Wikileaks Confirm Western Culture of Torture & Lies
AFTER FAST FOOD AND STREET GANGS, NOW US FRANCHISED TORTURE by K. Gajendra singh , 11 December, 2005
Tell us about the CIA flights.
The US does not torture.
Tell us about the black sites.
The US does not torture.
"Let me be clear," has been a popular Ms Condi Rice refrain this week about US rendition of terrorism suspects. For many, she has been everything but clear. [From Der Spiegel]
At the end of her 4 day, European safari Rice reached Brussels for a meeting with NATO foreign ministers to explain the US position on torture .But she dodged questions on secret CIA prisons in Eastern Europe. At the dinner, according to German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, she reiterated, "in the United States, international obligations are not interpreted differently than in Europe." NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said the next day, "it is my impression that Secretary Rice ... cleared the air. You will not see this discussion continuing" at the NATO headquarters.
The revelations of CIA franchised torture centers in east Europe and elsewhere, worse than Abu Gharib and Guantanamo has exposed the lawlessness permeating the Bush Administration, whether on the legality of US led invasion of Iraq ,violation of Human Rights and Geneva conventions . Or for that matter other international Treaties.
Ms Rice and the Bush administration were hoping for a fresh start with Germany after an acrimonious relationship with the previous government of Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, which had vociferously opposed the illegal US invasion of Iraq .In the new broad based German coalition led by US friendly right wing leader Chancellor Angela Merkel there was a hope of making up, but the visit ended in confusion and Merkel was put on the defensive.
Gerhard Schröder's Socialists are part of the coalition and the German media and people had questions about covert prisons and secret arrests including of an innocent German citizen, who overshadowed Rice's talks with Merkel at the start of the visits in Berlin on 6 December, and then to Bucharest and Kiev, ending with discussions in Brussels.
In Berlin Rice declined to answer most questions, even after Merkel called for "a certain degree of transparency" on the issue regarding any possible knowledge by the previous government of CIA activities in Germany involving German citizens These questions have erupted following a cascade of media reports led by the Washington Post and Der Spiegel about US use of airports in Europe for CIA flights to transport terror suspects to a network of secret jails for questioning. Khaled Masri a German citizen on holiday in Macedonia was picked up for questioning as a suspected terrorist and tortured in Afghanistan for five months last year before being released on grounds of mistaken identity. Merkel said that the United States had acknowledged responsibility.
"The American government admitted its mistake," Merkel said. Rice said she could not talk about the case specifically but added, "Any policy will sometimes result in errors, and when it happens we will do everything we can to rectify it." "The American government admitted its mistake," Merkel said. Rice said she could not talk about the case specifically but added, "Any policy will sometimes result in errors, and when it happens we will do everything we can to rectify it."
Facing an angry Parliament, Merkel said her foreign minister, Steinmeier, an ex- top aide of Schröder, would face a special parliamentary committee to answer questions about how much he knew about the covert prisons and the practice called rendition, in which terrorist suspects captured by the United States were sent to other countries, some of which with records of torturing prisoners. Steinmeier reportedly had access to all intelligence dossiers and cases including those with the interior minister Otto Schily, who was reportedly told about the Masri case but has remained silent.
It may be recalled that in May 2004, the White House had dispatched US Ambassador Daniel R. Coats to Schily to tell that the CIA had wrongfully imprisoned Khaled Masri, for five months, and would soon release him, with a request that the German government not disclose what it was told even if Masri went public. The U.S. officials feared exposure of covert action programs designed to capture terror suspects abroad on thin or speculative evidence and transfer them to countries with secret bases would have serious ramifications .The CIA, working with other intelligence agencies, has captured an estimated 3,000 people, including several key leaders of al Qaida, in its campaign to dismantle terrorist networks. It is impossible to know, however, how many mistakes the CIA and its foreign partners have made.
Masri says he underwent coercive interrogation and confinement for five months before being released, two months after the CIA concluded it was a case of mistaken identity. He is suing former CIA director George Tenet with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). In filing the suit in Washington, the ACLU said it was seeking to "reaffirm that the rule of law is central to our identity as a nation".
