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 Rendition, Torture and Government Hypocrisy

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PostSubject: Re: Rendition, Torture and Government Hypocrisy   Fri Jun 27, 2008 11:28 pm

This is a long extract from the Council of Europe Report that I linked to a couple of posts back. Just found time to read the report in full and I must say I found it very upsetting. This just describes the abduction process and not what happened to people when they arrived at the destination.

Quote :
84. The “security check” used by the CIA to prepare a detainee for transport on a rendition plane
was described to us by one source in the American intelligence community as a “twenty-minute
takeout”62. His explanation was that within a very short space of time, a detainee is transformed into a
state of almost total immobility and sensory deprivation. “The CIA can do three of these guys in an
hour. In twenty minutes they’re good to go.”63 An investigating officer for the Swedish Ombudsman
was struck by the “fast and efficient procedure” used by the American agents64, while the Swedish
interpreter who witnessed the CIA operation at Bromma Airport said simply: “it surprised me how the
heck they could have dressed him so fast”65.
85. The general characteristics of this “security check” can be established from a host of
testimonies as follows66:
i. it generally takes place in a small room (a locker room, a police reception area) at the airport,
or at a transit facility nearby.
ii. the man is sometimes already blindfolded when the operation begins, or will be blindfolded
quickly and remain so throughout most of the operation.
iii. four to six CIA agents perform the operation in a highly-disciplined, consistent fashion – they
are dressed in black (either civilian clothes or special 'uniforms'), wearing black gloves, with
their full faces covered. Testimonies speak, variously, of “big people in black balaclavas”67,
people “dressed in black like ninjas”68, or people wearing “ordinary clothes, but hooded”69.
iv. the CIA agents “don’t utter a word when they communicate with one another”70, using only
hand signals or simply knowing their roles implicitly.
v. some men speak of being punched or shoved by the agents at the beginning of the operation
in a rough or brutal fashion71; others talked about being gripped firmly from several sides
vi. the man’s hands and feet are shackled.
vii. the man has all his clothes (including his underwear) cut from his body using knives or
scissors in a careful, methodical fashion; an eye-witness described how “someone was taking
these clothes and feeling every part, you know, as if there was something inside the clothes,
and then putting them in a bag”72.
62 Confidential interview with a source in the US intelligence community who wished to remain anonymous;
interview carried out in the United States by the Rapporteur’s representative.
63 Ibid.
64 See Office of the Parliamentary Ombudsman (Sweden), Interview conducted with state official X of the Security
Police (Säpo), Case No. 2169-2004, 30 September 2004 (translated transcript on file with the Rapporteur –
hereinafter “Interview with Swedish Säpo interpreter”); comment made at page 23.
65 Ibid, observation made by the Säpo interpreter in answer to a question, at page 13.
66 The person subjected to the “security check” is referred to generically as “the man”, because we have not thus
far heard of any cases in which it has happened to women. This overview contains aspects common to several
renditions, while excerpts from individual testimonies are cited separately hereunder.
67 See Bisher Al-Rawi, statement made to his lawyer during an interview at Guantanamo Bay (contained in
unclassified attorney notes), submitted to the High Court of Justice in Case No. 2005/10470/05 through the
Witness Statement of Clive Stafford Smith (hereinafter “Al-Rawi statement to lawyer”), at page 31.
68 See Jamil El-Banna, statement made to his lawyer during an interview at Guantanamo Bay (contained in
unclassified attorney notes), submitted to the High Court of Justice in Case No. 2005/10470/05 through the
Witness Statement of Clive Stafford Smith (hereinafter “El-Banna statement to lawyer”), at page 40.
69 See Interview with Swedish Säpo interpreter, supra note 85, at page 10.
70 See Office of the Parliamentary Ombudsman (Sweden), Interview conducted with Kjell Jönsson, Swedsh
lawyer for Mohamed Alzery, Case No. 2169-2004, September 2004 (translated transcript on file with the
Rapporteur – hereinafter “Ombudsman’s Interview with Swedish lawyer Jönsson”); at page 6.
71 See Declaration of Khaled El-Masri in support of Plaintiff’s Opposition to the United States’ Motion to Dismiss,
in El-Masri v. Tenet et al, Eastern District Court of Virginia in Alexandria, 6 April 2006 (hereinafter “El-Masri
statement to US Court in Alexandria, 6 April 2006”) at page 9: “As I was led into this room I felt two people
violently grab my arms… They bent both my arms backwards. This violent motion caused me a lot of pain. I was
beaten severely from all sides.”
72 See Interview with Swedish Säpo interpreter, supra note 65, at page 13.
AS/Jur (2006) 16 Part II
22
viii. the man is subjected to a full-body cavity search, which also entails a close examination of his
hair, ears, mouth and lips.
ix. the man is photographed with a flash camera, including when he is nearly73 or totally naked74;
in some instances, the man's blindfold may be removed for the purpose of a photograph in
which his face is also identifiable75.
x. some accounts speak of a foreign object being forcibly inserted into the man's anus; some
accounts speak more specifically of a tranquiliser or suppository being administered per
rectum76 - in each description this practice has been perceived as a grossly violating act that
affronts the man’s dignity.
xi. the man is then dressed in a nappy or incontinence pad and a loose-fitting "jump-suit" or set of
overalls; “they put diapers on him and then there is some handling with these handcuffs and
foot chains, because first they put them on and then they are supposed to put him in overalls,
so then they have to alternately unlock and relock them”77.
xii. the man has his ears muffled, sometimes being made to wear a pair of "headphones"78
xiii. finally a cloth bag is placed over the man's head, with no holes through which to breathe or
detect light; they “put a blindfold on him and after that a hood that apparently reaches far down
on his body” 79.
xiv. the man is typically forced aboard a waiting aeroplane, where he may be “placed on a
stretcher, shackled”80, or strapped to a mattress or seat, or “laid down on the floor of the plane
and they bind him up in a very uncomfortable position that makes him hurt from moving”81.
xv. in some cases the man is drugged and experiences little or nothing of the actual rendition
flight82; in other cases, factors such as the pain of the shackles or the refusal to drink water or
use the toilet make the flight unbearable: “this was the hardest moment in my life”83.
xvi. in most cases, the man has no notion of where he is going, nor the fate that awaits him upon
arrival.
86. This manner of treating detainees has been heavily criticised by the lawyers of many of the
persons subjected to rendition. In his testimony to the Swedish Ombudsman, Kjell Jönsson, the
Swedish lawyer for Mohamed Alzery84, stated his concern that the measures taken before the
rendition were disproportionate to the security needs: “from Alzery’s point of view it would have been
perfectly enough to ask him to co-operate and he would have done that just like he always has done
before”85.
73 See Interview with Swedish Säpo interpreter, supra note 65, at page 13: “he wasn’t naked, he had his
underpants on; the upper body was undressed and then his picture was taken.”
74 See Binyam Mohamed Al-Habashi, statement made to his lawyer during an interview at Guantanamo Bay,
contained in unclassified attorney notes of Clive A. Stafford Smith, dated 1 August 2005 (document on file with
the Rapporteur – hereinafter “Binyam Mohamed statements to lawyer at Guantanamo”), at page 19: “there was a
white female with glasses… One of them held my penis and she took digital pictures.”
75 See El-Masri statement to US Court in Alexandria, 6 April 2006, supra note 71, at page 9: “They took off my
blindfold… As soon as it was removed, a very bright flashlight went off and I was temporarily blinded. I believe
from the sounds that they had taken photographs of me throughout.”
76 See Ombudsman’s Interview with Swedish lawyer Jönsson, supra note 70, at page 6: “they bend him forward
and he can feel that something is being pushed up his rectum… after that he felt calmer and felt a muscle
relaxation in all his body, but he was wide awake, so he was not sedated”.
77 See Ombudsman’s Interview with Swedish lawyer Jönsson, supra note 70, at page 6.
78 See El-Masri statement to US Court in Alexandria, 6 April 2006, supra note 71, at page 9. Also see reference to
“earmuffs” in Al-Rawi statement to lawyer, supra note 67, at page 31; and reference to “earphones” in Binyam
Mohamed statements to lawyer at Guantanamo, at page 5.
79 See Ombudsman’s Interview with Swedish lawyer Jönsson, supra note 70, at page 6.
80 See Al-Rawi statement to lawyer, supra note 67, at page 31.
81 See Ombudsman’s Interview with Swedish lawyer Jönsson, supra note 70, at page 6.
82 See El-Masri statement to US Court in Alexandria, 6 April 2006, supra note 71, at page 10: “They put
something over my nose. I think it was some kind of anaesthaesia. It felt like the trip took about four hours, but I
don’t really remember. I was mostly unconscious for the duration”.
83 See Al-Rawi statement to lawyer, supra note 67, at page 31.
84 For more detail on the cases of Ahmed Agiza and Mohamed Alzery, please refer to the case study in the
following section.
85 See Ombudsman’s Interview with Swedish lawyer Jönsson, supra note 70, at page 8.
AS/Jur (2006) 16 Part II
23
87. Perhaps the most troubling aspect of this systematic practice, however, is that it appears to be
intended to humiliate. Many accounts speak of these measures being taken despite ‘strong
resistance’, both physical and verbal, on the part of the detainee. The nudity, forced shackling ‘like an
animal’86 and being forced to wear nappies appear offensive to the notions of dignity held by the
detainees. In my view it is simply not acceptable in Council of Europe member States for security
services, whether European or foreign, to treat people in a manner that amounts to such “extreme
humiliation”87.
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PostSubject: Re: Rendition, Torture and Government Hypocrisy   Fri Jun 27, 2008 11:33 pm

