Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 02, 2005

Eastern European "Democracies"

Dana Priest has a hell of a piece in today's WaPo: CIA Holds Terror Suspects in Secret Prisons. Nothing new here you might think, but the piece will bring parliamentary mushroom clouds to some Eastern European countries as well as to the E.U.

The CIA has been hiding and interrogating some of its most important al Qaeda captives at a Soviet-era compound in Eastern Europe, according to U.S. and foreign officials familiar with the arrangement.

The secret facility is part of a covert prison system set up by the CIA nearly four years ago that at various times has included sites in eight countries, including Thailand, Afghanistan and several democracies in Eastern Europe, as well as a small center at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, according to current and former intelligence officials and diplomats from three continents.
...
The Washington Post is not publishing the names of the Eastern European countries involved in the covert program, at the request of senior U.S. officials. They argued that the disclosure might disrupt counterterrorism efforts in those countries and elsewhere and could make them targets of possible terrorist retaliation.

The real retaliation the senior U.S. officials fear will not be from terrorists. This will be a huge setback for US influence when this blows up in Warsaw(?) and elsewhere and within the E.U. sphere.

The United States are circumventing their own laws by somehow convincing other countries to break theirs with U.S. Gulags. Is that how you grow democracies? Is this Rumsfelds New Europe?

The Washington Post should publish those countries names immediately. Why are they brown nosing these criminals again and again?

Posted by b on November 2, 2005 at 9:06 UTC | Permalink

Comments

drip, drip, drip...

Posted by: Malooga | Nov 2 2005 9:13 utc | 1

Let's face it, these people use torture overseas because they can't do it here. They LIKE TORTURING PEOPLE and wish they could do it here. I am also convinced that the constant outsourcing of American jobs to low wage countries is done because they can't legally get slaves here.
We're back in the bad old days of the Gilded Age. But then, they didn't officially torture people then. So I'd say that the historical period is probably somewhere in the late sixteenth century. All we need is a King and Shrub's working on it.

Posted by: hopping madbunny | Nov 2 2005 9:59 utc | 2

We all knew this was happening but that doesn't stop it from blowing you away when its proven.

The two issues I have trouble with:

Some outwardly middle class respectable US citizens who commute from their family homes every day have coldly sat around and designed concentration camps and torture centres.
Years ago I had a client who turned out to be a violent sexual predator and murderer.
I was never that close to him probably only saw him a couple of times and our interactions were mundane. But once the truth about this creep's activities came out I must have replayed those interactions back many times trying to discover what it was about this human that made him so outside the area of accepted behaviour. The real scary part was of course there wasn't anything much. He regarded himself as one of life's victims but there's a lot of those about and the vast majority are as harmless as anyone else.

The creeps who thought up this 'program' remind me of that bloke. Outwardly 'normal' you probably wouldn't choose to spend time with them but why no tattoo on the forehead saying "danger psychopath on the prowl"?

The second disturbing aspect of the story is this bit:

"The CIA program's original scope was to hide and interrogate the two dozen or so al Qaeda leaders believed to be directly responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks, or who posed an imminent threat, or had knowledge of the larger al Qaeda network. But as the volume of leads pouring into the CTC from abroad increased, and the capacity of its paramilitary group to seize suspects grew, the CIA began apprehending more people whose intelligence value and links to terrorism were less certain, according to four current and former officials.

The original standard for consigning suspects to the invisible universe was lowered or ignored, they said. "They've got many, many more who don't reach any threshold," one intelligence official said."

This is of course is what we have all been saying for ever and a day. That these sort of programs can be introduced with the 'loftiest' motives but in no time at all a machine will be created that just chews up people and sucks them into its maw with no real regard for the original aims. The corrupt process corrupts until the people around it are serving it for no other reason than to keep it functioning. The machine stopped serving the people long ago. If it ever did that is.

