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The government kidnaps and tortures at least 136 individuals. Many of these people were completely innocent. Are you outraged?

Posted on: February 8, 2013

20 Facts About Extraordinary Rendition, Torture, and Secret Detention

John Glaser, February 05, 2013

According to a new report by the Open Society Justice Initiative, the CIA rendered at least 136 individuals and at least 54 governments around the world participated in the program. Many of these people were completely innocent, something the CIA’s Office of Inspector General called “erroneous renditions” in their investigation of the program.

Read of the report in the New York Times here. Read it in full here.

Below are 20 findings covered in the report, provided by Open Society:

1. At least 136 individuals were reportedly extraordinarily rendered or secretly detained by the CIA and at least 54 governments reportedly participated in the CIA’s secret detention and extraordinary rendition program; classified government documents may reveal many more.

2. A series of Department of Justice memoranda authorized torture methods that the CIA applied on detainees. The Bush Administration referred to these methods as “enhanced interrogation techniques.” “Enhanced interrogation techniques” included “walling” (quickly pulling the detainee forward and then thrusting him against a flexible false wall), “water dousing,” “waterboarding,” “stress positions” (forcing the detainee to remain in body positions designed to induce physical discomfort), “wall standing” (forcing the detainee to remain standing with his arms outstretched in front of him so that his fingers touch a wall five four to five feet away and support his entire body weight), “cramped confinement” in a box, “insult slaps,” (slapping the detainee on the face with fingers spread), “facial hold” (holding a detainee’s head temporarily immobile during interrogation with palms on either side of the face), “attention grasp” (grasping the detainee with both hands, one hand on each side of the collar opening, and quickly drawing him toward the interrogator), forced nudity, sleep deprivation while being vertically shackled, and dietary manipulation.

3. President Bush has stated that about a hundred detainees were held under the CIA secret detention program, about a third of whom were questioned using “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

4. The CIA’s Office of Inspector General has reportedly investigated a number of “erroneous renditions” in which the CIA had abducted and detained the wrong people. A CIA officer told the Washington Post: “They picked up the wrong people, who had no information. In many, many cases there was only some vague association” with terrorism.

5. German national Khaled El-Masri was seized in Macedonia because he had been mistaken for an Al Qaeda suspect with a similar name. He was held incommunicado and abused in Macedonia and in secret CIA detention in Afghanistan. On December 13, 2012, the European Court of Human Rights held that Macedonia had violated El-Masri’s rights under the European Convention on Human Rights, and found that his ill-treatment by the CIA at Skopje airport in Macedonia amounted to torture.

6. Wesam Abdulrahman Ahmed al-Deemawi was seized in Iran and held for 77 days in the CIA’s “Dark Prison” in Afghanistan. He was later held in Bagram for 40 days and subjected to sleep deprivation, hung from the ceiling by his arms in the “strappado” position, threatened by dogs, made to watch torture videos, and subjected to sounds of electric sawing accompanied by cries of pain.

7. Several former interrogators and counterterrorism experts have confirmed that “coercive interrogation” is ineffective. Col. Steven Kleinman, Jack Cloonan, and Matthew Alexander stated in a letter to Congress that that U.S. interrogation policy “came with heavy costs” and that “[k]ey allies, in some instances, refused to share needed intelligence, terrorists attacks increased world wide, and Al Qaeda and like-minded groups recruited a new generation of Jihadists.”

8. After being extraordinarily rendered by the United States to Egypt in 2002, Ibn al-Shaykh 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.

9. Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded at least 83 times by the CIA. FBI interrogator Ali Soufan testified before Congress that he elicited “actionable intelligence” from Zubaydah using rapport-building techniques but that Zubaydah “shut down” after he was waterboarded.

10. Torture is prohibited in all circumstances under international law and allegations of torture must be investigated and criminally punished. The United States prosecuted Japanese interrogators for “waterboarding” U.S. prisoners during World War II.