Lestat wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
I am going to repeat the point once more Lestat, that the whole point of the critique of the government is that they refuse to investigate allegations of illegal conduct and the only reason they give for that it that the accused party says they are innocent.

Granted. But that in itself is not evidence of wrongdoing.

What would be the purpose of such an investigation anyway?

The last three paragraphs of the Council of Europe Report give the purpose.

Quote :
290. Other States should still show greater willingness and zeal in the quest for truth, as serious
indications show that their territory or their airspace might have been used, even unbeknownst, for
illegal operations (the example of Switzerland was cited in this context).
291. The international community is finally urged to create more transparency in the places of
detention in Kosovo, which to date qualify as ‘black holes’ that cannot even be accessed by the CPT.
This is frankly intolerable, considering that the international intervention in this region was meant to
restore order and lawfulness.
292. With regards to these extremely serious allegations, it is urgent – that is the principal aim of
this report – that all Council of Europe member states concerned finally comply with their positive
obligation under the ECHR to investigate. It is also crucial that the proposals in the draft resolution and
recommendation are implemented so that terrorism can be fought effectively whilst respecting human
rights at the same time.

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PostSubject: Re: Rendition, Torture and Government Hypocrisy   Sat Jun 28, 2008 1:15 pm

cactus flower wrote:
....The last three paragraphs of the Council of Europe Report give the purpose......

That reminds me of the Robbie Williams song, "Oh Lord make me pure but not just yet." Very Happy

Virtually all the countries represented by Council of Europe are actively involved in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Russia indulged in a war of practical genocide in Chechnya, the Balkan states have all indulged in genocide and ethnic cleansing in the recent past and Turkey is a bit dodgy on the humanitarian front. Even Ireland tortured terrorists in the 70s. The Council of Europe knows exactly whats going on, where it's going on and it doesn't really care. It's report is just so much sanctimonious bumf.
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PostSubject: Re: Rendition, Torture and Government Hypocrisy   Sat Jun 28, 2008 5:52 pm

Lestat wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
....The last three paragraphs of the Council of Europe Report give the purpose......

