There is quite a kerfluffle going on now about Obama’s position on extraordinary rendition.
The Los Angeles Times recently reported that “under executive orders issued by Obama recently, the CIA still has authority to carry out what are known as renditions, secret abductions and transfers of prisoners to countries that cooperate with the United States. Current and former U.S. intelligence officials said that the rendition program might be poised to play an expanded role going forward because it was the main remaining mechanism — aside from Predator missile strikes — for taking suspected terrorists off the street. ”
In response, Scott Horton at Harper’s makes a necessary distinction between renditions and extraordinary rendition, which presumes the abductee is being taken to a country where s/he will be tortured. One can oppose both; but the opposition has to be on different grounds (opposing warrantless detention depending on the laws of the country involved vs. warrantless detention for the purpose of torture).
As Horton points out, Adolf Eichmann was “rendered.” Also, a number of drug trafficking suspects have been rendered (under Clinton and Bush the First). One might oppose these acts, but its essential to make the distinction between these renditions, what Bush did and Obama’s position.
As one friend from North Carolina Stop Torture Now said on our list serve, “We need more information to determine how much leeway the executive branch is giving the CIA and other non-military agencies. Will we still have black holes? CAN we still kidnap and disappear? Can we render for reasons other than bringing a person to a judicial proceeding (obviously a fair procedure is required). If there is secrecy, how do we know if the ‘no more’ torture position is a reality in practice and not just an articulated policy?”
I give President Obama the benefit of the doubt on this one.
Here’s Horton on Rachel Maddow: