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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: International | U.S. | Anti-War
by Stephen Lendman
America's the world's leading human rights abuser. State terror is official policy. So is waging war on humanity.
Guantanamo operates lawlessly. It's America's public face. It's the tip of the iceberg. More on that below.
Gitmo detainees gave few ways to resist. Refusing food challenges injustice. Around 130 haven't eaten in over two months. They're hunger striking for justice.
Russia Today reports regularly on what's happening. On April 12, it headlined "Day of Action to Close Guantanamo: US Cities protest Obama's inaction."
Activists and people of conscience rallied in New York, Washington DC, Chicago, Los Angeles, and other US cities. Media scoundrels ignored them. They turn a blind eye to Guantanamo atrocities. They support imperial lawlessness.
Protesters wore orange jump suits. Some had on black hoods. They did so to attract attention.
Two dozen human rights organization signed an open letter to Obama. In part it said:
"The situation is the predictable result of continuing to hold prisoners indefinitely without charge for more than 11 years."
"We urge you to begin working to transfer the remaining detained men to their home countries or other countries for resettlement, or to charge them in a court that comports with fair trial standards."
The Center for Constitutional Rights calls Guantanamo a "notorious example" of US lawlessness.
The ACLU says it "symbolizes our nation's failure to adhere to the rule of law and human rights…."
Straightaway in office, Obama promised to close Guantanamo. He lied. He's a serial liar. Gitmo remains open. It's one of many US torture prisons. They operate globally. They do so lawlessly.
Torture is official US policy. George Bush approved it. Obama operates the same.
On September 17, 2001, Bush signed a secret finding. It authorized the CIA to capture, kill or interrogate Al-Qaeda leaders. It established a secret global network. It operates extrajudicially.
On November 13, 2001, Bush issued Military Order Number 1. It was a watershed coup d'etat action.
It "determined that an extraordinary emergency exists for national defense purposes, that this emergency constitutes an urgent and compelling government interest and that issuance of this order is necessary to meet the emergency."
It authorized the capture, kidnapping, or otherwise arrest of non-citizens anywhere in the world. It did so based on unproved international terrorism allegations.
It approved holding detainees indefinitely without charge, evidence or due process rights. The order later applied to US citizens.
Secret military commissions were authorized. Habeas rights and judicial fairness are denied. Torture obtained evidence is used. Appeals were ruled out. International, constitutional and US statute laws don't apply.
Secret memos followed. Torture was officially authorized. War on terror priorities override rule of law protections. George Bush got "complete discretion in the exercise of his authority in conducting operations against hostile forces."
Obama operates the same way. He takes full advantage. Horrendous crimes of war and against humanity continue. Don't expect media scoundrels to explain.
On February 5, the Open Society Foundations (OSF) published a report titled "Globalizing Torture: CIA Secret Detention and Extraordinary Rendition."
It's "the story the CIA doesn't want you to (know of or) talk about."
"Snatching people off the streets" is policy. So is "hanging people from the ceiling (and) freezing (them) to death on a concrete floor."
"This is the story of how the United States used its position to cajole, persuade, and strong-arm 54 other countries to take part in the CIA’s post-9/11 campaign of secret detention and torture."
Post-9/11, the gloves came off. "Black sites" were established. Suspected "terrorists" were lawlessly abducted. Extraordinary rendition followed. Torture became official policy. It remains so.
On September 16, 2001, Dick Cheney said:
"We have to work, sort of on the dark side, if you will."
"We've got to spend time in the shadows in the intelligence world."
"A lot of what needs to be done here will have to be done quietly, without any discussion, using sources and methods that are available to our intelligence agencies, if we're going to be successful."
"That's the world these folks operate in, and so it's going to be vital for us to use any means at our disposal, basically, to achieve our objective."
Rule of law principles no longer applied. They still don't. Anything goes became policy. CIA black sites were established. "Enhanced interrogation techniques" became code language for torture and other forms of abuse.
Suspects were snatched and disappeared. Foreign governments are complicit. The "full scale and scope of (their) participation - as well as the number of victims - remains unknown."
It's "largely because" of extreme secrecy. Washington refuses to admit involvement. Nor do participating foreign governments.
OSF's report provides comprehensive documentation of what's known. It identified 136 victims. It named 54 complicit countries.
They include Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Libya, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malawi, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, Yemen and Zimbabwe.
They host CIA prisons on their territories. They permit indefinite detention, interrogations, torture and other forms of abuse. They assist in capturing and transporting detainees. They allow use of their domestic airspace. They provide intelligence information.
Torture is illegal at all times, under all circumstances, with no allowed exceptions. It's morally and ethically repugnant. It's ineffective. No reliable information is gained. Detainees say anything to stop pain.
It's used against them. It's done so illegally. It's used to justify America's war on terror. It continues without end.
Investigations aren't conducted. Crimes of war and against humanity go unpunished. Canada is the only country to issue an apology. It did so reluctantly. It pertained to Maher Arar.
He was abducted and extraordinarily renditioned to Syria. He was held uncharged. He was brutally tortured. He committed no crime. Syria later said he was "completely innocent."
Canada publicly cleared him. He received millions in compensation for his ordeal.
He filed suit under the Torture Victims Protection Act: Arar v. Ashcroft et al.
He charged Attorney General John Ashcroft, FBI Director Robert Mueller, then Homeland Security head Tom Ridge, and various US immigration officials with violating his due process right.
The Center for Constitutional Rights represented him. Washington invoked the State Secrets Privilege. It filed a motion to dismiss. The US District Court for the Eastern District of New York did so on national security grounds.
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld it. The US Supreme Court declined to hear the case. Justice remains denied.
The Obama administration "continues to withhold documents relating to the CIA Office of Inspector General investigations into extraordinary rendition and secret detention."
They continue lawlessly. Despite efforts to conceal information, it "continue(s) to find its way into the public domain."
Victims' rights in America are denied. Challenging complicit governments "are being heard in courts around the world."
The European Court of Human Rights ruled that Macedonia's involvement violated Khaled el-Masri's rights under the European Convention on Human Rights. His ill-treatment amounted to torture.
Italy's highest court upheld convictions of US and complicit Italian officials. It did so for their involvement in extraordinarily renditioning Abu Omar to Egypt.
The UN Convention against Torture prohibits "refoulement." It pertains to "expelling, returning, or extraditing a person to another country where there are substantial grounds to believe he (or she) would be in danger of being tortured."
A former CIA agent once said:
"If you want a serious interrogation, you send a prisoner to Jordan. If you want them tortured, you send them to Syria. If you want someone to disappear, you send them to Egypt."
Many other countries operate the same way. They include America, Western allies, Israel, and other Middle East nations. They operate extrajudicially, unchecked and unaccountably.
Other legal challenges continue. They're ongoing against Poland, Lithuania, Romania, Italy, Djibouti, Egypt, Hong Kong and Britain.
America bears most responsibility. It's the world's leading human rights abuser. It's out-of-control and unaccountable. Justice delayed is denied. It's long overdue.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen [at] sbcglobal.net.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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