Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Renditions to continue

The New York Times reports that the Obama administration will be continuing the practice of "extraordinary rendition" which began during the Clinton adminstration and then expanded during the Bush administration to become a means of outsourcing torture.

The Obama administration will continue the Bush administration’s practice of sending terrorism suspects to third countries for detention and interrogation, but pledges to closely monitor their treatment to ensure that they are not tortured, administration officials said Monday.
Swell. Just like the Bush administration got promises (wink, wink) that the prisoners sent to such countries wouldn't get tortured or abused. I have a simple proposal: we don't send detained persons extra-legally to countries that torture or treat prisoners inhumanely. Problem solved (and this has the added benefit of not putting other world democracies in the position of having to denounce US counter-terrorism practices.)

This is another instance of the Obama administration walking back from the campaign rhetoric of President Obama.

Though the Obama administration previously signaled that it would continue the use of renditions, some civil liberties groups were disappointed because, as a presidential candidate, Mr. Obama had strongly suggested he might end the practice. In an article in Foreign Affairs in the summer of 2007, Mr. Obama wrote, “To build a better, freer world, we must first behave in ways that reflect the decency and aspirations of the American people.”

Mr. Obama continued, “This means ending the practices of shipping away prisoners in the dead of night to be tortured in far-off countries, of detaining thousands without charge or trial, of maintaining a network of secret prisons to jail people beyond the reach of the law.” In January, the president ordered secret prisons run by the C.I.A. to be shut down.
The Obama administration has made some important steps in the right direction (like shutting down the black sites) but hasn't done enough yet.

Update: I was remiss in not pointing out that the Obama administration's policy of rendition has already yielded allegations of torture. (h/t Dissenting Justice)

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