11. On November 20, 2002, Gul Rahman froze to death in a secret CIA prison in Afghanistan called the “Salt Pit,” after a CIA case officer ordered guards to strip him naked, chain him to the concrete floor, and leave him there overnight without blankets.

12. Fatima Bouchar was abused by the CIA, and by persons believed to be Thai authorities, for several days in the Bangkok airport. Bouchar reported she was chained to a wall and not fed for five days, at a time when she was four-and-a-half months pregnant. After that she was extraordinarily rendered to Libya.

13. Syria was one of the “most common destinations for rendered suspects,” as were Egypt and Jordan. One Syrian prison facility contained individual cells that were roughly the size of coffins. Detainees report incidents of torture involving a chair frame used to stretch the spine (the “German chair”) and beatings.

14. Muhammed al-Zery and Ahmed Agiza, while seeking asylum in Sweden, were extraordinarily rendered to Egypt where they were tortured with shocks to their genitals. Al-Zery was also forced to lie on an electrified bed frame.

15. Abu Omar, an Italian resident, was abducted from the streets of Milan, extraordinarily rendered to Egypt, and secretly detained for fourteen months while Egyptian agents interrogated and tortured him by subjecting him to electric shocks. An Italian court convicted in absentia 22 CIA agents and one Air Force pilot for their roles in the extraordinary rendition of Abu Omar.

16. Known black sites—secret prisons run by the CIA on foreign soil—existed in Afghanistan, Lithuania, Morocco, Poland, Romania, and Thailand.

17. Abd al Rahim al Nashiri was secretly detained in various black sites. While secretly detained in Poland, U.S. interrogators subjected al Nashiri to a mock execution with a power drill as he stood naked and hooded; racked a semi-automatic handgun close to his head as he sat shackled before them; held him in “standing stress positions;” and threatened to bring in his mother and sexually abuse her in front of him.

18. President Obama’s 2009 Executive Order repudiating torture does not repudiate the CIA extraordinary rendition program. It was specifically crafted to preserve the CIA’s authority to detain terrorist suspects on a short-term, transitory basis prior to rendering them to another country for interrogation or trial.

19. President Obama’s 2009 Executive Order also established an interagency task force to review interrogation and transfer policies and issue recommendations on “the practices of transferring individuals to other nations.” The interagency task force report was issued in 2009, but continues to be withheld from the public. It appears that the U.S. intends to continue to rely on anti-torture diplomatic assurances from recipient countries and post-transfer monitoring of detainee treatment, but those methods were not effective safeguards against torture for Maher Arar, who was tortured in Syria, or Ahmed Agiza and Muhammed al-Zery, who were tortured in Egypt.

20. The Senate Select Intelligence Committee has completed a 6,000 page report that further details the CIA detention and interrogation operations with access to classified sources. However, the report itself remains classified.

Source: Antiwar Blog


4 Responses to "The government kidnaps and tortures at least 136 individuals. Many of these people were completely innocent. Are you outraged?"

I’m not outraged. I’m not shocked. I’m not surprised. History shows us that this is the way it has always been.

On April 11, 1880, General William Tecumseh Sherman addressed a crowd of more than ten thousand in Columbus, Ohio, and said, “There is many a body here today who looks on war as glory, but, boys, it is all hell.”

Sherman knew what he was talking about. War is hell and that hell will always be with us unless we genetically alter human DNA for every child born on the earth and that isn’t going to happen.

For example, there was the Catholic Church torturing during the Inquisitions and that was the Church—the one founded on the teachings of Jesus Christ, who by all accounts was a pacifist.

In a paper written by David A. Plaisted in 2006 on page three (3) of this heavily researched report, “”more than fifty millions of human family, have been slaughtered for the crime of heresy by popish persecutors, an average of more than forty thousand religious murders for every year of the existence of the popery.”

And the worst torture was used before these people died. And today, softhearted, pampered American citizens complain about a few hundred that were tortured mostly with water boarding and I suspect none or few of those people died from that torture.

At least in the CIA torturing they had a reason—to discover terrorist plans.

