I remember when I first heard that there was a movie staring Jake Gyllenhaal, Reese Witherspoon, Meryl Streep, and Alan Arkin called Rendition I was very excited.
With a film title like Rendition, my first thought was the movie is about a painting, or maybe it's another Adaptation/Stranger than Fiction type of film. Yet the movie synopsis' only talked about a CIA agent seeing something troubling done in secret by Egyptian police or something-other.
Yet it didn't take me long to realize that Rendition was a legal word for handing someone over from one jurisdiction to another, whether between states or countries. Yet rendition as a legally legit concept, has an illegal counterpart often called Extraordinary Rendition.
Extraordinary Rendition is a technical term for secret government torture. For example, say hypothetically there was a terror suspect who might know important information regarding a future terrorist attack, the government agency (let's say the CIA) could capture a terrorist, then hand them over to another countries government were the could be tortured for sensitive information.
The act of extraordinary rendition is obviously illegal, but it is largely believed to have been used/being used in the Clinton and Bush administrations.
Last month I wrote about my disappointment with torture being used as a form of entertainment/sexual perversion in films like Hostel II, Grindhouse, and Captivity which are in theaters this year.
Yet, when I read or think about extraordinary rendition and torture as it applies to terrorism, I do not think of films like those, rather I think of Fox's hit television program 24. There has been many episodes where innocent and guilty people alike get tortured. Almost always, the scenes are horribly gruesome and absolutely unejoyable. And in the world of Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) torture (without government approval) is just part of the job.
Yet, when I watch 24 I don't get angry, because I connect and trust Kiefer Sutherland general discretion. But when I research about the alleged use of extraordinary rendition by the United States and other countries it is very disheartening and unsettling.
I am certainly excited to see the upcoming film Rendition, and think that it certainly has the potential to get some critical and academy awards recognition, and I hope that it will also open up the conversation on this topic to a wider public.
Should a government and it's people turn it's head to due process in the face of fear? This is a complicated topic, and one I've been thinking about for awhile and yet, I have yet to develop firm opinions on the matter. I'm interested in hearing the thoughts of more people on the matter.
Related Tags: Rendition, Extraordinary Rendition, Torture, 24, Kiefer Sutherland, Jake Gyllenhaal, Reese Witherspoon, Terrorism, CIA, film, politics, human rights