Universally condemned and everywhere illegal, torture goes on in democracies as well as in dictatorships. Nonetheless, many Americans were surprised following the attacks of 9/11 at how easily the United States embraced torture as well as the supposedly lesser evil of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. Nothing seemed extreme when it came to questioning real and imagined terrorists. Extraordinary rendition—sending people captured in the “war on terror” to nations long counted among the world’s worst human rights violators—hid from the public eye cruel and bloody interrogations. “Torture lite” or “torture without marks” became the norm for those in American custody.
In Rendition to Torture, Alan W. Clarke explains how the United States adopted torture as a matter of official policy; how and why it turned to extraordinary rendition as a way to outsource more extreme, mutilating forms of torture; and outlines the steps the United States took to hide its abuses. Many adverse consequences attended American use of torture. False information gleaned from torture was used to justify the Iraq war, adding potency to the charge that the war was illegal under international law. Moreover, European nations and Canada aided, abetted, and became thoroughly enmeshed in U.S.-led torture and renditions, thereby spreading both the problem and the blame for this practice. Clarke offers an extended critique of these activities, placing them in historical and legal context as well as in transnational and comparative perspective.
1. Introduction 2. Cultivating a Torture Culture 3. From Eichmann and Carlos "the Jackal" to Reagan and Clinton 4. Significant U.S. Renditions to Torture 5. State Secrets Privilege Trumps Justice: Mohamed v. Jeppesen Dataplan 6. The Illegality of the Iraq War and How Rendition Sparked It 7. European and Canadian Complicity in Rendition and Torture
ALAN W. CLARKE is currently an endowed visiting professor in the criminology and criminal justice department at St. Thomas University. A professor of integrated studies at Utah Valley University, he has coauthored Bitter Fruit of American Justice: International and Domestic Resistance to the Death Penalty and more than thirty journal articles.
"Clarke provides a comprehensive account of US engagement with torture and rendition during the War on Terror. Clarke delivers a multifaceted perspective on these practices, incorporating legal analysis, sociocultural discussion, and policy debate. By outlining the historical nature and international treatment of torture and rendition, the author provides context for the current use of these means and the rationales asserted by governments as to the necessity of their use to ensure national and international security. In response to these governmental claims, the book explores the potential costs—false information, monetary losses, wasted time, and moral stakes. Clarke specifically frames this debate by focusing his assessment on the war in Iraq. The book concludes with an examination of the complicity of other countries in rendition and torture, as well as the resulting backlash for these actions, which is significant because it illustrates that the US has not been alone in the employment of extraordinary means. Recommended."
"When the United States sends a terror suspect to another country that is notorious for torture, that is known as extraordinary rendition. Alan Clarke's book on this topic is a major contribution to the history of a sordid chapter in the American experience."
~Marjorie Cohn, editor of The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration, and Abuse