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Globalizing Torture: 54 Countries Join USA

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By A Correspondent

At least 54 countries co-operated with USA inn global kidnap, detention and torture operation mounted after 9/11 attacks, says Globalizing Torture , a comprehensive report. The countries include Afghanistan, Canada, Egypt, Iceland, Iran, Ireland, Jordan, Pakistan and the UK.

Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 , the Central Intelligence Agency embarked on a highly classified program of secret detention and extraordinary rendition of terrorist suspects. The program was designed to place detainee interrogations beyond the reach of law. Suspected terrorists were seized and secretly flown across national borders to be interrogated by foreign governments that used torture, or by the CIA itself in clandestine “black sites” using torture techniques [1].

Globalizing Torture is the most comprehensive account yet assembled of the human rights abuses associated with CIA secret detention and extraordinary rendition operations.

It details for the first time what was done to the 136 known victims, and lists the 54 foreign governments that participated in these operations. It shows that responsibility for the abuses lies not only with the United States but with dozens of foreign governments that were complicit.

More than 10 years after the 2001 attacks, Globalizing Torture makes it unequivocally clear that the time has come for the United States and its partners to definitively repudiate these illegal practices and secure accountability for the associated human rights abuses.

Ian Cobain reported [2]:

The full extent of the CIA's extraordinary rendition program has been laid bare with the publication of the report showing there is evidence that more than a quarter of the world's governments covertly offered support.

The 213-page report compiled by the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI), a New York-based human rights organization, says that at least 54 countries co-operated with the global kidnap, detention and torture operation that was mounted after 9/11, many of them in Europe.

So widespread and extensive was the participation of governments across the world that it is now clear the CIA could not have operated its program without their support, according to the OSJI.

"There is no doubt that high-ranking Bush administration officials bear responsibility for authorizing human rights violations associated with secret detention and extraordinary rendition, and the impunity that they have enjoyed to date remains a matter of significant concern," the report says. "But responsibility for these violations does not end with the United States . Secret detention and extraordinary rendition operations, designed to be conducted outside the United States under cover of secrecy, could not have been implemented without the active participation of foreign governments. These governments too must be held accountable."

The states identified by the OSJI include those such as Pakistan , Afghanistan , Egypt and Jordan where the existence of secret prisons and the use of torture has been well documented for many years. But the OSJI's rendition list also includes states such as Ireland , Iceland and Cyprus , which are accused of granting covert support for the program by permitting the use of airspace and airports by aircraft involved in rendition flights.

Canada not only permitted the use of its airspace but provided information that led to one of its own nationals being taken to Syria where he was held for a year and tortured, the report says.

Iran and Syria are identified by the OSJI as having participated in the rendition program. Syria is said to have been one of the "most common destinations for rendered suspects", while Iran is said to have participated in the CIA's program by handing over 15 individuals to Kabul shortly after the US invasion of Afghanistan , in the full knowledge that they would fall under US control.

Other countries are conspicuous by their absence from the rendition list: Sweden and Finland are present, but there is no evidence of Norwegian involvement. Similarly, while many Middle Eastern countries did become involved in the rendition program, Israel did not, according to the OSJI research.

Many of the countries on the list are European. Germany , Spain , Portugal and Austria are among them, but France , the Netherlands and Hungary are not. Georgia stands accused of involvement in rendition, but Russia does not.

Some countries, such as Poland , Lithuania and Romania , hosted secret prisons on their territory.

The OSJI reports that the UK supported CIA rendition operations, interrogated people being secretly detained, allowed the use of British airports and airspace, arranged for one man, Sami al-Saadi, to be rendered to Libya with his entire family, where he was subsequently tortured, and provided intelligence that allowed a second similar operation to take place.

Publication of the report appears to have been timed to coincide with the confirmation hearing on Thursday of John Brennan, Barack Obama's choice to head the CIA. Brennan is widely expected to be questioned about his association with the so-called enhanced interrogation policies adopted by Bush.

The OSJI report, Globalizing Torture , says the full scope of non-US government involvement may still remain unknown.

"Despite the efforts of the United States and its partner governments to withhold the truth about past and ongoing abuses, information relating to these abuses will continue to find its way into the public domain," the report says.

"At the same time, while US courts have closed their doors to victims of secret detention and extraordinary rendition operations, legal challenges to foreign government participation in these operations are being heard in courts around the world."

The OSJI is calling on the US government to repudiate the rendition program, close all its remaining secret prisons, mount a criminal investigation into human rights abuses – including those apparently endorsed by government lawyers – and create an independent and non-partisan commission to investigate and publicly report on the role that officials played in such abuses.

The organization is also calling on non-US governments to end their involvement in rendition operations, mount effective investigations – including criminal investigations – to hold those responsible to account, and institute safeguards to ensure that future counter-terrorism operations do not violate human rights standards.

Source:

[1] Open Society Foundations, Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI), February 2013, “Globalizing Torture: CIA Secret Detention and Extraordinary Rendition”,

http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/reports/globalizing-torture-cia-secret-detention-and-extraordinary-rendition

[2] guardian.co.uk, Feb 5, 2013 , “CIA rendition: more than a quarter of countries 'offered covert support'”, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/feb/05/cia-rendition-countries-covert-support

[Source: Countercurrents.org]

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