In another instance, according to the Washington Post, the CIA seized Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasir, an Egyptian refugee known as Abu Omar, from a street in Milan. The agency then told Italian anti-terrorism police that he had fled to the Balkans - a piece of disinformation. The deception worked for more than a year, until the Italians discovered that the CIA had whisked off to Egypt, where he was reportedly interrogated and tortured.
US refused the Red Cross access to all detainees
The state department's top legal adviser, John Bellinger admitted for the first time in Geneva that the US has not given the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) access to all detainees in its custody. But he gave no details about where such prisoners were held. He said ICRC had access to "absolutely everybody" at the prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which holds suspects detained during the US war on terror.
On Friday, Adam Ereli, the State Department's deputy spokesman, said the United States would not alter its position after the ICRC president said in Geneva that his organization was holding discussions to gain access to all detainees, including those held in secret locations.
Ereli said that the Geneva Conventions requiring humane treatment of prisoners of war did not apply to certain terrorism suspects seized as "unlawful enemy combatants," but that, in any case, the United States treats most of them as prisoners of war. "We're going the extra mile here," Ereli said, by allowing the Red Cross access to Al Qaida suspects and others held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and in Afghanistan. The Red Cross also has access to prisoners held in Iraq.
Commentators said that this is likely to increase suspicions that the CIA has been operating secret prisons outside international oversight.
UN against US led detentions in Iraq;
John Pace, human rights chief for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), said that the US military is abusing its United Nations mandate in Iraq by detaining thousands of people without due process of law. The Iraqi Government, installed after the US invasion of 2003, is also guilty of major human rights abuses, including holding people without charge in secret jails "littered" across the country, John Pace added. Referring to accusations of corruption among Iraqi justice officials and police, Pace said illegal detentions were fuelling rather than curbing revolt.
"There is no question that terrorism has to be addressed. But we are equally sure that the remedies being applied … are not the best ways of eliminating terrorism," he said. "More terrorists are being created than are being eliminated." UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has also voiced concern about mass detentions without charge, which US commanders say are a legitimate response to security threats under UN Security Council Resolution 1546, their mandate for occupying Iraq.
But Pace said that the system, including the pattern, duration and conditions of detention, were "not consistent with what is foreseen in 1546" and complained of "total breakdown" in individuals' rights.
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour said that the U.S.-led war on terror has undermined the global ban on torture. This did not please U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton, appointed by Bush against the wishes of the US Congress. Bolton called Arbour's statement "inappropriate and illegitimate." U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's spokesman said that Annan wants to take the matter up with Bolton as soon as possible.
--- Reports of the existence of the secret prisons have caused a trans-Atlantic uproar. The European Union has asked the Bush administration about these reports. Britain, the current EU president, sent a two-paragraph letter to Washington late last month for clarifications.
Dutch Foreign Minister Ben Bot said Rice's comments about secret CIA flights and detention centers for terrorist suspects outside the United States were "unsatisfactory," Bot told MPs that "rendition" was not kidnapping as some critics claimed but a speedy process of extraditing suspects to the US. Normal extraditions through the courts can last for years, he said. Media reported that the CIA regularly made use of Dutch airports for secret flights.
The European Union (EU) has threatened to sanction any EU member countries, which had such prisons on their territories.
US admits policy of renditions;
Ms Rice's successor as National Security Adviser, Stephen Hadley, told CNN that "we do not move people around the world so they can be tortured". Thus dittoing the official line. But Hadley added that the policy of renditions "has been a practice before 9/11, before this Administration", as well as "a practice engaged in by a number of countries".
What is 'rendition'?
Rendition is an old western practice beginning perhaps from the days of the Spanish inquisitions if not earlier. In his memoirs, Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel wrote that during the World War II the secret abduction and 'rendition' from Third Reich occupied countries to Germany of suspected Resistance members - otherwise known as the Nacht und Nebel (Night and Fog) Decree - was the worst of all of the orders issued by Adolf Hitler . Nacht und Nebel-type practices were used by the French to suppress successive uprisings by Algerian freedom fighters in the 1950s. Since then the practice of "disappearances" has spread around the globe - according to Human Rights Watch. Iraq and Sri Lanka accounted for the most cases between 1980 and 2003.