This is like a classic study in the rise of totalitarianism but there is no satisfaction at all in being correct.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Nov 2 2005 10:16 utc | 3

Fitting here Detainee Policy Sharply Divides Bush Officials

The Bush administration is embroiled in a sharp internal debate over whether a new set of Defense Department standards for handling terror suspects should adopt language from the Geneva Conventions prohibiting "cruel," "humiliating" and "degrading" treatment, administration officials say.
...
A central player in the fight over the directive is David S. Addington, who was the vice president's counsel until he was named on Monday to succeed I. Lewis Libby Jr. as Mr. Cheney's chief of staff. According to several officials, Mr. Addington verbally assailed a Pentagon aide who was called to brief him and Mr. Libby on the draft, objecting to its use of language drawn from Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.

"He left bruised and bloody," one Defense Department official said of the Pentagon aide, Matthew C. Waxman, Mr. Rumsfeld's chief adviser on detainee issues. "He tried to champion Article 3, and Addington just ate him for lunch."
...
Beginning late last year, Defense Department lawyers took up the issue as they revised Directive 23.10, the "DoD Program for Enemy Prisoners of War and Other Detainees." A roughly 12-page draft of the directive, which began circulating in the Pentagon in mid-September, received strong support from lawyers for the armed services, the military vice chiefs and some civilian defense officials, several officials said.

"The uniformed service lawyers are behind the rewrite because it brings the policy into line with Geneva," one senior defense official said. "Their concern was that we were losing our standing with allies as well as the moral high ground with the rest of the world."

Following one of the recommendations of the Sept. 11 commission, the draft, written by officials in Mr. Waxman's office and military lawyers, lifted directly from Article 3 of the Geneva accords in setting out new rules for the treatment of terrorism suspects, three officials who have reviewed the document said.
...
The draft Pentagon directive adopted the language of Common Article 3 "as a matter of policy rather than law," one defense official said. Even so, the Geneva reference was opposed by two senior Pentagon officials, Stephen A. Cambone, the under secretary of defense for intelligence policy, and, William J. Haynes, the department's general counsel, defense officials said.

Mr. Addington, who has been a close bureaucratic ally of both defense officials, soon called Mr. Waxman to the Old Executive Office Building to brief him and Mr. Libby on the directive. Two defense officials who were told about the meeting said Mr. Addington objected to phrases taken from Article 3 - which proscribes "cruel treatment and torture," and "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, humiliating and degrading treatment" - as problematically vague.

Add those names to list for Nuremburg II.

Posted by: b | Nov 2 2005 10:40 utc | 4

The Washington Post should publish those countries names immediately. Why are they brown nosing these criminals again and again?

Is that a rhetorical question?

Posted by: DM | Nov 2 2005 11:05 utc | 5

What is there to be said that has not been said already or before ... ?

That it is happening in effect in plain sight says it all.

That it is being reported on yet again and no representatives take a stand of 'principle', regardless of thier 'party' is ... is ... degrading, debasing, not of any one individual but what we have become as humans ... we are supposed to be evolved, sentient, enlightened, yet ... we do to one another, to our fellow man what no rabid animal or pack would ever do ... and the commit the ultimate hypocrisy of simultaneously denying it while finding justifications for it ...

If we ever have the opportunity to attempt to explain to our grandchildren how we got to where we are ... what acceptable explanation is there ... sorry grandson, I was busy watching 'Reality TV' or 'Best of' reruns on cable ?

Its not well understood but many of the gaurds and interrogators are victims almost as much as those detained and tortured ... all for the mendacious avarice and lust for ever more power of ruthless, soulless, old men ...

Forgive the religious analogy, but would another Son of God, just one, be enough this time to purge us of our sin ... ?

Truth, Justice, Liberty ... Service, Duty, Honor ... in service of FUCKING WHAT, exactly !?

Hope is a fleeting, fragile, candle flame ... dark despair an enveloping, ever rising, rising, tide ... we have become base ...

