The Untold Story of the CIA's Torture ProgrammeBook - 2007
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 have 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 Britain's government has also turned a blind eye to a CIA operation that systematically out-sources the harsh interrogation of its captives.
Interviewing senior figures in the current and former US administration, and the CIA's department of operations, Grey reveals how the agency's program, known by the euphemism 'extraordinary rendition', 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 in Damascus - where inmates are detained for months on end in cells the size of coffins - to secret CIA jails in Afghanistan that bombard prisoners with 24-hour rock music, Grey uses the prisoners' accounts and thousands of 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 that flew the CIA's jets and packed with exclusive revelations, Ghost Plane reveals the extraordinary detective work that tracked down the Agency's covert aviation network. Grey shows how it emerged from the former Air America that flew in Vietnam and Laos. Tracing the history of rendition back to the mid-1990s, he then shows how after 9/11 rendition expanded beyond recognition into what amounted to a systematic torture program - a terrifying world of endless interrogations, frequent transfers round the world, and detention without charge. And all authorised by the White House.