Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Extraordinary Renditions: The 21st Century Inquisition?

As yet another program by the Bush Administration / Oligarchy to turn back the clock on human rights and civil liberties on a global scale. Will Tom├ás de Torquemada’s bureaucratic legacy outlast Einstein’s Relativity Theory?

By: Vanessa Uy

The world owes yet another debt of gratitude to courageous news channels like the BBC who are brave enough to report on the shortcomings of the US Government’s “War on Terror.” It’s a well- accepted conventional wisdom that torture seldom – if ever – works because anyone under the pain and torment of torture will say anything to end it. Thus proving the unreliability of information / intelligence obtained under duress. Even when armed with the foreknowledge on the ineffectiveness of “Ecclesiastical Inquisition” style of torture, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) still practices these “Extraordinary Renditions” on captured Al Qaeda / terrorists suspects. “Extraordinary Rendition” is CIA speak for flying captured terror suspects without trial to another location or country with lax human rights laws to be tortured as to extract “useful information.” As featured in BBC’s “The World Uncovered” documentary about the CIA’s “Extraordinary Renditions”, Ethiopian exile and long time UK resident Binyam Mohammed suffered under the inhuman conditions of the CIA sanctioned torture. Radical Egyptian Cleric Abu Omar was abducted in Milan, now his whereabouts is unknown. While Khaled El Masri was taken to one of the CIA’s secret “Black Sites” then tortured. He was later released due to his innocence but not before enduring “Inquisition” style torture that left him mentally scarred for life.

These “Extraordinary Renditions” had been going on since the succeeding days after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and has been kept out of the prying eyes of the world’s media. Luckily, humble “plane spotters” have photographic proof of the planes used in these “Extraordinary Renditions” like the Gulfstream with registry numbers N379P, thus have blown the cover on the CIA’s “illegal operation.” Dick Marty, the Council of Europe’s chief investigator has already collected enough proof that the CIA ran secret prisons in Europe since 2002. Also, there is enough proof so that the 25 CIA agents can be tried “in absentia” in Milan.

How did it come to this? Has America squandered the world’s sympathy after the September 11, 2001 attacks? Haven’t the last thousand years taught the West about the futility of torture as an intelligence- gathering tool? And by the way, how can arresting Muslim Clerics who are more concerned about how to spend their scant funds on improving their local Mosques cripple Al Qaeda? Had the Bush Administration / Oligarchy came to a point that they think they are so infallible that everything they do for our protection they think is right. Must we stand idly by that for every legitimate Al Qaeda operative that the CIA agents apprehend 50 innocent people have to undergo the CIA’s “Extraordinary Rendition.”

The CIA’s “Extraordinary Rendition” reminds me of the days when the Vatican was still a “superpower.” The Vatican set up the “Inquisition” supposedly to protect mankind from evil, but all that happened was a lot of property confiscated by the Papacy and a lot of people burned at the stake – close if not similar- to the CIA’s “Extraordinary Rendition” of today. Did the burning of Joan of Arc or Giordano Bruno change the Catholic Church for the better? God only knows. And don’t even ask me to try to fathom on how Galileo – by accepting Copernicus’ views- threaten the Catholic Churches “Canon Law.”

The Bush Administration / Oligarchy had ran the “War on Terror” and “Operation: Enduring Freedom” in a way that reflects obsession of turning back the clock to the good or bad old days, depending –of course- if you’re a Democrat or a Republican. Back to the days of the “Ecclesiastical Inquisition” with the CIA’s “Extraordinary Rendition”– or even further- to the days before the existence of the “Magna Carta” with their “warrantless arrests” of terror suspects. Their actions make the Baader-Meinhoff Gang / Red Army Faction seems more humane by comparison.

It’s only in the 21st Century that we now fully realize the extent of damage “Institutionalized Torture” can inflict. Former political prisoners incarcerated during the 1970’s and 1980’s are now speaking out their own individual ordeals and torments. A well-known side effect of this “Institutionalized Torture” is “Indoctrinated Dehumanization” where whole societies forgot what human rights and civil liberties mean. Here in the Philippines, “Indoctrinated Dehumanization” is the resulting side effect of the “Institutionalized Torture” widely used during President Ferdinand Marcos’s regime. At that time, torture was routinely practiced with impunity to suppress political dissent. As a side effect of this, a generation of Filipinos – probably 99% of them- who are in the High School and College-level readily accepts legally/state sanctioned torture as right as long as it saves lives or stops terrorism. I wonder if the Philippine Government has complicity in the CIA’s “Extraordinary Renditions” program. Better brush-up on my Urdu and Pashtun, who knows if you could accidentally meet face-to-face with these “terror suspects.”

When George W. Bush’s term ends, will he gobble up needlessly the Secret Service’s resources because he made so many enemies by allowing the CIA’s “Extraordinary Renditions” to go on? With this issue dogging him, he can never retire quietly and peacefully. There are probably three places when he can retire with guaranteed security with the peace and quiet he so desires. The Chemical Corps section of Fort Bragg amid tanks of dimethyl sulfate. The Groom Lake facility in Nevada officially known as “Area 51” where Hangar 18 is a very good defensible position. Lastly, NORAD the US Space Command complex inside Cheyenne Mountain officially known as “Area 52.”

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