FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Rendition to Jordan

“Why Jordan?” The question puzzled Abu Hamza al-Tabuki, a Saudi citizen who claims that US agents arrested him in Afghanistan in December 2001 and, after interrogating him in Pakistan, flew him in a private jet to Jordan. Because he was not Jordanian and had no past connection to Jordan, he did not understand why he was sent there.

“Why wasn’t I sent to America since I was arrested by Americans?” al-Tabuki asked, in a narrative he sent to contacts in Jordan after he was released.

The best answer to al-Tabuki’s question can probably be found in the directives, memoranda, and internal cables that relate to the CIA’s rendition program, many of which remain classified. The documents of this sort that have been released publicly not only assert that normal human rights rules do not apply in the “war on terrorism,” they purport to authorize torture.

The statements of current and former US officials are another good, albeit conflicting source of information. While Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has insisted that the United States “does not transport, and has not transported, detainees from one country to another for the purpose of interrogation using torture,” other officials have told a very different story.

Cofer Black, who served as the Director of the CIA’s Counterterrorist Center from 1999 until May 2002, did not mince words in giving his perspective. Describing the detention of “terrorists and their supporters,” he said that “there was a before 9/11 and there was an after 9/11. After 9/11 the gloves come off.”

Why were detainees like al-Tabuki sent to Jordan? Human Rights Watch has just released a report on CIA renditions to Jordan that details more than a dozen rendition cases. The report concludes that nearly all of the detainees whom the CIA transferred to Jordanian custody were subject to interrogation using torture. The Jordanians, the report explains, served as proxy jailers and interrogators for the CIA.
Abusive Methods

“Just about everyone [in the custody of the Jordanian intelligence service] was beaten with sticks,” a Jordanian former prisoner told Human Rights Watch. “People were beaten on their feet. They did it in the basement.”

As torture expert Darius Rejali has explained, this torture method, known as falaqa, is extremely painful. “Depending on the weight of the rod and the intensity and frequency of the blows,” he has written, “this practice can yield mildly swollen feet to broken bones that damage a person permanently.”

In the written account that al-Tabuki gave of his time in Jordanian custody, he describes his experience with the falaqa technique and other forms of abuse:

And from the first day, they began to interrogate me using the methods of terror and fear, torture and beating, insults and verbal abuse, and threatening to expose my private parts and rape me. I was repeatedly beaten, and insulted, along with my parents and family. Every time they took me, they blindfolded me; however, I was able to peek through the blindfold and see my interrogators, as well as many details of the prison building. As soon as I reached the torture room, the torturers began to violently beat me. They would tie my feet and beat me with a heavy stick. After which, my flesh in my feet would tear apart, they would untie the rope and order me to run across the courtyard, over saltwater. Throughout this, they would throw questions at me and demand answers to them, while kicking and beating me all over with sticks, including my sensitive parts.

According to al-Tabuki, the torture was so severe that he lied to please his interrogators:

“They tortured me a great deal in order to make me confess to them about the American targets that al-Qaeda was planning to hit, even though I had no knowledge about that. They even forced me, through torture, to make up fictitious targets, about which they could report to the Americans.”

After spending approximately a year in detention in Jordan without charge, Al-Tabuki was reportedly sent to Saudi Arabia, where he was released.
Denials

Al-Tabuki’s story was one of more than a dozen that Human Rights Watch collected. We interviewed several Jordanian former detainees who gave independent and consistent accounts of having communicated with prisoners who had been delivered to Jordan from US custody. Their accounts were corroborated by information provided by lawyers representing detainees at Guantanamo (several of whom were previously held in Jordan), flight logs of CIA-linked aircraft, and other secondary source materials.

Yet no matter how compelling the evidence, the Jordanian government continues to deny its involvement in the CIA program. In a meeting with Human Rights Watch last year, senior Jordanian government officials stated categorically that Jordanian intelligence had never held prisoners rendered by the United States.