That reminds me of the Robbie Williams song, "Oh Lord make me pure but not just yet." Very Happy

Virtually all the countries represented by Council of Europe are actively involved in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Russia indulged in a war of practical genocide in Chechnya, the Balkan states have all indulged in genocide and ethnic cleansing in the recent past and Turkey is a bit dodgy on the humanitarian front. Even Ireland tortured terrorists in the 70s. The Council of Europe knows exactly whats going on, where it's going on and it doesn't really care. It's report is just so much sanctimonious bumf.

Did you read it, Lestat?

Should we, or should we not, apply the law?
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PostSubject: Re: Rendition, Torture and Government Hypocrisy   Sat Jun 28, 2008 6:56 pm

cactus flower wrote:
This is a long extract from the Council of Europe Report that I linked to a couple of posts back. Just found time to read the report in full and I must say I found it very upsetting. This just describes the abduction process and not what happened to people when they arrived at the destination.

Quote :
84. The “security check” used by the CIA to prepare a detainee for transport on a rendition plane
was described to us by one source in the American intelligence community as a “twenty-minute
takeout”62. His explanation was that within a very short space of time, a detainee is transformed into a
state of almost total immobility and sensory deprivation. “The CIA can do three of these guys in an
hour. In twenty minutes they’re good to go.”63 An investigating officer for the Swedish Ombudsman
was struck by the “fast and efficient procedure” used by the American agents64, while the Swedish
interpreter who witnessed the CIA operation at Bromma Airport said simply: “it surprised me how the
heck they could have dressed him so fast”65.
85. The general characteristics of this “security check” can be established from a host of
testimonies as follows66:
i. it generally takes place in a small room (a locker room, a police reception area) at the airport,
or at a transit facility nearby.
ii. the man is sometimes already blindfolded when the operation begins, or will be blindfolded
quickly and remain so throughout most of the operation.
iii. four to six CIA agents perform the operation in a highly-disciplined, consistent fashion – they
are dressed in black (either civilian clothes or special 'uniforms'), wearing black gloves, with
their full faces covered. Testimonies speak, variously, of “big people in black balaclavas”67,
people “dressed in black like ninjas”68, or people wearing “ordinary clothes, but hooded”69.
iv. the CIA agents “don’t utter a word when they communicate with one another”70, using only
hand signals or simply knowing their roles implicitly.
v. some men speak of being punched or shoved by the agents at the beginning of the operation
in a rough or brutal fashion71; others talked about being gripped firmly from several sides
vi. the man’s hands and feet are shackled.
vii. the man has all his clothes (including his underwear) cut from his body using knives or
scissors in a careful, methodical fashion; an eye-witness described how “someone was taking
these clothes and feeling every part, you know, as if there was something inside the clothes,
and then putting them in a bag”72.
62 Confidential interview with a source in the US intelligence community who wished to remain anonymous;
interview carried out in the United States by the Rapporteur’s representative.
63 Ibid.
64 See Office of the Parliamentary Ombudsman (Sweden), Interview conducted with state official X of the Security
Police (Säpo), Case No. 2169-2004, 30 September 2004 (translated transcript on file with the Rapporteur –
hereinafter “Interview with Swedish Säpo interpreter”); comment made at page 23.
65 Ibid, observation made by the Säpo interpreter in answer to a question, at page 13.
66 The person subjected to the “security check” is referred to generically as “the man”, because we have not thus
far heard of any cases in which it has happened to women. This overview contains aspects common to several
renditions, while excerpts from individual testimonies are cited separately hereunder.
67 See Bisher Al-Rawi, statement made to his lawyer during an interview at Guantanamo Bay (contained in
unclassified attorney notes), submitted to the High Court of Justice in Case No. 2005/10470/05 through the
Witness Statement of Clive Stafford Smith (hereinafter “Al-Rawi statement to lawyer”), at page 31.
68 See Jamil El-Banna, statement made to his lawyer during an interview at Guantanamo Bay (contained in
unclassified attorney notes), submitted to the High Court of Justice in Case No. 2005/10470/05 through the
Witness Statement of Clive Stafford Smith (hereinafter “El-Banna statement to lawyer”), at page 40.
69 See Interview with Swedish Säpo interpreter, supra note 85, at page 10.
70 See Office of the Parliamentary Ombudsman (Sweden), Interview conducted with Kjell Jönsson, Swedsh
lawyer for Mohamed Alzery, Case No. 2169-2004, September 2004 (translated transcript on file with the
Rapporteur – hereinafter “Ombudsman’s Interview with Swedish lawyer Jönsson”); at page 6.
71 See Declaration of Khaled El-Masri in support of Plaintiff’s Opposition to the United States’ Motion to Dismiss,
in El-Masri v. Tenet et al, Eastern District Court of Virginia in Alexandria, 6 April 2006 (hereinafter “El-Masri
statement to US Court in Alexandria, 6 April 2006”) at page 9: “As I was led into this room I felt two people
