Still working to recover. Please don't edit quite yet.

Extraordinary rendition

From Anarchopedia
(Redirected from extrajudicial rendition)
Jump to: navigation, search

This subject has been split into multiple articles due to the large amount of material

Extraordinary rendition and irregular rendition describe the abduction and extrajudicial transfer of a person from one nation to another.[1] "Torture by proxy" is such a transfer to countries known to practice torture, with the intention of torturing the person by proxy at the destination location.[2][3][4] Torture by proxy is denied by the US, but documented evidence of it exists,[5] and a Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe report concluded that it was "credible": "The elements we have gathered so far tend to reinforce the credibility of the allegations concerning the transport and temporary detention of detainees — outside all judicial procedure - in European countries."[6] The chairman of the PACE stated "he was personally convinced the US had undertaken illegal activities in Europe in transporting and detaining prisoners."[7]

Multiple sources of evidence exist to support the allegation that the CIA runs a secret global abduction and internment operation of suspected terrorists, known as “extraordinary rendition”, which since 2001 has captured about 3,000 people and transported them around the world.

At least three sources of evidence exist[6][7][5] to support the allegation that torture has been employed with the knowledge or acquiescence of the Governments of the United States and the United Kingdom (torture by proxy). Condoleezza Rice, then United States Secretary of State, said in an April 2006 radio interview that the United States does not transfer people to places where it is known they will be tortured.[1][8][9]

The US program prompted several official investigations in Europe into alleged secret detentions and unlawful inter-state transfers involving Council of Europe member states. June 2006 report from the Council of Europe estimated 100 people had been kidnapped by the United States' Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) on EU territory (with the cooperation of Council of Europe members), and rendered to other countries, often after having transited through secret detention centers ("black sites") used by the CIA, some sited in Europe. According to the separate European Parliament report of February 2007, the CIA has conducted 1,245 flights, many of them to destinations where suspects could face torture, in violation of article 3 of the United Nations Convention Against Torture.[10] A large majority of the European Union Parliament endorsed the report's conclusion that many member states tolerated illegal actions of the CIA and criticized several European governments and intelligence agencies for their unwillingness to cooperate with the investigation. Within days of his inauguration, President Obama signed an Executive Order opposing rendition torture and establishing a task force to provide recommendations about processes to prevent rendition torture.[11]


Rendition, in law, is a transfer of persons from one jurisdiction to another, and the act of handing over, both after legal proceedings and according to law. Extraordinary rendition, however, is a rendition which is extralegal, i.e. outside the law (see: kidnapping). As rendition refers to the transfer; the apprehension, detention, interrogation, and any other practices occurring before and after the movement and exchange of extrajudicial prisoners do not fall into the strict definition of extraordinary rendition. In practice, however, the term is widely used to describe such practices, particularly the initial apprehension. This latter usage extends to the alleged transfer of suspected terrorists by the US to countries known to torture prisoners or to employ harsh interrogation techniques that may rise to the level of torture.[1]

The Bush administration has freely admitted this practice; stating, among other provisions that they have specifically asked that torture not be used. Torture can still occur, however, despite these provisions, and much documentation exists alleging that it has happened in many cases.[12][13][14][15][16][15] In these instances, the initial captor allows the possibility of torture by releasing the prisoner into the custody of states that practice torture.

The next distinction of degree is that of intent, where much of the search for evidence continues. It has been further alleged that some of those detainees have been tortured with the knowledge, acquiescence or even participation of US agencies. A transfer of anyone to anywhere for the purpose of torture would be a violation of US law.[1] However, New York attorney Marc D. Falkoff says that such evidence that transfer for the purposes of torture was an operational practice does exist. In a court filing Falkoff describes a classified prisoner transfer memo from Guantanamo as noting that information could not be retrieved, as torture could not be used, and recommending that the prisoner be sent to a nation that practiced torture.[17]

Historical instances[edit]

A law existed in ancient Athens giving relations of an Athenian who had been murdered in a foreign state which had refused punishment or extradition of the murderer, the right to seize the foreigner and bring him before the Athenian courts. [18] Accordingly the principle of international abduction as a last resort, in the absence of other remedies, has ancient precedents.

20th century[edit]

However, the US has used rendition increasingly since the 1980s as a tool in the US-led "war on terror" to deal with foreign defendants, ignoring the normal extradition processes in international law.[19] Modern methods of rendition include a form where suspects are taken into US custody but delivered to a third-party state, often without ever being on US soil, and without involving the rendering countries termed "extraordinary rendition". The CIA was granted permission to use rendition (to the USA of indicted terrorists) in a presidential directive signed by US President Bill Clinton in 1995, following a procedure[20] established by US President George H. W. Bush in January 1993[21].

Critics have accused the CIA of rendering suspects to other countries in order to avoid US laws mandating due process and prohibiting torture, even though many of those countries have, like the US, signed or ratified the United Nations Convention Against Torture.[22] Critics have also called this practice "torture flights".[23] Defenders of the practice argue that culturally-informed and native-language interrogations are more successful in gaining information from suspects.[24][25]

In a number of cases, suspects to whom the procedure is believed to have been applied later were found to be innocent.[26] In the cases of Khalid El-Masri and Maher Arar, the practice of extraordinary rendition appears to have been applied to innocent civilians, and the CIA has reportedly launched an investigation into such cases (which it refers to as "erroneous rendition").