Even more unbelievably, given the weight of credible evidence that contradicts their position, they also denied that torture was practiced in intelligence detention.

If only this were so. Still, the Jordanians’ evident embarrassment at being confronted with these accusations serves a purpose. By shining a spotlight on abuses, we may not be able convince governments to admit them, much less to publicly repudiate them — but we do make it less likely that they will happen again.

JOANNE MARINER is a human rights attorney.

 

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

JOANNE MARINER is a human rights lawyer living in New York and Paris.

Weekend Edition
November 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jonah Raskin
A California Jew in a Time of Anti-Semitism
Andrew Levine
Whither the Melting Pot?
Joshua Frank
Climate Change and Wildfires: The New Western Travesty
Nick Pemberton
The Revolution’s Here, Please Excuse Me While I Laugh
T.J. Coles
Israel Cannot Use Violent Self-Defense While Occupying Gaza
Rob Urie
Nuclear Weapons are a Nightmare Made in America
Paul Street
Barack von Obamenburg, Herr Donald, and Big Capitalist Hypocrisy: On How Fascism Happens
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fire is Sweeping Our Very Streets Today
Aidan O'Brien
Ireland’s New President, Other European Fools and the Abyss 
Pete Dolack
“Winners” in Amazon Sweepstakes Sure to be the Losers
Richard Eskow
Amazon, Go Home! Billions for Working People, But Not One Cent For Tribute
Ramzy Baroud
In Breach of Human Rights, Netanyahu Supports the Death Penalty against Palestinians
Brian Terrell
Ending the War in Yemen- Congressional Resolution is Not Enough!
John Laforge
Woolsey Fire Burns Toxic Santa Susana Reactor Site
Ralph Nader
The War Over Words: Republicans Easily Defeat the Democrats
M. G. Piety
Reading Plato in the Time of the Oligarchs
Rafael Correa
Ecuador’s Soft Coup and Political Persecution
Brian Cloughley
Aid Projects Can Work, But Not “Head-Smacking Stupid Ones”
David Swanson
A Tale of Two Marines
Robert Fantina
Democrats and the Mid-Term Elections
Joseph Flatley
The Fascist Creep: How Conspiracy Theories and an Unhinged President Created an Anti-Semitic Terrorist
Joseph Nevins
Twitter: Fast Track to the Id
William Hawes
Baselines for Activism: Brecht’s Stance, the New Science, and Planting Seeds
Bob Wing
Toward Racial Justice and a Third Reconstruction
Ron Jacobs
Hunter S. Thompson: Chronicling the Republic’s Fall
Oscar Gonzalez
Stan Lee and a Barrio Kid
Jack Rasmus
Election 2018 and the Unraveling of America
Sam Pizzigati
The Democrats Won Big, But Will They Go Bold?
Yves Engler
Canada and Saudi Arabia: Friends or Enemies?
Cesar Chelala
Can El Paso be a Model for Healing?
Mike Ferner
The Tragically Misnamed Paris Peace Conference
Barry Lando
Trump’s Enablers: Appalling Parallels
Jasmine Aguilera
Beto’s Lasting Legacy
Ariel Dorfman
The Boy Who Taught Me About War and Peace
Yves Engler
Ottawa, Yemen and Guardian
Michael Winship
This Was No Vote Accident
Binoy Kampmark
The Disgruntled Former Prime Minister
Tracey L. Rogers
Dear White Women, There May be Hope for You After All
Faisal Khan
Is Dubai Really a Destination of Choice?
Arnold August
The Importance of Néstor García Iturbe, Cuban Intellectual
James Munson
An Indecisive War To End All Wars, I Mean the Midterm Elections
Nyla Ali Khan
Women as Repositories of Communal Values and Cultural Traditions
Thomas Knapp
Scott Gottlieb’s Nicotine Nazism Will Kill Kids, Not Save Them
Dan Bacher
Judge Orders Moratorium on Offshore Fracking in Federal Waters off California
Christopher Brauchli
When Depravity Wins
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail