Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Quick, Condi's Coming...Move The Prisoners!

ABC news has reported that United States officials scrambled like hell to move detainees, all top Al-Qaeda suspects, from 2 secret CIA prisons in Romania & Poland, before U.S. Secretary of State Condi Rice's arrival in Romania Tuesday.
ABC news quoted current, as well as former CIA officers, speaking anonymously, as saying the suspects were now in a new CIA facility in the North African desert.
According to ABC's website, "All but one of these 11 high-value Al-Qaeda prisoners were subjected to the harshest interrogation techniques in the CIA's secret arsenal."
Human Rights Watch has said that none of these suspects have been formally charged with a crime.
The reports of secret CIA interrogation centers in Europe & transport flights for terrorist suspects across the world have sparked a huge uproar in Europe. U.S. officials have refused to confirm or deny the existence of these prisons.

On a similar note, a German man has filed a lawsuit yesterday claiming he was held captive & tortured by U.S goverment agents after mistakenly indentified as an associate of the 9/11 highjackers.
Khaled El-Masri said he was arrested while trying to enter Macedonia for a holiday trip & was then flown to Afghanistan. During 5 months in captivity he was subjected to " torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the U.S. has acknowledged making a mistake in the man's arrest. She spoke after meeting with Condi Rice, who later refused to discuss or comment on the case with reporters.
The lawsuit names former CIA Director George Tenet as the main defendant. In addition to torture, El-Masri claims his due process rights were violated & was subjected to prolonged, arbitrary detention. He's seeking damages of at least $75,000.
El-Masri said in a statement, " I am asking the American goverment to admit it's mistakes and to apologize for my treatment. Throughout my time in the prison, I asked to be brought before a court, but was refused. Now I am hoping that an American court will say very clearly that what happened to me was illegal and cannot be done to others."
El-Masri was born in Kuwait & moved to Germany in 1985. He is the married father of 5 children. On New Year's Eve 2003 he boarded a bus in is hometown of Neu-Ulm for a holiday in Macedonia. At the border he was stopped by Macedonian authorities & his passport was taken. He said he was detained by local authorities for 23 days & then handed over to what he believes was a team of CIA operatives. He was then flown to Afghanistan where he was subjected to abuse during his 4 months in captivity. In late May 2004 he was flown to Albania, then put on a plane back to Germany.
I am sure this is just the start of more people coming forward with claims of U.S. torture & wrongful inprisonment. This man was held for 5 months in a country far away from his, without any legal representation, & denied access before a court. If the CIA is so "intelligent", how is it that they held him for 5 long months before figuring out they had the wrong guy? Do officials in the United States THINK anymore, or do they primarily rely on gun-ho bravado style action before any real investigation? I understand, to some degree, that many in goverment are being overly-cautious since 9/11, but come on!! This is the Central INTELLIGENCE Agency we're talking about! There are so many better ways to "investigate" a person, rather than just scoop up any arab man & fly him to an undisclosed location in a country far away, held & tortured for 5 months, denied legal representation, without any chance to prove his innocence & that he is not a "terrorist" nor associated with any.
Are we just a hop-skip-and a jump away from arab concentration-style camps? I expect better from my country.