By Mark Wachtler
February 24, 2013. New York. (ONN) A new report released by a New York human rights organization documented evidence that a quarter of the Earth’s nations – at least 54 and counting – participated in the secret global US kidnapping and torture program. Some nations hosted secret torture facilities. Some lent their airports and air space. While others including the US, Iran, Canada and the UK, turned over their own citizens to the secret black sites.
Binyam Mohamed was kidnapped in Pakistan, transfered to Morocco, then to Afghanistan, where he was tortured, beaten, stabbed, had his penis sliced apart with a scalpal, and was hung upside down for days at a time. He is currently at Guantanamo Bay.
‘Globalizing Torture’ is the name of the 213-page investigative report published this month by the Open Society Justice Initiative in New York. The human rights group looked at evidence of US-sponsored, covert torture programs beginning immediately after the attacks on September 11, 2001. The nations involved, and the extent of their knowledge and involvement in the illegal torture campaign, is as shocking as it is long.
54 nations so far, a quarter of the Earth’s countries, are shown to have been willing participants in the Bush administration’s secret war on terror. That war, conveniently left out of America’s headlines, includes kidnapping, torture and murder. Even today, Americans must look to papers like the UK’s Guardian for details of their own government’s secret war campaign.
‘There is no doubt that high-ranking Bush administration officials bear responsibility for authorizing human rights violations associated with secret detention and extraordinary rendition, and the impunity that they have enjoyed to date remains a matter of significant concern,’ the report concludes, ‘But responsibility for these violations does not end with the United States. Secret detention and extraordinary rendition operations, designed to be conducted outside the United States under cover of secrecy, could not have been implemented without the active participation of foreign governments. These governments too must be held accountable.’
As detailed in the report by the Guardian, investigators were surprised to find a number of countries on the list of nations secretly helping the US. Some of the countries and the extent of their covert participation include:
- UK – The report cites the British as being the most active, behind only the US, in the covert operations. The country was found to have provided some of the personnel involved in the torture and interrogation at the secret black sites, as well as providing its air space and airports. The UK was also found to have set up two of its own citizens for kidnapping and torture. In one case, the man’s entire family was secretly kidnapped and detained at a black site in Libya.
- Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Afghanistan – Identified as countries hosting secret US-sponsored torture facilities, in addition to their own. Afghanistan was often singled out by other countries that admit to secretly sending kidnapped individuals to black sites in that country.
- Ireland, Iceland, Cyprus – Knowingly let foreign aircraft transporting kidnapping victims to secretly use their air space and airports for covert prisoner transfers.
- Canada – Knowingly let foreign aircraft transporting kidnapping victims use its air space. Canada is also singled out in the report for providing information to the US-led campaign about one of its own citizens that led to his kidnapping and secret transfer to a US-sponsored torture facility in Syria where he was held and tortured for one year.
- Syria – Also singled out by the report is Syria. The report details a singularly close working relationship between the Bush administration and the Assad dictatorship. Because of the country’s already notorious network of torture facilities, the investigators found that Syria was one of the, ‘most common destinations for rendered suspects.’
- Iran – Even Iran was a willing participant in the kidnapping and torture campaign. In the days following the US invasion of Afghanistan, Iran secretly turned over 15 of its own citizens to the US covert black site operation in Kabul.
- Poland, Lithuania, Romania – Hosted secret CIA prisons in their countries. In many instances, the sites acted as temporary housing while the individuals waited to be transferred to actual interrogation sites in other countries.
Full list of 54 participating nations (from Globalizing Torture):
Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Libya, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malawi, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, Yemen, Zimbabwe, and of course, the United States.
Countries believed to have REFUSED to participate in the US-led secret global kidnapping and torture campaign:
- Israel, Norway, France, Netherlands, Hungary, Russia.
Biggest criticism for the US
The report from the American human rights organization reserves its strongest condemnation for the United States. Not only was the US the lead nation in the secret program, but to this day, it is one of the few nations that refuses to come clean and disclose the extent of its involvement.
Also, while many of the 54 participating countries have allowed the victims to seek justice in their courts, US authorities continue to refuse even those found to be innocent victims of mistaken identity to file legal claims. Both the Bush and Obama administrations have insisted that allowing any lawsuits to proceed would reveal US military secrets and would jeopardize America’s national security. So far, seven participating countries including the UK, Canada, Sweden and Australia have awarded settlements to victims of the program.
‘Despite the efforts of the United States and its partner governments to withhold the truth about past and ongoing abuses, information relating to these abuses will continue to find its way into the public domain,’ the report states, ‘At the same time, while US courts have closed their doors to victims of secret detention and extraordinary rendition operations, legal challenges to foreign government participation in these operations are being heard in courts around the world.’
Read the full report Globalizing Torture
Top Secret America (special report)