More Details on U.S. Program of "Rendition" and Torture

April 9, 2006

This week, Amnesty International published a report ("Below the Radar: Secret Flights to Torture and 'Disappearance'") providing more details on U.S. imperialism's "rendition" program.

The term "rendition" refers to the U.S. practice of unlawful transfer of individuals from one country to another, for the purpose of torture and forced interrogation.

According to Amnesty, "the practice is mainly initiated by the USA, often using specially leased planes, and carried out with the collaboration, complicity or acquiescence of other governments....[it] thrives on secrecy. The USA has secretly transferred terror suspects to countries that are known to practice torture. Rendition has also been used to deliver people into US custody whether at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba, detention centers in Iraq and Afghanistan, or secret facilities around the world, known as 'black sites'....Amnesty International believes that there have been hundreds of victims of rendition."

The report notes that the Egyptian prime minister stated in 2005 that the "U.S. transferred some 60-70 detainees to Egypt alone, and a former CIA agent with experience in the region believes that 'hundreds' of detainees may have been sent by the U.S. to prisons in Middle Eastern countries." Amnesty itself has documents of nearly 1,000 flights directly linked to the CIA....[and] planes that appear to have been permanently operated by the CIA through front companies.

The study also points out that such practice is a clear violation of international law, despite U.S. attempts to justify such measures as a way of "avoiding red-tape to interrogate terror suspects."

"That so-called red tape is international law. International law that prohibits the sending of people to countries where they are in danger of being tortured, international law against arbitrary arrest and detention without charge or trial, international law against enforced disappearance."

The case studies of transfer and torture documented in the study are only a few "of a handful of known cases. Potentially hundreds more remain completely secret," according to the authors.

The report begins with a quote from Condoleeza Rice last December in which she explicitly denies that the U.S. has ever engaged in such practice. Given the widespread evidence that now exists, such statements are clearly revealed as blatant lies.