Wednesday, April 26, 2006

European Union Set To Kick Our Asses

Image of Original Painting, "Rummy's Fiesta," Used with Permission of the Artist, Mark Byan

Or, more appropiately, the asses of evil who decided to outsource torture operations.

Seems the United States is on its way to earning a reputation, even among our several oldest, best allies in the Western world, for being a "state known to practice torture," prohibited by European human rights treaties, according to an Associated Press report today.

In that event, we'd be on a deep-shit-list. I'd like to know what other countries are on that list, just for shock & reference value, but I suspect most Americans would be deeply ashamed & humiliated to find themselves amongst them.

The European Union's legislators' preliminary investigation into the matter found that the "CIA has conducted more than 1,000 clandestine flights in Europe since 2001, and some of them secretly took away terror suspects to countries where they could face torture, European Union lawmakers said Wednesday.

"Legislators elected to look into allegations of questionable CIA activities in Europe said flight data showed a pattern of hidden operations by American agents, and they accused some European governments of knowing about it but remaining silent.

"Cases of terror suspects being secretly handed over to U.S. agents did not appear to be isolated, the lawmakers said in a preliminary report on their inquiry. European human rights treaties prohibit sending suspects to states known to torture prisoners.

"'The committee deplores the fact that, as established during the committee's investigation, the CIA has used aircraft registered under fictitious company names or with private companies to secretly transfer terror suspects to other countries including Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Afghanistan,' according to a copy of the report obtained by The Associated Press.

"The CIA declined to comment, as did European Union officials, who have said previously that there was no irrefutable proof of such hand-overs, which are known as 'extraordinary renditions.'

"The investigation began in January after news reports that U.S. agents had interrogated al-Qaida suspects at secret prisons in eastern Europe. But the focus shifted after people gave detailed accounts of being abducted by U.S. agents in Europe and whisked away to jails in the Middle East, Asia and North Africa.

Those Americans, or their leaders, who'd be inclined to blame Mary McCarthy for spilling the beans & exposing us to the disapproval & opproprobrium of the world (she denies now having been the source of the leaks, BTW), like children who don't resent getting caught red-handed so much but fly into a rage at whoever told on them, cannot.

"Few of those who testified at the committee hearings touched on the alleged secret prisons in eastern Europe first reported by The Washington Post in November. Italian lawmaker Giovanni Fava, who wrote the report, said the committee would look into those allegations later.

"The lawmakers based their initial report on data provided by Eurocontrol, the EU's air safety agency, and more than 50 hours of testimony by EU officials, rights groups and individuals who said they were kidnapped and tortured by U.S. agents.

"Eurocontrol said the number of clandestine CIA flights over Europe was likely to be higher than 1,000 because the agency checked only flight plans for fewer than 50 aircraft used by the CIA.
"The report said that on a number of occasions the CIA was clearly responsible for detaining terror suspects on European territory and transferring them to countries where they could face torture.

"Fava told the AP it was unclear how many people were transferred by the CIA on undeclared flights. He also said there was no evidence proving complicity by European officials, but called it unlikely that some governments, such as in Italy, Bosnia and Sweden, knew nothing about the CIA operations.
"U.S. officials previously said that as of late December, some 100 to 150 people had been seized in 'rendition' operations involving detaining terror suspects in one country and flying them to their home country or another where they were wanted for a crime or questioning.

"The officials, who agreed to discuss the operations only if not quoted by name, said the action was reserved for people considered by the CIA to be the most serious terror suspects. But they conceded mistakes had been made and were being investigated by the CIA's inspector general."

It's simple & evil, & a tactic also used on Americans who dissent: find some dirt & smear them with it, only in these cases, return them to countries where they will be imprisoned & tortured, or, if their home countries can't or won't do the job, off to the CIA's own secret torture chambers (which this investigation hasn't yet addressed).

Makes ya proud to be an American, no?
"The European Union also declined to address the committee's preliminary report.

"'We have no comment. We will wait for the investigation to finish,' said Friso Roscam Abbing, spokesman for EU Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini."

Demon Princess opines that the EU doesn't really want to have to do this; they'd rather we cleaned up our act.

If you want to be a force for good in the world & make your sentiments known, go to the ACLU's website & look for the petition deploring torture, & sign it. It's addressed to one of Demon Princess's favorite characters in the White House, Condoleeza Rice.

Demon Princess hastens to add that if we could both share the DP nom-de-plume, this Demon Princess would be the good fairy compared to Condi. Plus not nearly as rich.


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