Revolution Online, February 7, 2011

Rendition: America's Torturers for Hire in Egypt

At a February 4 press conference, U.S. President Barack Obama said about the Mubarak government's response to the protests, "Suppression is not going to work. Engaging in violence is not going to work." Obama and other U.S. officials are now condemning the thuggish nature of the Mubarak regime—but the indisputable fact is that the U.S. has long relied on Mubarak and other oppressive regimes in the region to commit numerous savage crimes. One example is the torture that they have carried out in relation to rendition by the U.S.—the CIA practice of kidnapping people outside the U.S. (without any charges and often without the knowledge of the authorities where the kidnapping takes place) and shipping them off to a third country, where they are handed over to the torturers in secret prisons. These renditions began in the 1990s under President Bill Clinton and then were expanded to a whole other level under George W. Bush after 9/11. Aside from Egypt, other places where it is known the U.S. "rendered" prisoners to include Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Jordan, Morocco, and Syria.

One man named Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, who was kidnapped from Italy in 2003 and "rendered" by the CIA to Egypt, told Human Rights Watch that he was “hung up like a slaughtered sheep and given electrical shocks." He said, "I was brutally tortured and I could hear the screams of others who were tortured too.” A former CIA agent said, “If you want a serious interrogation, you send a prisoner to Jordan. If you want them to be tortured, you send them to Syria. If you want someone to disappear—never to see them again—you send them to Egypt.”

How many of these countries—starting with Egypt—has the U.S. continued to render prisoners to for torture, right up to the recent upsurges which have rocked many of these regimes?

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