Congressional Record: February 18, 2005 (Extensions)
Page E282-E283                       



                         HON. EDWARD J. MARKEY

                            of massachusetts

                    in the house of representatives

                      Thursday, February 17, 2005

  Mr. MARKEY. Mr. Speaker, today I am proud to introduce legislation 
that would prohibit the outsourcing of torture by the United States 
  The practice of extraordinary rendition, the extra-judicial transfer 
of people in U.S. custody either in this country or abroad to nations 
known to practice torture, has until recently received little attention 
due to the secrecy surrounding such transfers. Attention was first 
drawn to the practice after the case of Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen, 
first came to light. Mr. Arar was seized in 2002 while in transit to 
Canada through JFK airport in New York, and was sent to Jordan and 
later Syria by the U.S. Government. While in Syria, Arar reportedly was 
tortured and held in a dark, 3-by-6-foot cell for nearly a year. He was 
ultimately released and detailed his story to the media upon his return 
to Canada. Since that time, other press reports have identified 
renditions elsewhere around the world, such as the transfer of an 
Australian citizen, Mamdouh Habib, from Pakistan to Egypt, where he was 
reportedly tortured.
  Extraordinary rendition is wrong because it: Violates international 
treaties that the United States has signed and ratified, including most 
notably Article 3 of the Convention Against Torture, which prohibits 
sending a person to another state ``where there are substantial grounds 
for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to 
torture.'' Undermines the moral integrity of America in the eyes of the 
world. Ensures that American captives are likely to be tortured by 
others out of reciprocity, regardless of the urgency of the pleas of 
our government or the victim's family.
  Although the total numbers of those ``rendered'' by the Bush 
Administration are unknown, then-CIA director George Tenet testified to 
the 9/11 Commission in October 2002 that over 70 people had been 
subjected to renditions prior September 11. Human rights organizations 
including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Center for 
Constitutional Rights and the ACLU have detailed numerous other cases 
that may also involve rendition to countries that practice torture. 
Last year, the Canadian government launched an investigation into 
Arar's case, but the U.S. State Department has refused to cooperate 
with the Canadian investigation.
  The bill I am introducing today directs the State Department to 
compile a list of countries that commonly practice torture or cruel, 
inhuman or degrading treatment during detention and interrogation, and 
prohibit rendition to any nation on this list. The bill explicitly 
permits legal, treaty-based extradition, in which suspects have the 
right to appeal in a U.S. court to block the proposed transfer based on 
the likelihood that they would be subjected to torture or other 
inhumane treatment.
  Torture is morally repugnant whether we do it or whether we ask 
another country to do it for us. It is morally wrong whether it is 
captured on film or whether it goes on behind closed doors unannounced 
to the American people. President Bush has asserted that ``the

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values of this country are such that torture is not a part of our soul 
and our being.'' I agree.
  The legislation I am introducing today is designed to ensure that we 
not only outlaw torture conducted directly by U.S. government 
personnel, but that we also stop any practice which involves 
outsourcing or contracting out torture to other nations.
  I urge Members to join in cosponsoring this legislation.