Finally, some ‘change’!
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Australia is the latest country to open a trial into the CIA’s ‘rendition’ (kidnapping) and torture of ‘terror suspects’ (which the Obama administration continues to cover-up). Scott Horton comments:
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Turkey allowed the US to use its airbase at Incirlik in southern Turkey as part of the “extraordinary rendition” programme to take suspected terrorists to Guantánamo Bay, according to a US diplomatic cable.
Turkey’s involvement in the controversial programme was revealed in a cable dated 8 June 2006, written by the then US ambassador to Turkey, Ross Wilson. The cable described Turkey as a crucial ally in the “global war on terror” and an important logistical base for the US-led war in Iraq.
“The Turkish military had allowed us to use Incirlik as a refuelling stop for Operation Fundamental Justice detainee movement operations since 2002, but revoked this permission in February of this year. We understand OSD [office of the secretary of defence] and JCS [joint chiefs of staff] have been discussing whether to approach Turkey to seek to reverse this decision,” the cable said.
“We recommend that you do not raise this issue with TGS [Turkish general staff] pending clarification from Washington on what approach state/OSD/JCS/NSC [national security council] wish to take.”
The cable contradicts statements made at the time by Turkish officials. On 14 June 2006, a spokesman for Turkey’s foreign ministry told reporters: “The Turkish government and state never played a part [in the secret transfers] … and never will.”
Turkey had just been named in a Council of Europe report among 14 European countries that colluded in or tolerated the covert transporting of prisoners.
He Who Must Not Be Questioned really has no clothes:
A lot of Americans think [Barack] Obama ended it, but the program is alive and well. Obama did ban U.S. personnel from torturing captives, but, after some initial obfuscation, he said through subordinates that he intended to continue extraordinary renditions, which is to say to continue torture-by-proxy, which is to say to violate, as Bush did, the UN Convention Against Torture, to which the United States is a signatory. In court Obama has argued, again just as Bush did, that lawsuits against the United States by victims of renditions must be dismissed because they jeopardize national security.
Where Obama differs from Bush is that his renditions seem to be fewer and quieter. At least, we can infer they’re fewer because we aren’t hearing about them. It’s possible that he has rendered only a very small handful of people. On the other hand, Clinton rendered dozens of people so quietly that we heard almost nothing of them at the time, and we still know little about most of them. Another difference is that Obama shut down Bush’s black sites, so America has probably returned to the Clintonian practice of handing our captives to our Third World confederates more or less immediately. But it falls to future reporters and historians to discover whether Obama’s crimes against humanity are few or many, even if they don’t live up the impressive mark of his predecessor.
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Poland’s complicity in torture and rendition by the US:
The mainstream media in the United States (and in the UK) has ignored the release last week of documents in Poland confirming that planes chartered by the CIA flew to the site of a secret CIA prison in north eastern Poland in 2002 and 2003. The documents, released by the Polish Border Guard Office, confirm previously released flight information disclosed by the Polish Air Navigation Service Agency, and also confirm that three “high-value detainees” — Abu Zubaydah, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri and Ramzi bin al-Shibh — were flown from Thailand to Poland on December 5, 2002…
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More on New Labour’s involvement in Guantanamo, torture and ‘rendition’ (kidnapping):
The true extent of the Labour government’s involvement in the illegal abduction and torture of its own citizens after the al-Qaida attacks of September 2001 has been spelled out in stark detail with the disclosure during high court proceedings of a mass of highly classified documents.
Previously secret papers that have been disclosed include a number implicating Tony Blair’s office in many of the events that are to be the subject of the judicial inquiry that David Cameron announced last week.
Among the most damning documents are a series of interrogation reports from MI5 officers that betray their disregard for the suffering of a British resident whom they were questioning at a US airbase in Afghanistan. The documents also show that the officers were content to see the mistreatment continue.
One of the most startling documents is chapter 32 of MI6′s general procedural manual, entitled “Detainees and Detention Operations”, which advises officers that among the “particular sensitivities” they need to consider before becoming directly involved in an operation to detain a terrorism suspect is the question of whether “detention, rather than killing, is the objective of the operation”.
The Graun has made the classified documents available on its website.
Tony Blair supported Guantanamo Bay and blocked attempts by consular officials to help people kidnapped and incarcerated there:
The documents have emerged as part of a legal action by six men.
They claim the UK government, including MI5 and MI6, failed to stop their detention or were complicit in it.
The court has also heard claims that former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s office frustrated attempts by consular officials to help a detainee who was facing transfer to Guantanamo, the US detention facility in Cuba.
At least 60 government lawyers and officials are now working on the case, which could run for years. They are working in a secure location, sifting through 500,000 sensitive documents, many handed over by MI5 and MI6.
Unsurprisingly David Cameron is no different, urging the six men not to pursue justice but go through ‘mediation talks’, using all the government’s might to get the courts to drop this case. Remember that next time you read some garbage about respecting the ‘rule of law’ from the new government too.
[O]n May 31 came a moment that former U.S. Ambassador Martin Indyk says showed the real nature of Obama’s policy toward Israel: the deadly raid on an aid flotilla bound for Gaza that unleashed a torrent of international criticism and a move in the United Nations to censure the Jewish state.
Obama responded by siding with Israel, shielding it from direct condemnation by the UN Security Council. In doing so, analysts including Indyk said, Obama showed he embraces the core policy of predecessors Bill Clinton and George W. Bush: The U.S. will give Israel unwavering diplomatic and military support even as tensions test their relationship.
“[Since Cairo] in reality none of the policies have changed. So I think it’s not difficult for them [extremists] to make an argument that, hey, whoever you elect, there’s no difference, you know? And the situation in Gaza, with Israel and the Palestinian question, is no closer to being resolved. It doesn’t seem any – look any closer during this administration.”
Bush administration officials sent [Maher] Arar to be tortured, and Bush administration lawyers initially sought to have his damages suit dismissed. But nothing changed when President Obama took office. [T]he Obama administration’s brief eerily echoed one of the Bush administration’s own “torture memos.” After retracting John Yoo’s infamous August 2002 memo authorizing waterboarding, the Bush administration in December 2004 replaced it with a new memo that opened with the proclamation: “Torture is abhorrent both to American law and values and to international norms.” As we now know, however, that memo went on to approve of the very same torture tactics that Yoo’s memo had approved—including waterboarding. So, too, Obama’s Justice Department opened its brief by proclaiming that torture is always forbidden, but then defended a ruling that said that those who send an innocent man to be tortured cannot be held liable for their actions.
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