The first well-known rendition case involved the Achille Lauro hijackers in 1985: while in international air space they were forced by United States Navy fighter planes to land at the Naval Air Station Sigonella, an Italian military base in Sicily used by the US navy and NATO, in an attempt to place them within judicial reach of United States government representatives for transport to and trial in the United States.[27]

In September 1987, during the Reagan administration, the United States executed an extraordinary rendition, codenamed Goldenrod, in a joint FBI-CIA operation. Fawaz Yunis, who was wanted in the U.S. courts for his role in the hijacking of a Jordanian airliner that had American citizens onboard, was lured onto a boat off the coast of Cyprus and taken to international waters, where he was arrested.

"The Reagan administration did not undertake this kidnapping lightly. Then-FBI Director William Webster had opposed an earlier bid to snatch Yunis, arguing that the United States should not adopt the tactics of Israel, which had abducted Adolf Eichmann on a residential street in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1960... In 1984 and 1986, during a wave of terrorist attacks, Congress passed laws making air piracy and attacks on Americans abroad federal crimes. Ronald Reagan added teeth to these laws by signing a secret covert-action directive in 1986 that authorized the CIA to kidnap, anywhere abroad, foreigners wanted for terrorism. A new word entered the dictionary of U.S. foreign relations: rendition."[28]

The American Civil Liberties Union alleges that extraordinary rendition was developed during the Clinton administration by CIA officials in the mid-1990s who were trying to track down and dismantle militant Islamic organizations in the Middle East, particularly Al Qaeda.[29]

According to Clinton administration official Richard Clarke:
"'extraordinary renditions', were operations to apprehend terrorists abroad, usually without the knowledge of and almost always without public acknowledgment of the host government.... The first time I proposed a snatch, in 1993, the White House Counsel, Lloyd Cutler, demanded a meeting with the President to explain how it violated international law. Clinton had seemed to be siding with Cutler until Al Gore belatedly joined the meeting, having just flown overnight from South Africa. Clinton recapped the arguments on both sides for Gore: "Lloyd says this. Dick says that. Gore laughed and said, 'That's a no-brainer. Of course it's a violation of international law, that's why it's a covert action. The guy is a terrorist. Go grab his ass.'"[30]"

Both the Reagan and Clinton cases involved apprehending known terrorists abroad, by covert means if necessary. The policy later expanded.

In a New Yorker interview with CIA veteran Michael Scheuer, an author of the rendition program under the Clinton administration, writer Jane Mayer noted, "In 1995, American agents proposed the rendition program to Egypt, making clear that it had the resources to track, capture, and transport terrorist suspects globally — including access to a small fleet of aircraft. Egypt embraced the idea... 'What was clever was that some of the senior people in Al Qaeda were Egyptian,' Scheuer said. 'It served American purposes to get these people arrested, and Egyptian purposes to get these people back, where they could be interrogated.' Technically, U.S. law requires the CIA to seek 'assurances' from foreign governments that rendered suspects won’t be tortured. Scheuer told me that this was done, but he was 'not sure' if any documents confirming the arrangement were signed."[31] However, Scheuer testified before Congress that no such assurances were received.[32] He further acknowledged that treatment of prisoners may not have been "up to U.S. standards." However, he stated,

This is a matter of no concern as the Rendition Program’s goal was to protect America, and the rendered fighters delivered to Middle Eastern governments are now either dead or in places from which they cannot harm America. Mission accomplished, as the saying goes.[33]

Thereafter, with the approval of President Clinton and a presidential directive (PDD 39), the CIA instead elected to send suspects to Egypt, where they were turned over to the Egyptian Mukhabarat.

21st century[edit]

Following the September 11, 2001 attacks the United States, in particular the CIA, has been accused of rendering hundreds of people suspected by the government of being terrorists — or of aiding and abetting terrorist organizations — to third-party states such as Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Morocco, and Uzbekistan. Such "ghost detainees" are kept outside judicial oversight, often without ever entering US territory, and may or may not ultimately be devolved to the custody of the United States.[31][34]

According to a December 4, 2005 article in the Washington Post by Dana Priest:

"Members of the Rendition Group follow a simple but standard procedure: Dressed head to toe in black, including masks, they blindfold and cut the clothes off their new captives, then administer an enema and sleeping drugs. They outfit detainees in a diaper and jumpsuit for what can be a day-long trip. Their destinations: either a detention facility operated by cooperative countries in the Middle East and Central Asia, including Afghanistan, or one of the CIA's own covert prisons – referred to in classified documents as "black sites," which at various times have been operated in eight countries, including several in Eastern Europe.[35][36]"

Following mounting scrutiny in Europe, including investigations held by Swiss senator Dick Marty who released a public report in June 2006, the US Senate, in December 2005, was about to approve a measure that would include amendments requiring the director of national intelligence to provide regular, detailed updates about secret detention facilities maintained by the United States overseas, and to account for the treatment and condition of each prisoner.[37]

Torture by proxy[edit]

Ahmad case[edit]

A story in the Los Angeles Times on December 8, 2005 seems to corroborate the claims of "torture by proxy." It mentions the attorneys for Majid Mahmud Abdu Ahmad, a detainee held by the Pentagon at Guantanamo Bay, filed a petition to prevent his being transferred to foreign countries. According to the petition's description of a redacted classified US Defense Department memo from March 17, 2004, its contents say "officials suggested sending Ahmad to an unspecified foreign country that employed torture in order to increase chances of extracting information from him."[5]

Mr Falkoff, representing Ahmad, continued: "There is only one meaning that can be gleaned from this short passage," the petition says. "The government believes that Mr. Ahmad has information that it wants but that it cannot extract without torturing him." The petition goes on to say that because torture is not allowed at Guantanamo, "the recommendation is that Mr. Ahmad should be sent to another country where he can be interrogated under torture."[5]

In a report, regarding the allegations of CIA flights, on December 13, 2005, by the rapporteur and Chair of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe's Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, Swiss councillor Dick Marty, it was concluded: "The elements we have gathered so far tend to reinforce the credibility of the allegations concerning the transport and temporary detention of detainees — outside all judicial procedure - in European countries."[6] In a press conference in January 2006, he stated "he was personally convinced the US had undertaken illegal activities in Europe in transporting and detaining prisoners."[7]

Reported methodology[edit]

Media reports describe suspects as being arrested, blindfolded, shackled, and sedated, or otherwise kidnapped, and transported by private jet or other means to the destination country.[38] The reports also say that the rendering countries have provided interrogators with lists of questions.

Airline flights[edit]

See Wikipedia:Rendition aircraft

On October 4, 2001, a secret arrangement is made in Brussels, by all members of NATO. Lord George Robertson, British defense secretary and later NATO’s secretary-general, will later explain NATO members agree to provide “blanket overflight clearances for the United States and other allies’ aircraft for military flights related to operations against terrorism.”[39]

Boeing Jeppesen international trip planning[edit]

On October 23, 2006, the New Yorker reported that Jeppesen, a subsidiary of Boeing, handled the logistical planning for the CIA's extraordinary rendition flights. The allegation is based on information from an ex-employee who quoted Bob Overby, managing director of the company as saying "We do all of the extraordinary rendition flights—you know, the torture flights. Let’s face it, some of these flights end up that way. It certainly pays well." The article went on to suggest that this may make Jeppesen a potential defendant in a law suit by Khaled El-Masri.[40] Jeppesen was named as a defendant in a lawsuit filed by the ACLU on May 30, 2007, on behalf of several other individuals who were allegedly subject to extraordinary rendition.

The suit was dismissed on September 8, 2010 by a federal appeals court on the grounds that going forward would reveal state secrets.[41]

"Black sites"[edit]

In 2005, the Washington Post and Human Rights Watch (HRW) published revelations concerning CIA flights and "black sites," covert prisons that are operated by the CIA and whose existence is denied by the US government. The European Parliament published a report in February 2007 concerning the use of such secret detention centers and extraordinary rendition (See below). Such detention centers violate the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the UN Convention Against Torture, treaties that all EU member states are bound to follow.[42][43][44]

According to ABC News two such facilities, in countries mentioned by Human Rights Watch, have been closed following the recent publicity. CIA officers say the captives were relocated to the North African desert. All but one of these 11 high-value al Qaeda prisoners were subjected to the harshest interrogation techniques in the CIA's secret arsenal, sometimes referred to as "enhanced interrogation techniques" authorized for use by about 14 CIA officers.[45]

Extraordinary renditions and black sites in Europe[edit]

So-called "rendition" illegal flights of the CIA, as reported by Rzeczpospolita[46]

In January 2005, Swiss senator Dick Marty, representative at the Council of Europe in charge of the European investigations, concluded that 100 people had been kidnapped by the CIA in Europe — thus qualifying as ghost detainees — and then rendered to a country where they may have been tortured. Marty qualified the sequestration of Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr (aka "Abu Omar") in Milan in February 2003 as a "perfect example of extraordinary rendition."[47][48][49] (See below: The European investigation and its June 2006 report)

Prison ships[edit]

The United States has also been accused of operating "floating prisons" to house and transport those arrested in its war on terror, according to human rights lawyers, who claim there has been an attempt to conceal the numbers and whereabouts of detainees.[50]


See Torture and the United States and Torture and Ethical arguments regarding torture

Torture has always been, and continues to be, widely held to be unethical, unconstitutional, ineffective, and defy the Geneva Conventions.

