by Congressman Dennis Kucinich
Washington, Aug 25, 2009
Congressman Dennis Kucinich D-OH today made the following statement in response to news reports that the Obama Administration plans to add increased oversight to the rendition program.
“Extraordinary Rendition is an illegal practice hailing from the misguided policies and practices of the previous administration,” Kucinich said. “As such, I am deeply concerned by the Obama administration’s decision to continue the practice of extraordinary rendition. As a democracy it is imperative that we end the use of the inhumane and immoral practice of extrajudicial detainee transfers to places where the potential use of torture as a part of detention and interrogation exists.
“However, instead of ending this misguided policy, the Obama Administration proposes reforms to bring oversight to this illegal practice. Specifically, the Special Task Force on Interrogations and Transfer Policies recommends “clarifying and strengthening U.S. procedures for obtaining and evaluating” assurances from receiving countries that detainees will not be tortured. Moreover, the Task Force has recommended greater involvement by the Department of State in securing diplomatic assurances from the receiving country that detainees will not be tortured.
“The U.S. has an obligation to ensure that our actions are consistent with the rule of law. There is little reason to think that measures to reform rendition can ensure an end to the abuses caused by extraordinary rendition. It appears that under the reforms prisoners can still be transferred to countries who have previously engaged in torture. Furthermore, diplomatic assurances have been proven ineffective in the past. It is notable that the U.S. has engaged in extraordinary rendition of innocent individuals who were misidentified. It is also notable that no detainee transferred by the rendition process has ever had their case heard by a justice system.
“The people of the United States have clearly voiced and voted for a new direction in U.S. policy. The people of the U.S. did not choose the new administration based on the premise that rendition could be done better. The Obama administration must stop this illegal policy that leads to greater human rights violations.
“If the U.S. does not act to end extraordinary rendition we are simply playing a new rendition of an old song—torture.”