Outsourcing Torture: 50 Countries Complicit In Extraordinary Rendition

Mick Meaney

For the first time, a report from the Open Society Foundation (PDF) reveals the scale of global CIA torture. At least 50 countries took part in “extraordinary rendition” following the 9/11 attacks, which involved taking detainees to and from U.S. custody without any legal process.

So far, the foundation has discovered the following countries, but admits there might be several that have not been uncovered yet.

Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Libya, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malawi, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, Yemen, and Zimbabwe.

The new report found that 136 people experienced extraordinary rendition, across 54 countries.

The use of torture has long been debated, with little evidence to support its effectiveness.

The report acknowledges the legal and moral implications of the practice:

Torture is not only illegal and immoral, but also ineffective for producing reliable intelligence. Indeed, numerous professional U.S. interrogators have confirmed  that torture does not produce reliable intelligence, and that rapport-building techniques are far more effective at eliciting such intelligence.

It also highlights the dangerous ramifications of torture:

A telling example of the disastrous consequences of extraordinary rendition operations can be seen in the case of Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi, documented in this report. After being extraordinarily rendered by the United States to Egypt in 2002, al-Libi, under threat of torture at the hands of Egyptian officials, fabricated information relating to Iraq’s provision of chemical and biological weapons training to Al Qaeda. In 2003, then Secretary of State Colin Powell relied on this fabricated information in his speech to the United Nations that made the case for war against Iraq.

As for Britain’s role in extraordinary rendition,  the foundation states:

The U.K. government assisted in the extraordinary rendition of individuals, gave the CIA intelligence that led to the extraordinary rendition of individuals, interrogated individuals who were later secretly detained and extraordinarily rendered, submitted questions for interrogation of individuals who were secretly detained and extraordinarily rendered, and permitted use of its airspace and airports for flights associated with extraordinary rendition operations.

The report also mentions the case of Sami al-Saadi, which  RINF reported on in December 2012. The British government had bought the silence of a torture victim, in an attempt to conceal its crimes against humanity.