In Latin America, the technique was successfully internationalized under "Operation Condor". The operation, conceived and effectively implemented under Chilean president Augusto Pinochet, brought together the intelligence agencies of Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia and Uruguay, as well as Pinochet's own secret police chief, Manuel Contreras, in 1975. Although not a charter member, Brazil also participated. The objective was to "enhance communications among each other and integrate tactical operations in tracking down, secretly detaining, torturing and terminating [the lives of] critics or suspected militants, who were often referred to as 'terrorists'," according to Peter Kornbluh, a senior analyst at the Washington-based National Security Archive (NSA).
So what is new !Yes , Western leaders and media keep on maligning eastern governments for similar practices .In many cases the techniques have been taught by western agencies to the agencies of their allies in the East e.g. CIA to Savak or to Pakistan's ISI and Jihadis during the Afghan war against USSR. Israel's Mossad almost openly implements and teaches rendition techniques to any takers.
Important Rice visit to Romania;
Ms Rice's 4 hour stop over in the Romanian capital Bucharest, was an important bilateral visit .She signed with the Romanian Foreign Minister Mihai Razvan Ungureanu a bilateral agreement for use of Romanian military bases at Mikhail Kogalniceanu, Babadag, Cincu and Smardan, with President Traian Basescu watching at the Cotroceni Palace. Ms Rice also had talks with President Basescu on bilateral relations and cooperation within the Black Sea region and in the Balkans, as well as the cooperation in Afghanistan and Iraq. Romania also announced that it would not withdraw troops from Iraq.
--- For USA and EU, the Romanian location is very important militarily and as a vantage point for trade with Caspian basin and Central Asia across the Black Sea. USA had used Romanian air bases during the March 2003 war on Iraq , when Nato ally Turkey had refused to let US open a second front against north Iraq from South east Turkey and permitted its Nato Inchirlik air base only for humanitarian flights .
How ever ,as the author pointed out to the Romanian leaders in his recent meetings along with the foreign media based in Bucharest that Romania must avoid showing too close an affinity with US policies of torture .There are around 100,000 Muslims , mostly Tatars and tens of thousands of Israelis visit Romania for rest and recreation . Over a few hundred Romanian Jews had migrated to Israel. Romania has a history of anti-Semitism. The November 2003 bombings of a Synagogue in Istanbul were to punish for the pro Israel policy of Turkey, which also hosts hundreds of thousands of Israeli tourists .When President Basescu, soon after his election, visited Iraq to show solidarity with USA, three journalists accompanying him were kidnapped. Their capture and release remains a mystery.
Romania and Poland are two very pro US countries, described by US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as new Europe (an appellation the countries rejected) which was chided by French President Jacque Chirac when they had sided with USA on the question of US invasion of Iraq, against the general EU policy of opposition and neutrality.
Poland appears to be centering the CIA's secret detention network in Europe, with bases there holding a quarter of the 100 detainees estimated in such camps worldwide.
"Poland was the main base for CIA interrogations in Europe, while Romania played more of a role in the transfer of detained prisoners," Marc Garlasco, a leading analyst at Human Rights Watch, was quoted by Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza.
Garlasco said that the CIA maintained two detention centers in Poland, which were closed only after the Washington Post broke the story last month. He said the allegations were based on information from CIA sources and other documents obtained by Human Rights Watch. "We have leads, circumstantial evidence to check but it's too early to reveal them," Garlasco added.
Polish authorities have repeatedly denied the existence of secret jails of any form on Polish territory, with Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkieicz saying this week he would fully cooperate in human rights probes into the allegations. On 11 December, he ordered a detailed probe to "check if there is any proof that such an event took place in our country. It is necessary to finally close the issue because it could be dangerous to Poland." Said Marcinkiewicz's spokesman, Konrad Ciesiolkiewicz.
Rice in Ukraine of US franchised revolution;
Ms Rice visit to Kiev was to express solidarity with US protégé President Viktor Yushchenko of Ukraine. US organizations across the board had spent hundreds of millions of US dollars last year to get him elected in a US franchised election organized through street revolutions , a process which was begun with the overthrow of Milosevich in Serbia and then perfected in Georgia . Street revolutions failed dismally in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan with Russia and China with central Asian states vociferously opposing US led franchised revolutions.
