Wednesday, April 26, 2006

CNN reported today that the CIA has been making illegal flights through European airspace, transporting foreign prisoners to undisclosed locations around the globe in a process referred to as rendition. The process typically involves the transfer of individuals into U.S. custody by foreign governments, followed by the relocation of these individuals to other countries (typically third world countries with little humanitarian oversight) where the individuals can be imprisoned, interrogated, and sometimes tortured without review. Rendition involves the transfer of people from one country to another in a way which bypasses all administrative and judicial due process. The CIA has engaged in the practice of hiring private aviation companies or setting up "front" corporations in order to mask its activities. The practice is theoretically used by the CIA in order to avoid what it refers to as "red tape", but their "red tape", in truth, typically amounts to laws protecting human rights and civil liberties, and requirements that flights involving the transfer of prisoners through foreign airspace be reported.
Amnesty International has been monitoring and protesting U.S. rendition practices for some time, and has documented cases where individuals have been seized and transferred to other countries where they have faced years worth of interrogation, detention, and torture without ever being formally charged with any terrorism-related crime. The U.S. continues to deny that anything illegal is occurring, but the secrecy surrounding the program belies its tradition of civil rights abuses.
Anyway, Steanso has been reading about this rendition issue through Amnesty International for awhile now, and it really bugs me (just one more example of the "might makes right" mentality of our current administration- and hopefully not our country as a whole). When I saw CNN reporting that the EU is now investigating the practice, it seemed like as good a time as any to vent about it. The whole idea of being snatched by some foreign govenrment and flown halfway around the world to face imprisonment and possible torture without ever even standing trial or having a hearing seems kind of deplorable to me, but I guess that's just the wild-eyed liberal in me again. Stupid U.S.
What else? Dinner and Battlestar Galactica last night with Crackbass and Jackbart. Crackbass made some chicken and mushroom something (which was good), and Jackbart brought some wine (which was also good). I mostly brought some personality and fun to the occasion.
That's it for now. More updates if events warrant.


lee said...

Just as frightening is that not many folks seem to care that the CIA is doing this. Where are the calls for investigation from our own members of Congress? There aren't any that I know about, and the reason is that the American people, by and large, don't seem to have too much thought about it one way or the other. Our government is TORTURING people. I've said it before to Adventurers but it bears repeating until we're blue in the face: torture does not work. It doesn't produce reliable information. If somebody is pulling your toe nails off with pliers, it isn't surprising that they might say whatever needs to be said to end the torture. And afterwards, they are so pissed off about what happened to them that it only increases their resolve to return to the behavior that got them tortured in the first place, only this time, to do so with more attention to not getting caught to avoid a repeat, of course, of the torture.

I think this whole shrugging of the shoulders at this activity (truly, a dangerous circumstance) is a by-product of the fear that this administration constantly preaches and employs to numb us to things we ought to immediately recognize as wrong. I go to church and we never pray for torture, lawlessness, or arrogance from government on Sundays as we chant "hear our prayer" before communion. I suspect the case is the same even for the more evangelical conservatives that have a grip on the GOP at present. Or maybe it isn't. Pat Robertson seems to advocate assasination as a matter of foreign policy. Indeed Pat, what WOULD Jesus do? All I know is that my three year old kid knows it is wrong to hurt somebody else, but our government can't seem to figure the same concept out.

vox populi vox Dei.

The League said...

Let's be honest, torture also satisfies the public's desire to see somebody punished. Whether the method is effective or not may or may not matter a whole lot.

I keep waiting for the Jack Bauer "24" doomsday enthusiasts to pop up and come up with an awesome hypothetical scenario in which the naive liberals MUST agree that torture is permissible.

J.S. said...

It'll probably always be possible to come up with doomsday scenarios in which torture is the only way to save America from apocolyptic destruction. I would say that such scenarios arise in the real world very infrequently. The problem with torture in the real world is that its use takes place on a very slippery slope. Is torture justifiable to save the lives of 10 U.S. soldiers who might potentially walk into a booby-trapped building? Is torture permissible in order to bring a halt to a plan that might potentially effect thousands of Americans, but not for another 2 or 3 years? These are the kinds of scenarios that are probably a lot more common, and they are troubling- especially when you picture American soldiers being tortured in order for foreign forces to protect their troops or their people. And that's what we're going to be left with. There can never be worldwide conventions against torture unless America, the most powerful country in the world, leads the way by abolishing the practice and taking a hard stand aginst it.