violently grab my arms… They bent both my arms backwards. This violent motion caused me a lot of pain. I was
beaten severely from all sides.”
72 See Interview with Swedish Säpo interpreter, supra note 65, at page 13.
AS/Jur (2006) 16 Part II
22
viii. the man is subjected to a full-body cavity search, which also entails a close examination of his
hair, ears, mouth and lips.
ix. the man is photographed with a flash camera, including when he is nearly73 or totally naked74;
in some instances, the man's blindfold may be removed for the purpose of a photograph in
which his face is also identifiable75.
x. some accounts speak of a foreign object being forcibly inserted into the man's anus; some
accounts speak more specifically of a tranquiliser or suppository being administered per
rectum76 - in each description this practice has been perceived as a grossly violating act that
affronts the man’s dignity.
xi. the man is then dressed in a nappy or incontinence pad and a loose-fitting "jump-suit" or set of
overalls; “they put diapers on him and then there is some handling with these handcuffs and
foot chains, because first they put them on and then they are supposed to put him in overalls,
so then they have to alternately unlock and relock them”77.
xii. the man has his ears muffled, sometimes being made to wear a pair of "headphones"78
xiii. finally a cloth bag is placed over the man's head, with no holes through which to breathe or
detect light; they “put a blindfold on him and after that a hood that apparently reaches far down
on his body” 79.
xiv. the man is typically forced aboard a waiting aeroplane, where he may be “placed on a
stretcher, shackled”80, or strapped to a mattress or seat, or “laid down on the floor of the plane
and they bind him up in a very uncomfortable position that makes him hurt from moving”81.
xv. in some cases the man is drugged and experiences little or nothing of the actual rendition
flight82; in other cases, factors such as the pain of the shackles or the refusal to drink water or
use the toilet make the flight unbearable: “this was the hardest moment in my life”83.
xvi. in most cases, the man has no notion of where he is going, nor the fate that awaits him upon
arrival.
86. This manner of treating detainees has been heavily criticised by the lawyers of many of the
persons subjected to rendition. In his testimony to the Swedish Ombudsman, Kjell Jönsson, the
Swedish lawyer for Mohamed Alzery84, stated his concern that the measures taken before the
rendition were disproportionate to the security needs: “from Alzery’s point of view it would have been
perfectly enough to ask him to co-operate and he would have done that just like he always has done
before”85.
73 See Interview with Swedish Säpo interpreter, supra note 65, at page 13: “he wasn’t naked, he had his
underpants on; the upper body was undressed and then his picture was taken.”
74 See Binyam Mohamed Al-Habashi, statement made to his lawyer during an interview at Guantanamo Bay,
contained in unclassified attorney notes of Clive A. Stafford Smith, dated 1 August 2005 (document on file with
the Rapporteur – hereinafter “Binyam Mohamed statements to lawyer at Guantanamo”), at page 19: “there was a
white female with glasses… One of them held my penis and she took digital pictures.”
75 See El-Masri statement to US Court in Alexandria, 6 April 2006, supra note 71, at page 9: “They took off my
blindfold… As soon as it was removed, a very bright flashlight went off and I was temporarily blinded. I believe
from the sounds that they had taken photographs of me throughout.”
76 See Ombudsman’s Interview with Swedish lawyer Jönsson, supra note 70, at page 6: “they bend him forward
and he can feel that something is being pushed up his rectum… after that he felt calmer and felt a muscle
relaxation in all his body, but he was wide awake, so he was not sedated”.
77 See Ombudsman’s Interview with Swedish lawyer Jönsson, supra note 70, at page 6.
78 See El-Masri statement to US Court in Alexandria, 6 April 2006, supra note 71, at page 9. Also see reference to
“earmuffs” in Al-Rawi statement to lawyer, supra note 67, at page 31; and reference to “earphones” in Binyam
Mohamed statements to lawyer at Guantanamo, at page 5.
79 See Ombudsman’s Interview with Swedish lawyer Jönsson, supra note 70, at page 6.
80 See Al-Rawi statement to lawyer, supra note 67, at page 31.
81 See Ombudsman’s Interview with Swedish lawyer Jönsson, supra note 70, at page 6.
82 See El-Masri statement to US Court in Alexandria, 6 April 2006, supra note 71, at page 10: “They put
something over my nose. I think it was some kind of anaesthaesia. It felt like the trip took about four hours, but I
don’t really remember. I was mostly unconscious for the duration”.
83 See Al-Rawi statement to lawyer, supra note 67, at page 31.
84 For more detail on the cases of Ahmed Agiza and Mohamed Alzery, please refer to the case study in the
following section.
85 See Ombudsman’s Interview with Swedish lawyer Jönsson, supra note 70, at page 8.
AS/Jur (2006) 16 Part II
23
87. Perhaps the most troubling aspect of this systematic practice, however, is that it appears to be
intended to humiliate. Many accounts speak of these measures being taken despite ‘strong
resistance’, both physical and verbal, on the part of the detainee. The nudity, forced shackling ‘like an
animal’86 and being forced to wear nappies appear offensive to the notions of dignity held by the
detainees. In my view it is simply not acceptable in Council of Europe member States for security
services, whether European or foreign, to treat people in a manner that amounts to such “extreme
humiliation”87.

