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Extraordinary Renditions, Obama Style

By Al Schumann on Sunday February 1, 2009 09:38 AM

The CIA's secret prisons are being shuttered. Harsh interrogation techniques are off-limits. And Guantanamo Bay will eventually go back to being a wind-swept naval base on the southeastern corner of Cuba.

But even while dismantling these programs, President Obama left intact an equally controversial counter-terrorism tool.

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.

The rendition program became a source of embarrassment for the CIA, and a target of international scorn, as details emerged in recent years of botched captures, mistaken identities and allegations that prisoners were turned over to countries where they were tortured.

The European Parliament condemned renditions as "an illegal instrument used by the United States." Prisoners swept up in the program have sued the CIA as well as a Boeing Co. subsidiary accused of working with the agency on dozens of rendition flights.

But the Obama administration appears to have determined that the rendition program was one component of the Bush administration's war on terrorism that it could not afford to discard.

LA Times

To carry out its mission, the CTC relies on its Rendition Group, made up of case officers, paramilitaries, analysts and psychologists. Their job is to figure out how to snatch someone off a city street, or a remote hillside, or a secluded corner of an airport where local authorities wait.

Members of the Rendition Group follow a simple but standard procedure: Dressed head to toe in black, including masks, they blindfold and cut the clothes off their new captives, then administer an enema and sleeping drugs. They outfit detainees in a diaper and jumpsuit for what can be a day-long trip. Their destinations: either a detention facility operated by cooperative countries in the Middle East and Central Asia, including Afghanistan, or one of the CIA's own covert prisons -- referred to in classified documents as "black sites," which at various times have been operated in eight countries, including several in Eastern Europe.

In the months after the Sept. 11 attacks, the CTC was the place to be for CIA officers wanting in on the fight. The staff ballooned from 300 to 1,200 nearly overnight.

"It was the Camelot of counterterrorism," a former counterterrorism official said. "We didn't have to mess with others -- and it was fun."

Washington Post

Democrats will find comfort in the Camelot reference; JFK, the good old days of nuclear brinksmanship, the Bay of Pigs, domino theories and their use in justifying military adventurism. It was a more innocent time, a time of hope. Change was in the air, his supply side economics notwithstanding. Enema banditry and vengeful diapering were private pursuits, for the most part, not yet proudly on display as important tools of statecraft. And in that regard, Democratic Party supporters should be grateful to President Bush. His administration removed the shameful stigma associated with sexually molesting people in order to keep the country safe and improve our enemies' understanding of democracy.

Needless to say, he took it too far, much further than President Clinton did. There was no reason to maintain proprietary black prisons and post-kidnapping torture facilities. They're expensive and in plentiful supply in client states. Responsible managers outsource activities that can damage a brand. They retain control of only the essential parts. To his immense credit, President Obama recognizes that. He may well issue an executive order mandating a more tasteful approach. Proper guidelines make a difference! And if pressed, his supporters can point out that at least they don't gloat about spending hundreds of millions of dollars on state-sponsored molestation, not like those nasty Republicans, who administer date rape drugs after they've had their fun.

Comments (7)


"a more tasteful approach"

Michael's post a couple months ago about Obama's upper West-side enthusiasts seemed to be about the same thing -- a more civilized approach to empire.

Too bad the economic collapse came when it did, because now we won't get to see how tasteful this re-modelled empire could have been. Like Charles Barkley being sidelined by a hangnail.

Al Schumann:

The last imperial hurrah of the enema liberals is a long way away, I'm thinking. Now that they have their turn at playing globe straddlers, with the diapers of state security firmly in the hands of a merit class warrior, they'll support whatever it takes to make sure the wheezing economy is an irritant, not an obstacle.

I reckon we can look forward to Christopher Hitchens contacting Blackwater, asking for a rendition and writing up the experience for their edification.


last nite my sister sally
---the attack trained liti-gator among us paines ---
sez to me over a super bowl of nachos
at her luxury tower apartment down town

she sez "fuck we'd be better off
if we canned the liberate gitmo shit
that only riles
all u dumb white bucks
with a vicarious hard on
for brutal action
not cotton ball remissions
...okay so we gotta change targets of opportunity
well... instead of renditioning sand towels..
"rendition wall street suits "

and i agree don't u ???

apropos hunter t's line of fire ..

la nan needs to conduct
some house of horrors show trials
and investigations
on unamerican activity
not of the bushy ones inside
but the outside perps
that block of right bulls and left bears
running the global ponzi menace
up there in lower manhattan

prolly right out of the post 9/11 craters

shoot down the flying islanders

the laputa pups


punk the buck passerrs


"Dressed head to toe in black, including masks, they blindfold and cut the clothes off their new captives, then administer an enema and sleeping drugs. They outfit detainees in a diaper and jumpsuit for what can be a day-long trip"

that part we leave intact

the process seems fine its the targets swe need to change

the day long trips might need to be
topped off
by a mid air mid ocean
chute less
thru the open hatch
of a waiting submarine

that sorta land air AND
under the sea type shit
has a fuller ian flemmmmmming / jules verne like feel to it

Al Schumann:

There's an untapped market in this. The suits could be sent to Gitmo and encouraged to seek redemption by making videos of themselves helping each other through the routine. I think we could allow them to keep a small percentage of the box office take, to spend at the camp commissary. Properly incentivized, they might take it to it very well and become even more creative. I reckon they're good for at least three major productions a year. The dumb white bucks with the hard ons for vicarious brutality could be given suggestion slips with their theater tickets, and given the right to vote on the best suggestions. They need to feel a sense of ownership and the suits, needless to say, need to feel owned.


Did you say Fleming, op?

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