Posted by: Outraged | Nov 2 2005 13:23 utc | 6

rummy news

The hypocrisy of US policy and corporate media complicity is evident in the coverage of Donald Rumsfeld's stop over in Mazar-e Sharif Afghanistan December 4 to meet with regional warlord and mass killer General Abdul Rashid Dostum and his rival General Ustad Atta Mohammed. Rumsfeld was there to finalize a deal with the warlords to begin the decommissioning of their military forces in exchange for millions of dollars in international aid and increased power in the central Afghan government.

Few people in the US know that General Abdul Rashid Dostum fought alongside the Russians in the 1980s, commanding a 20,000-man army. He switched sides in 1992 and joined the Mujahidin when they took power in Kabul. For over a decade, Dostum was a regional warlord in charge of six northern provinces, which he ran like a private fiefdom, making millions, by collecting taxes on regional trade and international drug sales. Forced into exile in Turkey by the Taliban in 1998, he came back into power as a military proxy of the US during the invasion of Afghanistan.

Charged with mass murder of prisoners of war in the mid-90s by the UN, Dostum is known to use torture and assassinations to retain power. Described by the Chicago Sun Times (10/21/01) as a "cruel and cunning warlord," he is reported to use tanks to rip apart political opponents or crush them to death. Dostum, a seventh grade dropout, likes to put up huge pictures of himself in the regions he controls, drinks Johnnie Walker Blue Label, and rides in an armor-plated black Cadillac.

A documentary entitled Massacre at Mazar released in 2002 by Scottish film producer, Jamie Doran, exposes how Dostum, in cooperation with U.S. special forces, was responsible for the torturing and deaths of approximately 3,000 Taliban prisoners-of-war in November of 2001. In Doran's documentary, two witnesses report on camera how they were forced to drive into the desert with hundreds of Taliban prisoners held in sealed cargo containers. Most of the prisoners suffocated to death in the vans and Dostum's soldiers shot the few prisoners left alive. One witness told the London Guardian that a US Special Forces vehicle was parked at the scene as bulldozers buried the dead. A soldier told Doran that U.S. troops masterminded a cover-up. He said the Americans ordered Dostum's people to get rid of the bodies before satellite pictures could be taken.

Dostum admits that a few hundred prisoners died, but asserts that it was a mistake or that they died from previous wounds. He has kept thousands of Taliban as prisoners-of-war since 2001 and continues to ransom them to their families for ten to twenty thousand dollars each.

Doran's documentary was shown widely in Europe, prompting an attempt by the UN to investigate, but Dostum has prevented any inspection by saying that he could not guarantee safety for forensic teams in the area.

location location location, just a hunch

Posted by: annie | Nov 2 2005 13:46 utc | 7

And yet again the carpet gets pulled out from under us. Isn't it funny that one minute we're all shrieking in horror when a CIA agent is outed in the press, and the next moment we're shrinking in disgust at the thought of the very same CIA and their gulags. So this is what dystopia feels like: playing moral twister with a greased-up demon.

Posted by: Tantalus | Nov 2 2005 15:21 utc | 8

Well put, Tantalus.

Posted by: Malooga | Nov 2 2005 15:42 utc | 9

Detainee Policy Sharply Divides Bush Officials

By TIM GOLDEN and ERIC SCHMITT

WASHINGTON, Nov. 1 - The Bush administration is embroiled in a sharp internal debate over whether a new set of Defense Department standards for handling terror suspects should adopt language from the Geneva Conventions prohibiting "cruel," "humiliating" and "degrading" treatment, administration officials say.

Advocates of that approach, who include some Defense and State Department officials and senior military lawyers, contend that moving the military's detention policies closer to international law would prevent further abuses and build support overseas for the fight against Islamic extremists, officials said.

Their opponents, who include aides to Vice President Dick Cheney and some senior Pentagon officials, have argued strongly that the proposed language is vague, would tie the government's hands in combating terrorists and still would not satisfy America's critics, officials said...

