Sunday, December 11, 2005

Your Tax Dollars at Work: Footing the Bill for CIA Torture Flights


The Guardian

"Mamdouh Habib, 49, an Australian citizen, was caught up in the rendition system after being arrested near the Pakistani-Afghan border shortly after the 9/11 attacks. His lawyers say he was bundled aboard a small jet by men speaking English with American accents and flown to Egypt, the country where he was born. For the next six months, they say, he was held in a Cairo jail, where he was hung from hooks, beaten, given shocks from an electric cattle prod, and told he was to be raped by dogs.

Habib also says that he was shackled and forced into three torture chambers: one filled with water up to his chin, requiring him to stand on tiptoe for hours, a second with a low ceiling and two feet of water, forcing him into a painful stoop, and a third with a few inches of water, and within sight of an electric generator which his captors said would be used to electrocute him. He made statements - which he has since withdrawn - declaring that he had helped train the 9/11 attackers in martial arts. Habib was moved to Afghanistan and then to Guantánamo. Last January he was released without charge and allowed to return to his wife and three children in Sydney.

Maher Arar, 34, a Canadian citizen, was seized in September 2002 while travelling through JFK airport in New York, on his way home after a holiday in Tunisia. After being questioned for 13 days about a terrorism suspect - the brother of a work colleague - he was handcuffed, placed in leg irons, and put aboard an executive jet. Hearing the crew describe themselves as members of the "special removals unit", and discovering he was bound for Syria, the country where he was born, he begged them to return to the US. The crew, he says, ignored his pleas and suggested he watch a spy film that was being shown on board. After landing in Jordan, Arar says he was driven to Syria, where he was held in a small underground cell which he likened to a grave. His hands were repeatedly whipped with cables, he says. He added that he would eventually confess to anything put to him. Arar was released a year later after the Canadian government took up his case. The Syrian ambassador in Washington announced that no terrorist links had been found. Arar is suing the US government.

Amnesty International has highlighted the plight of two Yemeni friends, Salah Nasser Salim 'Ali, 27, and Muhammad Faraj Ahmed Bashmilah, 37, arrested separately in August 2003. Salah was detained in Indonesia, then flown to Jordan, where Muhammad was already under arrest. They say they were hung upside down and beaten for several days, before being flown to an unknown country about four hours' flying distance.

Neither man knew that the other was under arrest, but both described being detained in solitary confinement in an old underground prison, staffed by masked American guards, where western music was played in their cells 24 hours a day. Both men say they were moved after eight months, spending around three hours in a small aircraft, and then a helicopter, before being taken to another underground prison, this time modern, with air conditioning and surveillance cameras in the cells. This too was run by Americans, they say. The two men were returned to Yemen last May, but remain in custody. Amnesty says Yemeni officials have said they are being held at the request of US authorities. "What we have heard from these two men is just one small part of the much broader picture of US secret detentions around the world," said Sharon Critoph, the Amnesty researcher who interviewed them in Yemen.

Ahmed Agiza, 43, a doctor, and Muhammad Zery, 36, were abducted in Stockholm in December 2001, with the connivance of the Swedish government. . .

According to evidence to a Swedish parliamentary inquiry last year, they were taken to Bromma airport, Stockholm, by uniformed Swedish police and Americans wearing suits. They were stripped, searched, sedated and dressed in boiler suits and hoods. They were shackled and bundled on to a Gulfstream 5 executive jet, before being flown to Cairo. This aircraft has flown in and out of the UK at least 60 times since December 2001, most recently with a new tail number. Senior Swedish police officers told the parliamentary inquiry the aircraft was operated by the CIA.

Both men later told relatives and Swedish diplomats that they were subjected to electric shock torture in Egypt."

We're spreadin' democracy. Yessiree.

Democracy, democracy 'n freedom!

Heheheheh. Yep.

How about this, from The Observer? Will this make you forget about the horrid, pervasive War on Christmas, or will it not? Just asking.


"An Ethiopian student who lived in London claims that he was brutally tortured with the involvement of British and US intelligence agencies.

Binyam Mohammed, 27, says he spent nearly three years in the CIA's network of 'black sites'. In Morocco he claims he underwent the strappado torture of being hung for hours from his wrists, and scalpel cuts to his chest and penis and that a CIA officer was a regular interrogator."

Freedom's on the march.

Freedom's marchin'. Spreadin'.



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