Is it right? NO Will innocent people suffer? YES Is that wrong? YES

In war, innocent noncombatants can not avoid being killed, being tortured, being raped.

This is what life is like when we wage war. It is hell. It is insanity. It is a fact of life and all the outrage in the world will not change that.

When I was serving in Vietnam as a U.S. Marine, we fought in a joint operation with our allies from South Korea. I witnessed South Korean troops torturing a suspected Vietcong to get information. That prisoner would have welcomed electric shock and waterboarding compared to what our South Korean allies did to him and the South Koreans got the information they wanted in less than a half hour from one of the other prisoners who could not talk fast enough to avoid ending up the same way. And what the South Koreans learned turned out to be true because the other prisoner did not want them to come back to him if they learned what he said was a lie.

During the Vietnam War, the US dropped 7 million tons of bombs on Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam and millions of those bombs that hit the ground did not explode—especially cluster bombs that are designed only to explode when someone steps on one—are still there blowing off legs and arms and sometimes killing innocent people decades later. That’s wrong too but that isn’t going to stop the horror of war and the suffering that comes with it.

The reality of war compared to what idealists want war to be is a harsh reality to live with. It would be nice if that idealism worked and we could all live the ideal existence and coexist in harmony, but that ain’t going to happen and anyone that tries living that life in a time of war will end up just like those early Christians that were fed to lions in the Colosseum in Rome.


Thanks for the comments. Your comments covered a number of issues, so I will try to break them down as I respond.

Your opening sentence quote is “…this is the way it has always been.” My blog post was about CIA capture and torture of 136 individuals that were completely innocent. If the CIA has always been capturing and torturing people, since 1947, I hope and pray that Americans decry this criminal organization. What moral high ground is possible when Americans endorse torture? I’d recommend some reading of moral hazard of torture. Also of interest may be CIA Atrocities.

Your second paragraph speak to Sherman and war is hell. Yep, war is hell and Sherman was a madman and a war criminal. While he may have been an incredible tactician, he committed horrific crimes during his prosecution of the war against the South. I know that the winners write the history books, but the truth is still the truth. Please read this brief on Sherman’s War Crimes. Sherman also stole private property and promised freed slaves “40 aces and a mule”. Thankfully most of the stolen land was returned to the rightful owners. For reference, please refer to Sherman’s Special Field Orders.

Your third paragraph discusses “torture” done during the Inquisitions and the Roman Catholic Church. I am unable to understand if you are endorsing their methods or attacking the Catholic Church. Regardless, my blog post had nothing to do with things that occurred 800 years ago.

In paragraph 4, you comment on “softhearted, pampered American citizens”, CIA tortures to discover terrorist plans and “innocent combatants”. If having a moral compass is softhearted, I hope you find your true North. CIA is a terrorist organization and has supported Al-CIA-ada (Afghanistan & Libya to name a few). Lastly, I just find the term “innocent combatants” ludicrous.

Your last few paragraphs tell a tale about South Koreans torturing Vietnamese to stop some “terrorist” attack and how USA, Inc dropped 7 million bombs. A few questions. Why were South Koreans in Vietnam? Where they brought in by USA, Inc, so USA, Inc wouldn’t be accused of torture. Why did we drop 7 million bombs on three countries? Is that a war crime? Why were we in Vietnam anyway? Was it worth 54,000 American lives? A 20 year war with MILLIONS killed and injured and you justify torture by a third party to potentially stop an attack in war because USA, Inc wanted plausible deniability.

As a final note, we can never win an unjust war of aggression. We can never win a war against an elusive boogeyman named “terror”. We can never win a war when we torture and drone attack innocents. May God have mercy on us.

awesome comments, just because something always has been doesn’t mean it should always continue, and kidnapping is wrong period, no justifcation for it. I am guessing they simply picked some poor slob for practice and nothering more. it had nothing to do with gettng info. and everything with training the agents to be cruel and heartless. people lie when they want to get out of trouble and they want to get out of trouble, they knew what they were doing was wrong.

Roberta: Thanks for the comments!

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