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Rendition to Torture

Rendition to Torture

Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Pages: 248
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  • Book Info
    Rendition to Torture
    Book Description:

    Universally condemned and everywhere illegal, torture goes on in democracies as well as in dictatorships. Nonetheless, many Americans were surprised following the attacks of 9/11 at how easily the United States embraced torture as well as the supposedly lesser evil of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. Nothing seemed extreme when it came to questioning real and imagined terrorists. Extraordinary rendition-sending people captured in the "war on terror" to nations long counted among the world's worst human rights violators-hid from the public eye cruel and bloody interrogations. "Torture lite" or "torture without marks" became the norm for those in American custody.InRendition to Torture, Alan W. Clarke explains how the United States adopted torture as a matter of official policy; how and why it turned to extraordinary rendition as a way to outsource more extreme, mutilating forms of torture; and outlines the steps the United States took to hide its abuses. Many adverse consequences attended American use of torture. False information gleaned from torture was used to justify the Iraq war, adding potency to the charge that the war was illegal under international law. Moreover, European nations and Canada aided, abetted, and became thoroughly enmeshed in U.S.-led torture and renditions, thereby spreading both the problem and the blame for this practice. Clarke offers an extended critique of these activities, placing them in historical and legal context as well as in transnational and comparative perspective.

    eISBN: 978-0-8135-5312-2
    Subjects: Law, Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  5. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-15)

    Universally condemned and everywhere considered illegal, torture goes on and on in liberal Western democracies as well as in dictatorships. Nonetheless, many people were surprised following the terrorist attacks of 9/11 at how easily the United States embraced torture and its pitiless lesser cousin, cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. Nothing seemed extreme when it came to questioning real and imagined terrorists.

    Extraordinary rendition to nations long counted among the world’s worst human rights violators hid the crueler and cruder interrogations while “torture lite” or “torture without marks” became the norm for detainees in U.S. custody. Democratic U.S. allies not only...

  6. 2 Cultivating a Torture Culture
    (pp. 16-59)

    QUESTION: Mr. President, I wanted to return to the question of torture…. When you say that you want the U.S. to adhere to international and U.S. laws, that’s not very comforting. This is a moral question: Is torture ever justified?

    PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Maybe I can be more clear. The instructions went out to our people to adhere to law. That ought to comfort you. We’re a nation of law. We adhere to laws. We have laws on the books. You might look at those laws, and that might provide comfort for you. And those were the instructions out...

  7. 3 From Eichmann and Carlos “the Jackal” to Reagan and Clinton
    (pp. 60-90)

    If any principle of international law seemed certain prior to the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, it was that no nation could lawfully send people to places where they would face torture. Given then-president George W. Bush’s longstanding rhetorical posture against torture and his attempts to eliminate torture worldwide, the United States might have seemed a most unlikely candidate to abduct people and send them to third countries for interrogations using torture as well as cruel, inhumane, and degrading interrogations.¹ President Bush told high school seniors designated Presidential Scholars (one from each state) that...

  8. 4 Significant U.S. Renditions to Torture
    (pp. 91-116)

    It seems easy for those not immediately affected to forget the fear and anger following the terrible events of September 11, 2001, and to fail to appreciate the pressure put on the Bush administration, the public’s enthusiastic approval of that administration’s robust response, and the general trust in the government’s approach to the war on terror.¹ Plainly, the Bush administration had a broad mandate from a frightened American public to “bring [the] terrorists to justice,”² and it did so by, among other things, promulgating a secret order that allowed the CIA to establish “secret detention facilities outside the United States,...

  9. 5 State Secrets Privilege Trumps Justice: Mohamed v. Jeppesen Dataplan
    (pp. 117-134)

    That U.S. intelligence agents kidnapped and rendered people to bloody, medieval torture in countries such as Egypt and Morocco will not surprise anyone who regularly reads a newspaper. The U.S. government no longer contests the basic facts about its extraordinary rendition program. Nonetheless, the government continually invokes the state secrets privilege whenever its battered victims seek compensation in its courts.¹ U.S. courts acquiesce in this tactic, using an overbroad construction of the privilege to scuttle all such cases.² In contrast, our closest allies, the United Kingdom and Canada, while far from perfect, do not allow state secrets to destroy civil...

  10. 6 The Illegality of the Iraq War and How Rendition Sparked It
    (pp. 135-158)

    Before the coalition of the willing invaded Afghanistan (and later Iraq), Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld told President George W. Bush that “international law allowed the use of force only to prevent future attacks and not for retribution.”² President Bush responded, “I don’t care what the international lawyers say, we are going to kick some ass.”³ At a meeting of his national security advisors on September 11, 2001, he said, “Any barriers in your way, they’re gone.”⁴ It is now well understood that while 9/11 forced the United States to first deal with Afghanistan, Iraq was always the preferred target.⁵...

  11. 7 European and Canadian Complicity in Rendition and Torture
    (pp. 159-180)

    A U.S.-centered focus on rendition to torture, with the occasional spotlight on allied complicity—such as Canada’s role in Maher Arar’s rendition to and torture in Syria, or Italy’s part in Abu Omar’s abduction and transfer to Egyptian torture chambers—fails to capture the extent of allied collusion. Aided and abetted in countless ways, large and small, allied participation in renditions and torture cannot be adequately captured by isolated anecdotes. The United States could not have succeeded in rendering so many to such brutal confinements without the direct help, and a sizable dollop of deliberate indifference, of its democratic friends...

  12. NOTES
    (pp. 181-222)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 223-230)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 231-232)