The sheen has come off the so called Orange revolution with Yushchenko's rich partner the Prime Minister quitting his company .The Ukrainian masses are unhappy with the results of the revolution with bribery and other scandals on increase. Russia on which Ukraine is dependent for its energy needs is squeezing Kiev. Next year's Parliament elections would be a litmus test for the Yushchenko regime.
Shift in US Policy?
By the time Ms Rice reached Kiev, there was apparent shift in her position. She said that Washington now viewed its responsibilities under a UN treaty as banning the cruel or inhumane treatment of prisoners anywhere. She appeared to give the torture question a clear and broad interpretation. Referring to the UN Convention against Torture (CAT), ratified by USA in 1994, Rice said that "as a matter of U.S. policy, the United States' obligations under the CAT, which prohibits cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment - those obligations extend to U.S. personnel wherever they are, whether they are in the United States or outside of the United States."
Scott McClellan, the White House spokesman, described the new approach by Rice as "existing policy." But when pressed repeatedly by reporters, he would not say whether the United States took steps to ensure that countries to which it transferred prisoners lived up to promises against using torture.
Rice's shift produced some confusion in Washington, possibly reflecting tensions among the State Department, White House, Congress and the Pentagon on how narrowly to define some tools available .These can include techniques known as water boarding, in which a prisoner is strapped to a plank and dunked into water to create a sense of being drowned. Rights groups say that these methods have been used on prisoners at the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and elsewhere.
No rendition for torture –George Bush;
President Bush, referring to the process known as rendition, under which the United States has turned detainees over to other countries reiterated: "We do not render to countries that torture. That has been our policy, and that policy will remain the same."
But wrote Naomi Klein in the Guardian "It's [ torture] a history exhaustively documented in an avalanche of books, declassified documents, CIA training manuals, court records and truth commissions. In his forthcoming book, A Question of Torture, Alfred McCoy synthesizes this evidence, producing a riveting account of how monstrous CIA-funded experiments on psychiatric patients and prisoners in the 1950s turned into a template for what he calls "no-touch torture", based on sensory deprivation and self-inflicted pain. McCoy traces how these methods were field-tested by CIA agents in Vietnam as part of the Phoenix program and then applied in Latin America and Asia under the guise of police training.
"It is not only apologists for torture who ignore this history when they blame abuses on "a few bad apples". A startling number of torture's most prominent opponents keep telling us that the idea of torturing prisoners first occurred to US officials on September 11 2001, at which point the methods used in Guantanamo apparently emerged, fully formed, from the sadistic recesses of Dick Cheney's and Donald Rumsfeld's brains. Up until that moment, we are told, America fought its enemies while keeping its humanity intact."---
"Illegal detention and torture are also war crimes. Starting with the exposure of prisoner abuse at Abu Gharib and Guantanamo, cascading revelations have established that these cases exemplify a pattern of abuse authorized at the highest levels of government. Human rights groups like the Center for Constitutional Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Human Rights First sued in U.S. and foreign courts against Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and others for breaching the U.S. Constitution and the Geneva Conventions. The Senate's 90-9 vote to restore the military's traditional prohibition against torture and inhumane treatment of prisoners prompting the Bush administration to threaten a veto, sets the stage for a major confrontation over adherence to both the Geneva Conventions and the U.S. Constitution. "
Paul Craig Roberts, Hoover Institution senior fellow and assistant secretary of the treasury under Ronald Reagan, has charged Bush with "lies and an illegal war of aggression, with outing CIA agents, with war crimes against Iraqi civilians, with the horrors of the Abu Gharib and Guantanamo torture centers" and calls for the president's impeachment. Anne-Marie Slaughter, dean of the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton and former president of the American Society of International Law, declares: "These policies make a mockery of our claim to stand for the rule of law. [Americans] should be marching on Washington to reject inhumane techniques carried out in our name." Cindy Sheehan, mother of a soldier killed in Iraq, whose single handed resistance to US policies, including sit-ins near Bush's Texas ranch ,brought various opposition groups together ,insists: "We cannot have these people pardoned. They need to be tried on war crimes and go to jail."