View Full Version : The more things change, the more they stay the same

17-11-2005, 01:01 PM
I'm sure we've all heard about the discovery of the detention centre in Iraq, apparently run my government forces, where 173 prisoners were kept and subject to what appears to be regular torture.


It's already become a cliche for those reporting on it to say that "this looks just like the bad old days under Saddam", but I'm inclined to agree with them.

Can't say I'm that suprised though.

17-11-2005, 01:45 PM
i thought there might be more on the 'black' prisons mentioned last week on the news - places all over the place working outside of the geneva convention - eastern europe (poland, quite possibly was mentioned - as was Jordan)

what surprsies me is my lack of surprise

there is probably very little that the various administrations involved in the war of terror could do that would rattle us from our slumber

19-11-2005, 03:00 PM
'throughout the world, on any given day, a man, woman, or child is likely to be displaced, tortured, killed or "disappeared," at the hands of governments or armed political groups. More often than not, the United States shares the blame.'

- Amnesty International

i thought there might be more on the 'black' prisons mentioned last week on the news - places all over the place working outside of the geneva convention - eastern europe (poland, quite possibly was mentioned - as was Jordan)

what surprsies me is my lack of surprise

there is probably very little that the various administrations involved in the war of terror could do that would rattle us from our slumber

Concern widens in Europe over CIA prisoner flights

Wed Nov 16, 6:43 PM ET

Concern widened in a clutch of countries in Europe and north Africa over the use of their airports by US intelligence officials to transfer suspected Islamic extremists.

Germany, Hungary, Italy, Morocco, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Sweden have all been linked to the CIA's use of planes for the transit, or rendition, of prisoners allegedly subjected to extra-judicial detention and torture.

In Oslo, the government summoned a US embassy official over the landing in the Norwegian capital on July 20 of a plane which according to media reports was one of those the CIA used to transport the suspected extremists.

According to a foreign ministry spokesman, the official "denied that the plane in question had been used by the American authorities at the time."

The Swedish government similarly demanded "complete information" from its civil aviation authorities after the TT news agency reported at least two suspected CIA planes had landed at Swedish airports over the past three years and that one of them was used at the US base at Guantanamo Bay on Cuba, probably for transporting prisoners.

In Morocco, Le Journal weekly on Saturday cited a former agent with the national DST intelligence service as saying the country had directly participated in the CIA operation with at least 10 flights carrying prisoners landing in Morocco between December 2002 and February this year.

In Spain, El Pais cited a report by the civil guard, which has military as well as police functions, as saying the prisoner transport planes made at least 10 secret stopoffs at Palma de Mallorca in the Balearic Islands between January 22, 2004 and January 17, 2005. The Canary Islands might also be concerned by the affair.

That news prompted Interior Minister Jose Antonio Alonso to say Tuesday that if the reports were true, it could damage relations between Madrid and Washington as such flights would be "intolerable in every sense."

Spain's United Left opposition party has demanded that Alonso appear before parliament to explain the situation along with Alberto Saiz, head of national intelligence bureau CNI.

Late Wednesday a spokesman for the prime minister's office said Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos would appear before the Congress at an unspecified date to answer questions about the alleged CIA stopovers.

Portuguese Defense Minister Luis Amado, responding to questions from journalists, said the government had no "elements which can support" local media reports that CIA planes had landed near Lisbon.

The US Senate has asked the CIA to inform it as to the precise nature of its prisoner transport operations.

According to the Washington Post, the CIA has placed more than 100 illegally held suspects in a secret prison network in Afghanistan, Thailand and Eastern Europe since the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.

Following that report the CIA called on the Justice Department to hold an inquiry into the "information leaks" on the prisons.

A series of denials on the existence of the prisons for top Al-Qaeda suspects has come from Thailand and eastern European US allies, including Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland and Romania.

Only the Czech Republic has gone as far as saying it turned down a US demand to house prisoners previously held at Guantanamo on its soil.

The International Committee of the Red Cross says it has tried in vain for more than two years to persuade Washington to give it access to those held secretly abroad "in the context of the war on terrorism."

An investigation is under way in Germany over the February 2003 kidnap in Italy by CIA agents of Abou Omar, a former imam who was allegedly brought to the US military base at Ramstein in southwestern Germany prior to his being taken to Egypt.

