20 Extraordinary Facts about CIA Extraordinary Rendition and Secret Detention

After the attacks against the United States of September 11, 2001, the Central Intelligence Agency conspired with dozens of governments to build a secret extraordinary rendition and detention program that spanned the globe. Extraordinary rendition is the transfer—without legal process—of a detainee to the custody of a foreign government for purposes of detention and interrogation.

The program was intended to protect America. But, as described in the Open Society Justice Initiative’s new report, it stripped people of their most basic rights, facilitated gruesome forms of torture, at times captured the wrong people, and debased the United States’ human rights reputation world-wide.

To date, the United States and the vast majority of the other governments involved—more than 50 in all—have refused to acknowledge their participation, compensate the victims, or hold accountable those most responsible for the program and its abuses. Here are 20 additional facts from the new report that expose just how brutal and mistaken the program was:

  1. At least 136 individuals were reportedly extraordinarily rendered or secretly detained by the CIA and at least 54 governments reportedly participated in the CIA’s secret detention and extraordinary rendition program; classified government documents may reveal many more.
  2. A series of Department of Justice memoranda authorized torture methods that the CIA applied on detainees. The Bush Administration referred to these methods as “enhanced interrogation techniques.” “Enhanced interrogation techniques” included “walling” (quickly pulling the detainee forward and then thrusting him against a flexible false wall), “water dousing,” “waterboarding,” “stress positions” (forcing the detainee to remain in body positions designed to induce physical discomfort), “wall standing” (forcing the detainee to remain standing with his arms outstretched in front of him so that his fingers touch a wall five four to five feet away and support his entire body weight), “cramped confinement” in a box, “insult slaps,” (slapping the detainee on the face with fingers spread), “facial hold” (holding a detainee’s head temporarily immobile during interrogation with palms on either side of the face), “attention grasp” (grasping the detainee with both hands, one hand on each side of the collar opening, and quickly drawing him toward the interrogator), forced nudity, sleep deprivation while being vertically shackled, and dietary manipulation.
  3. President Bush has stated that about a hundred detainees were held under the CIA secret detention program, about a third of whom were questioned using “enhanced interrogation techniques.”
  4. The CIA’s Office of Inspector General has reportedly investigated a number of “erroneous renditions” in which the CIA had abducted and detained the wrong people. A CIA officer told the Washington Post: “They picked up the wrong people, who had no information.  In many, many cases there was only some vague association” with terrorism.
  5. German national Khaled El-Masri was seized in Macedonia because he had been mistaken for an Al Qaeda suspect with a similar name. He was held incommunicado and abused in Macedonia and in secret CIA detention in Afghanistan. On December 13, 2012, the European Court of Human Rights held that Macedonia had violated El-Masri’s rights under the European Convention on Human Rights, and found that his ill-treatment by the CIA at Skopje airport in Macedonia amounted to torture.
  6. Wesam Abdulrahman Ahmed al-Deemawi was seized in Iran and held for 77 days in the CIA’s “Dark Prison” in Afghanistan.  He was later held in Bagram for 40 days and subjected to sleep deprivation, hung from the ceiling by his arms in the “strappado” position, threatened by dogs, made to watch torture videos, and subjected to sounds of electric sawing accompanied by cries of pain.
  7. Several former interrogators and counterterrorism experts have confirmed that “coercive interrogation” is ineffective. Col. Steven Kleinman, Jack Cloonan, and Matthew Alexander stated in a letter to Congress that that U.S. interrogation policy “came with heavy costs” and that “[k]ey allies, in some instances, refused to share needed intelligence, terrorists attacks increased world wide, and Al Qaeda and like-minded groups recruited a new generation of Jihadists.”
  8. After being extraordinarily rendered by the United States to Egypt in 2002, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, under threat of torture at the hands of Egyptian officials, fabricated information relating to Iraq’s provision of chemical and biological weapons training to Al Qaeda. In 2003, then Secretary of State Colin Powell relied on this fabricated information in his speech to the United Nations that made the case for war against Iraq.
  9. Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded at least 83 times by the CIA. FBI interrogator Ali Soufan testified before Congress that he elicited “actionable intelligence” from Zubaydah using rapport-building techniques but that Zubaydah “shut down” after he was waterboarded.
  10. Torture is prohibited in all circumstances under international law and allegations of torture must be investigated and criminally punished. The United States prosecuted Japanese interrogators for “waterboarding” U.S. prisoners during World War II.
  11. On November 20, 2002, Gul Rahman froze to death in a secret CIA prison in Afghanistan called the “Salt Pit,” after a CIA case officer ordered guards to strip him naked, chain him to the concrete floor, and leave him there overnight without blankets.
  12. Fatima Bouchar was abused by the CIA, and by persons believed to be Thai authorities, for several days in the Bangkok airport. Bouchar reported she was chained to a wall and not fed for five days, at a time when she was four-and-a-half months pregnant. After that she was extraordinarily rendered to Libya.
  13. Syria was one of the “most common destinations for rendered suspects,” as were Egypt and Jordan. One Syrian prison facility contained individual cells that were roughly the size of coffins.  Detainees report incidents of torture involving a chair frame used to stretch the spine (the “German chair”) and beatings.
  14. Muhammed al-Zery and Ahmed Agiza, while seeking asylum in Sweden, were extraordinarily rendered to Egypt where they were tortured with shocks to their genitals.  Al-Zery was also forced to lie on an electrified bed frame. 
  15. Abu Omar, an Italian resident, was abducted from the streets of Milan, extraordinarily rendered to Egypt, and secretly detained for fourteen months while Egyptian agents interrogated and tortured him by subjecting him to electric shocks. An Italian court convicted in absentia 22 CIA agents and one Air Force pilot for their roles in the extraordinary rendition of Abu Omar.
  16. Known black sites—secret prisons run by the CIA on foreign soil—existed in Afghanistan, Lithuania, Morocco, Poland, Romania, and Thailand.
  17. Abd al Rahim al Nashiri was secretly detained in various black sites. While secretly detained in Poland, U.S. interrogators subjected al Nashiri to a mock execution with a power drill as he stood naked and hooded; racked a semi-automatic handgun close to his head as he sat shackled before them; held him in “standing stress positions;” and threatened to bring in his mother and sexually abuse her in front of him.
  18. President Obama’s 2009 Executive Order repudiating torture does not repudiate the CIA extraordinary rendition program.  It was specifically crafted to preserve the CIA’s authority to detain terrorist suspects on a short-term, transitory basis prior to rendering them to another country for interrogation or trial.
  19. President Obama’s 2009 Executive Order also established an interagency task force to review interrogation and transfer policies and issue recommendations on “the practices of transferring individuals to other nations.” The interagency task force report was issued in 2009, but continues to be withheld from the public. It appears that the U.S. intends to continue to rely on anti-torture diplomatic assurances from recipient countries and post-transfer monitoring of detainee treatment, but those methods were not effective safeguards against torture for Maher Arar, who was tortured in Syria, or Ahmed Agiza and Muhammed al-Zery, who were tortured in Egypt.
  20. The Senate Select Intelligence Committee has completed a 6,000 page report that further details the CIA detention and interrogation operations with access to classified sources. In December, 2014, the committee released a redacted 525-page portion of the report, which included its key findings and an executive summary of the full report. The rest of the report remains classified. (Updated with publication of summary of SSIC report.