Its absolutely disgusting. Whats worse is the fact that our government think its fine to colloborate in such torture. They are a disgrace
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PostSubject: Re: Rendition, Torture and Government Hypocrisy   Sat Jun 28, 2008 7:16 pm

Foyzer wrote:
Its absolutely disgusting. Whats worse is the fact that our government think its fine to colloborate in such torture. They are a disgrace

I suppose it's pointless asking for evidence of this collusion. As opposed to evidence of allegations of such collusion.
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PostSubject: Re: Rendition, Torture and Government Hypocrisy   Sat Jun 28, 2008 9:01 pm

The evidence for collusion is easy to provide and it requires not a single link. If you can follow simple logic, you'll get it. If not, well...

________________________________________________

i. Rendition is a fact.

ii. Planes that have kidnapped persons and taken them to places like Guantanamo have landed in Ireland. Our government has admitted that at least three such flights landed in Shannon within days of specific kidnappings.

iii. Waterboarding is torture. The US, after WWII convicted a Japanese soldier of war crimes for performing a very similar torture on American servicemen. In other words, there is already caselaw available that establishes this practice as torture (in case there are any doubts). Waterboarding is the best known form of torture that the Americans have used, there are many others, I just highlight this particular one as the US have admitted to it and are currently trying to argue that it's not torture.

iv. According to international law (we are signed up to it and are bound by it) we must investigate allegations of torture and must not facilitate it in any way.

v. We have accepted assurances from those accused of torture and thus have not investigated any claims that contradict these assurances. By this logic our gardaí should consider the assurances of a murder suspect to be the final, the only admissable evidence, and the conclusive proof of the suspect's innocence.

vi. Planes associated with rendition are evidence of a crime. It is the duty of this State to investigate crimes against humanity and to secure and examine any evidence that enters its jurisdiction. To fail to do so wilfully whilst knowing of the existence and whereabouts of this evidence is to be in collusion with those who commit the crime.

vii. The planes used by the CIA in their crimes are not covered by any diplomatic immunity or any other protection, in Irish or international law, that would prevent the Gardaí from acting to seize this evidence. Yet they have knowingly failed to do so.

________________________________________________


There are at least two acts of collusion defined by these 7 points:

i. Failure to investigate, procure and preserve evidence related to the crimes of kidnap and torture.

ii. Facilitation of torture, by acting as a pitstop and refuelling depot for planes and an organisation known to be actively responsible and involved in kidnapping and torture.


Last edited by Hermes on Sat Jun 28, 2008 9:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Rendition, Torture and Government Hypocrisy   Sat Jun 28, 2008 9:38 pm

Those of you who didn't hear Colm O'Gorman's radio column on Drivetime yesterday could do worse than listen to this.

It starts at 1.18 or so and details the 'arrest' and detention of a fifteen year old Chadian national who has suffered seven years of degradation in the name of the War on Terror. He was one of the first to be transferred to Guantanamo.

He mentions the Irish government and the role of Shannon in three named cases as a staging area for rendition.

It's here.
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PostSubject: Re: Rendition, Torture and Government Hypocrisy   Sun Jun 29, 2008 11:27 am

Hermes wrote:
The evidence for collusion is easy to provide and it requires not a single link. If you can follow simple logic, you'll get it. If not, well...

________________________________________________

i. Rendition is a fact.

ii. Planes that have kidnapped persons and taken them to places like Guantanamo have landed in Ireland. Our government has admitted that at least three such flights landed in Shannon within days of specific kidnappings.

iii. Waterboarding is torture. The US, after WWII convicted a Japanese soldier of war crimes for performing a very similar torture on American servicemen. In other words, there is already caselaw available that establishes this practice as torture (in case there are any doubts). Waterboarding is the best known form of torture that the Americans have used, there are many others, I just highlight this particular one as the US have admitted to it and are currently trying to argue that it's not torture.

iv. According to international law (we are signed up to it and are bound by it) we must investigate allegations of torture and must not facilitate it in any way.

v. We have accepted assurances from those accused of torture and thus have not investigated any claims that contradict these assurances. By this logic our gardaí should consider the assurances of a murder suspect to be the final, the only admissable evidence, and the conclusive proof of the suspect's innocence.

vi. Planes associated with rendition are evidence of a crime. It is the duty of this State to investigate crimes against humanity and to secure and examine any evidence that enters its jurisdiction. To fail to do so wilfully whilst knowing of the existence and whereabouts of this evidence is to be in collusion with those who commit the crime.

vii. The planes used by the CIA in their crimes are not covered by any diplomatic immunity or any other protection, in Irish or international law, that would prevent the Gardaí from acting to seize this evidence. Yet they have knowingly failed to do so.

________________________________________________



There are at least two acts of collusion defined by these 7 points:

i. Failure to investigate, procure and preserve evidence related to the crimes of kidnap and torture.

ii. Facilitation of torture, by acting as a pitstop and refuelling depot for planes and an organisation known to be actively responsible and involved in kidnapping and torture.

Most of you post is irrelevant.

I haven't disputed that rendition, torture and Guantanamo Bay exist. Those facts are well documented.

Quote :
ii. Planes that have kidnapped persons and taken them to places like Guantanamo have landed in Ireland. Our government has admitted that at least three such flights landed in Shannon within days of specific kidnappings.

I like your use of language by the way. Kidnap implies a helpless victim and by extension a bogeyman who snatched him or her.

Firstly planes cannot kidnap people. Only people can kidnap people. That aside, the fact that three planes that may or may not have been used to transport prisoners at some stage landed at Shannon around the time that somebody was captured half a world away is pretty flimsy. It certainly isn't evidence. If it makes you feel better, I know it's a possibility that rendition flights do travel through Shannon. Although why this should be necessary is a mystery to me. If the US is going to transport prisoners covertly through Europe then they could do it through US bases in Germany, Italy and the UK in USAF transport planes. In fact if they wanted to they could do it without landing anywhere except their destination by using In Flight Refuelling. And nobody would know the difference.

Anyway I hope that one day you do prove the Men in Black landed at Shannon transporting the Men in Orange to Shangri La. Meanwhile did you enjoy yourself at the Zimbabwe protest yesterday?
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PostSubject: Re: Rendition, Torture and Government Hypocrisy   Sun Jun 29, 2008 12:29 pm

Lestat wrote:
If the US is going to transport prisoners covertly through Europe then they could do it through US bases in Germany, Italy and the UK in USAF transport planes. In fact if they wanted to they could do it without landing anywhere except their destination by using In Flight Refuelling. And nobody would know the difference.
In-flight refuelling is much more expensive.
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PostSubject: Re: Rendition, Torture and Government Hypocrisy   Sun Jun 29, 2008 12:48 pm

soubresauts wrote:
In-flight refuelling is much more expensive.

US military spending in 2006 was $528 billion. The projected cost (to 2016) of the war in Iraq alone is $2.27 trillion. I'd say that the cost of IFF isn't an issue.
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PostSubject: Re: Rendition, Torture and Government Hypocrisy   Sun Jun 29, 2008 3:47 pm

Lestat wrote:
soubresauts wrote:
In-flight refuelling is much more expensive.

