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More Than 50 Countries Helped the CIA Outsource Torture | Danger Room |

More Than 50 Countries Helped the CIA Outsource Torture Danger Room Wired com


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In the years after 9/11, the CIA ran a worldwide program to hold and interrogate suspected members of al-Qaida, sometimes brutally. It wasn’t alone: The agency had literally dozens of partners that helped in ways large and small. Only it’s never been clear just how many nations enabled CIA capture and torture; cooperated with it; or carried it out on behalf of the U.S. — until now.

A new report from the Open Society Foundation details the CIA’s effort to outsource torture since 9/11 in excruciating detail. Known as “extraordinary rendition,” the practice concerns taking detainees to and from U.S. custody without a legal process — think of it like an off-the-books extradition — and often entailed handing detainees over to countries that practiced torture. The Open Society Foundation found that 136 people went through the post-9/11 extraordinary rendition, and 54 countries were complicit in it.

Some were official U.S. adversaries, like Iran and Syria, brought together with the CIA by the shared interest of combating terrorism. “By engaging in torture and other abuses associated with secret detention and extraordinary rendition,” writes chief Open Society Foundation investigator Amrit Singh in a report released early Tuesday, “the U.S. government violated domestic and international law, thereby diminishing its moral standing and eroding support for its counterterrorism efforts worldwide as these abuses came to light.”

Iran didn’t do any torturing on behalf of the CIA. Instead, it quietly transferred at least 15 of its own detainees to Afghan custody in March 2002. Six of those found their way into the CIA’s secret prisons. “Because the hand-over happened soon after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan,” Singh writes, “Iran was aware that the United States would have effective control over any detainees handed over to Afghan authorities.” At least one of those detainees, Tawfik al-Bihani, ended up at Guantanamo Bay, where his official file makes no mention of his time with the CIA.

Wow. America leads the world. And which is why it is possible to lead the world astray.

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