Mentor:John Brantingham, Professor of English and Creative Writing, Mt. San Antonio College
The American enactment of the PATRIOT Act and the War on Terror campaign have had many lasting implications. As part of the fight against terrorism, the C.I.A. carried out extraordinary rendition, which is the abduction and illegal transfer of persons from one country of interest to another. As of 2005, merely four years after 9/11, the United States had interrogated over 3,000 suspects, many of whom were apprehended under false pretenses and held indefinitely with no official charge. Many of those suspects were later released due to mistaken identity, and after this, the damage done, the United States made no attempt at reparations to resolve these issues, including acknowledgement of such cases. After examining the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it is clear that the United States has distanced itself from its ethical obligations and has failed to act within its constitutional duties. As America tries to police the world and set standards for the rest to follow, it has, at the same time, relied on careful legal rhetoric in order to circumvent international law and conduct extraordinary rendition. According to Articles 5 and 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,” and “Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charges against him.” Since 9/11, America appears to have become an oppressive state because any individual, innocent or guilty, is not safe from the implementations of enhanced interrogations and extraordinary renditions that are in violation of the principles set forth by the American legal proceedings and the guidelines of the United Nations-chartered Geneva Conventions.