Learn More:



This is horrible to be sure, but as a convicted felon I have to tell you a lot of what was reported above takes place in regular American jails and prisons. Of course I never saw waterboarding in prison, but I was forced to strip naked and left in a freezing cell for 24 hours before ever going to trial. There are "strip cells" in prison where you can be held totally naked and with any bedding and nothing more than a hole in the floor for a toilet which can only be "flushed" from outside the cell. There are also torture chairs where people can be strapped down bent backwards to "calm" them. The straps are designed to tighten if you struggle. I was busted with 2 grams over one ounce of marijuana. Power corrupts.

It is not the American people who did any of this, we were not even aware of the CIA's doings. The majority of American citizens don't know what the CIA does and there is no one to ask where you can get an honest answer. As Michael stated above, even American prisoner's are victim to many wrongdoings in jail and prisons, many aren't even guilty of crimes but end being found guilty. There have been many horror stories told by those who have been released as to what has occurred in the prisons. There are more American's incarcerated in prison's than any other country in the world today!!! Even just getting arrested can result in serious unnecessary abuse. Look at how many black men were shot MULTIPLE TIMES and killed the last few years that were simply pulled over for a traffic violation and were unarmed. The Media rarely tells American's anything that is even remotely significant or true, and the court system lets the bad guys slip through the corrupt judicial system while over persecuting the rest. Today, many of us have realized not to believe anything the Media tells us until we research through other sources and other citizens around the world. We cannot be blamed for things we played no role in anymore than the innocent people of Germany can be blamed for what Hitler did or the people of Russia blamed for what Stalin did. My grandfather fled Germany 6 weeks before graduating the Univ with his Master's Degree in Architecture. He fled to the USA and had to be a cabinet maker because he had no degree and the US would not acknowledge any part of his education in Germany. My grandmother had to flee Alsace Loraine, France, after 7 of her brothers were killed. She was 17 yrs old when she got on a boat by herself and headed to Ellis Island. Many American's, especially Jewish one's, know all to well the dangers of leadership that has grown too powerful because of the horror stories our grandparents or parents have told us. People around the world need to realize the American people have been through hell and back again with the corruption that exists in the USA,,, and it has gotten totally out of control the last 3 decades, especially the last 8 yrs while they've done everything they can to destroy people's lives while the rich just keep getting richer.

USA feels that its form of governing is the prescription for all countries across the world. All the other NATO countries are just mute and dumb alliances who have to say yes to the bully. George Bush and Tony Blair should be tried for war crimes at the Hague - for bringing about such disruption in Africa and the Middle East. Do you think they have the guts to do so in Russia or China. Mordecai Sur the head of Mossad in 2003 had said very clearly that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and he was right. For the lies presented by Bush and Blair to justify the wars - they should be held responsible - attacks will stop not by force or military power but by introspection of these leaders.

Hi guys ! i do'nt know what is the hate but i know one thing america has been slapped by 9/11.So this is something which a country has to do after coming across such situation .Obviously there are going to be bad effect of that so if after detaining 100 people 10000 people may be saved so what is wrong in that . However if innocent people are caught deliberately this is wrong.detention may be a good thing for a country not for those innocent who were caught by CIA and tortured up to death.people love humanity whether you belong to any country or religion.

Democracy only thrives in light and transparency. These programs have long proven to yield no intelligence.


Add your voice