Wednesday, April 26, 2006

International Pressure Building Against Torture Policies

Despite the claims by George Bush last November in Panama that "we do not torture", ample amounts of evidence exist that the United States is systematically utilizing inhumane techniques of interrogation in the neocon cabal's War on Terror™. It is clear that political pressure within the country will not be enough to stop these abhorrent practices, or else they would never have been tolerated to begin with, but I am hanging my sombrero on a hope that the international community will finally exert enough force to rebuke the torture apologists.

As is usually the case with this subject, we have to look to the media outside of our borders to get the lowdown. From the International Herald Tribune.
Investigators for the European Parliament said Wednesday that data gathered from air safety regulators showed that the CIA had flown 1,000 undeclared flights over Europe since 2001, sometimes stopping on the Continent to transport terrorism suspects kidnapped inside the European Union to countries using torture.
The operation used the same group of U.S. agents and the same fleet of secret planes over and over, the investigators said. It also concluded that European countries, including Italy, Sweden, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, had been aware of CIA abductions or handovers in their territory and therefore may have been complicit in allowing human rights to be breached.


The report released Wednesday - the first of several planned by the Parliament - grew out of three months of hearings and more than 50 hours of testimony by human rights advocates and individuals who said they had been kidnapped by U.S. agents and flown to other countries, including Egypt and Afghanistan, where they were tortured.
The end of the IHT article mentions Khaled al-Masri, who was kidnapped wrongfully by U.S. agents and tortured in a prison for several months in Afghanistan. I profiled him back in February here if you need a memory refresh.

I bring him up, because according to the BBC, tomorrow a full investigation is being launched in Germany regarding the German government's involvement in spying for the U.S. in Iraq prior to the invasion as well as the details of the nightmare endured by Mr. al-Masri.

The government has tried to avoid the inquiry, arguing that it could compromise the intelligence service.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has dismissed claims that agents of the German intelligence service, the BND, had helped the US military to select bombing targets.

He said they had remained in Baghdad during the hostilities merely to keep the government in Berlin informed.


Former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and former Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer will be among the witnesses.

Mr Steinmeier - who was Mr Schroeder's chief of staff at the time - will also face questions.

The wheels of justice are finally starting to turn in countries who have conspired with the United States to denigrate and violate the human dignity of people like Maher Arar and Khaled al-Masri. The peace and justice movements within the U.S. are slowly building, but it will take a lot more public outrage and political activism to stop the screams in secret prisons all across the globe.

If you feel helpless against this ongoing stream of horrific news, you can start being more active by signing the ACLU petition entitled Torture is UnAmerican, which will be delivered to Condoleeza Rice. They are shooting for 100,000 signatures by May 5th. The numbers should be exponentially larger than that, but we have to start somewhere.

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