Wednesday, October 1

Renditions in East Africa

Human Rights Watch's Jennifer Daskal, in Salon:

Almost everyone I spoke with assumed -- whether true or not -- that the United States backed the arbitrary arrest and unlawful rendition of men like Ishmael and the still-detained Kenyans. Almost everyone assumed that the Ethiopians operate with America's blessing. Their stories have circulated, fueling anger and resentment. As one man, whose childhood friend became one of the rendition victims, told me, "Now when I go to the mosque, I pray to God to punish the Americans."

To be sure, the United States is not the main culprit when the Kenyans unlawfully render suspects or the Ethiopians torture them. But when U.S. officials interrogate rendition victims who are being held incommunicado, the United States becomes complicit in the abuse. The U.S. is funding the Ethiopian military, supporting its activities in Somalia and training Kenyan security forces in counterterrorism -- so as U.S.-backed military and police forces in the region brutalize their domestic opponents in the name of fighting terrorism, the United States is often blamed.

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