“A report on clandestine Central Intelligence Agency activities, including the maintenance of secret military bases with detention facilities, known as black sites, in Afghanistan and elsewhere…. We’re so used to being fed politics as fantasy entertainment, by art and the media, that we end up never being sure when we’re looking at the real thing…. the real thing… and not on the evening news.” —The New York Times
It’s no longer a secret: Since 9/11, the CIA has quietly kidnapped more than a hundred people and detained them at prisons throughout the world. It is called “extraordinary rendition,” and it is part of the largest U.S. clandestine operation since the end of the Cold War.
Some detainees have been taken to Egypt and Morocco to be tortured and interrogated. Others have been transported to secret CIA-run facilities in Eastern Europe and Afghanistan, where they, too, have been tortured. Many of the kidnapped detainees have ended up at the U.S. detention camp at Guantánamo, but others have been disappeared entirely.
In this first book to systematically investigate extraordinary rendition, an award-winning investigative journalist and a “military geographer” explore the CIA program in a series of journeys that takes them around the world. They travel to suburban Massachusetts to profile a CIA front company that supplies the agency with airplanes; to Smithfield, North Carolina, to meet pilots who fly CIA aircraft; to the San Francisco suburbs to study with a “planespotter” who tracks the CIA’s movements; and to Afghanistan, where the authors visit the notorious “Salt Pit” prison and meet released Afghan detainees.
They find that nearly five years after 9/11, the kidnappings have not stopped. On the contrary, the rendition program has been formalized, colluding with the military when necessary, and constantly changing its cover to remain hidden from sight.
TREVOR PAGLEN is an expert on clandestine military installations. A widely exhibited artist and photographer, he is the author of I Could Tell You… and Blank Spots on a Map.
A.C. THOMPSON has been a reporter for 12 years, mostly in the San Francisco Bay area. In 2006-2007, he was an investigative reporter for SF Weekly. For eight years before that he worked in a similar role for theSan Francisco Bay Guardian. His work has also appeared in a number of national magazines. His work received the George Polk Award for local reporting in 2005.
“The book shows just how far two guys without any high-placed government contacts can go in blowing open a story of global import.” —The San Francisco Chronicle
“What Paglen and Thompson offer here is a glimpse at the logistics of torture, and the public’s role in the brutal business of the CIA…. the book excels at filling in blanks, painting a mysterious and frightening picture of our ‘wartime’ actions.” —Time Out Chicago
“The cool, almost dispassionate tone taken by Trevor Paglen and A.C. Thompson makes their book all the more disturbing…. Their conclusion is that the end of this story is not yet written.” —The Washington Examiner
“Torture Taxi describes something a lot like the creation of a CIA airline… Paglen and Thompson do an admirable job of synthesizing it and decoding it…terrifically fascinating.” —The Pittsburgh Post Gazette
”The first book documenting the US government practice of extraordinary rendition.” —Amy Goodman, Democracy Now