Posted by: Outraged | Nov 2 2005 15:47 utc | 10

Reality is unwieldly.

It can be confusing - overwhelming even.

Easy answers and moral clarity are for sissies.

Posted by: eftsoons | Nov 2 2005 15:52 utc | 11

consigning suspects to the invisible universe

Five of the scariest words I've seen in a long time. Do time and space exist there? We have no idea how far this universe extends because we can't see it. Similarly, we have no idea how long it has been in existence, or for how long it will endure. How will it end? Heat death?

Here in the UK we recently made a big to-do about celebrating the end of WW2, patting ourselves on the back for not being, you know, Germans. But Germany had the sense to back away from the US on Iraq and hence on notable US unnovations like this.

Now, forced into alliance with the US in this ludicrous war on terror, it is the case that: I am becoming everything I used to hate. (The Fall, "In The Park")

Posted by: Dismal Science | Nov 2 2005 15:57 utc | 12

Timing is interesting. This is not NEWS as in we just found out about this horror over the past week or two.

Posted by: eftsoons | Nov 2 2005 16:13 utc | 13

They (who ?) get paid a lot of money for those prisons, I surmise.

Rumor has it that the detainees come into Europe through Schiphol (Amsterdam.)

The point of the torture is not to extract information, etc. Nor is to to gain pleasure from hurting others or being evil etc. (Though it may be for some individuals.)

Look how difficult, in fact, it has been finding suitable suspects and locking them up. Britain particularly has imprisoned some very sad, poor, weak and often innocent people. For example, one man without any arms (both missing from the shoulder). Gitmo is packed with random detainees, many of whom were sold to the Americans for a good bit of money, in Afghanistan, particularly. It was just a new form of human trafficking.

We have tourist! You needa terrarist?

The point of the torture, and its legal legitimisation, is:

minor) to get people in Western democracies used to the idea (see e.g. Abu Ghraib)

major) to impress on people that Arabs are so evil they deserve torture following the no punishment without misdeeds line, even if the misdeeds are murky to say the least, and are often just labelled with the vague ‘linked to Al Quaida’ mantra.

Of course, many of the actions on the ground (killing, arrest, torture, etc.) are implemented by people who have become members of the sect or cult - true believers.

Propaganda, indoctrination.

The quoted story shows that the original justification (catching and interrogating ‘top members of AlQ’) is to be accepted as a legitimate aim. (My reading.)

Posted by: Noisette | Nov 2 2005 16:31 utc | 14

"Its not well understood but many of the gaurds and interrogators are victims almost as much as those detained and tortured ..."

The worst and by far most numerous abuses occur at the Point of Capture, not in detention, not in interrogation. POC is also, not coincidentally, the least scrutinized time in the life of a detainee.
As a combatant, or as an innocent 'roll-up', you are in the greatest danger upon capture and spot questioning - that is, before you ever see an MP or Interrogator.

DoD sent out word before the Abu Ghraib story broke: No more fear-up harsh (which'll scare the shit out of someone, but doesn't involve physical abuse or even, in the vast majority of cases, physical contact). I think this is one of the reasons why SOF wants its own HUMINT. Less trouble with persnickety MI augmentees that way.

So if DoD's not using relaxed policy in the field or at the JIFs, who is?

The CIA, of course, has its own policies.

Posted by: Pat | Nov 2 2005 16:32 utc | 15

consigning suspects to the invisible universe

Five of the scariest words I've seen in a long time.

We have a phrase of only two words which has, 'power':
Ghost Detainees.


From the Taguba report re Abu Ghraib:

33. (S/NF) The various detention facilities operated by the 800th MP Brigade have routinely held persons brought to them by Other Government Agencies (OGAs) without accounting for them, knowing their identities, or even the reason for their detention. The Joint Interrogation and Debriefing Center (JIDC) at Abu Ghraib called these detainees “ghost detainees.” On at least one occasion, the 320th MP Battalion at Abu Ghraib held a handful of “ghost detainees” (6-8) for OGAs that they moved around within the facility to hide them from a visiting International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) survey team. This maneuver was deceptive, contrary to Army Doctrine, and in violation of international law.


