationally for human rights.., now the very same country is going backwards engaging from Libyan war to helping out CIA and NATO militarism regime in balkan wars…, in another word a falsified democracy in action for last 20 years or so.., above all Sweden is one of the European country producing terrorist of all kind while the regime is watch the growth Of what Saudis invest in the country.., another Mosq another connection.

  3. [...] 20 Facts About Extraordinary Rendition, Torture, Secret Detention [...]

  4. so now we are using "rendition" as a verb????

    Please replace every case of "extraordinary rendition" with kidnapped in its proper form (Kidnap, kidnapping, etc) , because that is pretty much what it is

  5. I wonder why the Syrian government doesnt retaliate against the USa by releasing all the files on those people whom the US government sent to them during this period?

  6. This blog was… how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally
    I’ve found something that helped me. Thanks!

  7. Out of all those countries few are from Europe.., one in particular is Sweden.., during the time the right wing social democrats were governing the country.

  8. [...] CIA agreements with Latin American torturers leave no paper trail?  Also see Antiwar.com’s “20 Facts About Extraordinary Rendition, Torture, and Secret Detention” produced by the report.  [...]

  9. [...] 20 Facts About Extraordinary Rendition, Torture, and Secret Detention « Antiwar.com Blog [...]

  10. [...] Source: Antiwar Blog [...]

  11. The morally and financially bankrupt country of Ireland was part of the plot
    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/weekend/2013/

  12. [...] giornalista di Antiwar.blog, John Glaser, ha stilato una lista di 20 punti che sottolineano in modo molto efficace gli aspetti più [...]

  13. [...] loose dogs on him. They subject him to freezing cold water and leave him naked on cold nights. They hang him by his arms from the ceiling of his cell in the “strappado” position. I’m sure I [...]

  14. [...] loose dogs on him. They subject him to freezing cold water and leave him naked on cold nights. They hang him by his arms from the ceiling of his cell in the “strappado” position. I’m sure I [...]

  15. [...] loose dogs on him. They subject him to freezing cold water and leave him naked on cold nights. They hang him by his arms from the ceiling of his cell in the “strappado” position. I’m sure I [...]

  16. [...] loose dogs on him. They subject him to freezing cold water and leave him naked on cold nights. They hang him by his arms from the ceiling of his cell in the “strappado” position. I’m sure I really [...]

  17. [...] extraordinary rendition abroad (in Guantanimo Bay etc. – 54 countries [...]

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  19. Que vous soyez de La Rochelle ou de tout autre ville de France, sachez que nous sommes en mesure de travailler sur une zone locale ou régionale…

  20. These would be troops I would support. The German, British and French soldiers who temporarily ceased fighting during Christmas 1914 were already sick of the war that started the previous August that had debilitated into stalemate trench warfare and many must have realized the fallacy of the mutual slaughter of their White European brethren. Had the war ended then and there, many things would have been different–in this alternate history, in addition to millions of people not dying, there might not have been a Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in 1917, no 'Lusitania' sinking in 1915, the USA certainly would not have become involved, no Versailles Treaty to cripple, bankrupt and humiliate Germany. Also a young Austrian soldier serving in the German Army named Adolf Hitler would have mustered out and probably become an artist or architect instead of going into politics as a result of the Versailles Treaty.

  21. Even if the war ended in 1918 when it did, there might not have been a Second World War if that awful treaty with its war guilt laid at the feet of Germany and the economically devastating "reparations" forced on the German people had not been put into effect. Hard to say, but the zionists and banksters already had their plan for world domination underway prior to 1914 and creating wars are one of their major means toward that end.

  22. " Why can’t we have holidays and parades for them, those real people who chose to do something besides take the war that was offered them?"

    Well we could, I mean holidays I don't know, I don't expect the empire to make a national holiday of "anti-empire day" anytime soon unfortunately. But parades, what is involved? Applying for a city permit for the peace parade or the honor the truce parade? We could.

  23. And now there are those who want to memorialize the survivors. We have developed the same disease that poisoned the Germans, it's called 'militarism'. The cure is still the same …

  24. Same reason the USA has been doing this since its inception, kicked into high gear since 1945: to install and support governments that keep poor people in their place so they and their resources can be robbed by US international corporations.
    Report

  25. Most of the democracies the USA has overthrown (over 30) have been in Latin America. We can look at every single case, as William Blum does in "Rogue State"; they're all the same. The USA is an authoritarian empire with fascist satellites put and kept in place to rob other countries and enrich itself.

  26. Obama is doing this as we speak. No "cold war". The terrorist Obama supported a fascist military coup in Honduras in 2009 to overthrow their democracy and replace it with an authoritarian military dictatorship that has reversed all the social gains won back by the population after decades of US-backed authoritarianism, and Obama's supporting the dictatorship there to this day, in defiance of the whole world. Like all US imperialists, he hates democracy (control by the people). He is democracy's antithesis.

  27. Thanks for the report. Yea I too find myself thinking the U.S. government is STILL fighting a covert war in Columbia, oh good grief. Nothing changes.

  28. Mr. Glaser: Thank you for this totally true article, it would be interesting if the American people would know about this situation, but leave up to the Corporate media to twist things around. Only peaceful nations such as in Scandanavia for example, know and get the accumulative benefits of peace, since is much more interesting to built than to destroy; If true peace would come to Colombia, Colombia it self would go into a cycle of creativity and progress that would perhaps be, much more beneficial to the United States than this bloody war.

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