From the FRONTLINE Files
FRONTLINE: Is Torture Ever Justified?
In this companion feature, FRONTLINE gathered a group of legal experts to tackle the question of whether torture is ever justified. Earlier this year, several in the group took part in a similar project led jointly by the Harvard Law School and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.
FRONTLINE: Examining the Paper Trail
FRONTLINE presents a chronology of “torture memos,” Defense Department investigations into prisoner abuse, human rights reports and more.
FRONTLINE: Behind the Wire
FRONTLINE producers Mike Kirk and Jim Gilmore took a camera inside Guantanamo Bay in August 2005. Watch the video excerpts.
FRONTLINE: Al Qaeda’s New Front: Mapping the Threat
In this country-by-country overview of Muslims in Western Europe, FRONTLINE highlights the factors that contribute to a society’s sense of disenfranchisement. Also shown are the major terrorist plots and arrests.
FRONTLINE: The Dark Side
This FRONTLINE from June 2006 goes behind the headlines to investigate the internal war waged between the intelligence community and Dick Cheney, one of the most powerful vice president in the nation's history. The backdrop for the story includes revelations about false prewar intelligence and a scandal surrounding the indictment of the vice president's chief of staff and presidential adviser, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby,
Reports and Organizations
Statewatch: Observatory on ‘Rendition’
This nonprofit watchdog offers information about the involvement of European Union countries, such as Italy, UK, Portugal, Poland and Romania, in the CIA-run rendition program.
Council of Europe Report Denounces Secret Detention
The Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) denounced secret detention in its 17th general report, stating that such detention inevitably involves risk of ill-treatment and “no 'assurances' can ever fully remove [that].”
Information Clearinghouse: Muzafar Avazov in Uzbekistan
Information Clearinghouse is an independent site devoted to underreported news, particularly regarding the Iraq war and U.S. foreign policy. This link provides information about the torture of Muzafar Avazov at an Uzbek prison. (Note: It contains extremely graphic images.)
JURIST Legal News & Research: Rendition Current News
Based at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, JURIST provides extensive legal research around foreign policy and current events. The page on rendition has up-to-date news and commentary and includes embedded links to other news sources.
Human Rights Watch Report on Beatings in Swaqa Prison, Jordan (August 2007)
During August 2007, Human Rights Watch investigators visited five Jordanian prisons and interviewed more than 100 prisoners, who described being beaten with electrical cables and truncheons and being hung from iron cuffs for hours. The report also describes how more than 350 Swaqa prisoners mutilated themselves as a form of protest.
Human Rights Watch Appendix: “Known and Reported Renditions to Egypt 1994-2004” (PDF)
This chart released by Human Rights Watch lists prisoners who were rendered to Egypt. The information is compiled from firsthand accounts, as well as reports from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
Congressional Joint Hearing: "Extraordinary Rendition in U.S. Counterterrorism Policy: The Impact On Transatlantic Relations" (PDF)
This transcript of the riveting Congressional hearing from April 2007 includes the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. The committee hosted European parliamentarians to discuss U.S. policy on extraordinary rendition. The Europeans expressed concern that the procedure is illegal; while U.S. lawmakers spoke about the threat to due process. Participants testifying on both sides of the issue were unusually candid. The defense of the program by Michael Scheuer, former chief of the CIA’s bin Laden unit, is especially noteworthy.
Multiorganization Report, Including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch: ‘Off the Record: U.S. Responsibility for Enforced Disappearances in the ‘War on Terror’’ (PDF)
The report reviews the status of 39 detainees who are still missing and whom investigators believe have been held in secret sites by the U.S. government. Cases are categorized based on the strength of the evidence.
Congressional Research Service Report for Congress: ‘Renditions: Constraints Imposed by Laws on Torture’ (PDF)
This Congressional Research report presents the legal reasons behind the United States’ incentive to use “extraordinary,” or irregular, rendition and the context of rendition before the war on terror. The report puts rendition in the context of international and domestic law, including the Geneva Conventions and the War Crimes Act.
CRS Report for Congress: ‘Undisclosed U.S. Detention Sites Overseas: Background and Legal Issues.’ (PDF)
This report explains the nuances of international law that make the U.S.’s extraordinary rendition program so controversial. The Bush administration characterizes the arrest and detention of suspected terrorists as “wartime capture” and “internment of enemy combatants.” Other countries question if the “global war on terrorism” qualifies as an armed conflict.
Bill (S 1876), Introduced by Senator Biden, Limiting Use of Extraterritorial Detention
This year, Senator Joe Biden (D) introduced a bill that would be called the National Security with Justice Act of 2007. If passed, it would curb the use of extraterritorial detention and rendition and modify the definition of “unlawful enemy combatant,” which has been used as a basis for legitimizing extraordinary rendition. The bill has been referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.
Senator Biden’s Remarks Introducing the Above Bill
Senator Biden suggests that the defining challenge of our age is to combat international terrorism, while maintaining our commitment to the rule of law and respecting individual rights and civil liberties.
Articles and Books
Ghost Plane: The True Story of the CIA Rendition and Torture Program.
Investigative reporter Stephen Grey’s award-winning book explores the U.S. government’s secret rendition and interrogation program.
The Agonizing Truth About CIA Renditions
Investigative journalist Stephen Grey tells of his efforts to report on the CIA’s secret rendition and interrogation program. He also writes about those detainees eventually released.
U.S. Accused of Torture Flights
Reporting for The Sunday Times of London, Stephen Grey investigates the commercial flight logs of Gulfstream jets contracted by the CIA. The destinations of the aircraft include “the Guantanamo Bay prison camp in Cuba and other U.S. military bases, as well as Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Morocco, Afghanistan, Libya and Uzbekistan.” With some of the flights, Grey is able to match prisoner accounts of being rendered by U.S. intelligence to third-party countries for interrogation.
The New Yorker: Outsourcing Torture: The Secret History of America’s “Extraordinary Rendition”
This 2005 article by Jane Mayer tracks the official and nonofficial versions of the U.S. policy on torture after 9/11, when the administration’s new paradigm on counterterrorism measures began.
New York Times Reporting on Guantanamo
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tim Golden has reported extensively about abuse claims and conditions at Guantanamo. The link contains a number of those investigations.
Compiled by Andi McDaniel, Alison Satake and Jackie Bennion.