WASHINGTON, February 5 (RIA Novosti) – As many as 54 governments throughout the world assisted the United States in its secret detention and rendition operations in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to a new human rights report released Tuesday.
The report, released by the New York-based nonprofit advocacy group Open Society Justice Initiative, accuses the United States of engaging in torture and other abuses linked to these operations, and thereby violating domestic and international law and “diminishing its moral standing and eroding support for its counterterrorism efforts worldwide.”
The dozens of governments that participated in this program also “violated domestic and international laws and further undermined the norm against torture,” according to the report, titled “Globalizing Torture: CIA Secret Detention and Extraordinary Rendition.”
The report is the latest salvo in the ongoing debate in the United States over torture and other rights abuses in America’s counterterrorism operations in the years following the Sept. 11 attacks.
Critics both inside and outside the United States have accused the administration of former US President George W. Bush of using torture to extract information from suspected terrorists.
They also say the United States under Bush knowingly sent suspected terrorists to be interrogated in countries notorious for torture, such as Egypt and Syria. This form of outsourcing is widely referred to as “extraordinary rendition.”
Upon first taking office four years ago, President Barack Obama announced the United States would end the practice of torturing alleged terrorists, but extraordinary rendition has remained an element of the Obama administration’s counterterrorism strategy, according to a report last month by The Washington Post.
According to the report released Tuesday, the countries that reportedly participated in US counterterrorism efforts provided services that included hosting Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) prisons, as well as “detaining, interrogating, torturing, and abusing individuals.”
They also assisted by permitting use of their domestic airspace and airports for “secret flights transporting detainees, “providing intelligence” leading to secret detention and extraordinary rendition, and “interrogating individuals who were secretly being held in the custody of other governments,” according to the report.
The report claims to be “the most comprehensive catalogue of the treatment of 136 individuals reportedly subjected to these operations.”
“There may be many more such individuals, but the total number will remain unknown until the United States and its partners make this information publicly available,” the report’s authors wrote.
Russia has repeatedly said Washington’s criticism of Moscow’s domestic rights record is hypocritical given the human rights abuses committed by the US government during its counterterrorism operations.
The countries cited in the report as assisting the United States in its secret detention and extraordinary rendition operations include: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, the 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, and Zimbabwe.