Alan Dershowitz's 2002 article "Want to Torture? Get a Warrant" opines that torturing terror suspects, however distasteful, is necessary to help prevent further terrorist attacks, which may only be (Wikipedia:Ticking time bomb scenario) a matter of hours or days away.[51]

However, renditions take considerable time. More importantly, this argument fails to take into account the motivations of the victim. Any captives who are actually terrorists would be highly motivated to resist torture if the results of their resistance would yield imminent rewards. Conversely, they are more likely to talk if their information is less useful. Information given under torture is most vulnerable to being false: victims without information have every incentive to give information, but no information to give, and therefore no recourse but to render false information in order to make the torture stop, if only for a short while.

Individual cases are instructive in determining the methods used, and the lengths that rendition operatives go to, to obtain targets. The objections of unrelated countries also point to the subjective nature of the justifications for going outside the law.

Example cases[edit]

See Torture by nations participating in extraordinary rendition

On February 17, 2003, Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr (aka "Abu Omar") was kidnapped by the CIA in Milan (Italy),[52] and deported to Egypt. On December 6, 2005, the Washington Post reported Italian court documents which showed that the CIA tried to mislead Italian anti-terrorism police who were looking for the cleric Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr at the time. Prosecutor Amarando Spataro, known for his aggressive investigations of leading Mafia figures, said the abduction was illegal because it violated Italian sovereignty, while also disrupting an ongoing police investigation.

In June 2005, Italian judge Guido Salvini issued a warrant for the arrest of 13 persons said to be agents or operatives of the CIA. In December 2005, an Italian court issued a European arrest warrant against 22 CIA agents suspected of this kidnapping.[53])[54]

The current and 2003 SISMI director of anti-terrorism and counterespionage were arrested on charges of complicity in a kidnapping with the aggravating circumstances of abuse of power. There are now 26 EU arrest warrants for U.S. citizens in connection to this event.[55] A judge also issued arrest warrants for four Americans, three CIA agents and an United States Air Force officer who commanded the security forces at Aviano Air Base at the time of the abduction.[56]

Debate over legality, utility[edit]

see Guantanamo Bay detention camp

Extrajudicial describes behaviour that is illegal, with an purported justification. It is presented as ostensibly legal by those who practice it, and condemned as illegal as those who oppose it.

Wikipedia:Habeas corpus is entirely ignored in both the Guantanamo Bay custodies and extrajudicial rendition. Due process is denied but for a few released with the intent of giving a semblance of legality.

Evidence obtained illegally or under duress is inadmissible in US courts. This creates a problem with the appearance of due process, hence the neologism of Illegal Combatants, constructed to put Gitmo prisoners and Wikipedia:Ghost prisoners in a legal limbo of incarceration that is neither military nor civilian, to prevent them receiving rights from either set of laws, just as Blackwater mercenaries were put in a limbo that prevents them from being prosecuted by either law. The appearance of due process is maintained, as it cannot be denied.[57]

Evidence obtained illegally or under duress hampers court cases against suspected terrorists in the US. The trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person to be indicted in the US in connection with the 9/11 attacks, was in part complicated by Moussaoui's requests for access to confidential documents and his assertion of a right to call al-Qaida members held in captivity in Guantanamo Bay Naval Base as witnesses.

Treaty obligations of the United States[edit]

See Extrajudicial and erroneous

The United Nations Convention Against Torture (UNCAT) Article 3 states:

1. No State Party shall expel, return ("refouler") or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture.

2. For the purpose of determining whether there are such grounds, the competent authorities shall take into account all relevant considerations including, where applicable, the existence in the State concerned of a consistent pattern of gross, flagrant or mass violations of human rights.


Investigations by multi-nation groups[edit]

More and more information about black sites and extraordinary rendition emerged from international organizations' reports; initially, investigators questioned whether such things had happened. By the end, they were telling how many times, and where, and how.

Council of Europe investigation and its two reports[edit]

See Extraordinary Rendition: International investigations

On November 25, 2005, lead investigator for the Council of Europe Dick Marty announced that he had obtained locations of suspected black sites. On November 28, 2005, EU Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini asserted that any EU country which had operated a secret prison would have its voting rights suspended.[58]

European Union antiterrorism coordinator Gijs de Vries' denial of extraordinary rendition in Europe in April 2006 was rejected by the European Parliament report of February 2007 (See below:The European Parliament's February 14, 2007 report). De Vries was criticised by EU parliamentarians for leaving out evidence: testimonies of a German and a Canadian kidnapped and imprisoned by foreign agents, and of British intelligence using information obtained under torture.[59] This denial from a member of the executive power () of the EU institutions

A new report from the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Council of Europe directed by Dick Marty stated "This legal approach (by the US) is utterly alien to the European tradition and sensibility, and is clearly contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights...The compilation of so-called "black lists" of individuals and companies suspected of maintaining connections with organisations considered terrorist and the application of the associated sanctions clearly breach every principle of the fundamental right to a fair trial: no specific charges, no right to be heard, no right of appeal, no established procedure for removing one's name from the list."[60][61]

The CoE's Recommendation and Resolution document found grounds for concern with the conduct of both the US and member states of the EU and expressed concern for the disregard of international law and the Geneva Convention, with a 23 point resolution and recommendations for a set of minimum requirements be instituted to guarantee the human rights of persons suspected of terrorist offences, in conjunction with a strategy to effectively "address the terrorist threat", and improvements in the ability of the Council of Europe to react to allegations of systematic human rights abuse.

The European Parliament investigations uncovered cooperation between European secret services and governments and the extraordinary renditions programs[60][62]

June 27, 2006 Council of Europe resolution[edit]

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) accused the United States of operating a "clandestine spiderweb of disappearances, secret detentions and unlawful inter-state transfers" and called for EU regulations governing foreign intelligence services operating in Europe, and demanded “human rights clauses” in military base agreements with the USA.

The Assembly called for the US to dismantle its system of detentions and transfers, a review of bilateral agreements between Council of Europe member states and the US, apologies and compensation for victims, and an international initiative to develop a common, truly global strategy to address the terrorist threat which conforms to democracy, human rights and the rule of law.[63]

European Parliament's investigation and report[edit]

The European Parliament launched its own investigation into the reports which found the CIA had conducted more than 1,000 secret flights over European territory since 2001, some to transfer terror suspects to countries that used torture. Investigators said that the same US agents and planes were involved over and over again.[64] The Parliament adopted a resolution in July 2006 endorsing the Council of Europe's conclusions, mid way through its own investigation into the alleged program.[65]

On February 14, 2007 European Parliament's final report criticized the rendition program and concluded that many European countries tolerated illegal CIA activities including secret flights over their territories. The countries named were: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.[66] The report...

Denounces the lack of co-operation of many member states and of the Council of the European Union with the investigation;

Regrets that European countries have been relinquishing control over their airspace and airports by turning a blind eye or admitting flights operated by the CIA which, on some occasions, were being used for illegal transportation of detainees;
Calls for the closure of [the US military detention mission in] Guantanamo and for European countries immediately to seek the return of their citizens and residents who are being held illegally by the US authorities;
Considers that all European countries should initiate independent investigations into all stopovers by civilian aircraft [hired by] the CIA;
Urges that a ban or system of inspections be introduced for all CIA-operated aircraft known to have been involved in extraordinary rendition.[67]

According to the report, the CIA had operated 1,245 flights, many of them to destinations where suspects could face torture. The Parliament also called for the creation of an independent investigation commission and the closure of the Guantanamo camp. According to Italian Socialist Giovanni Fava, who drafted the document, there was a "strong possibility" that the intelligence obtained under the illegal extraordinary rendition program had been passed on to EU governments who were aware of how it was obtained. The report also uncovered the use of secret detention facilities used in Europe, including Romania and Poland.

United Nations report by Manfred Nowak[edit]

Manfred Nowak, a special reporter on torture, catalogued in a 15-page U.N. report presented to the 191-member UN General Assembly that the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Sweden and Kyrgyzstan are violating international human rights conventions by deporting terrorist suspects to countries such as Egypt, Syria, Algeria and Uzbekistan, where they may have been tortured.[68]

"The United States is holding at least 26 persons as “ghost detainees” at undisclosed locations outside of the United States," Human Rights Watch said on December 1, 2005, as it released a list naming some of the detainees. The detainees are being held indefinitely and incommunicado, without legal rights or access to counsel.[69][70]

Investigations by national governments[edit]

See Extraordinary Rendition: National investigations

Investigations by non-state actors[edit]

See Extraordinary Rendition: Investigations by non-state actors

Investigations by non-state actors (NSAs), including the World Policy Council dispute the legality of extraordinary rendition and give evidence for the existence of torture by proxy,[71] and show new forms of corruption[72] springing up around the issues.[73] They show rendition and even torture occurring as early as 2003.[74] They show authorities tending to use old solutions to this new problem,[75][76][77] e.g. offering reduced prison terms in exchange for suppression of torture evidence, in a twisted turn on the already controversial practice of plea bargaining.[74] They show dirty tricks at many turns, such as the UK allowing a suspect to leave the country; once he was conveniently out of the UK, the order was given that he be picked up and tortured.[78]

Public revelations concerning the extraordinary renditions[edit]

Furthermore, Amnesty International mentions Muhammad al-Assad, Salah Nasser Salim ‘Ali and Muhammad Faraj Ahmed Bashmilah. The three, all nationals of Yemen, had "disappeared" in 2003, and had been kept in complete isolation — even from each other — in a series of secret detention centres run apparently by US agents.[79]

Based upon statements by current and former intelligence officials and diplomats from three continents, the Washington Post reported that captives might be subject to techniques of interrogation illegal in the United States.[80] Since it might violate US law these suspects are flown to facilities around the world. Eight countries have been implicated, including Thailand, Afghanistan and several democracies in Eastern Europe, as well as a small center at the Guantánamo Bay prison in Cuba.

The CIA and the White House strongly resist any in-depth investigation into the details of rendition, refusing to release information on the subjects detained and the facilities used throughout the world.[81] Critics think this procedure might be kept from scrutiny as it could result in legal challenges to the U.S. government, inside the U.S. as well as in those countries used for detention.[82][83] (For a more detailed discussion on these possible violations of U.S. and international law please see below and unlawful combatant.)

