Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Spain to investigate U.S. rendition of prisoners

From the Times:

On the Spanish island of Majorca, the police quietly opened a criminal investigation in March after a local newspaper reported a series of visits to the island's international airport by planes known to regularly operate for the Central Intelligence Agency.

Now, it has emerged that an investigative judge in Palma has ordered the police inquiry to be sent to Spain's national court, to consider whether the C.I.A. was routing planes carrying terrorism suspects through Majorca as part of its so-called rendition program.


Under that system, the United States has bypassed normal extradition procedures to secretly transfer at least 100 suspects to third countries where, according to allegations by human rights groups and former detainees themselves, some of the suspects have been tortured.

The program is the focus of a number of European investigations. Spain is the third country in Europe to open a judicial inquiry into potential criminal offenses committed by C.I.A. operatives related to renditions. The other two are Germany and Italy, which on Friday formally requested the extradition of 22 people said to be C.I.A. operatives linked to the suspected kidnapping of an Egyptian cleric in 2003.

Apologists for America's torture regime, from Vice President Cheney on down through Bill O'Reilly and his "folks," will no doubt write this off as European anti-Americanism, Europeans gleefully sticking their noses into America's affairs in order to make America (and her wildly unpopular president) look bad (or worse).

The treatment (torture) of detainees at Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, and other U.S. detention facilities is, in my view, a national travesty. It's done more to tarnish America's image in the world than pretty much anything else, including the Iraq War itself. Something needs to be done about it -- John McCain and others are trying, but the Bush Administration is resisting.

But the rendition of prisoners involves other jurisdictions, and those jurisdictions -- Spain, Germany, Italy, and others -- have every right to investigate CIA activities on their own soil. It's a shame that these other jurisdictions may end up exposing what Americans should expose for themselves about their own government, but if that's what it takes, so be it.

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See also this piece on detainees in the Post -- by a pro bono lawyer for Gitmo detainees, P. Sabin Willett. It's a powerful defence of habeas corpus (yes, the Bush Administration has made such defences of habeas corpus necessary).

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On Bush denying torture, see here.

On Cheney as an enabler of torture, see here and here.

On Lynndie England and Abu Ghraib, see here and here.

On Durbin's courage in a time of cowardice, see here.

On Amnesty International's report on the U.S., see here and here.

For my demand for an apology from the enablers of torture, see here.

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The Heretik has more links in a good post.

See also The Moderate Voice.

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