Amnesty Offers New Evidence on Rendition

Last week Diane noted that Amnesty International was set to release evidence proving the CIA used private aircraft operators and front companies to hide its rendition flights. The report is now public, and it gives numerous firsthand accounts from individuals who were flown on nearly 1,000 flights directly linked to the CIA and taken to “black sites” where they were extensively tortured and detained in “complete isolation, in cells measuring about 2m x 3m,” and “permanently shackled to a ring fixed in the floor.”

According to one account, prisoners were transported somewhere in Eastern Europe, where “all of the guards and officials were Americans” and “the men were never allowed outside, or even to look through a window,” while “temperatures were colder than any they had ever known.”

According to Condoleeza Rice, “The United States has not transported anyone, and will not transport anyone, to a country when we believe he will be tortured.” But she says nothing about potential transport to “blacksites” or renditions conducted by other governments. To this she states, “where appropriate, the United States seeks assurances that transferred persons will not be tortured.” But as Amnesty International points out, “if the practice of torture and ill-treatment in custody is so great that the USA must seek assurances that the receiving state will not behave as it normally does, then the risk is obviously too great to permit the transfer.”

Swiss authorities have already confirmed Amnesty’s report that six CIA flights landed in Switzerland. Dick Marty, the Swiss senator investigating allegations of secret CIA prisons on behalf of the Council of Europe, welcomed the report. “Interestingly the research was done by civil society and not by the government,” he noted. Interesting indeed.