The Rendition Project

Professor Ruth Blakeley will provide an overview of the work of The Rendition Project. Funded by the ESRC, and established in 2011, the project was aimed at mapping the CIA’s Rendition, Detention and Interrogation (RDI) programme.

Working closely with legal action charity Reprieve, the work hinged on the gathering of an enormous amount of air traffic control data, and transforming it into a searchable database that would help track aircraft carrying rendition victims around the world over a six-year period, from 2001 to 2007.

Specific key findings from the analysis of the flight data will be discussed, to show how the flight data helped identify which countries were involved in the programme, what their role was, and how the programme evolved. Triangulation of the flight data with the recently declassified 499-page heavily-redacted Executive Summary of the US Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into CIA torture has meant that The Rendition Project can now provide important corroborating evidence of the ill-treatment that specific prisoners were subjected to.

This is being used in various ways to hold states to account for their complicity in the CIA’s RDI programme, and to seek redress for specific prisoners. Ruth will discuss some of the methodological, ethical and security challenges surrounding the work.

Professor Ruth Blakeley
School of Politics and International Relations, University of Kent, and Co-Director of The Rendition Project

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