Tuesday, November 01, 2005

In our name.

It really must be quite a shock for this administration as the reality they so carefully constructed and tried to maintain is deconstructed by the cold hard facts as they are brought to our attention. The latest revelation is from the Washington Post , as revealed on MSNBC, and has to do with the CIA's covert prison system in various nations around the globe.
The CIA has been hiding and interrogating some of its most important al Qaeda captives at a Soviet-era compound in Eastern Europe, according to U.S. and foreign officials familiar with the arrangement.
And to think Senator Dick Durbin had to tearfully apologize for saying what was going on with these detainees was comparable to the Soviet Gulags, and it turns out it might LITERALLY be true!
The existence and locations of the facilities -- referred to as "black sites" in classified White House, CIA, Justice Department and congressional documents -- are known to only a handful of officials in the United States and, usually, only to the president and a few top intelligence officers in each host country.
Does this mean there is no plausible deniability for president Bush if all this comes out? Is president Bush directly responsible for breaking treaty obligations? And wouldn't the leaders of the nations where these secret prisons are kept have some 'splaining to do of their own?
Host countries have signed the U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, as has the United States. Yet CIA interrogators in the overseas sites are permitted to use the CIA's approved "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques," some of which are prohibited by the U.N. convention and by U.S. military law. They include tactics such as "waterboarding," in which a prisoner is made to believe he or she is drowning.
How an American citizen can read this and think this is happening in our names without just cringing is hard for me to imagine. We survived 230 years of emergency, national threat, invasion and conflict with some of the worst threats known to mankind, and now we resort to waterboarding? We are better than this! This strengthens our enemy, and weakens us by placing us closer to their level of barbarism. We sacrifice 230 years of American history and honor for this administration to feel all manly about themselves? Just Pathetic! Before I get to far into a rant let us go back to the story.
The detainees break down roughly into two classes, the sources said.

About 30 are considered major terrorism suspects and have been held under the highest level of secrecy at black sites financed by the CIA and managed by agency personnel, including those in Eastern Europe and elsewhere, according to current and former intelligence officers and two other U.S. government officials.

A second tier -- which these sources believe includes more than 70 detainees -- is a group considered less important, with less direct involvement in terrorism and having limited intelligence value. These prisoners, some of whom were originally taken to black sites, are delivered to intelligence services in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Afghanistan and other countries, a process sometimes known as "rendition." While the first-tier black sites are run by CIA officers, the jails in these countries are operated by the host nations, with CIA financial assistance and, sometimes, direction.
Great! If they really know something that might be important, we'll do our own dirty work. But if they don't really know too much, after we get what we can we'll give them to our allies who don't torture *wink wink* prisoners. I'm sure our allies are able to find out all sorts of great intelligence from these know-nothings. We have several reports of foreign citizens being tortured after being passed from U.S. custody to an ally, and then finally being released to their home nation. For one example check out the story of Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen nabbed in New York while making a connecting flight from Damascus Syria to Ottawa Canada.

Here is how the story ends:
Meanwhile, the debate over the wisdom of the program continues among CIA officers, some of whom also argue that the secrecy surrounding the program is not sustainable.

"It's just a horrible burden," said the intelligence official.
It's all coming apart at the seams for this administration. And it is not a pretty sight. Let it come out because we have to decide what we as a nation are all about here. If we want to be known for this type of behavior, let us affirm this with some congressional approval of some sort. Of course this congressional approval will never happen because these people must stand for election. Americans understand on a basic level this is not what we as a nation stand for, and I'd be amazed should someone supporting this activity were elected dog catcher.

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