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Rendition Project launched online
22 May 2012
Kent, University of
An ongoing project designed to analyse the global system of rendition, secret detention and torture initiated by the George W. Bush administration as part of its ‘War on Terror’ has been launched online.
The project is led Dr Ruth Blakeley from the University of Kent and Dr Sam Raphael from Kingston University. Working closely with Reprieve, a UK-based legal action charity which has led the way in investigating secret prisons and representing victims of rendition and torture, they aim to collate and analyse the huge amount of open-source data on the global rendition system.
To date, the Rendition Project has collated data on: hundreds of victims of rendition, secret detention and torture since 2001; more than 6500 flights by 140 aircraft connected to the CIA renditions programme; and the involvement of 45 countries around the world in rendition, secret detention and torture as part of the US-led ‘War on Terror’.
Funded by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council, the Project has established the new website as part of its wider research. Work on the site will continue throughout 2012, and will eventually feature: detailed profiles and analysis of detention facilities used by the USA and its partners; detainee profiles, tracking their detention, movement and treatment within the system; access to hundreds of key primary documents; key data from the world's largest database of flights by CIA aircraft connected to rendition, compiled by the Rendition Project from all public source information about the rendition programme; and profiles of the aircraft used to move detainees from site to site and the companies that were involved in operating these aircraft.
Much of this information was obtained through Freedom of Information legislation, and this website is designed to become a clearing-house for the information released through these efforts.
Dr Blakeley, who is Senior Lecturer in International Relations at Kent’s School of Politics and International Relations, said: ‘In the years after the declaration of the 'War on Terror' in September 2001, the US government led the way in constructing a global system of detention outside the law, illegal prisoner transfers (rendition), and interrogation practices that in some cases involve torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. Many European states, including the UK, have played a part in the global rendition system, and have thereby violated various international human rights conventions to which they are signatories.’
Dr Raphael added: ‘The Rendition Project is uncovering the sheer extent of the global network of secret prisons and torture which grew up after September 2001, and the direct and indirect involvement in this by many countries across the world. By bringing all the data together into one place, we are better able to understand how this system emerged after 9/11, and how it has evolved since. We hope this will be of benefit to all those wanting to understand how the US and its allies subverted fundamental human rights and international law in their 'war on terror', and to people seeking the accountability of those involved.’
Clare Algar, Executive Director of Reprieve, commented: ‘The Rendition Project will be an important tool in bringing the tangled web of the CIA’s illegal rendition programme to light. It is essential that we get to the bottom of what was one of the worst human rights abuses of the ‘War on Terror’ – including the involvement of the UK, a number of other European states, and major corporations. By bringing together and analysing the swathes of information that have emerged, this project will help ensure that the CIA’s global network of torture flights cannot simply be swept under the carpet.’
For further information on the Rendition Project go to www.therenditionproject.org.uk