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Extraordinary Rendition Comes out of the Closet

Violating the rights of US citizens while they are abroad: a practice now called "extraordinary rendition" has a long and sordid history. Today it is an official Bush administration policy, applicable to suspects regardless of citizenship.

The history of "extraordinary rendition" goes back at least 50 years. One of the most interesting examples involved american psychiatric patients who were sent to Canada for experimental treatments. In 1998, the Canadian government declassified documents that substantiate the existence and general nature of some of these experiments.

"... documents obtained by Southam News and the Ottawa Citizen, are believed to be the first public indication the Canadian military tested brain-altering drugs, albeit on a much smaller scale than the Americans."

The Alberta researchers obtained the most potent of the hallucinogens from the American Army Chemical Centre at Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland, which collaborated with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency

The stated goal of one of the american researchers was to "depattern" the minds of his subjects: to reduce their minds to the condition of "tabla rasa" onto which new personalities and memories would be written. Dr. Ewen Cameron was successfully sued by eight of his patients, and the CIA settled with the plaintiffs for $750,000 in 1988. From the website of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, a testimony from one of the patients:

I have no memory of existing prior to 1963, and the recollections I do have of events of the following years until 1966 are fuzzy and few.... My parents were introduced to me... I did not know them.

During the US effort to undermine the government of Salvador Allende in Chili, american activists were followed and then tortured or killed in operations staged by US intelligence operatives. Documents supporting this can be found at the National Security Archive, where they have been obtained by active use of the Freedom of Information Act. It often took years to recover the bodies.

What distinguishes extraordinary rendition today is that it is stated as US policy. The international press has jumped all over this story: it is a top headline around the world. To find out what kind of effect the US is having on the world today, just do a search at http://news.google.com for "extraordinary rendition CIA".

Although the order condoning this questionable policy is still marked top secret, it is already under attack in congress. US Representative Edward Markey is urging the government to declassify the order. He has also sponsored a bill to eliminate what he calls "outsourcing torture".

David Roknich

DOGSPOT

 
 


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