The newly reased CIA torture report is an encouraging first step in

The newly reased CIA torture report is an encouraging first step in providing more details on Boeing’s and Seattle’s role in the extraordinary rendition flights, according to some of the program’s former detainees. “The U.S. denied us our human rights. We wanted the American people to recognize this,” Abdelhakim Balhadj, a Libyan political dissident rendered to Libya in 2004, told the Aljazeera network after a 499-page executive summary of torture was released Tuesday (a 6,000-page report remains classified).

“Publishing this shows the other side, that human rights apply to everyone,” said Balhadj, who was allegedly tortured six years but never charged with a crime.

The Senate Intelligence Committee report, compiled over more than a decade, laid out allegedly illegal techniques used by the CIA to extract secrets from detainees. Among them were beatings, death threats, sleep deprivation, forced rectal feeding, and psychological abuse. The CIA also conducted mock executions, dietary manipulation, exposure to cold temperatures, and “kept detainees awake for up to 180 hours, usually standing or in stress positions, at times with their hands shackled above their heads.”

The Boeing Co. has never detailed its role in the rendition flights that took abducted detainees to these torture sessions, and has not commented on the new report. But we’ve learned over the years that not only was the rendition air force comprised of Lazy B jets, the aerospace giant was serving as travel agent for the agency from a headquarters in Seattle, using a subsidiary called Jeppesen Inc.

Boeing bought Jeppesen in 2000 for $1.5 billion from the [Chicago]Tribune Co., whose mixed portfolio included the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Cubs. Boeing expanded Jeppesen to include electronic mapping and navigation services for airline, general aviation, and government customers along with flight and trip planning. On its Web site, Boeing boasted that “From Aachen to Zhengzhou, King Airs to 747s, Jeppesen has done it all.”

Author Stephen Grey and others told us Jeppesen cleared the airways and runways for the CIA, providing landing and navigation assistance, scheduling flight crews, and booking hotels for them. Jeppesen is a unit of Boeing’s Seattle-based Commercial Aviation Division. Their cargo included detainees who claimed they then were tortured and others who claim to have been mistakenly abducted and abused.

Boeing ferried the captives in chains to Morocco or Egypt, where experts in abuse performed interrogations. Others–about 1,000 detainees in all over a period of five to perhaps seven years–were flown to a system of CIA prisons in Afghanistan and Europe, or to the U.S. compound in Guantanamo. The program is currently thought to be in limbo or flying under the public radar.

One detainee, Khaled el-Masri, a German of Lebanese decent, “was injected with a drug and chained to the floor of the plane,” according to his attorney, Ben Wizner of the New York ACLU, which brought suit after the suspect was released without charges. No one could hold Boeing responsible for making planes that were used by the CIA in the clandestine operation, but “the emergence of [Boeing’s flight-assistance role] changes all that,” said Wizner.

The prisoner flights were launched during the Clinton administration to transfer foreign suspects to the U.S. After 9/11, George W. Bush approved on-the-street abduction of detainees who were secretly spirited to foreign lands for interrogation. The role of Boeing, the nation’s No. 2 defense contractor, grew exponentially.

Bush refused to call the detentions kidnapping–it was war and detainees were suspected combatants, he inferred. Tuesday’s torture report informs us that Bush was likely being misled by his agency at least about the torture level. The so-called enhanced interrogation techniques were “brutal and far worse than the CIA represented” and generally failed to produce any secrets not available through other means.

Aljazeera noted that among the likely passengers on one of the Boeing/Jeppesen rendition flights was Khadija al-Saadi, who was 12 when the U.K. and allegedly the U.S. rendered her, her parents, and her three younger siblings to Libya from Hong Kong:

“The family has described Libyan intelligence detaining and torturing Saadi’s father, prominent Gaddafi opponent Sami al-Saadi, for the next seven years, another apparent victim of U.S. and British efforts to build ties with Gaddafi. Sami al-Saadi was not freed until 2011, when the country toppled Gaddafi and killed him in the street.”

Critics, particularly on the right, argue the release of the torture report aids the enemy. But former tortured POW and Republican presidential candidate John McCain says the techniques reflected in the report “stained our national honor…

“Our enemies act without conscience. We must not. This executive summary of the committee’s report makes clear that acting without conscience isn’t necessary, it isn’t even helpful, in winning this strange and long war we’re fighting. We should be grateful to have that truth affirmed.”