The Guardian reported on December 5, 2005, that the British government is "guilty of breaking international law if it knowingly allowed secret CIA "rendition" flights of terror suspects to land at UK airports, according to a report by American legal scholars."[84][85]

Erroneous rendition[edit]

See Extrajudicial and erroneous

An article published in the December 5, 2005, Washington Post reported that the CIA's Inspector General was investigating what it calls erroneous renditions.[86]

Obama Executive Order opposes rendition torture and establishes Special Task Force[edit]

Two days after President Barack Obama was sworn into office, on January 22, 2009, he signed an executive order entitled Ensuring Lawful Interrogations. The the current terminology for illegally transporting undesirables was inextricable in the minds of the public from the word that had come to mean, by misuse in the press, illegally transporting undesirables and then torturing them. Therefore, the White House emphasis was on being seen to oppose torture. The difficult process of reeducating the public about the real definition of extraordinary rendition, inconvenient for reelection purposes, and the already established practice of illegal kidnapping, so convenient for a nation that ignores world law, let alone its own, were given about as much attention as one might expect.

This order specifically addresses the practice of transferring individuals to other nations in order to ensure that such practices comply with the domestic laws, international obligations, and policies of the United States.[11] It establishes a committee that will provide recommendations within 180 days of the executive order. It specifically has as its goal a process to ensure that the United States practices do not result in the transfer of individuals to other nations to face torture or otherwise for the purpose, or with the effect, of undermining or circumventing the commitments or obligations of the United States to ensure the humane treatment of individuals in its custody or control. However, the executive order did not end the practice of rendition by the United States.[11]

The section of the Executive Order relating to extraordinary rendition is as follows:

(e) Mission. The mission of the Special Task Force shall be:

(i) to study and evaluate whether the interrogation practices and techniques in Army Field Manual 2 22.3, when employed by departments or agencies outside the military, provide an appropriate means of acquiring the intelligence necessary to protect the Nation, and, if warranted, to recommend any additional or different guidance for other departments or agencies; and

(ii) to study and evaluate the practices of transferring individuals to other nations in order to ensure that such practices comply with the domestic laws, international obligations, and policies of the United States and do not result in the transfer of individuals to other nations to face torture or otherwise for the purpose, or with the effect, of undermining or circumventing the commitments or obligations of the United States to ensure the humane treatment of individuals in its custody or control.

(f) Administration. The Special Task Force shall be established for administrative purposes within the Department of Justice and the Department of Justice shall, to the extent permitted by law and subject to the availability of appropriations, provide administrative support and funding for the Special Task Force.

(g) Recommendations. The Special Task Force shall provide a report to the President, through the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and the Counsel to the President, on the matters set forth in subsection (d) within 180 days of the date of this order, unless the Chair determines that an extension is necessary.

(h) Termination. The Chair shall terminate the Special Task Force upon the completion of its duties.

Note that not only is the practice of extraordinary rendition per se untouched by this document, but like most legal documents involving governments, it is filled with purely subjective wording that creates loopholes. E.g. "...policies..." in section ii, ensures that anytime the entire process becomes inconvenient, the US can simply make it their policy to not do it.

Section i is even more obviously a dodge. It paves the way for a decision to reverse the entire process permanently, with a determination that the current Army Field Manual practices are insufficient to the task.

However, on November 2, 2009 the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that victims of extraordinary rendition cannot sue Washington for torture suffered overseas, because Congress has not authorized such lawsuits, in ruling on Canadian citizen Maher Arar’s case.[87]

Moved sections[edit]

  • Extrajudicial and erroneous contains the following sections moved from this article:
  • Criticisms of the Washington Post's decision to withhold locations of the black sites
  • Extraordinary Rendition
  • Definitions
  • 'Security' and secrecy
  • Debate over legality, utility
  • Treaty obligations of the United States
  • Erroneous rendition

