Senate report set to reveal Djibouti as CIA ‘black site’ - (Part 3/ 3)

Posted Date: Saturday, May 24, 2014

Confirmation by the Senate Intelligence Committee of Djibouti’s role in the rendition program would be a “critical” development, said Satterthwaite. “The cooperation of countries all over the world — including Djibouti — was central to the operation of the U.S. rendition, secret detention, and torture program,” Satterthwaite said. “While the role of European partners such as Poland and Romania has been the subject of much reporting and investigation, the assistance of countries such as Djibouti has yet to be scrutinized. Further, as the home of a fleet of U.S. drones, Djibouti is an enormously important partner but has not received adequate scrutiny for its role in facilitating U.S. abuses.” Jonathan Horowitz, who works on national security and legal issues at the Open Society Justice Initiative, said al-Asad’s case provides the African human rights commission with an opportunity “to state that African governments can’t collude with other governments to abuse human rights, and they can’t use the fight against terrorism to justify violating people’s rights.” Last year, Open Society issued a report, Globalizing Torture, which found that 54 countries, including Djibouti, were complicit in the extraordinary rendition of 136 CIA prisoners. The nonpartisan Constitution Project also produced a Detainee Task Force report identifying Djibouti as a CIA rendition partner and focused heavily on al-Asad’s case to support its conclusions. “One of the things that is really important to recognize here is that the CIA torture and rendition program couldn’t have gone global without the assistance from other countries,” Horowitz said. Meanwhile, the U.S. continues to work on strengthening its counterterrorism relationship with Djibouti. Next week, Djibouti’s president, Ismaïl Omar Guelleh, will travel to the U.S. to meet with President Obama at the White House. Ambassador Olhaye does not believe the Senate's report, if it is ever released, will identify his country as a rendition partner. "I don't believe the Senate report will say anything about my government," he said. "Maybe about the American base. Our prisons have not been participating in that kind of thing." Olhaye said neither he nor anyone from his country has had any discussions with U.S. officials about the Senate's report.

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