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Ghost Plane: The True Story of the CIA Rendition and Torture Program Paperback – September 18, 2007

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1st edition (September 18, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031236024X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312360245
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #490,711 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Powerful and damning...[Grey] is a prodigious digger and more than a single-minded muckraker. His attention to detail can be chilling."
--The Washington Post
"An explosive new book provides a rare glimpse into the full extent of the Agency's controversial terror renditions."
"It's not often an author gets an unsolicited pre-publication stamp of legitimacy from the U.S. president, much less one who reports on human-rights issues...disturbing in the depth and detail of its evidence."
--Kirkus Reviews, (Starred)

About the Author

STEPHEN GREY is an award-winning investigative journalist who has contributed to The New York Times, 60 Minutes, ABC News, CNN, Newsweek, The Atlantic Monthly, the BBC and other publications.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

90 of 102 people found the following review helpful By Barron Laycock HALL OF FAME on October 20, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Any citizen concerned about the manifest threats to our constitutionally guaranteed liberties emanating from the Bush administration in its approach to the "War On Terror" will do well to read and appreciate the frightening story contained in these pages. Author Stephen Grey takes great pains to carefully document the astonishing ways in which the Executive Branch has unleashed the least principled elements within the Central Intelligence Agency and fully endorsed the crypto-fascistic policy of "extraordinary rendition", which is a clever euphemism for the unlawful abduction and illegal international transportation of certain designated "terrorist" suspects to avoid domestic legal complications. In other words, when the CIA and Executive branch determine that a specific suspected terrorist might have critical time-sensitive information, it employs this technique to deliver the suspected terrorist into the hands of foreign governments that sanction and practice torture. Thus, the fundamental purpose of this policy is to do an end run around the constitutional guarantees which everyone within the borders of the USA enjoys by situating the suspect in countries in which brutal torture is both tolerated and practiced.

In many cases there is an almost comical ironic twist to the politics involved in the sense that the Executive Branch and the CIA seem to blatently ignore and deliberately subvert existing foreign policy in acts that are most accurately described as being cynically pragmatic, which also employ outlaw states such as Syria to use extreme torture methods to ply sensitive information from known or suspected terrorist suspects.
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Loyd E. Eskildson HALL OF FAME on November 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Grey's "Ghost Plane" provides credible documentation of America's involvement in secret renditions and torture - often on the flimsiest of "evidence" (eg. suspect was a friend of someone believed to be a terrorist). He begins by telling of our recently sending prisoners to Syria for interrogation and torture - despite Bush and the State Department condemning Syria for torture and supporting terrorism. ("The enemy of my enemy is my friend" - both Syria and Egypt are anti-Al Qaeda.)

Grey also asserts that the U.S. has outsourced "questioning" since at least 1965 (South American Communists); in addition similar activities took place in Central America and Vietnam. President Carter then ceased all such activities, and directed the CIA to promote human rights. However, 9/11 ended that - first came Guantanamo, then stories began to leak out of the CIA working with some of the most repressive secret police in the world (eg. Egypt and Uzbekistan) that also opposed Islamic extremism.

Renditions are described as typically utilizing about 8 men dressed in black and wearing masks; when going to Egypt they would also bring two Egyptian officers - thus, technically the prisoners were never in U.S. custody. The U.S. only provided "taxi service" via small unmarked civilian "ghost planes."

Grey documents 89 renditions, and suspects hundreds more took place. Substantiation is provided by public flight logs, released prisoners' site descriptions matching actual known foreign country secret police settings, scars (on some), and reports from a British ambassador. Techniques included beatings, cuts, drug injections, food and water adulteration, threats made regarding a suspect's relatives, incessant and loud music, 18-hour interrogations, near drownings (eg.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Harold E. Crow MD on January 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover
A fabulous job of integrating detail with narrative into a web of our secret and not too righteous world of torture, kidnapping and disregard for human rights.

Grey has made his case of detailing the flights, passengers, destinations, and outcomes of the "rendition" and extraordinary rendition by our own government. And how the details of delusion of the public were worked out by Gonzalez et al.

This book is well worth reading if you have an interest in how a government can go overboard in trashing human rights--and still get poor results (from torture).

What looks like a formidable read turns out to be riveting and is truly a worhtwhile addition to the support of a better, more open government that is above torture.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By William Podmore on April 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Stephen Grey, a former editor of the Sunday Times’ Insight investigation team, broke many of the news stories about the CIA’s programme of secret renditions. In this extremely useful book, he gives us the fullest account yet of this programme. He exposes the CIA’s covert aircraft fleet, Aero Contractors, and also describes how CIA planes operated illegally in Venezuela to support the attempted coup against President Chavez in 2002.

The CIA runs a system of clandestine prisons holding thousands of kidnapped prisoners, taken from Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia, Albania, Germany, Italy, Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, Zambia, Gambia, Pakistan, Indonesia and Malaysia to be tortured in Afghanistan, Jordan, Uzbekistan, Thailand, Syria, Egypt and Morocco. Grey writes, “the foreign torture cells of Cairo and Damascus and the US jails at Guantanamo and Bagram were part of one interconnected gulag in which prisoners were swapped both between countries but also between the CIA and the US military.”

Grey asked Edward Walker, US Ambassador to Egypt, “When Condoleezza Rice and the president now stand in front of people and say we don’t send people to countries where they torture, are they telling the truth?” Walker replied, “No, they’re not telling the truth.” A CIA official said, “nothing was done without approval from the White House – from Condoleezza Rice herself.”

The Bush and Blair governments talk democracy but support dictatorship. For example, in 2002, the State Department said Uzbekistan ‘routinely’ tortured prisoners, then gave it an extra $180 million aid. Grey points out that the Blair government connived in the renditions and in the use of torture, by using the ‘information’ gained from torturing prisoners.
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