See also[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Michael John Garcia, Legislative Attorney American Law Division. Renditions: Constraints Imposed by Laws on Torture April 5, 2006 p.2 link from the United States Counter-Terrorism Training and Resources for Law Enforcement web site
  2. Daphen Eviatar. Torture Case Tests Obama Secrecy Policy: Will Obama Administration Break From Bush on Extraordinary Rendition?. Washington Independent. Archived from source 2009-11-05.
  3. Daphen Eviatar. Obama Administration Seeks Re-Hearing in Extraordinary Rendition Case. Washington Independent. Archived from source 2009-11-05.
  4. Torture by proxy: International law applicable to ‘Extraordinary Renditions’. All Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition. Archived from source 2009-11-05.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Ken, Silverstein Pentagon Memo on Torture-Motivated Transfer cited..
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 CIA abduction claims 'credible'. BBC News Online. URL accessed on 2005-12-18.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Europe 'complicit over CIA jails'. BBC News Online. URL accessed on 2006-09-07.
  8. Gordon Corera Does UK turn a blind eye to torture?, BBC 5 April 2005 "One member of the [parliamentary foreign affairs] committee described the policy as 'effectively torture by proxy'".
  9. James Naughtie's Interview of Secretary Rice With British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme 1 April 2006 on the website of the United States Embassy in London
  10. Resolution 1507 (2006). Alleged secret detentions and unlawful inter-state transfers of detainees involving Council of Europe member states]
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Ensuring Lawful Interrogations | The White House. URL accessed on 2010-07-17.
  12. Rendition: Tales of Torture BBC News Online, December 7, 2005. Accessed 9/29/08.
  13. Wilkinson, T. and G. Miller. (2005). "Italy Says It Didn't Know of CIA Plan". The Los Angeles Times, July 1, 2005.
  14. Mystery surrounds former customs agent in Arar case CBC.CA
  15. 15.0 15.1 Jerry Markon: Lawsuit Against CIA is Dismissed. Washington Post, May 19, 2006
  16. Mystery surrounds former customs agent in Arar case CBC.CA
  17. Pentagon Memo on Torture-Motivated Transfer Cited Los Angeles Times, December 8 '05. Retrieved September 29, 2008.
  18. Lord Russel of Liverpool, The French Corsairs (London: Robert Hale 2001)at p. 12 (discussing the ancient Athenian law allowing private acts of reprisal as a precursor for the development in 17th Century France of official commissions for privateering vessels called Letters of Marque and Reprisal)
  19. Raymond Bonner: The CIA's Secret Torture. The New York Review of Books, January 11, 2007
  20. Presidential directive PDD 39, 1995
  21. National Security Directive 77, January 1993
  22. [1] |date=July 2010}}
  23. Norton-Taylor, Richard Torture flights: what No 10 knew and tried to cover up. The Guardian. URL accessed on 2006-01-23.
  24. 'Rendition' Realities, David Ignatius, Washington Post, March 9, 2005; page A21
  25. Two experts on extraordinary rendition: one invented it, the other has seen its full horrors], Neil Mackay, Sunday Herald, October 18, 2005 (link is to text of article on Craig Murray's website).
  26. Outsourcing Torture: The Secret History of America's "Extraordinary Rendition", Democracy Now, 17 February 2005
  27. Shadow Warriors: Inside the Special Forces. Tom Clancy, Carl Stiner, Tony Koltz 2002. ISBN 0399147837
  28. Naftali, Tim Milan Snatch. URL accessed on 2010-07-17.
  29. Fact sheet: Extraordinary rendition, American Civil Liberties Union, accessed on March 29, 2007
  30. Richard Clarke, Enemies pp143–4
  31. 31.0 31.1 Mayer, Jane. The New Yorker, February 14, 2005. "Outsourcing Torture: The secret history of America's 'extraordinary rendition' program.". URL accessed on 2007-02-20.
  32. "I have read and been told that Mr. Clinton, Mr. Berger and Mr. Clarke have said, since 9/11, that they insisted that each receiving country treat the rendered person it received according to U.S. legal standards. To the best of my memory, that is a lie." Extraordinary Rendition in U.S. Counter terrorism Policy: The Impact on Transatlantic Relations., House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight, Subcommittee on Europe, April 17, 2007, p. 12.
  33. Extraordinary Rendition in U.S. Counter terrorism Policy: The Impact on Transatlantic Relations., House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight, Subcommittee on Europe, April 17, 2007, p. 14.
  34. According to former CIA case officer Bob Baer, "If you want a serious interrogation, you send a prisoner to Jordan. If you want them to be tortured, you send them to Syria. If you want someone to disappear — never to see them again - you send them to Egypt." The CIA's Rendition Flights to Secret Prisons: The Torture-Go-Round By Lila Rajiva in CounterPunch, 5 December 2005
  35. Dana Priest. Wrongful Imprisonment: Anatomy of a CIA Mistake. Washington Post. URL accessed on 2005-12-18.
  36. Harding, Luke Guardian Unlimited: Special reports: CIA's secret jails open up new transatlantic rift. The Guardian. URL accessed on 2005-12-18.
  37. Jehl, Douglas Senate is Set to Require White House to Account for Secret Prisons. The New York Times. URL accessed on 2005-12-18.