Then there is a single word, even more succint, with a long and tragic American parentage ... coined by the victims families:
Disappeared.

Statement by 'Chip' Frederick re one of the Abu Ghraib 'Ghost Detainees' who subsequently became, 'Disappeared':

In November, Frederick wrote, an Iraqi prisoner under the control of what the Abu Ghraib guards called “O.G.A.,” or other government agencies—that is, the C.I.A. and its paramilitary employees—was brought to his unit for questioning. “They stressed him out so bad that the man passed away. They put his body in a body bag and packed him in ice for approximately twenty-four hours in the shower. . . . The next day the medics came and put his body on a stretcher, placed a fake IV in his arm and took him away.” The dead Iraqi was never entered into the prison’s inmate-control system, Frederick recounted, “and therefore never had a number.”

The difference now, in our time, is we can't 'plausibly deny' it on our proxy torturers graduated from the SOA ... We are doing the 'wet work', personally ... Bush & Co, but especially Cheney and 'the Cabal', don't actually, really, want to hide it anymore ... not if we're going to grow up strong and proud to be the Best Damned Fascists ever.

Posted by: Outraged | Nov 2 2005 16:45 utc | 16

Distance, a little distance, is the key to handling these horrors.

When the Nazis moved into Poland in '39 their policy was to eliminate radical elements like Jews, gypsies, politicians, school teachers, on and on. They made lists, and then they shot everyone on those lists, and their families.

This caused severe problems with the morale of their troops. Even bringing in SS squads to do the shooting didn't help. When a man shoots children lined up by a ditch, he thinks of his own liebchen at home, and this puts off his digestion. He becomes less efficient, and less enthused about the cause he serves.

They moved to murdering by gas, in huge impersonal camps, by stages, seeking to avoid this poor reaction to murder by those who murder. The separate small duties of gathering, undressing, enclosing, and gassing, and burning the prisoners could each be performed discretely without causing the soldier doing or supervising them to feel he had actually killed anyone. He had just been there, following "orders."

He had simply helped process so many units today. His squad had processed more units this month than the unit in the next barrack. That called for extra schnapps, not remorse.

The genuine face of fascism is these mundane faces of clerks and judges and handymen and doctors who have made the vanishingly small step from seeing people as people -- to seeing people as objects.

"Fodder units," as the Bush family is fond of calling us.

That's what these fascist enablers like Alito and Scalia and Chief Justice Roberts and Porter Goss and Negroponte clones by the score are being put into place for.

Not for piddling goals like overturning Roe v. Wade.

Not for piddling politicians like Bush.

For the strong man who comes after him. Five or ten years out, after a failed Democratic President or two. When times are parlous, and people want a father figure to do whatever it takes to ease their fear.

That's when John Roberts will shine. He will see that units are processed in good order throughout the land.

Posted by: Antifa | Nov 2 2005 16:56 utc | 17

@Pat
Indeed the greatest threat to a subject is during and immediately after capture, because adrenalin is still pumping in the troopers who are sorely tempted to 'vent', especially against a visible, flesh and blood, supposed 'enemy'. Yes, spot or tactical questioning forward is almost as dangerous for similar reasons because of amatuers and cowboys, especially when thier 'leadership' and 'supervision' is weak or non-existant.

However, in both cases there can be argued, certain, mitigating circumstances ...

What we are doing as a matter of policy via various agencies, outsourced 'contractors' and foriegn services under 'direction' and guidance is another matter entirely.

It is cold, brutal, clinical and utterly ruthless ... and for fucking what !?

And those that are involved as "... gaurds and interrogators are victims almost as much as those detained and tortured".

The majority of these pickups and snatches have undoubtedly corralled us subjects of no fucking interest ... but then again, that's not actually relevant to the precedent creating intent of these policies, is it ?