US military spending in 2006 was $528 billion. The projected cost (to 2016) of the war in Iraq alone is $2.27 trillion. I'd say that the cost of IFF isn't an issue.

Three trillion according to Stiglitz's latest book. And you might as well ask why don't they put them on an Aer Lingus flight.
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PostSubject: Re: Rendition, Torture and Government Hypocrisy   Sun Jun 29, 2008 6:44 pm

Hermes wrote:
The evidence for collusion is easy to provide and it requires not a single link. If you can follow simple logic, you'll get it. If not, well...

________________________________________________

i. Rendition is a fact.

ii. Planes that have kidnapped persons and taken them to places like Guantanamo have landed in Ireland. Our government has admitted that at least three such flights landed in Shannon within days of specific kidnappings.

iii. Waterboarding is torture. The US, after WWII convicted a Japanese soldier of war crimes for performing a very similar torture on American servicemen. In other words, there is already caselaw available that establishes this practice as torture (in case there are any doubts). Waterboarding is the best known form of torture that the Americans have used, there are many others, I just highlight this particular one as the US have admitted to it and are currently trying to argue that it's not torture.

iv. According to international law (we are signed up to it and are bound by it) we must investigate allegations of torture and must not facilitate it in any way.

v. We have accepted assurances from those accused of torture and thus have not investigated any claims that contradict these assurances. By this logic our gardaí should consider the assurances of a murder suspect to be the final, the only admissable evidence, and the conclusive proof of the suspect's innocence.

vi. Planes associated with rendition are evidence of a crime. It is the duty of this State to investigate crimes against humanity and to secure and examine any evidence that enters its jurisdiction. To fail to do so wilfully whilst knowing of the existence and whereabouts of this evidence is to be in collusion with those who commit the crime.

vii. The planes used by the CIA in their crimes are not covered by any diplomatic immunity or any other protection, in Irish or international law, that would prevent the Gardaí from acting to seize this evidence. Yet they have knowingly failed to do so.

________________________________________________


There are at least two acts of collusion defined by these 7 points:

i. Failure to investigate, procure and preserve evidence related to the crimes of kidnap and torture.

ii. Facilitation of torture, by acting as a pitstop and refuelling depot for planes and an organisation known to be actively responsible and involved in kidnapping and torture.

Excellent post.

With respect to waterboarding I think it's clear that sensory deprivation is being used.
Lets not forget that the tactic of total sensory deprivation has and is leading to abducted prisoners loosing their very minds*. Indeed its history of use and effects of it are in "The Shock Doctrine" by Naomi Klein.
We are contributing towards that in allowing such flights through Shannon.


http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2006/12/12/1035/

Quote :
Is Padilla really that dangerous? Far from it: his warders describe him as so docile and inactive that he could be mistaken for “a piece of furniture”. The purpose of these measures appeared to be to sustain the regime under which he had lived for over three years: total sensory deprivation. He had been kept in a blacked-out cell, unable to see or hear anything beyond it. Most importantly, he had no human contact, except for being bounced off the walls from time to time by his interrogators. As a result, he appears to have lost his mind. I don’t mean this metaphorically. I mean that his mind is no longer there.

[....]


That the US tortures, routinely and systematically, while prosecuting its “war on terror” can no longer be seriously disputed. The Detainee
Abuse and Accountability Project (DAA), a coalition of academics and human rights groups, has documented the abuse or killing of 460 inmates of US military prisons in Afghanistan, Iraq and at Guantanamo Bay(4).

This, it says, is necessarily a conservative figure: many cases will remain unrecorded. The prisoners were beaten, raped, forced to abuse
themselves, forced to maintain “stress positions”, and subjected to prolonged sleep deprivation and mock executions.
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PostSubject: Re: Rendition, Torture and Government Hypocrisy   Sun Jun 29, 2008 9:26 pm

Soubresauts makes a good point about in-flight refuelling. The expense is definitely a factor.

The CIA has used the cheapest and at the same time, the most hard to follow trail, by chartering private jets to perform kidnappings (It should be pointed out that a lot of the companies that these jets are hired from are CIA fronts - thus complexifying the picture even more.). Of course, this isn't the only means it has used. The CIA has also transported its victims by ship and these victims weren't only taken to Guantanamo. In fact, many victims were transported to multiple locations. We're talking about thousands of victims, many of whom were flown to more than one torture centre. The thousands of flight plans involved in rendition have been likened to a giant intricate spider's web. It's incredibly difficult to backward engineer this structure. But it's happening - the difficulty in doing so, is why information trickles rather than gushes. Nonetheless enough of the backward engineering has been accomplished, to prove that kidnap victims were taken through Europe. To prove that the three staging flights I spoke of as having come through Shannon, did indeed come through Shannon, and were indeed involved in renditions within days of doing so. Dick Marty has highlighted at least 50 other flights as having come through Shannon. Thanks to the trickle effect I've just spoken of, we know this figure will grow very dramatically. Thanks to the work of good folks like Ed Horgan, Conor Cregan and Tim Hourigan, we know that this figure will eventually reach the hundreds (if not thousands - when the full scope of this blight on humanity is fully illuminated).

For the record, the vast majority of private jets used, are not capable of in-flight refuelling.

Of course financial considerations were not the only consideration, not by a long shot. Ciaron O'Reilly (one of the Ploughshares activists) explains one of the other major considerations well. He likens the US usage of Irish airports and airspace to a dog marking out its territory. It's very true that the US could use other airports in Europe (particularly ones equipped to deal with the military - military air bases). However, the more territory that the US urinates in, the more nations that are complicit in their crimes. Those who collude in crimes against humanity are much less likely to investigate or prosecute these crimes.