  38. Suspect's tale of travel and torture, Stephen Grey and Ian Cobain, The Guardian, 2 August 2005. "He says he was flown on what he believes was a US aircraft to Morocco, while shackled, blindfolded and wearing earphones"
  39. Grey, Stephen Flight logs reveal secret rendition. Sunday Times. URL accessed on 2009-02-22.
  40. The C.I.A.'s Travel Agent, Jane Mayer, The New Yorker, 2006-10-23.
  41. Peter Finn. Suit dismissed against firm in CIA rendition case. Washington Post.
  42. Whitlock, Craig Europeans Probe Secret CIA Flights. Washington Post. URL accessed on 2005-12-18.
  43. EU to look into 'secret US jails'. BBC News Online. URL accessed on 2005-12-18.
  44. Whitlock, Craig U.S. Faces Scrutiny Over Secret Prisons. Washington Post. URL accessed on 2005-12-18.
  45. Exclusive: Sources Tell ABC News Top Al Qaeda Figures Held in Secret CIA Prisons. ABC News. URL accessed on 2005-12-18.
  46. Politycy nie pozwolili śledczym tropić lotów CIA - Rzeczpospolita. URL accessed on 2010-07-17.
  47. Europe 'knew about' CIA flights. BBC News Online. URL accessed on 2006-09-07.
  48. Wilkinson, Tracy Europe in Uproar over CIA Operations. Los Angeles Times. URL accessed on 2005-12-18.
  49. CIA Flights in Europe: The Hunt for Hercules N8183J. Der Spiegel. URL accessed on 2005-12-18.
  50. Duncan Campbell and Richard Norton-Taylor. US accused of holding terror suspects on prison ships. Guardian. URL accessed on 2010-07-17.
  51. People matter more than holy books, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown Op-Ed, The Independent, 23 May 2005. Includes commentary on how some Americans have changed their attitudes to torture.
  52. Piano/Esteri/2005/11 Novembre/11/imam.shtml "Foto della Cia svela il sequestro dell'imam", Corriere della Sera, 12 novembre 2005.
  53. Error on call to template:cite web: Parameters url and title must be specified , published by Statewatch, June 22, 2005
  54. EU-wide warrant over 'CIA kidnap'. BBC News Online. URL accessed on 2006-09-07.
  55. Italians held over 'CIA kidnap', BBC News Online, 5 July 2006; retrieved on 2007-01-27
  56. Italian Spies Arrested, Americans Sought for Kidnap, Reuters cable, July 5, 2006, mirrored by Commondreams
  57. Democracy Now!
  58. EU May Suspend Nations With Secret Prisons. ABC News.
  59. EU official: No evidence of illegal CIA action: Antiterror chief advises committee, Boston Globe, April 21, 2006
  60. 60.0 60.1 Rendition and the rights of the individual, BBC News, June 7, 2006
  61. HTML and PDF formats.
  62. Error on call to template:cite web: Parameters url and title must be specified , Council of Europe Parliamentary Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, 7 June 2007
  63. Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly. URL accessed on 2010-07-17.
  64. European Inquiry Says C.I.A. Flew 1,000 Flights in Secret, New York Times, April 27, 2006
  65. Texts adopted by Parliament. Thursday, 6 July 2006 - Strasbourg. Final edition: Extraordinary rendition
  66. EU endorses damning report on CIA. BBC News Online. URL accessed on 2007-02-14.
  67. EU rendition report: Key excerpts, on the BBC News website
  68. RIGHTS: U.N. Blasts Practice of Outsourcing Torture (See above). URL accessed on 2005-12-18.
  69. List of “Ghost Prisoners” Possibly in CIA Custody. URL accessed on 2005-12-18.
  70. U.S. Holding at Least Twenty-Six “Ghost Detainees”. URL accessed on 2005-12-18.
  71. Q & A: Torture by Proxy Jane Mayer answers question asked by Amy Davidson The New Yorker on 14 February 2005
  72. Foreign Office faces probe into 'manipulation', Robert Winnett, The Sunday Times, 20 March 2005
  73. Q & A: Torture by Proxy Jane Mayer answers question asked by Amy Davidson The New Yorker on 14 February 2005
  74. 74.0 74.1 Gedye, Robin The envoy silenced after telling undiplomatic truths. The Daily Telegraph. URL accessed on 26 August 2010.
  75. Extraordinary Rendition on Craig Murray's website, July 11, 2005
  76. Torture evidence inadmissible in UK courts, Lords rules, The Guardian, December 8, 2005
  77. Torture ruling's international impact by Jon Silverman BBC 8 December 2005
  78. Parliamentary Business>Publications and Records > Commons Publications > Commons Hansard > Daily Hansard - Debate. URL accessed on 11 July 09.
  79. United States of America / Yemen: Secret Detention in CIA "Black Sites". Amnesty International. Archived from source March 25, 2006. URL accessed on 2005-12-18.
  80. Priest, Dana CIA Holds Terror Suspects in Secret Prisons. Washington Post. URL accessed on 2005-12-18.
  81. Mike Whitney: the United States of Torture. CounterPunch. URL accessed on 2005-12-18.
  82. Priest, Dana CIA Holds Terror Suspects in Secret Prisons (See above). Washington Post. URL accessed on 2005-12-18.
  83. Bob Herbert: Secrets and Shame. Archived from source December 16, 2005. URL accessed on 2005-12-18.
  84. Cobain, Ian Special Reports: UK 'breaking law' over CIA secret flights. The Guardian. URL accessed on 2005-12-18.
  85. British Tory MP Blasts Extraordinary Rendition, Says Britain Broke International Law and "Complicit in Torture" if Flights Passed Through UK. Democracy Now. URL accessed on 2005-12-18.
  86. Wrongful Imprisonment: Anatomy of a CIA Mistake: German Citizen Released After Months in 'Rendition', Dana Priest, Washington Post, December 4, 2005
  87. Appeals Court Rules in Maher Arar Case: Innocent Victims of Extraordinary Rendition Cannot Sue in US Courts. URL accessed on 2009-11-04.

External links[edit]