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National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006

Location: Washington, DC

NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2006 -- (House of Representatives - May 25, 2005)


Mr. MARKEY. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from Missouri for this time. I made a request to the Rules Committee that we be able, on this House floor, to debate a very important issue, but permission was denied, even though this subject goes to the core of who we are as Americans.

The issue is a concept called ``extraordinary rendition.'' That is a situation where the United States has a prisoner in its possession. We have him. We control that prisoner. And, yet, because we receive diplomatic assurances from another country, a country that does not abide by the convention against torture, we send the prisoner to that country. Now, these are just not ordinary countries that we send these prisoners too. These are countries like Syria; these are countries like Uzbekistan.

The United States, in other words, has captured someone. We believe that they are a terrorist. We believe that they are a threat to our country. We have them in our own possession. By receiving these diplomatic assurances, we send these prisoners to other countries, knowing that there is a high likelihood that these people will be tortured. If Syria, for example, a country that Secretary Rice says we cannot trust, says that they will not torture someone who we have sent to them, can we really trust them?

Just this week, Syria broke off all relations with the United States military and the CIA. What does this mean for the diplomatic assurances that we received from Syria? Did we really need these additional lessons to know that they do not abide by the convention against torture?

Just this week in the New York Times there was a story about a case in which hooded operatives, in the middle of the night, took two Swedish prisoners to Egypt in a CIA-operated Gulfstream. Here is what the story said: one agent quickly slit their clothes with a pair of scissors. Another agent checked the suspects' hair, mouth and lips, while a third agent took photographs from behind. As prisoners stood there, naked and motionless, they were zipped into gray track suits and their heads were covered with hoods. The suspects were then marched in chains to the plane where they were strapped to mattresses on the floor of the cabin.

The two Egyptians later told lawyers, relatives, and Swedish diplomats that they were subjected to electric shocks and other forms of torture.

This is wrong. We should have had a vote here on the floor of Congress on this practice to prohibit it. And I regret that we will not. And I think it is a great deficiency in the debate we are having over the conduct of the war.


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