In Italy on Friday, the Milan public prosecutor demanded the extradition of 22 CIA agents believed to have been involved in the abduction of Omar, the subject of an Italian anti-terrorist investigation.

The Italian government has demanded "the full respect of Italian sovereignty" in the affair.

UN special rapporteur into torture, Manfred Nowak, has called on the EU and the Council of Europe to "hold high level inquiries" and the council says one is to follow.


21-11-2005, 12:04 PM
BTW - id highly recommened Amnesty's extremely harrowing 1996 book 'A Glimpse of Hell' (https://www.amnesty.ca/onlineshop/product.php?p=43) in order to put current events into their rightful context.

Anti-war Rightie Andrew Sullivan also has some interesting observations:


Amazingly, the dissidents within the CIA are leaking their interrogation techniques. We finally have detailed evidence that the U.S., under this president, practices "waterboarding." Here's the official CIA definition:

6. Water Boarding: The prisoner is bound to an inclined board, feet raised and head slightly below the feet. Cellophane is wrapped over the prisoner's face and water is poured over him. Unavoidably, the gag reflex kicks in and a terrifying fear of drowning leads to almost instant pleas to bring the treatment to a halt.

According to the sources, CIA officers who subjected themselves to the water boarding technique lasted an average of 14 seconds before caving in. They said al Qaeda's toughest prisoner, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, won the admiration of interrogators when he was able to last between two and two-and-a-half minutes before begging to confess.

"The person believes they are being killed, and as such, it really amounts to a mock execution, which is illegal under international law," said John Sifton of Human Rights Watch.

The Wall Street Journal believes that this isn't "anything close" to "torture." What do you think?


Read down for more stories, including some observations on Nazi torture techniques being used on SEAL captives. (no surprise seeing as US counter-terrorism documents were originally based on Nazi field manuals...)

As i mentioned in another thread, this is all just business as usual...

22-11-2005, 09:21 PM
It's like, you wouldn't believe how pessimistic and cynical I feel right now, due to many etcs. other than politics, BUT for the sake of this damn dumb thread, and all the reallllly f*********** that's happened (akkk ya) (yeah ok, I agree here, let's go get a drink on that, hope you're happy etc.) let me remind you (I was going to post a set of difficult questions and may do - FOR YOU TO ANSWER - ha ha! that's the catch):::::::

Me, in April, on Oona's campaign (yo! Luka! how are ya!):

