New Report on Torture, Extraordinary Rendition

John Glaser, April 16, 2013


A meticulously documented report on post-9/11 torture and interrogation from The Constitution Project, a legal research and advocacy group, concludes that “it is indisputable that the United States engaged in the practice of torture” and that US officials in the highest echelons of government are the ones responsible for it.

“The sweeping, 577-page report says that while brutality has occurred in every American war, there never before had been ‘the kind of considered and detailed discussions that occurred after 9/11 directly involving a president and his top advisers on the wisdom, propriety and legality of inflicting pain and torment on some detainees in our custody,’” The New York Times reports.

The report is comprehensive and is critical both of the Bush administration’s conduct and of the Obama administration’s, which blocked efforts to get a full account of the torture programs.

The full document can be read here, but I did want to point out one short excerpt as an example of how detailed and hard-hitting it is. In the context of extraordinary renditions, a program in which detainees would be sent to authoritarian governments to be tortured, the report reminds us of something that was reported long before but is worth making note of again:

[Egyptian army general] Omar Suleiman’s personal relationship with the United States was cited by DOS as “probably the most successful element of the [U.S.-Egypt] relationship.” 41 On one reported occasion, when the CIA “asked for a DNA sample from a relative of Al Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri, Suleiman offered the man’s whole arm instead.”

Remember, Suleiman is the man that the Obama administation picked to succeed Mubarak after popular protests unseated the long-standing US-backed dictator.

Note the lingering fallout from the post-9/11 history of torture: the Obama administration is at least indirectly responsible for ongoing torture of detainees in Afghanistan and currently has 166 prisoners in Gitmo serving indefinite detention – many of whom have been cleared for release and are starving themselves as a form of protest against their injustice. One reason for the massive expansion of the drone war under Bush’s successor is that detention and torture are too messy – so Obama has learned that killing them is the way to go.

28 Responses to “New Report on Torture, Extraordinary Rendition”

  1. yu libs are amusing….lucky I am not in charge … cattle prod comes in mond

  2. [...] practice of torture” and the Bush White House bears responsibility. The report by the … New Report on Torture, Extraordinary Rendition (blog) all 46 news [...]

  3. If anyone thinks that this is the first time that USA militarism regime is torturing people think again.., we know about it because they want us to know about the practice in torturing people…, otherwise USA has been and is doing the torturing for last 60 or so years.., in every war where they have burned people a life, where they bombed a train full of ordinary passengers and etc. are social torture to teach others who they are dealing with, is a social psychological warfare to shoot up people, scaring people as they have scared people about anything and everything that they themselves created to continue their wars.., the modernized version of torture is a continuation of what is behind the curtains where they torture people for feature use. Creation of a state fascism governed by Neo liberal fascism protecting vulture capitalism.

  4. [...] Report: ‘Indisputable’ That US Engaged in Torture [...]

  5. [...] Antiwar (16.04.2013) berichtet über eine 577 Seiten umfassende Studie des „Constitution Projects“, die sich detailliert mit Folter seitens von US-Stellen seit dem 11. September 2001 beschäftigt. Es sei „unbestreitbar, dass die USA Folter praktiziert“ habe, so die Studie, die hier zu finden ist. (jw) [...]

  6. [...] government is just as deranged at this point: New Report on Torture, Extraordinary Rendition  admits the U.S. Practiced Torture After 9/11,  Which makes us evil, collectively.  This is [...]

  7. Yesterday, Marcy Wheeler in her Emptywheel blog post, “Even Bipartisan Conventional Wisdom Report Says It Was Torture,” wrote: “The report is important and comprehensive, but not without flaws. It took me a matter of minutes to find a number of errors, repetition of dangerous misinformation, and incomplete reporting. … and at times it appears completely unaware of what primary sources say.* As such, the report represents a cautious, bipartisan, institutionalist view.”

  8. And in her footnote, Marcy wrote: *”I am admittedly biased on this front. I was within a day of being contracted to collect documents for this effort, but someone involved in the process deemed me — at a time when I was already loudly criticizing the Obama Administration for things they’ve done — too partisan for the project. Some of the documents I had already identified at that time are utterly absent from this report; in their place the report claims ignorance.”

  9. Last summer I researched Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s role in torture. After a quick read of CH 3, it appears the report whitewashed his command of torture by JSOC forces under his command from 2003 to 2005 (see my 200 page post “The Dark Legacy of Gen. Stanley McChrystal & His Memoir “My Share of the Task” — His Betrayal of Pat Tillman, Command of JSOC Torture, and Failed Afghan War “Surge” at

    And, although the report quotes extensively from McChrystal’s recent (rather disingenuous) memoir, it notes that “McChrystal declined several invitations from the Task Force to be interviewed about Afghanistan and Iraq”; although he feels free to spout his BS about “staying on the moral high ground” on the lecture circuit.

  10. Finally, in another example of the report whitewashing a commander, the report doesn’t even mention Admiral Bill McRaven by name (an unnamed “TF commander” is briefly mentioned) although he took command of JSOC TF 121 in Oct. 2003 which used nudity and torture during interrogations. Probably because he isn’t yet retired and is now commander of US SOCOM.

  11. You should leave America and go live in North Korea. You'd fit in better over there

  12. And, this means that Obama has committed impeachable offenses and war crimes by not following through and prosecuting these atrocities. If America was still a nation of laws, that would matter.

  13. Libertarian advocate of free market capitalism here, what serious purpose does torture fulfill?
    Government spending is going out of control, military spending in excess of 500 Billion does NOT serve a useful purpose.

  14. What do you mean still a nation of laws? From when? Wounded Knee? Trail of Tears?

  15. Why don't you get out of your cave for a minute to see that world has changed…

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  17. [...] by John Glaser [...]

  18. [...] Report on Torture: “Extraordinary Rendition” Indicts Bush & Obama A meticulously documented report on post-9/11 torture and interrogation from The Constitution [...]

  19. [...] Report on Torture: “Extraordinary Rendition” Indicts Bush & Obama A meticulously documented report on post-9/11 torture and interrogation from The Constitution [...]

  20. [...] democracy in shambles Canadian government unveils “terror plot” as it adopts draconian new law New report on torture, extraordinary rendition The money helping CISPA through Congress CISPA’s immunity provision would allow corporate [...]

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