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BREAKING: The 54 countries that helped the CIA with its torture-linked rendition program

The agency’s torture program was even bigger than the Senate report suggests.

The CIA torture program was even bigger than the details released in the Senate Intelligence Committee torture report might suggest. The reason is that the CIA didn’t just have its own torture program, run out of its “black site” secret detention and torture prisons broad. It also used a vast network of other countries to help capture, detain, transport, and, yes, torture detainees.

That network is best shown by looking at the CIA’s extraordinary rendition program. This is the program under which the CIA would detain and transport suspected terrorists with the help of foreign governments. In all, a stunning 54 countries participated in the CIA-run rendition program. Here they are:

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All 54 countries that participated in the CIA’s rendition program (Anand Katakam)

Whether or not all 54 of those countries are complicit in the CIA torture program is debatable. The program could work in a number of different ways; each of these countries supported the CIA’s rendition program, but not every country directly participated in torture.

Sometimes the detainees were captured by the CIA with the help of foreign governments, sometimes captured entirely by foreign governments, which would then hand them over. Sometimes they were shipped to CIA-run black sites in foreign countries, and sometimes handed off to foreign intelligence agencies that would detain and torture them in their own facilities. Sometimes, more modestly but still consequentially, friendly foreign governments would help the CIA in finding, arresting, or transporting suspected terrorists.

But the point of this map is that, however vast and shadowy the CIA’s torture program was, the agency’s associated and often-linked program of extraordinary rendition was even vaster and more shadowy. There is, and will probably forever remain, a great deal about the CIA’s post-9/11 programs that is still unknown.

Source: Max Fisher for Vox

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GERRYMANDERING THE ELECTION: Republicans won 53% of House votes, and 77% of House seats, in North Carolina

A full list of states where votes cast and House outcomes most differed.

In 2012, the Democrats infamously won a plurality of votes cast in House of Representatives races nationwide, but didn’t end up winning back the majority of seats. This year, that’s not the case — the votes are still being tallied, but right now the national House vote is 52 percent for Republicans and 45 percent for Democrats, according to a count kept by Dave Wasserman, Loren Fulton, and Ashton Barry of the Cook Political Report.

However, the GOP is certain to end up with more than 52 percent of the seats in the new House. Depending on the outcome of a few uncalled races, it looks like they’ll win around 250 seats overall, which would mean they’ve won 57 percent of seats in the chamber. To help explain the discrepancy, here’s a list of the states where the percentage of seats won by a party most differs from the party’s actual total vote share in House races:

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Overall, 86 of these seats went for Republicans, and 48 for Democrats. Now, this isn’t a simple metric of gerrymandering, for several reasons.

  • First, many of these are small states — because in states with only a few House seats to go around, it’s intrinsically more difficult to allot those seats proportionately to the vote. For instance, Idaho only has two seats to allot, so one party will have to end up with either 100 percent of 50 percent of them, even though the actual votes were split 64/36.
  • Second, even in larger states there’s a natural “winner’s bonus” inherent to our majoritarian, single-member-district system. This is because the losing voters in each district don’t affect the House delegation at all. When one simulates various districts and election outcomes under such a system, the party that wins more votes naturally ends up with some advantage in the overall seat share.
  • Third, there were some House races where one party or the other didn’t put up a candidate. A whopping 6 out of 9 races in Massachusetts were uncontested, and there was no actual voting in those races. So our party vote share totals for Massachusetts just uses the three races that were contested, which isn’t ideal.
  • And fourth, people choose where to live. Many Democrats live close to each other in urban areas. Because they’re naturally “packed” in, it’s unnatural to draw a map dispersing those voters across many districts. Maps that favor Republicans are just easier to draw — geography has a built-in pro-GOP bias. Jowei Chen and Jonathan Rodden wrote that a map accurately reflecting the partisan split in most states is “unlikely to emerge by chance from a nonpartisan process.”

If one looks at the bigger states, however, we can see what look to be substantial effects of gerrymandering. In North Carolina, the GOP won 53 percent of the votes and 77 percent of the seats (10 out of 13). In Pennsylvania, they won 53 percent of the votes and 72 percent of the seats (13 out of 18). In Ohio, they won 56 percent of the vote and 75 percent of seats.

However, some of those GOP advantages were countered in states like Maryland, where Democrats won about 57 percent of the vote but carried 88 percent of the seats (7 out of 8), and the aforementioned Massachusetts where just 3 of 9 races were contested, and all were won by Democrats. So overall, it looks like the net effect of gerrymandering this year might have padded the GOP’s margin a bit — but not a ton.

Source: Andrew ProkopJoss Fong, and Anand Katakam for Vox