Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, the Central Intelligence Agency embarked on a highly classified program of secret detention and extraordinary rendition of terrorist suspects. The program was designed to place detainee interrogations beyond the reach of law. Suspected terrorists were seized and secretly flown across national borders to be interrogated by foreign governments that used torture, or by the CIA itself in clandestine “black sites” using torture techniques.
“Globalizing Torture” is a new report written by Amrit Singh, senior legal officer at the National Security and Counterterrorism program at the Open Society Justice Initiative.
This is the most comprehensive account yet assembled of the human rights abuses associated with CIA secret detention and extraordinary rendition operations. It details for the first time what was done to the 136 known victims, and lists the 54 foreign governments that participated in these operations. It shows that responsibility for the abuses lies not only with the United States but with dozens of foreign governments that were complicit. These governments were complicity in the secret CIA torture programme included hosting CIA prisons on their territories; detaining, interrogating, torturing, and abusing individuals; assisting the CIA in the capture and transportation of detainees; permitting the use of their airspace and airports for secret CIA flights transporting detainees; providing intelligence leading to the CIA’s secret detention and extraordinary rendition of individuals; and interrogating individuals who were being secretly held in the custody of other governments.
More than 10 years after the 2001 attacks, ‘Globalizing Torture’ makes it unequivocally clear that the time has come for the United States and its partners to definitively repudiate these illegal practices and secure accountability for the associated human rights abuses.
One of the victims of the CIA programme was Khaled El-Masri, a German citizen, who was arrested, held in isolation, questioned and ill-treated in a hotel in the Macedonian capital Skopje for 23 days, according to the European Court of Human Rights. He was then transferred to CIA agents who stripped, beat, shackled, made to wear nappies and drugged him and flew him to a secret detention facility in Afghanistan, where he was further ill-treated for over four months. After finally realising their victim was entirely innocent, he was dumped on a road in Albania.
Governments of the following countries were complicit in the secret CIA torture programme: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, Republic of Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Libya, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malawi, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, Yemen and Zimbabwe.