PBS Frontline: Extraordinary Rendition

[media id=3134] [media id=3135] On Tuesday PBS Frontline: "Extraordinary Rendition" explored Bush's use of the CIA to kidnap persons from sovereign

icon Download icon Download

On Tuesday PBS Frontline: "Extraordinary Rendition" explored Bush's use of the CIA to kidnap persons from sovereign nations and fly them to secret locations at CIA Black Sites or to prisons in other countries to be tortured and held indefinitely in secret without charges. Although the practice of "extraordinary rendition" did not originate under Bush, after Sept 11 "the program expanded beyond recognition—becoming, according to a former C.I.A. official, "an abomination." What began as a program aimed at a small, discrete set of suspects—people against whom there were outstanding foreign arrest warrants—came to include a wide and ill-defined population that the Administration terms "illegal enemy combatants."

Ill defined doesn't really begin to cover it. In the two cases looked at in this clip, both men had actually previously been informants helping in the fight against terrorism prior to 9-11. Abu Omar had once been the "CIA's most productive source of information" on a group of Islamic fundamentalists living in Albania, and Bisher al-Rawi had been a source for the MI5, helping keep tabs on Muslim extremists in the UK. Evidence in Italy's case against 26 CIA operatives charged in Abu Omar's kidnapping shows "that the abduction was a bold attempt to turn him back into the informer he once was," not for his suspected ties to terrorism, and Al-Rawi believes he too was held "just on the hope he'd offer new intelligence."

Both men have since been released without ever having been charged with anything, as were most of the hundreds of so-called "enemy combatants" held without due process by the Bush administration that have been released thus far. And if just wanting someone to become a potential informant being enough to get someone kidnapped and tortured wasn't heinous enough for you, the documentary (which you can watch online) also tells the story of the US's involvement in the (outsourced?) rendition and detention of the "wife and three children of a senior al-Qaeda suspect" in Somalia. Was Mukasey ever asked his opinion about the legality of any of that?


About Bill W.

Comments

We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.