The three European men with Somali roots were arrested on a murky pretext in August as they passed through the small African country of Djibouti. But the reason soon became clear when they were visited in their jail cells by a succession of American interrogators.
U.S. agents accused the men — two of them Swedes, the other a longtime resident of Britain — of supporting al-Shabab, an Islamist militia in Somalia that Washington considers a terrorist group. Two months after their arrest, the prisoners were secretly indicted by a federal grand jury in New York, then clandestinely taken into custody by the FBI and flown to the United States to face trial.
The secret arrests and detentions came to light Dec. 21 when the suspects made a brief appearance in a Brooklyn courtroom.
The men are the latest example of how the Obama administration has embraced rendition — the practice of holding and interrogating terrorism suspects in other countries without due process — despite widespread condemnation of the tactic in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Renditions are taking on renewed significance because the administration and Congress have not reached agreement on a consistent legal pathway for apprehending terrorism suspects overseas and bringing them to justice.
Congress has thwarted President Obama’s pledge to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and has created barriers against trying al-Qaeda suspects in civilian courts, including new restrictions in a defense authorization bill passed last month. The White House, meanwhile, has resisted lawmakers’ efforts to hold suspects in military custody and try them before military commissions.
The impasse and lack of detention options, critics say, have led to a de facto policy under which the administration finds it easier to kill terrorism suspects, a key reason for the surge of U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. Renditions, though controversial and complex, represent one of the few alternatives.
“In a way, rendition has become even more important than before,” said Clara Gutteridge, director of the London-based Equal Justice Forum, a human rights group that investigates national security cases and that opposes the practice.
Drone bomb strikes, a kill list, illegal renditions and warrantlesss wiretapping - I'm so glad a Democrat is in office so that I don't have to worry my head about any of those things.
Of course if this were Mitt Romney, John McCain or George Bush doing it, I would be screaming about war crimes.
But Barack Obama is my guy, and he's a good guy, so I just let this stuff go by and talk about how crazy those Republicans are instead.
When Barack Obama spoke of the murdered children at Sandy Hook Elementary, he said the following:
"I think anybody who was up in Newtown, who talked to the parents, who talked to the families understands that something fundamental in America has to change," Obama told David Gregory on NBC's "Meet the Press." "And all of us have to do some soul searching, including me as president, that we allow a situation in which 20 precious small children are getting gunned down in a classroom.
A noble sentiment from our Nobel Peace Prize winning president.
How about a fundamental change to American foreign policy that uses drone bomb strikes against terrorism suspects and kills children in Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and elsewhere?
Children like the ones described here.https://twitter.com/dronestream/status/279258960916271105/photo/1
Or here. https://twitter.com/i/#!/dronestream/media/slideshow?url=pic.twitter.com%2F1jKbpuIz
Adam Lanza murdered 20 children at Sandy Hook in a horrific event.
We don't know how many children Barack Obama has had murdered through U.S. drone policy strikes, because the U.S. government is very secretive about casualties.
But it's more than 20, we know that.
We know that the Obama administration specializes in targeting funerals of drone bomb victims with another drone bomb strike, that they also target first responders to drone bomb strikes who attempt to help the victims with another drone bomb strike.
We know the policy causes and is meant to cause terror all across the globe - don't screw with us or this will happen to you.
Now is rendering and detaining suspects without charges, interrogating them without informing them of their rights or giving them legal counsel, and trying them on evidence obtained illegally better than the drone bomb campaign the Obama administration has engaged in?
But the Obama administration says that because Congress will not act the way they want on WoT issues, they have no choice but to do one of these two things.
If this were George Bush or Mitt Romney or John McCain doing the rendering, the murders from the sky, the slaughtering of innocent children like the ones pictured and detailed in the above links, liberals and progressives would be screaming holy hell over it.
But because this is Barack Obama engaged in the rendition and drone bomb murder and the slaughtering of innocent children like the ones pictured and detailed in the above links, there is relative silence from those same liberals and progressives.
Barack Obama is a war criminal and a murderer, he belongs in a prison cell block along with Henry Kissinger, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Condi Rice, Stephen Hadley, John Yoo and Richard Nixon's corpse.
Where is the outrage from the left?