Extraordinary rendition

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The term extraordinary rendition is used to refer to a variety of practices involving the transfer of individuals from one country into another, without any form of judicial or administrative process such as extradition. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, the current policy in the U.S. traces its roots to the administration of former President Bill Clinton.[1] Beginning in the early 1990s the Central Intelligence Agency, together with other U.S. government agencies, has utilized an intelligence-gathering program involving the transfer of detainees into the custody of other states, taking custody of individuals from foreign authorities and abducting suspects on foreign soil, in contravention to the 1992 UN Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, and the draft International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. The process began with Clinton's approval of and Presidential Decision Directive 39 (PDD 39) [2] on 21 June 1995. Michael Scheuer, the CIA officer who launched the program in 1995 under the Clinton administration, responded to European critics of the program,

"The European Union's policy of easily attainable political asylum and its prohibition against deporting wanted or convicted terrorists to countries with the death penalty have made Europe a major, consistent, and invulnerable source of terrorist threat to the United States”.

Scheuer has criticized Washington Post reporter Dana Priest for revealing declassified ”information that damaged U.S. national security and, as result, won a journalism prize for abetting America’s enemies.” [3]

The evidence suggests this is intended as a form of 'torture export'; while carrying out torture against terrorists would be dangerous on American soil (as it would make the US government directly responsible), if it takes place in another country, which has less image to lose on the subject of human rights, it may not violate US law.[4]

The Council of Europe has criticized several European countries for allegations of extraordinary renditions and secret detentions,[5] as a severe breach of international law. A European Union Parliamentary investigation reported there is no evidence the CIA has shipped prisoners through European airports to secret detention centers or any evidence of illegal CIA activities. The investigations also have not turned up any proof of secret renditions of terror suspects on EU territory. [6]

See also


  1. ACLU Fact Sheet: Extraordinary Rendition (12/6/2005).
  2. Clinton Presidential Decision Directive - 39 Counterterrorism Policy, 21 June 1995.
  3. Accuracy in Media Special report, Post Reporter Dana Priest's Troubling Connections, Jennifer Verner, May 9, 2006.
  4. Amnesty International Yemen Case 1, August 2005.
  5. Council of Europe, Europe still lacks effective safeguards against rendition and secret detention, 14/02/2007.
  6. EU official: No evidence of illegal CIA action, Jan Silva, Associated Press, April 21, 2006.