The Truth About Rendition

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It would be a full-time job to catalogue all the lies that come out of the Bush administration. But here are two important ones. Hilzoy of Obsidian Wings calls the president on his statement today that “we do not render [detainees] to countries that torture.” Not even the most Clintonian parsing of that statement could make that true.

Meanwhile, in the Christian Science Monitor, Tom Regan swats down Condoleeza Rice’s claims about rendition, and compiles evidence that innocent detainees have been captured, rendered abroad, and tortured. Numbers are hard to come by, but here’s one attempt:

One [US] official said about three dozen names fall in that category [those mistakenly detained]; others believe it is fewer. The list includes several people whose identities were offered by Al Qaeda figures during CIA interrogations, officials said. One turned out to be an innocent college professor who had given the Al Qaeda member a bad grade, one official said.

“They picked up the wrong people, who had no information. In many, many cases there was only some vague association” with terrorism, one CIA officer said.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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