Therefore they're just another category of collateral ...

Posted by: Outraged | Nov 2 2005 17:06 utc | 18

In the UK detention can now follow the wearing of unseasonal clothing.

And lest we forget, the detaining part can be ditched and lies will be told about what you were wearing after you have been shot dead.

Posted by: Dismal Science | Nov 2 2005 18:48 utc | 19

thank you again outraged for hoour huan decncy in not allowing this question of applied terro get lost in eauracratic language

it is flesh, lood, bone, brain matter - it is torture & it is common murder

there are no different shades to this

why does american culture adore death - especially if it is of the other

the taliban say they adored death but i think the americans adore it even more

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Nov 2 2005 19:57 utc | 20

Three old posts that put it all in, 'perspective'.

We led the prosecution of the Nazi leadership at the Nuremberg trials based, in part, on these degrees (here, here) ... and now 50 years later our government commits the very same acts (here) ... with utter impunity ...

Posted by: Outraged | Nov 2 2005 21:18 utc | 21

@rgiap
"why does american culture adore death"

I don't know if there is an adoration of death or something rather worse, an indifference to it.

Now I'm talking about the culture here not the people who live within that culture and I reckon rgiap is correct if what he is saying is that aspects of US culture (and I suppose I really mean TV here) feature the death of humans on such a regular basis that the viewer becomes inured to death, particularly violent death.

Even worse the TV penchant for tidy endings and an underlying sense of balance and justice within the universe means that much of this death is deemed 'right and proper'.

The crim who just wouldn't drop the gun, the child molester who was murdered by a former victim (who unfortunately had left 'insufficient evidence' of his/her crime to get a prosecution), one could go on and on but I think we get the picture.

Yes plenty of other cultures have TV dramas featuring violent death BUT take a look at a random selection of US crime dramas and the same sort of collection of Brit, French, Australian, German or Canadian ones. Violent death will feature in just about every US episode whereas some the others will have brutal scenes (some times far more graphic that the sanitised Hollywood offering) but about 50% of episodes will not.

In other words in these 'foreign' shows people don't always murder each other when they come into conflict and a particularly important point, not everything that happens is right or proper. The world isn't a repository of kismet or karma where everything works out just as it should in the end.

So how does a well meaning sheeple discern the disparity between the killings and their consequences on 'Law and Order' or 'CSI' and the scenes of bombings and mutilation on the 6.30 News?

They don't until or unless they are very unlucky and violence enters their Real Lives.

When one listens to actual victims of crime speak one can frequently hear a subtext of confusion and despair because what happened was not the predictable black and white morality of television.

In real life things are actually far more complicated and they can find themselves empathising with the perpetrator or being shocked that the actions of the authorities are sometimes even less disciplined and caring than the criminals'.

But it is too easy to just point the finger at the dreadful Bruckheimer and move on.

Although I would be surprised if any MoA readers have much time for censorship we should be finding ways to encourage the manufactuers of mass culture to reflect Real Life with more honesty than we see now.

The holy rollers have successfully homogenised TV to the point where it is unthinkable for a sympathetic protagonist to be an atheist. As well as reducing representations of human sexual behaviour to a few predictable stereotypes.

The really annoying part of that is they stole the methods of the left to do it. When we were trying very hard not to let any dollars come out of our pockets into the hands of supporters/sympathisers of the apartheid regime in South Africa the bibleists were watching.

They went straight for the advertisers whose money was paying for the dramas placed in the times between commercial breaks. From what I can remember the corporatists folded without a whimper. Insult to injury; a good portion of some of those beatups about lesbians kissing etc MUST have been blatant shakedowns by the cult leadership.

So if rendition and torture and murder exist at least in part because mass culture has provided an apt continuum for acceptance of these horrors, what can we do to change this?

