Sunday, September 24, 2006

Your Tax Dollars at Work...

...or one reason the CIA budget is a secret.

One of the sections of the "torture" bill the Emperor wanted would free the CIA to continue their interrogation methods as usual without the threat of criminal or civil liability, and he wanted the legislation to be retroactive. Apparently now that he's been forced to admit the US is operating "black prisons" for those interrogations, he wants to make sure things can continue in the same vein. The problem is that other nations aren't quite so compliant as the US Senate. They don't like the fact that their citizens are being kidnapped and then tortured. The Spanish, Italians, and Germans are especially cranky on the issue and there are criminal investigations going on over the matter. This article from the German Sueddeutsche Zeitung details what the investigation in Munich has turned up so far in the kidnapping of Khaled el-Masri, a German citizen.

On the following day their Boeing 737 took off from Mallorca and landed in Macedonian Skopje, where the CIA group took the kidnapped German-Lebanese, Khaled el-Masri. As he recalled, the Americans flogged him before putting him into their aircraft. Later they threw the innocent man into a dungeon in Afghanistan where he was cross-examined for months because of his alleged ties to al-Qaeda.

The public prosecutor's office in Munich, which has been searching for the kidnappers for two years, now possesses a list of the presumed culprits. Spanish authorities sent the names in answer to an official request by Munich authorities. The kidnapping of el-Masri may well have been part of an anti-terror operation by the world's most powerful spy agency, but nevertheless, the Spanish police found it astonishingly easy to trace the Americans. The CIA used, among other things, the same aircraft again and again to transport its secret prisoners, including a Boeing with the identification number N313P, which had been sighted at many of the world's airports. It had also landed remarkably often on Mallorca. Public pressure encouraged the Mallorca authorities to pursue the clues left by the CIA.

...For the sake of convention the Americans half-camouflaged themselves: they arrived at the hotels with diplomatic passports, and at least some of them may have used fake names. The user of the Boeing was listed as a company called Stevens Express Leasing."

Nonetheless the investigators quickly discovered a clear pattern. The agents could have recovered from their duties in other cities; they could have stayed in different hotels or even slept in the airplane. But the CIA, it seems, decided such games of hide and seek weren't necessary. When the Americans kidnapped Abu Omar from Milan, a year before they kidnapped el-Masri, twenty-two agents used ordinary mobile telephones which left evidence all over the country. After the successful operation they spoiled themselves by spending several days in a luxury hotel in Venice, and for this the hotel bills alone amounted to almost $160,000, paid for with CIA credit cards.

Perhaps this was a small material compensation for the fact that the agents in what is described by the U.S. Government as "the war on terror" had to undertake such dirty jobs. When the Italian government issued arrest warrants against the suspected Americans, the CIA is said to have been surprised. In the meantime, however, the American agents are afraid of the legal consequences of their actions: They have obtained insurance to protect themselves against possible civil suits by the people they kidnapped.
[Emphasis added]

I don't know which fact I find most appalling, that the CIA was so brazenly open in what they were doing, or that they only stayed at the most expensive hotels and ran up $160,000 in bills which we are paying for.

Either/or, the Spanish, the Italians, and the Germans are deadly serious about the investigation. I don't think they will be terribly impressed by the US Senate's new and improved torture legislation. Neither should we be.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unbelievable, right? Thanks for the info. jawbone

2:15 PM  
Anonymous tofubo said...

come on, we can't have a war to terrorize the american populous if there aren't any people terrorizing us, and this maladministration will create and foster that if need be, and if we need to brutalize and torture innocent people to get the 'information' to move that color coded booga booga threat level when the emperor's numbers are down, so be it, that we outsource is no biggie, i hear it's all the rage

case in point, the iraq 'war' and the 'occupation': planned kaos, stealing the treasury is just an added bonus

7:22 PM  

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