Resolution 678 + +

Fucking yes it's easy to strike an indignant pose and hiss moral vapour as a Liberal Democrat - witness bulging eyes and flushed skin, the shock of small facts, puff-pastry face reeling from the dry and complex and subtle, if shifty, shades revealed in Lord Goldsmith's fine print. "On balance, all things considered, at the end of the day, one way or another, you could probably make a case for war, sir. And a case against it." Is a legal war the same as a just war & vice versa? Kosovo was a clear case of illegal, and necessary, aggression. And [l]ater, the action can be perceived as preemptive in the sense that the attacking armies sought, on the basis of Security Council Resolution 688 of 1991 to bring about an end to the repression of civilian population, especially of the Kurds (The Law of War, Ingrid Detter, Cambridge 2003, p.57), for example. You're on the hop(s) and suffer from one late night too many: scotch with ice on the Intercity home, crushing baby blues. You sound shocked, which pleases people. They're shocked too. They're shocked because our leader with the slippery smile cannot make a genuine, clear, strong, principled argument without the touch of the personal autocrat. Because the cellular-solidity of his Messianic inner core is infected with vanity, and vanity means insecurity, and insecurities are, at high levels, damaging. It gets people sullen and sometimes severe and they revolt with rancor. All that's been revealed in fact, is that if the French could have been brought off, that is, if they hadn't been angered by sloppy diplomacy, and if financial assets could've somehow been compensated, then another UN resolution would have been in the bag, and the war would've been legal! As for Goldsmith's final conclusion - Authority to use force against Iraq exists from the combined effect of resolution 678, 687, and 1441 - is it possible to refute? And think of this - we'd been in a low-key running war with Saddam through the 90s. No-fly zones were an act of war, and did not have UN authority. But how many Kurds and how many Shi'ites survived because of US and UK fighter jets? How many Shi'ites did Republican Guard gunships mow down before the Tornadoes and Hawks and F-15s and F-16s returned? (Witness mass graves, June 2003.) Regular bombing raids continued in and out of air-exclusion zones, because of continuous violations on the part of the Ba'ath regime: violations bred violations, from one side and the other. Sanctions - which shored up and fattened Saddam's clique, and when streamlined provided an opportunity for plunder by the Ba'ath and UN hierachies - were legitimised and legalised by the UN. Look, how far do we take this? We were at war with Saddam anyway. Those who weren't were, simply, multiplying the death toll. So Saddam Hussein was winning. By 1999, France and Russia were courting the Ba'ath inner court for lucrative deals; Saddam owed France - the State and its companies - lots and lots of filty lucre, which amounted to a Western investment in his survival. He'd crushed the largest concievable Kurdish and Shi'ite rebellions; the Kurdish cause had receded so far that fractured relations between rival Kurdish leaders Talabani and Barzani led Barzani to invite Saddam's troops into the Northern Statelet to rout his adversary. Opposition was non-existent, destroyed, at home; abroad, weak and divided. Engineered coups had failed; defectors murdered or isolated. UNSCOM inspectors were repeatedly forced out of the country. The Security Council had granted approval for the unlimited export of Iraqi oil. The punitive aspects of Resolution 1284 had simply faded. By 2001, the UK Joint Intelligence Committee began to amass evidence that showed Iraqi oil being smuggled out via Turkey and Syria. Ba'ath ministers had approached North Korea in an attempt to buy missiles capable of delivering fissile material. Ambition was undimmed, and the first world funded it. Even US companies made covert rapproachment with the Iraqi state, as in Iran. The Ba'ath regime was crystallising into a crime cartel. Eventually, as the US made clear its hostile intentions, caches of weapons were evacuated into Syria, where many Ba'ath ministers, officials, generals, etc., also fled as the US moved down through Northern Iraq.

(There was some more partisan shit after this, which I'll spare you)

(As you see Droid, I was on the demented stylistic tip b4 U, to quote Prince.)

23-11-2005, 09:04 AM
I'm still dealing with the last list of 'difficult' questions you posed Oliver!

But my point isnt to provoke (believe it or not) - Im as disgusted as anyone at the recent revelations, and I take no pleasure in the continued disgrace of the US. Ive also been reading your bog, and have noticed that the views you promote there are somewhat more nuanced than the posts you make here.

So - the big question - as an obviously intelligent supporter of the war, how do you reconcile the ongoing torture scandals with your idea that Iraq is somehow a major (and noble) deviation in US foreign policy? After all, this isnt anything new. The US has been an eager participant in torture around the globe since the 50's. From Operation Phoenix in Vietnam, which killed over 50,000, to the torture training 'School of the America's' whose graduates were primarily responsible for the 'holocaust' in Latin America in the 80's, support for Iranian torture under the Shah, support for Iraqi torture under Saddam, Support for Israeli torture under Begin, Support for torture and repression in the Phillipines and Indonesia, Support for torture in Syria and Egypt, and the sale of instruments of torture to oppressive regimes all over the world, including China. On the basis of this pattern, and the wealth of historical and documentary evidence, I think its fair to say that not only does the US not oppose torture, but it is the biggest facilitator of torture on the planet, both directly and indirectly, and consistently uses it as a means to an end when dealing with third world countries.

Events in iraq do nothing to dissuade me from this view. Not only is the US army torturing and murdering prisoners themselves, they now seem to be training Iraqi policemen and soldiers to carry on the job after they leave.

(As you see Droid, I was on the demented stylistic tip b4 U, to quote Prince.)

Ill give you 'demented' - you could do with a bit more 'style' though. ;)

23-11-2005, 09:52 AM
how do you reconcile the ongoing torture scandals with your idea that Iraq is somehow a major (and noble) deviation in US foreign policy

I don't.

I don't even know why I posted that last night.

Don't have much to add to the argument, to be honest.

Everything's fucked, obviously.

23-11-2005, 09:59 AM
Everything's fucked, obviously.

Sad but true. :(