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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Extraordinary Rendition or The Disappeared

The following is a brief excerpt from the report on Extraordinary Rendition prepared by Swiss Senator Dick Marty. The entire report can be found at this link

Marty report


(NOTE: The numbers 84-87 refer to sections indicated in the report. The numbers beginning with 62 refer to footnotes found at the end of the report.)

84. The “security check” used by the CIA to prepare a detainee for transport on a rendition plane was described to us by one source in the American intelligence community as a “twenty-minute takeout”62. His explanation was that within a very short space of time, a detainee is transformed into a state of almost total immobility and sensory deprivation. “The CIA can do three of these guys in an hour. In twenty minutes they’re good to go.”63 An investigating officer for the Swedish Ombudsman was struck by the “fast and efficient procedure” used by the American agents64, while the Swedish interpreter who witnessed the CIA operation at Bromma Airport said simply: “it surprised me how the heck they could have dressed him so fast”65.

85. The general characteristics of this “security check” can be established from a host of testimonies as follows66:

i. it generally takes place in a small room (a locker room, a police reception area) at the airport, or at a transit facility nearby.

ii. the man is sometimes already blindfolded when the operation begins, or will be blindfolded quickly and remain so throughout most of the operation.

iii. four to six CIA agents perform the operation in a highly-disciplined, consistent fashion – they are dressed in black (either civilian clothes or special 'uniforms'), wearing black gloves, with their full faces covered. Testimonies speak, variously, of “big people in black balaclavas”67, people “dressed in black like ninjas”68, or people wearing “ordinary clothes, but hooded”69.

iv. the CIA agents “don’t utter a word when they communicate with one another”70, using only hand signals or simply knowing their roles implicitly.

v. some men speak of being punched or shoved by the agents at the beginning of the operation in a rough or brutal fashion71; others talked about being gripped firmly from several sides

vi. the man’s hands and feet are shackled.

vii. the man has all his clothes (including his underwear) cut from his body using knives or scissors in a careful, methodical fashion; an eye-witness described how “someone was taking these clothes and feeling every part, you know, as if there was something inside the clothes, and then putting them in a bag”72.

viii. the man is subjected to a full-body cavity search, which also entails a close examination of his hair, ears, mouth and lips.

ix. the man is photographed with a flash camera, including when he is nearly73 or totally naked74; in some instances, the man's blindfold may be removed for the purpose of a photograph in which his face is also identifiable75.

x. some accounts speak of a foreign object being forcibly inserted into the man's anus; some accounts speak more specifically of a tranquiliser or suppository being administered per rectum76 - in each description this practice has been perceived as a grossly violating act that affronts the man’s dignity.

xi. the man is then dressed in a nappy or incontinence pad and a loose-fitting "jump-suit" or set of overalls; “they put diapers on him and then there is some handling with these handcuffs and foot chains, because first they put them on and then they are supposed to put him in overalls, so then they have to alternately unlock and relock them”77.

xii. the man has his ears muffled, sometimes being made to wear a pair of "headphones"78

xiii. finally a cloth bag is placed over the man's head, with no holes through which to breathe or detect light; they “put a blindfold on him and after that a hood that apparently reaches far down on his body” 79.

xiv. the man is typically forced aboard a waiting aeroplane, where he may be “placed on a stretcher, shackled”80, or strapped to a mattress or seat, or “laid down on the floor of the plane and they bind him up in a very uncomfortable position that makes him hurt from moving”81.

xv. in some cases the man is drugged and experiences little or nothing of the actual rendition flight82; in other cases, factors such as the pain of the shackles or the refusal to drink water or use the toilet make the flight unbearable: “this was the hardest moment in my life”83.

xvi. in most cases, the man has no notion of where he is going, nor the fate that awaits him upon arrival.

86. This manner of treating detainees has been heavily criticised by the lawyers of many of the persons subjected to rendition. In his testimony to the Swedish Ombudsman, Kjell J├Ânsson, the Swedish lawyer for Mohamed Alzery84, stated his concern that the measures taken before the rendition were disproportionate to the security needs: “from Alzery’s point of view it would have been perfectly enough to ask him to co-operate and he would have done that just like he always has done before”85.

87. Perhaps the most troubling aspect of this systematic practice, however, is that it appears to be intended to humiliate. Many accounts speak of these measures being taken despite ‘strong resistance’, both physical and verbal, on the part of the detainee. The nudity, forced shackling ‘like an animal’86 and being forced to wear nappies appear offensive to the notions of dignity held by the detainees. In my view it is simply not acceptable in Council of Europe member States for security services, whether European or foreign, to treat people in a manner that amounts to such “extreme humiliation”87.

Do you think this procedure complies with the 4th Amendment of the U.S Constitution?

1 comment:

elendil said...

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and a few other NGOs, have designated June Torture Awareness Month. We've created a blogroll you can join if you're interested. You can find it here. The idea is that everyone is linked to from the blogroll, and in exchange, you discuss torture (as you already do), and link to the Torture Awareness site to help support the NGOs.

There's a lot of bloggers concerned about human rights abuse in the War on Terror. If we coordinate, we can show our support and help Amnesty and HRW make Torture Awareness Month a success.