Lestat has made some vague point about kidnapping. What he's said suggests that kidnapping is not the correct term. He hints that there is some degree of legality in extraordinary rendition. This is totally incorrect. There is no degree of legality whatsoever in extraordinary rendition, except within American jurisdiction (their supreme court has upheld its lawfulness and has set precedent for it). Outside the US, extraordinary rendition uses kidnapping to secure its victims. And kidnapping it is.

Another point to be made, is that out of the thousands of kidnap victims, there will be less than a hundred trials to prosecute these victims. And thanks to a supreme court ruling in the US the other day, it will probably be a lot less than a hundred. What happened to the thousands who weren't and won't be prosecuted? We know that some have been released without charge or conviction. We've no idea what has happened or what will happen the rest, thanks to the US's other crime against humanity and violation of the Geneva Conventions, where they knowingly hid victims and their identities from organisations like the International Red Cross.
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PostSubject: Re: Rendition, Torture and Government Hypocrisy   Sun Jun 29, 2008 10:39 pm

The actions documented in the Council of Europe and Amnesty International reports are not only illegal but also barbaric.
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PostSubject: Re: Rendition, Torture and Government Hypocrisy   Mon Jun 30, 2008 1:04 am

It puts me in mind of the Holocaust in the sense that as a kid, what always amazed me was that people must have known, must have been aware of the barbarism, the ritual degradation and destruction of human beings and for reasons best known to themselves, stood idly by.

How, in the 21st century do you register discontent in a way that is meaningful, effective and taken seriously? Protests and petitions and rallies seem to be futile. What do we do?

Lestat was critical earlier of Indymedia but their role in disseminating information is admirable and crucial.
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PostSubject: Re: Rendition, Torture and Government Hypocrisy   Mon Jun 30, 2008 4:17 am

Very correct Kate. I'd add that Indymedia was 'absolutely' crucial. It not only facilitated the news getting out, it facilitated (and still does) activists getting to know and to meet each other.

Fair enough, there's lots of shite printed too (some of it mine!). But that's what happens on an open platform where everyone's entitled to share the news. It's not so hard to search through the dross to mine for the gold. The drawback is of course, that it's very easy to criticise Indymedia. The critics rarely point out though, that the very same criticisms apply to society in general.

Indymedia is an historical archive that contains a lot of evidence that will be utilised when the time comes for a legal and lawful reckoning. I might be accused of being a fantasist for holding this particular viewpoint - so be it. I've been very critical of the powers that be, naming names etc. and I'm very sure of what I've said and will stand beside it, without shame or doubt. That's another thing that stands to the power and to the overall legitimacy of Indymedia - the powers that be are afraid of it. (I once put up a picture of Mr. McDowell, depicted as a "giggling" member of the KKK, to quote the Herald, that started an international battle between Indymedia and stormfront. The piece I wrote, surfed the edges of decency and morality, the least potentially offensive thing in the whole piece, was the picture - the media stayed well away from this fact. The powers that be, kept very quiet and waited for the noise to die down).

From the get go, Indymedia has provided a platform to people on the ground, whether it be antiwar activists, Shell To Sea, or whatever and that's why we know what we know today. Indymedia, despite having some bats in the belfry (as does any other edifice), can be very proud of what it has accomplished. And nobody can take that from them, no matter what circle they inhabit.

Okay, enough of the misty-eyed rhetoric, back on topic...

What we witness today is unique. We forever ask ourselves, how the attrocities that formed the backdrop to WWII could possibly get started and how they could have possibly been allowed to continue. We're living those days right now, again, and everything is documented. The next generation will not have the same set of questions that we have. These questions will not refer to the third person plural either, they will refer to the first person plural.

There are very few people on the planet who do not share some degree of guilt in all of this (I'm not one of them either). Whilst we allow this to continue, our individual and collective guilt is compounded.

As much as I'd like to be able to point my finger at our leaders, national and international, and suggest that they are solely responsible, I cannot. We are all responsible. And we are not the people that we dream that we are. Collectively and individually, we have much to be ashamed of.

That aside, it's not too late, not by a long shot. There's much to do.
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PostSubject: Re: Rendition, Torture and Government Hypocrisy   Tue Jul 01, 2008 11:55 am

Yesterday it was being widely reported (thanks to Seymour Hersh) that there is an ongoing 400 million dollar US operation intended to achieve regime change in Iran, and that it involves the US Rangers operating within Iran to abduct Iranians and take to Iraq for "interrogation".
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/07/07/080707fa_fact_hersh

Surely this must be completely illegal in terms of any International law?

The suggestion from Hersh (interviewed on RTE radio news this morning) is that the rise in assassinations and bombings in Iran in probability comes from the same operation. The US is again doing everything it can to turn different ethnic groups against each other and to promote civil war, just as it has in Iraq.
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PostSubject: Re: Rendition, Torture and Government Hypocrisy   Tue Jul 01, 2008 4:36 pm

Quote :
These operations, for which the President sought up to four hundred million dollars, were described in a Presidential Finding signed by Bush, and are designed to destabilize the country’s religious leadership (Government - cf). The covert activities involve support of the minority Ahwazi Arab and Baluchi groups and other dissident organizations. They also include gathering intelligence about Iran’s suspected nuclear-weapons program.
Clandestine operations against Iran are not new. United States Special Operations Forces have been conducting cross-border operations from southern Iraq, with Presidential authorization, since last year. These have included seizing members of Al Quds, the commando arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, and taking them to Iraq for interrogation, and the pursuit of “high-value targets” in the President’s war on terror, who may be captured or killed. But the scale and the scope of the operations in Iran, which involve the Central Intelligence Agency and the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), have now been significantly expanded, according to the current and former officials. Many of these activities are not specified in the new Finding, and some congressional leaders have had serious questions about their nature.

