The US Congress launched its own investigations into the CIA's secret programs after the September 11 attacks but the results remain classified. (So what is New?)
The OSJI report is almost sure to add fuel to the debate in the United States as well as in some of the countries that participated in the program. In recent years, several victims of the program have successfully filed lawsuits over their abduction or abuse.
On February 1, an appeals court in Milan reversed a lower court's acquittal of a former CIA station chief in Italy and two other Americans in the 2003 abduction of Egyptian cleric Osama Hassan Mustafa Nasr from a Milan street. The decision means the three, who had previously been acquitted on the grounds of diplomatic immunity, now join 23 other Americans convicted for the abduction in absentia by Italy in 2009.
And in December, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Macedonia violated the rights of German citizen Khaled el-Masri before he was forwarded to a secret CIA detention facility in Afghanistan. The court ruled that his ill-treatment at the Skopje airport, where he was held incommunicado and abused, amounted to torture.
By K Gajendra Singh ... US FRANCHISED TORTUREREFUSES TO GO AWAY ... remained overshadowed by US rendition of terrorism suspects to prisons in ...
U D H R
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Sunday, 11 December 2005
Page 1 of 3
AFTER FAST FOOD AND STREET GANGS, NOW US FRANCHISED TORTURE
Contributed by KGajendra Singh
Tell us about the CIA flights.
Tell us about the black sites.
"Let me be clear," has been a popular Ms Condi Rice refrain this week about
Secretary of State Ms Condoleeza Rice, once caught shopping for expensive shoes to match her model like slim legs, at the height of the Katrina catastrophe, failed to convince European allies by cosmetic obfuscation of 'rendition' of terrorism suspects including many innocents, ferried by CIA planes to secret "black holes" in Europe and elsewhere for torture , specially in the compliant and enthusiastic states in "new Europe ", in contravention of international law and even the laws of the receiving countries.
At the end of her 4 day, European safari Rice reached
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
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
These questions have erupted following a cascade of media reports led by the Washington Post and Der Spiegel about US use of airports in
"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
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
US refused the Red Cross access to all detainees;
The state department's top legal adviser, John Bellinger admitted for the first time in
On Friday, Adam Ereli, the State Department's deputy spokesman, said the
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
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
John Pace, human rights chief for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), said that the
"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
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.
Rice's Pre-Tour Pep talk;
Ms Rice's boss President Bush might find her an eloquent and an erudite teacher, but the visit was not successful in allaying widespread fears, with the fortunes of US Administration in a nose dive at home .Even her last February trip to prepare for President Bush's visit to Europe after her taking over the Secretary of State, had not impressed European diplomats and intellectuals.
Before her departure for Europe this time in a pep talk for US audience at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, Ms Rice told critics of tough U.S. tactics in the war on terror that the intelligence gathered by the CIA had saved European lives. Responding to the outcry over detailed reports of secret CIA run prisons in
But Ms Rice steadfastly refused to respond to the question if the
She added that information gathered by
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.
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.
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.
Important Rice visit to
Ms Rice's 4 hour stopover 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
He also said that the other security structures of
Ms Rice replied that "
Ms Rice thanked
"Explaining why Washington chose Romania instead of Bulgaria, Rice said this was because of Romania's progress in the fields of defense and military training and that it was President Bush's decision who also took into account the strategic position of Romania.
In connection with the reported CIA detention centers, Ms Rice said the agreement regarding the bases in
Asked about the risks following the signing, President Basescu said the risk was neither big, nor small, but that this was "just a leap forward for
Ms Rice did not give a direct reply about the CIA prisons in Romania, but Basescu reiterated that Romania did not have and does not have such prisons on its territory, "My only appeal is that those who say that Romania has allegedly hosted or is hosting torture places assumed the responsibility of their declarations. It was improper to state that secret prisons existed only subject to the arrival of some planes.
After 50 years under communism, a reluctant member of the Soviet Camp (but not fully of the
However ,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
"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
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
Ms Rice visit to
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.
Shift in US Policy?
By the time Ms Rice reached
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
Rice's shift produced some confusion in
No rendition for torture –George Bush;
President Bush, referring to the process known as rendition, under which the
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
"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,
The White House has opposed Republican Senator John McCain's efforts, to bar cruel or inhumane treatment of prisoners, at home or abroad, including by the CIA. A bill to that end passed the Senate and awaits House action. The national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, has met with McCain four times, to seek a compromise.
But Rice's statement was welcomed by, Carl Levin of
David Luban, a
Resistance to wayward
The group was launched to investigate the "extraordinary renditions" of prisoners by the CIA. It claimed that Ms Rice confirmed that
Photographs were produced of CIA planes landing and taking off at
Tyrie interpreted Rice's claim that the
He warned Ms Rice that defending abuse of prisoners would be counter-productive. "It's not just that people may have been tortured. It is that using torture to combat terrorism is likely to inflame Muslim opinion and leave us less secure, not more. We have learnt that lesson the hard way in
Liberal Democrat MP Menzies Campbell described Ms Rice's statement as "disingenuous". He said: "The volume of evidence of transfers has become overwhelming but what possible purpose is served by rendition other than to subject individuals to harsher treatment than would otherwise be the case?
"Parliament and the public are entitled to expect the British Government to show equivalent candor. But the question remains, what did our government know and when did it know it? How high up the political tree did such knowledge go?"
The Labor chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, Mike Gapes pledged that his committee would also pursue ministers over "extraordinary rendition" flights across
In spite of Tony Blair being in a state of denial that US-UK led invasion of Iraq had any relation to July bombings in London, the people know better and are worried about implications of torture by US and UK , with many British citizens being victims of such torture in Guantanamo, in Iraq , Afghanistan and even UK itself .
British Lords ban "torture evidence"
The Law Lords ruled in
Rice and Bush last Visit to
Her February safari to prepare for Bush visit to patch up US-Europe unity was aptly summed up by the Guardian –"For the moment, to adapt Mahatma Gandhi's acerbic opinion about western civilization, one can only say that such unity would be a fine thing."
In the author's view, there is an existential misunderstanding between
Europeans know terrorism; the British with the IRA, Italians and Germans with their Red Brigades, the Spanish with the Basque separatist Eta, French with Corsicans and so on. So what, there was no need to go overboard and throw out all laws, treaties, conventions. Turks and Indians have also faced terrorism and still do .Their genuine problems have made little impact on Anglo-Saxons.
Vice President Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and even Ms Rice, in spite of Iraqi quagmire want to maintain 'full spectrum dominance' including over media.
POWER CORRUPTS, ABSOLUTE POWER CORRUPTED US SYSTEM ABSOLUTELY
It is true, along with US and mother Britannica and the Anglo-Saxon family, specially the Australians. Throughout the discourse, which now agitates
So, what is all the fuss? Asks 'Economist"
"This week, Ms Rice seemed to change course: she said that the UN ban on the torture or cruel treatment of detainees applies to all American personnel (including the CIA) throughout the world. The White House insisted this is "existing policy". But if the secretary of state is right, why on earth is the vice-president fighting to keep the CIA out of the McCain ban? "
It concluded, "the Europeans are not the only ones who need convincing. This week, Louise Arbour, the UN's high commissioner for human rights, warned that the absolute ban on torture could become a casualty of the "war on terror". Without naming the
With the rising opposition in
"Illegal detention and torture are also war crimes. Starting with the exposure of prisoner abuse at Abu Gharib and
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
(Gajendra Singh., served as Indian Ambassador to