An innocuous-sounding euphemism, a “rendition” is the act of kidnapping a person on the street and whisking them off to God-knows-where so they can be tortured questioned. It’s the kind of thing I’d expect to read about in Peron’s Aregntina or Kim’s North Korea. But 911 changed everything, and now, as we all know, the US is doing it, too.

The CIA’s independent watchdog is investigating fewer than 10 cases where terror suspects may have been mistakenly swept away to foreign countries by the spy agency, a figure lower than published reports but enough to raise some concerns.

After the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001,
President Bush gave the CIA authority to conduct the now-controversial operations, called “renditions,” and permitted the agency to act without case-by-case approval from the White House or other administration offices.

The highly classified practice involves grabbing terror suspects off the street of one country and flying them to their home country or another where they are wanted for a crime or questioning.

Some 100 to 150 people have been snatched up since 9/11. Government officials say the action is reserved for those considered by the CIA to be the most serious terror suspects.

Bush has said that these transfers to other countries — with assurances the terror suspects won’t be tortured — are a way to protect the United States and its allies from attack. “That was the charge we have been given,” he said in March.

At least we’re investigating it. But really, this notion of Presidential Infallibility has got to stop. How can we blast North Korea for kidnapping Japanese sunbathers and shipping them to Pyonyang to teach Japanese? And yes, I know we’re kidnapping “suspected terrorists,” but there’s a reason we have legal processes, to protect the innocent. But since when have we cared about that?

Imagine being the family member of an innocent man swept off to some gulag to be tortured for…nothing? And we just shrug and mumble, “Well, sometimes mistakes are made.” It’s so unreal, so un-American, so…so…so Bush.

The Discussion: 3 Comments

I agree totally that the legal processes should be followed to the letter. Once that is accomplished, I have absolutely nothing against rendition. Not to terminating some terrorist SOB.

December 28, 2005 @ 7:55 pm | Comment

What about when innocents are “renditioned”? Totally innocent people in the wrong place at the wrong time.

December 28, 2005 @ 8:09 pm | Comment

“Some 100 to 150 people have been snatched up since 9/11. Government officials say the action is reserved for those considered by the CIA to be the most serious terror suspects.”

The numbers that I have put the number closer to 500 kidnappings.

A load of European plane spotter have been geting together and are now tracking planes involved in operation rendition all across Europe. There was quite a buzz there recently, especially in Italy, where they have put out arrest warrents for about 20 CIA men accussed of kidnapping. Though I can’t see Washington handing them over any time soon.

I have some photos of the main CIA transport plane plus its ID details if anybody is interested (drop by my blog and make a request).

January 2, 2006 @ 2:55 am | Comment

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