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From January 2015, The Rendition Project has joined forces with The Bureau of Investigative Journalism to conduct an ongoing investigation into some of the crucial unanswered questions raised as a result of US Senate's shocking report on CIA torture. The investigation is being made possible with the help of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, which has launched a major crowd-funding appeal for donations - please donate here if you can.
Background on the Torture Report Project
In December 2014, the US Senate Intelligence Committee published a heavily-redacted version of the 499-page executive summary to the Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency's Detention and Interrogation Program. The full report is over 6,000 pages long, and remains classified. It details how, in secret CIA facilities overseas between 2002 and 2007, at least 119 prisoners were held in the most inhumane of conditions, many for months or years at a time. The report also provides an unprecedented level of detail about how the prisoners were treated, including an account of the use of torture by CIA interrogators and foreign government officials in order to exert control over prisoners, and in an attempt to gather actionable intelligence on future terrorist attacks. Many prisoners were subjected to the so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques" which had been authorised by the US Department of Justice. These approved techniques included waterboarding (partial drowning), prolonged confinement in extremely small boxes, sleep deprivation for days on end, repeated beatings, and a range of stress positions. These were designed to hurt without leaving permanent scars. The report also details the use of approved techniques in unapproved ways, such as waterboarding to the point of unconsciousness, as well as the use of additional torture techniques which has not been approved. Prisoners were subjected to sexual assault by forced feeding through the rectum, mock executions, extreme stress positions, and the use of ice baths and hoses to induce hypothermia.
The published executive summary of the Senate's report is itself an unparalleled public account of the CIA's torture programme, with 499 pages and over 2,700 footnotes. However, many important details have been withheld, including the locations of the CIA's secret prisons, the involvement of foreign governments in the programme, and key information regarding the rendition, detention and torture of individual prisoners.
The ongoing investigation by The Rendition Project and the Bureau for Investigative Journalism is a determined attempt to uncover the fate and whereabouts of all 119 prisoners, and to publish as much information as possible about the CIA's torture programme.