Legal action charity Reprieve has joined forces with leading British academics to launch a new project compiling data on extraordinary rendition.
The Rendition Project - carried out by academics at the University of Kent, Kingston University and Reprieve - will collate and analyse information on thousands of of CIA "rendition" flights.
The practice - where suspects are transported to secret prisons across the world to be tortured - is thought to have begun in the early 1990s.
But its use exploded during the post-September 11 2001 "war on terror."
Many details of the rendition programme are only just beginning to come to light.
The project will compile information on hundreds of kidnap and torture victims, over 6,500 flights by 140 aircraft and the 45 countries - including Britain - which were involved into an online database.
It will be the first time all available evidence is brought together and is expected to lead to new understanding of the highly secretive CIA programme.
Dr Sam Raphael of Kingston University said: "The Rendition Project is uncovering the sheer extent of the global network of secret prisons and torture which grew up after September 2001, and the direct and indirect involvement in this by many countries across the world.
"We hope this will be of benefit to all those wanting to understand how the US and its allies subverted fundamental human rights and international law in their 'war on terror', and to people seeking the accountability of those involved."
Reprieve executive director Clare Algar said the project "will be an important tool in bringing the tangled web of the CIA's illegal rendition programme to light.
"It is essential that we get to the bottom of what was one of the worst human rights abuses of the 'war on terror' - including the involvement of the UK, a number of other European states, and major corporations.
"By bringing together and analysing the swathes of information that have emerged, this project will help ensure that the CIA's global network of torture flights cannot simply be swept under the carpet."
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