The New York Times, which has been doing sterling investigative work, reports that the US has sent “dozens” of detainees to Uzbekistan under the extraordinary rendition program. This at a time when the US State Department has issued a report noting the prevalence of torture in Uzbekistan and pointing to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture’s conclusion ” that torture or similar ill-treatment was systematic.” As I believe is quite well known, Uzbeki specialties include the “boiling of body parts, using electroshock on genitals and plucking off fingernails and toenails with pliers” as well as the boiling of prisoners to death. And the US response?
A senior C.I.A. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he would not discuss whether the United States had sent prisoners to Uzbekistan or anywhere else. But he said: “The United States does not engage in or condone torture. It does not send people anywhere to be tortured. And it does not knowingly receive information derived from torture.” (my italics)
Or in other words, don’t ask, don’t tell. It is nothing less than appalling that this has happened, is continuing to happen, and is an official (if unacknowledged) US policy. Indeed, it’s not only appalling; it’s criminal. No other conclusion is possible than that the United States of America is deliberately and consciously shipping people to third party regimes so that information can be tortured from them. This is general knowledge. Yet it isn’t being acted on. Those who have introduced this policy and overseen it shouldn’t just be forced to resign. They should be prosecuted as war criminals.