Renditions And Secret Prisons
Renditions And Secret Prisons
Clive Stafford-Smith (Human Rights Lawyer) gives expert video advice on: What is extraordinary rendition?; Do you believe there are other secret prisons holding people across the globe?; How many people are being held without charge worldwide? and more...
What is extraordinary rendition?
Well extraordinary rendition is a total misnomer for two reasons. One is why is it extraordinary? Any rendition is extraordinary. The word rendition is totally unnecessary. We have a useful term for it that we have used for many years. It is called kidnapping. That sums up what is going on. We do not need this legal term extraordinary rendition. Rendition is when you take someone without legal process from one country, and you take him against his will to another country or another place. You interrogate them and abuse them. That has been the crime of kidnapping for many many years and so you get the death penalty for that in some American states. I can only wish that George W. Bush would think twice. Perhaps we should put him on trial for some capital defense. I would defend even him, for the death penalty, believe me.
Do you believe there are other secret prisons holding people across the globe?
Yeah, off course, there are dozens of secret prisons. It's not that I believe it. I know it. And the United States has admitted it on numerous occasions, you know, secret prisons. There are many in Iraq, there are many in Afghanistan. We know that Diego del Garcia, which is British territory, has been used as a secret prison. We know that they've been using Djibouti, they've been using boats off the Somaliland, they have used Poland and Romania, they've used proxy prisons in Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, even Syria, for goodness sake. They're all over the place, you know. Trust me, we're onto ‘em. And the CIA can run but they just can't hide. We'll get 'em.
How many people are being held without charge worldwide?
According to a figure released by the United States Congress in the Congressional Record on August 26, 2006, it was then 14,000. I had a debate with some nutcase womon from the Department of Defense on radio not long ago and she said, 80,000 prisoner's have been taken on the War on Terror. Now, all of those people are secret prisoner's because they were all kept secret. Now how many there are right now today, it's in the thousands, and they're still taking them. And we know the names of about 350 of them, and the rest of them so far are still ghost prisoner's.
Is it just the US who are involved?
It's not just the US who are involved. Some of their allies have been pretty culpable as well. Britain has played a role. We like to be pious in Britain about the United States but we were complicit in some of these manoeuvres including for example Bisher al-Rawi and Amil el-Banna - two British residents who were abducted by the United States in Gambia. Well, it's clear that the British gave the information to the Americans to do that and there have been a number of instances of similar things like that. Many other countries have been involved. The US has used Poland and Romania for example to have prisons. They've used some of the really nasty places. When you talk about Jordan, Syria, Egypt and the CIA there's a guy called Bob Baer, a former CIA agent, that said "If you want someone really interrogated you take him to Jordan, if you want them really abused you go to Syria, and if you want them to disappear forever you take them to Egypt," and the Americans have done that. But then almost every European country in one way or another has been complicit. For example, in the flights of planes, they allow their airspace to be used or their airports to be used. There's a lot of complicity. But of course the big misdemeanant felon has been the United States.
What are you and Reprieve trying to do about this?
We have a project at Reprieve where we're tracking down what's going on there. It's actually really fun. You know, we've got the flight logs of all the CIA planes. And there are some things they do that are really entertaining to track down. I mean, they have the flights where they do wicked things. I mean, don't get me wrong, it's really bad stuff. But they all use fake names when they're on these flights. So you can get the manifests of the flight names. And they have silly names, like Captain James T. Kirk, that they use. They really are puerile. But then, we can figure out who those people are. It's really pretty basic. You go to the place where they stayed, in New York, or in wherever. You go to the hotel where they stayed. You get those hotel records. You get their phone records, and you find out where they called home. And you just call up and find out who it is. It's really easy. You would think that the CIA wouldn't be so dumb. But then you get their real names. And then we'll sue those people, and we'll sue them into the next millennium.