I'm sure a lot of us have products we simply won't buy or personal defenses against this onslaught eg keeping the TV in a cupboard and only dragging it out for something special (eg the indictment of Dubya), but that only protects ourselves.

The sheeple are still wandering around in their state of 'bliss' and we should at least be trying to 'shake them awake'.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Nov 2 2005 21:35 utc | 22

outraged & debs

the bad boys of al queda say they welcome death in a way that it is like a bad western from walsh or fors - they're the kin of publicspeak that you expect from recruiters & clearly it has been succesful too in some instance. is success in their instance is that the terrible reality is not even half as welcoming & death at least is a from of release from it - it constitutes bravado but id doen not constitute either an ideology or a culture

to see how am american culture is steeped in death to its very roots - read the lucid mr zinn & when that's enough read some of justice scalia especially on -'calins v collins' - where with amlùpst pornographic delight mr scalia speaks of death being visited upon the evil in much the same way that bush loved in relation tothe execution of tammy faye(?) - yes they delight in death

the death of others & the death of the 'other' - it is not just comic book it is the old testament in the most sordid terms - it has nothing i repeat nothing to do with justice

as in cultures where warriors are sacrificed - the people who do the extolling are very far indeed from the battlefield - the neocons made that particular distance their specialty

the deaths of the people or iraq concerns them not at all, the death of their own 'people' is just an excuse for mock tears - they have never liked the people - even in abstraction

read the neocon dalypyre on what he thinks of us

we are just meat for their grinders & we are of service to them as paying customers for their sordid & terrible dreams

brothers malcolm x & george jackson spoke & wrote well of this fetishism of dath at the heart of white america - how fa it really was from wonderment & illumination & to that extent john milius & joe esterhazy speak of & to their culture - always uping the ante of the harvester of death

where irony exists - it is so dark as to be almost impenetrable

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Nov 2 2005 22:40 utc | 23

"What we are doing as a matter of policy via various agencies, outsourced 'contractors' and foriegn services under 'direction' and guidance is another matter entirely.

Agreed.

"It is cold, brutal, clinical and utterly ruthless ... and for fucking what !?"

Outraged, all of it, even under the 'best' of circumstances, is cold and clinical. That's what makes the whole enterprise 'go' and keeps it going. That's what keeps the people involved going. Some find that paradoxical. I don't.

And for fucking what!? Yes, well...

You know the punchline to the old joke about why a dog licks its balls. It's the essence of our foreign policy.

Posted by: Pat | Nov 3 2005 0:47 utc | 24

A song of hope for anyone who has been "disappeared."

Posted by: catlady | Nov 3 2005 1:12 utc | 25

why a dog licks its balls. It's the essence of our foreign policy.

C'mon now, that's not gonna cut it.

Even irrational behaviors made by persons against their own self-interests (gay republican, for ex.) do not mean such behaviors do not redound to the advantage of power.

There are reasons why power chooses to wage interminable, unwinnable war: good for business. The people who are irrationally complicit in this horror, even if saddened by this fact, are tools.

Posted by: slothrop | Nov 3 2005 1:20 utc | 26

Slothrop, for my money Madeleine Albright offered, though inadvertantly, the all-time greatest explanation of promiscuous US intervention and unabashed militarism: "What good's this army you're always telling us about if you never use it?" It is a power always waiting, begging, to be wielded, and the fight is only over which gang or clique gets to do the wielding.

Posted by: Pat | Nov 3 2005 1:38 utc | 27

Water carriers, slothrop.

But they know that.

Water carrying has long been glorified. You get oodles of awards, medals, citations, and commendations for it. The better you are at carrying that water, the more you get. In theory, anyway.

Posted by: Pat | Nov 3 2005 1:52 utc | 28

Pat

Good point. The commission of state violence does have its benefactors, though. Not everyone is locked in the Iron Cage of beauracratic/militaristic logics. Since Weber is a source of inspiration these days, might as well say the Ms. Albrights of our world have more ambition and ability to spin the webs of meaning in which we are all caught. For this reason, it is never useless to ask: Why?

