In April, 2007, then-director of the CIA George Tenet was on 60 Minutes where he angrily exclaimed, “We do not torture!” Only a few months after this, President Bush echoed this sentiment when he said, “this government does not torture people.” Even at this time, these statements were known to be lies, since the torture and prisoner abuse at Abu Graib had already been discovered. In spite of this, the U.S. government still held firmly to their lie and attempted to distort the issue by simply using the terms “enhanced interrogation,” instead of saying torture. In addition, they maintained that their torturous ways had successfully disrupted many different terrorist plots, for which no evidence exists. We also now know that during this time, the CIA was using rendition in Poland.
Perhaps you have never heard of the term ‘rendition,’ although some people are also aware of this activity that the U.S. government is guilty of committing. Rendition, or in this case extraordinary rendition, is the secretive kidnapping of a criminal or terrorist suspect, and bringing this person to a country which is more lax in their laws regarding humane treatment of prisoners. They do this so that they can torture the suspects.
The process of “rendering” the suspect is illegal according to international law, and the torture aspect is also against international law as well as being prohibited by the US Constitution (which guarantees due process of law). When the CIA renders someone, they do not receive a fair jury trial at all: they are kidnapped, tortured, and the entire process is done with the utmost secrecy.
Recently, the European Court of Human Rights unanimously condemned the US government for it’s implementing a program of rendition and torture, as well as condemning Poland for it’s role in the program by hosting a secret torture prison, aka a CIA “black site”, on its own soil. The rulings were delivered as the result of the cases of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri and Abu Zubaydah, both of whom were accused of being involved in terrorist organizations.
Al-Nashiri is a Saudi national who was accused of masterminding the attack on the USS Cole in 2000. Zubaydah was mistakenly accused of being al-Qaeda’s number 3. Both of these men are currently being held at Guantanamo Bay, but they spent over 4 years in black sites where they were subjected to torture. It is truly shameful that the Polish government allowed such torture to take place, when only 70 years ago the country was home to Auschwitz, the concentration camp set up by the Nazis where horrendous torture and murder took place.
Most recently, the CIA has admitted to hacking computers of US Senators in order to find out what would be included in a report on torture practices that the Senate was preparing. Unfortunately there is no mention of any criminal prosecution efforts towards the CIA, even though they repeatedly lied about their hacking into Senate computers. CIA director John Brennan lied outright when asked about the hacking just a few months ago when he said “As far as the allegations of the CIA hacking into Senate computers, nothing could be further from the truth. …That’s beyond the scope of reason.” Meanwhile, the NSA continues to destroy records they were ordered to turn over. All in all, it doesn’t look good for the U.S. citizens.