Disappeared into the hands of US interrogators on flimsy charges with little evidence, the “extraordinary rendition” was a centerpiece of the Bush Administration’s foreign policy, and was nominally ended by President Obama with an executive order just two days after taking office.
But it didn’t really end. The executive order shifted the policy somewhat, but it has continued apparently with even more secrecy inasmuch as the continued renditions have mostly escaped scrutiny.
As the US struggles to charge European detainees with “supporting al-Shabaab” based on little to no evidence, the question of how the US came by these detainees in the first place, renditioned from Djibouti and eventually showing up in some rubber-stamp court proceeding, shows that the policy is alive and well.
Since the US lists al-Shabaab as a “terrorist organization,” they claim it is illegal for anyone to support them. Yet there seems no evidence any of the captives was a serious player in the group, and with no initial ties to the US it leaves one wondering where the line is, and if the US hopes to simply disappear the entire Somali rebel faction in the same manner.