Posted by: slothrop | Nov 3 2005 1:58 utc | 29

duh. bureaucratic.

Posted by: slothrop | Nov 3 2005 2:00 utc | 30

Poland and Romania

Posted by: b | Nov 3 2005 10:30 utc | 31

The Times

November 03, 2005

CIA accused of running secret jails in Europe for terrorists

By Daniel McGrory and Tim Reid

... But Frantisek Bublan, the Czech Interior Minister, said last night that the US had approached his Government a month ago about holding suspects on Czech territory, but Prague had refused.

Human rights groups point at Poland and Romania as two eastern European countries that have taken in America’s “ghost detainees”. They also claimed that the US was running out of countries willing to host its terror suspects.

The secret facilities depend on the co-operation of foreign intelligence services, and on their existence being kept completely secret from all but a tiny handful of top officials.

Tom Malinowski, the director of Human Rights Watch, told The Times that his investigators had tracked CIA aircraft transferring detainees from Afghanistan to airfields in Eastern Europe that are closed to the public and press, including two in Poland and Romania.

Mr Malinowski said that Human Rights Watch was “90 per cent certain” the CIA used Szymany airport in Poland.

“This is an obscure, rural airport which is very close to a Polish intelligence facility,” Mr Malinowski said.

He said the second major eastern European site was the Mihail-Kogalniceanu military airbase in Romania.
...

Posted by: Outraged | Nov 3 2005 11:21 utc | 32

ICRC seeks to see all U.S.-held terrorism suspects

GENEVA (Reuters) - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) called on Thursday for access to all foreign terrorism suspects held by the United States after a report of a covert CIA prison system for al Qaeda captives.

- snip -

"We are concerned at the fate of an unknown number of people captured as part of the so-called global war on terror and held at undisclosed places of detention," Antonella Notari, chief ICRC spokeswoman, told Reuters in response to a question.

"Access to detainees is an important humanitarian priority for the ICRC and a logical continuation of our current work in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay," she added.

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The U.N.'s Human Rights Committee monitors a 1976 treaty on basic freedoms. The regular report on compliance filed by the United States last Friday was some seven years overdue...

Posted by: Outraged | Nov 3 2005 15:02 utc | 33

EU to investigate secret CIA jails

The European commission is to investigate claims the CIA is holding al-Qaida captives at Soviet era compounds in eastern Europe.

The detention centres are part of a global internment network that includes Guantánamo Bay, Cuba and the Bagram air base in Afghanistan, according to the Washington Post.

The facilities - referred to as "black sites" in classified White House and CIA documents - allow the US agency to hold terror suspects for as long as it likes, but virtually nothing is known about who is kept in them.

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Poland and Romania are thought the most likely locations in Europe, according to the New York-based Human Rights Watch and Polish press reports.

If the reports are true, the secret jails would violate European human rights law prohibiting unlawful detention.
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Hungary, Slovakia and Bulgaria have denied involvement. The Czech interior minister, Frantiszek Bublan, said the US had approached Prague to build a camp but the request was turned down.

Posted by: b | Nov 3 2005 15:55 utc | 34

We've got to temper any anger one might feel towards the Polish regime with the realisation that when one has been the meat in the sandwich for centuries, pragmatism appears the only logical choice.

Back pre-1990 I used to wonder how much longer it would be before the people of Poland realised that US assistance was far from that and in fact while the US was applauding from the sidelines Poles were doing all the hurting.

May this be a salutary experience for Poland. Hopefully the worst of European tribal conflict is over, or at the very least the has moved much further East than Poland.

If that is the case I can't help but feel the Poles will realise the need to get rid of those in their power structure who put another nation's needs ahead of their own.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Nov 3 2005 18:48 utc | 35

If it is confirmed Poland is actually doing this then there will be one helluva diplomatic shitstorm from Paris.

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Nov 3 2005 19:23 utc | 36

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