In December 2005 Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, assured the world that the flights of CIA private jets that have criss-crossed Europe since 9/11 had no role in sending prisoners to be tortured. 'The United States has not transported anyone, and will not transport anyone, to a country when we believe he will be tortured,' she said. Tony Blair assured Parliament: 'I have absolutely no evidence to suggest that anything illegal has been happening here at all.'
But as Stephen Grey reveals in Ghost Plane, Rice's claims were a falsehood -- and the British government has also turned a blind eye to a CIA operation that systematically out-sources the harsh interrogation of its captives. Grey reveals how the agency's programme, known by the euphemism 'extraordinary renÌ_åÇ_dition', has transported hundreds of prisoners to foreign jails and its own secret facilities in the full knowledge they will face harsh torture.
From the dark cells of Syria's 'Palestine Branch' interrogation centre -- where inmates are detained for months on end in cells the size of coffins -- to secret CIA jails in AfghaniÌ_åÇ_stan that bombard prisoners with rock music 24 hours a day, Grey uses the prisoners' accounts and CIA jet flight logs to weave a vivid tale of life inside this hidden 'extra-legal' netherworld that is America's international prison network. Including interviews with pilots who flew the CIA's jets. Ghost Plane reveals the extraorÌ_åÇ_dinary detective work that tracked down the agency's covert aviation network. Tracing the history of rendition back to the mid-1990s, Stephen Grey shows how, after 9/11, it expanded beyond recognition into what amounted to a systematic torture programme -- a terrifying world of endless interrogations, frequent transfers around the world, and detenÌ_åÇ_tion without charge. And all authorised by the White House.
About the Author
Stephen Grey is a 38-year-old former editor of the Sunday Times' Insight investigative team and has been the paper's home affairs reporter and a correspondent in South Asia, Europe, and Iraq. He has contributed regularly to the New York Times, The Guardian, The Times, the New Statesman, BBC TV's Newsnight and BBC Radio Four, as well as appeared on BBC News, ITN, Sky News, and CNN. His reporting on the CIA's rendition programme won the Amnesty International 2005 Media Award for Best Periodical Article, was declared runner-up 'story of the year' by the Foreign Press Association in 2004, and has been short-listed for the 2006 Paul Foot Award for Investigative and Campaigning Journalism.
Author Stephen Grey
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