Thursday, November 24, 2005

Extraordinary Rendition

"Extraordinary" is the word!!!

I watched an excellent Dispatches documentary last night on Channel 4 about America's policy of "extraordinary rendition", which is basically snatch and grab operations taking place in other countries in order to acquire people suspected of supporting or taking part in terrorist acts.

The programme made a clear distinction between the Clinton era's method of doing this (when it was dreamed up) and that of the Bush Administration. Before 2000 the special operations would take place with the knowledge and co-operation of the country in question, with the local police or security forces making the arrests themselves and then handing the suspects over to the Americans.

Then Bush came to power. And now the renditions are madewithout the knowledge of the country in which the operation takes the extent that local anti-terrorist stings are being affected and prevented.
The best case of this was in Milan in 2003, where Americans kidnapped Muslim cleric Abu Omar from under the noses of Italian intelliegence agents, who were keeping an eye on him. He was then flown out of the country to parts unknown.

Let me be abundantly clear on this....the practice of extraordinary rendition without the permission and knowledge of the Government of the country in question is a violation of national sovereignty. And therefore is illegal.
Now I know that there's one rule for the Americans and one for the rest of the world..but the brazen arrogance of the current administration rarely fails to leave me speechless.

Of course it gets worse..

The Americans aren't actually allowed torture their suspects per se. Now they're been trying to find loopholes in their various traty and legal requirements for years now, to the extent that they are actually allowed threaten prisoners with death and subject them procedures that are certainly "cruel and unusual" and would fall within my understanding of what constitutes torture. But to really get the job done, they outsource the work to various client states in the Mid-East, like Egypt.
Seeing as the Egyptians aren't exactly frontrunners in a league of the most democratic nations.. they can do pretty much what they want over there. Some of the things I heard mentioned on Dispatches last night were too gruesome to print here.

This morning I wrote to both the Taoiseach and leader of the Opposition here in Ireland to request meetings with them on the subject, and I will continue to pested the two of them until I get what I want in this regard.
There has been a CIA-owned jet landing at Shannon airport for years now which has been linked with the illegal transportation of the "suspects". Our erstwhile government has said repeatedly that they will not heed the will of the parliamentary oppostion and do searches of US planes landing there because they trust the Americans not to do anything like that.

In other words, as I've said before, we are America's Bitch.
It's got to stop, we've got to do our part as a member of the United Nations and signatory to the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, I'm pretty sure we have an obligation to prevent these renditions occuring. And surely, if we suspect that there are planes using Irish air facilities that may contian illegally kidnapped people who may be sent to black facilities to be tortured we have an obligation as a proper country to stand up for their rights and make sure that the rumours are untrue.

The programme also covered the participation of the British Government and security apparatus in the renditions of British citizens..and that was appalling, that they would put their alliance with America above their duty to UK subjects. But to be honest, it's a matter for the British to come to terms with and it is not really my place to comment. Other than to say that, if it is true, then it is a sick and perverse policy and I look forward to seeing them in the dock at the International Criminal Court.

America has, since 2001, abdicated its position as leader of the "free world" and as the foremost democracy on the planet. They have resorted to the most underhand, illegal, unconstitutional and depraved acts of abduction, imprisonment, murder and torture-all to achieve very shady goals.
You don't throw away your liberties to fight people to protect your liberties. It doesn't make sense.
Wake up Congress. Take control and impeach the lot of them.

If only....


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