Sunday, March 06, 2005
SECRECY, TORTURE, PROPAGANDA MARK NEW AMERICAN POLITBURO PRACTICES
We may never know the truth about how many people -- U.S. citizens and others -- have been detained, imprisoned and tortured under the guise of protecting us from terrorists. The Justice Department has never revealed how many people were rounded up and held after the 9/11 attacks. Most were imprisoned and denied contact with their families. Many still are not given access to lawyers. Some are locked in hellholes in the United States and Guantanamo, Cuba, and some have been whisked away to foreign locations where torture is commonplace.
The case of Maher Arar, a Canadian engineer, provides a revealing and frightening glimpse of the Bush administration's devotion to the kind of tactics Stalin's top enforcer, Lavrenti Beria, found effective. In the Feb. 14, 2005 issue of the "New Yorker" magazine, Jane Mayer wrote an excellent and chilling account of Arar's ordeal, showing how our government makes up its own rules, disregards international law and outsources torture.
Arar, a 34-year-old McGill University graduate, emigrated from Syria with his family when he was a teen-ager. On September 26, 2002, Arar arrived at JFK Airport in New York, returning from a vacation with his family in Tunisia. He planned to make a connection there for the last leg of his flight home to Canada. Instead, federal agents pounced on and detained him because his name appeared on a U.S. watch list of suspected terrorists. He was held for the next 13 days and questioned about another suspect. Arar hardly knew the man, but he told his interrogators he had once worked with the man's brother.
In a flash, Arar, who was never charged, was placed in handcuffs and leg irons and was whisked away in an executive jet to Amman, Jordan. There, he was subjected to months of brutal interrogation and torture. Arar said he was repeatedly beaten with thick electrical cables and stuffed into a windowless cell that he said reminded him of a grave.
Arar related that horrible experience to Mayer, and -- using the Arabic idiom -- described the pain as so unbearable that "you forget the milk that you have been fed from the breast of your mother."
Mayer reminds us that, on Jan. 27, Bush assured the world in a New York Times interview that "torture is never acceptable, nor do we hand over people to countries that do torture." In fact, that's exactly what we do. Under a secretive dirty program called "extraordinary rendition," federal operatives, called the Special Removal Unit, have transported uncharged individuals to countries where torture is used, especially in the Middle East, to squeeze anything out of them. The truth of what they say matters little. Arar says that eventually he confessed to anything his tormentors wanted to hear.
"You give up. You become an animal," he told the "New Yorker."
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, while White House Counsel, wrote memos outlining the crypto-legal basis for using "extraordinary rendition" any time the commander in chief wants to, without explanation or any judicial review. These are the same powers Stalin enjoyed.
A year later, after the intervention of the Canadian government, Arar was released without ever being charged. The Bush regime has never apologized to Arar or Canada for what happened. Arar is suing the U.S. government for his suffering. Justice Department lawyers are evoking the rarely used "states secrets privilege" in a motion to get the suit dismissed.
There is no accounting for people removed through "extraordinary rendition." Some of them, no doubt, faced an end Stalin preferred. "Death solves all problems -- no man, no problem," the Soviet leader once said.....
BILL GALLAGHER COVERS DETROIT FOR WJBK CHANNEL 2 (FOX). HE IS A FORMER NIAGARA FALLS CITY COUNCILMAN AND WRITES A WEEKLY COLUMN FOR THE NIAGARA FALLS REPORTER.
The US, while ostensibly opposing torture, has absolutely no qualms about deporting people to countries where torture is legal in order to torture by proxy, basically. And I don't believe for one second that there isn't torture going on at Guantanamo Bay; it's offshore after all and basically only a legal loophole.
There's something you won't hear on CNN or Fox.
And the Supremes have ruled that since Guantanamo is leased by America, it is technically an American possestion and must follow US law. Another reason to let the Egyptians, Saudis and Jordanians do their torturing for them.
If for some reason you can't access this link, to to www.vancouversun.com, click on Observer over on the left, and you can find the story there.
This is just beyond ridiculous. Denounce communism but we'll rent from them. Don't get me started on China.