Seymour Hersh made the point on RTE that the CIA have recently reported that it is years since Iran has done any work that could relate to nuclear weaponry.
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PostSubject: Re: Rendition, Torture and Government Hypocrisy   Tue Jul 01, 2008 6:35 pm

Personally I think the government is making a geat mistake in not inspecting these flights. But to automatically assume the Americans are transporting prisoners (or whatever they'd call them, 'unobliging flight guests' or something) is, of course, wrong, as is assuming the Irish are guilty by complicity.

As for Indymedia, it gets too hard a time in the press (and from me). This is not entirely unwarranted though, they have a knack for looking very discreditable and then claiming the 'powers that be' are out to get them. It reminds me of Reagan's stormy visit to Ireland and his claim that the protests were stoked by the Commies.

Kate P asked how people can turn a blind eye to mass slaughter. I must remind of her that unless people are being killed themselves, it is very easy. I do it all the time, have any of you heard me mention Chechnya or the war in Sri Lanka?
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PostSubject: Re: Rendition, Torture and Government Hypocrisy   Fri Jul 04, 2008 4:50 am

In the August edition of Vanity Fair there will be an interesting article by Christopher Hitchens.

Last year, Christopher suggested that there was a big difference between ‘extreme interrogation’ and ‘torture.’ He said this in reference to waterboarding. This caused folks to believe that Christopher was arguing that waterboarding wasn’t torture.

Some of Christopher’s critics were not amused by his spin and suggested that he try it out and then decide if waterboarding is torture or not. Christopher tried it out and has concluded that waterboarding is indeed torture. Christopher is an intelligent man and one has to wonder…

Anyway, in this August’s edition of Vanity Fair, Christopher will be telling us all about his ten second ordeal. Of course the video’s already been leaked - here it is:



Interesting article on waterboarding and torture, talks about Mr. Hitchens too - from yesterday's Guardian: ARTICLE

905 wrote:
Personally I think the government is making a great mistake in not inspecting these flights. But to automatically assume the Americans are transporting prisoners (or whatever they'd call them, 'unobliging flight guests' or something) is, of course, wrong, as is assuming the Irish are guilty by complicity.

There’s no assumption to make. The Americans have already admitted this many times. The problem here, is in knowing what countries the Americans transited through with their kidnapped victims. They have after all given each country in Europe many assurances that they have not used their particular country for transit.

Whilst we cannot prove that the Americans landed at any Irish airport with kidnapped victims on board, and have never claimed otherwise, we can prove beyond any reasonable doubt, that the Americans transited through Irish airspace with kidnapped victims. I’ll be posting another comment on this over the next few days with an animation showing the flight paths of some well known renditions and rendition planes.

With regard to the use of our airspace for these crimes:

Late last year, on December 20th, I accompanied Ed Horgan and Conor Cregan to the Oireachtas for the Department of Foreign Affairs select committee discussion on extraordinary rendition: LINK. Before we entered the Oireachtas, myself and Ed got to speak briefly with John Gormley. I put it to John, that whilst there was no proof (in our possession) that rendition flights with prisoners on board had landed at Shannon, there was a vast amount of proof showing that rendition flights with prisoners on board had crossed Irish airspace. Did he deny this? Was he surprised? No.

Mr. Gormley claimed that Irish airspace was vast and very hard to police.

Irish airspace, on the contrary is very easily policed. At any given moment, we know exactly what is in our skies. We already know for the most part, what planes are being used in renditions and we know when they’re in our airspace. It’s not hard to police our airspace, it’s hard to get it policed, when one is trying to prevent crimes against humanity. If I’m wrong in this, then I’ve just given international drug cartels a sure-fire way to smuggle drugs into our country.

I’ve also kept the audio recording of this brief conversation with John, in the event that he or anyone else should like to label me a liar.
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PostSubject: Re: Rendition, Torture and Government Hypocrisy   Fri Jul 04, 2008 5:02 am

Found Christopher's Vanity Fair article: here it is.

Better video of the waterboarding with some comments from Christopher before and after: LINK
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PostSubject: Re: Rendition, Torture and Government Hypocrisy   Sat Jul 05, 2008 11:57 pm

Two of the most prominent designers of the Bush torture regime, David Addington and John Yoo, testified before the House Judiciary Committee on 26th June 2008. John Yoo is particularly considered to be big news at the moment as he’s one of the lawyers that have been responsible for drafting proposals that allegedly allow the US to bypass the Geneva Conventions and other entities of international law. I use the word ‘allegedly,’ as these proposals, even though they were implemented, do not even begin to recognise the solidity of international law, much less succeed in bypassing it. These measures do add some plausible deniability for the US president and others. However, this plausible deniability is removed by the president’s (and many others) intent to seek to negate international law in the first instance.

American News Project (ANP) has uploaded a short video to the Real News Network (rapidly becoming one of the world’s most important distributors of relevant and important news, unadulterated by spin or capitalism). This short clip shows both Yoo and Addington, feverishly trying to avoid answering very simple questions about the torture of children and the possibility of burying detainee suspects alive.

I urge anyone who supports the Irish facilitation of the US regime and their terrorist crusade to watch this short clip. It is the shape of things to come.

Link to video.

Link to the front page of the Real Bews Betwork.
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PostSubject: Re: Rendition, Torture and Government Hypocrisy   Sun Jul 06, 2008 12:11 am

I watched the video. It's a chunk out of a longer hearing that would be worth seeing more of - is that possible, Hermes?

The video itself is, sadly, unsurprisingly frightening.
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PostSubject: Re: Rendition, Torture and Government Hypocrisy   Sun Jul 06, 2008 12:27 am

I'm pretty sure that CNN would have aired the whole thing. Here's a report from them about the same hearing - it gives some additional information. If I can find a video of the full proceedings I'll post it.

LINK


Last edited by Hermes on Sun Jul 06, 2008 12:45 am; edited 1 time in total
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