David Johnston, New York Times, August 25, 2009
"The Obama administration will continue the Bush administration’s practice of sending terrorism suspects to third countries for detention and interrogation, but pledges to closely monitor their treatment to ensure that they are not tortured, administration officials said Monday.
"Human rights advocates condemned the decision, saying that continuing the practice, known as rendition, would still allow the transfer of prisoners to countries with a history of torture. They said that promises from other countries of humane treatment, called “diplomatic assurances,” were no protection against abuse....
"The announcement, by President Obama’s Interrogation and Transfer Policy Task Force, seemed intended in part to offset the impact of the release on Monday of a long-withheld report by the C.I.A. inspector general, written in 2004, that offered new details about the brutal tactics used by the C.I.A. in interrogating terrorism detainees."
Luke Baker, Reuters, February 25, 2009
"Abuse of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay has worsened sharply since President Barack Obama took office as prison guards 'get their kicks in' before the camp is closed, according to a lawyer who represents detainees....
"He stressed the mistreatment did not appear to be directed from above, but was an initiative undertaken by frustrated U.S. army and navy jailers on the ground. It did not seem to be a reaction against the election of Obama, a Democrat who has pledged to close the prison camp within a year, but rather a realization that there was little time remaining before the last 241 detainees, all Muslim, are released.
"'It's "hey, let's have our fun while we can,"' said [Ahmed] Ghappour, who helped secure the release this week of Binyam Mohamed, a British resident freed from Guantanamo Bay after more than four years in detention without trial or charge. 'I can't really imagine why you would get your kicks from abusing prisoners, but certainly, having spoken to certain guards who have been injured in Iraq, who indirectly or directly blame my clients for their injuries and the trauma they have suffered, it's not too difficult to put two and two together'....
"Ghappour said he had filed two complaints of serious detainee abuse since December 22 but received no response from U.S. authorities. In one case his client had his knee, shoulder and thumb dislocated by a group of guards, Ghappour said."
Evan Perez, Wall Street Journal, February 10, 2009
"The Obama administration backed the Bush administration's arguments in a lawsuit involving the practice of seizing terror suspects abroad and sending them to third countries for questioning.
"The case involves five men who claim U.S. operatives abducted them and sent them to be tortured in other countries. The men are suing a unit of Boeing Co., which they say provided aircraft to the Central Intelligence Agency for the 'extraordinary rendition' program. Boeing declined to comment on the case.
"Monday, Justice Department lawyers told the Ninth Circuit federal appeals court in San Francisco that the government believes state secrets and national security would be put at risk if the court allows the suit to proceed. That is the same argument the department used under President George W. Bush."
Obama's State Secrets Slipup Means We Need to be Louder, Huffington Post
Greg Miller, Los Angeles Times, February 1, 2009
"Under executive orders he issued last week, the CIA still has authority to carry out what are known as "renditions" – secret abductions and transfers of prisoners to countries that cooperate with the United States.
"Current and former U.S. intelligence officials said that the rendition program may play an expanded role because it is the main remaining mechanism – aside from Predator missile strikes – for taking suspected terrorists off the street."