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War and Terror: Black pearls: Bush's European Gulag confirmed|
Posted on Tuesday, June 20 @ 07:25:23 UTC
By Chris Floyd, chris-floyd.com|
A few months ago, there was a brief bristling of feathers in the American corporate media about the possibility that the Bush Administration had set up secret prisons in Eastern Europe: new black pearls for the sinister gulag necklace that Bush has strung across the earth, where the captives seized, kidnapped, shanghaied, nabbed, snatched, disappeared – but never legally arrested or formally charged – in his Terror War are renditioned into limbo. Or even killed, as Bush himself has clearly implied in public statements, including the nationally televised State of the Uniοn address in 2003: "All told, more than 3,000 suspected terrorists have been arrested in many countries. Many others have met a different fate. Let's put it this way -- they are no longer a problem to the United States and our friends and allies."
(Note that he is referring here to "suspected terrorists." What he was saying – to the bipartisan laughter and applause of the assembled legislators – was that people who had merely been accused of terrorism – arbitrarily, outside all judical process, with no set standards for evidence, perhaps on the word of a single, unreliable informant or a bounty hunter – have been killed by American agents or foreign proxies. This was perhaps the most bloodchilling statement ever uttered publicly by an American president: an open boast of "extrajudicial killing." [The term of art applied to the unlawful taking of human life by an established and respected national government; in all other cases, this same activity is known as murder.] And note further that Bush has not only claimed the power to imprison or kill anyone in the world whom he arbitrarly designates a "terrorist" – or even a "suspected terrorist" – he has also delegated this death-dealing authority to lower-ranking agents in the field. This is a moral derangement so vast as to be almost incomprehensible, a negation and perversion of every value of the "civilization" Bush purports to be defending. Arbitrary murder on the whim of an autocrat and his designated minions, openly admitted, even celebrated: this is the reality of American power today. Try to square that with the idea of a constitutional republic based on law and justice.)
Anyway, there was a bit of media noise about the "possibility" that Bush had set up these secret sites in Eastern Europe, and oh my, wouldn't that be awful: the United States creating gulag hellholes in the very countries where the Soviet Uniοn had practiced its repressions for so long? Fortunately for the stalwarts of the Establishment press, who can't go to sleep at night without the reassurance that despite a few mistakes now and then – clumsy trifles committed out of an excess of overexuberant goodness – the policies and practices of the American state remain forever pure, Aunt Condi came in a with a pacifier and blankie, simply denying that such facilities existed. Naturally that was good enough for the ever-vigilant watchdogs of the Fourth Estate – goodness gracious granny, Condi Rice wouldn't lie, would she? – so they curled up all snug and went back to sleep.
(The Washington Post, which first broke the story last November, has been an honorable exception in this case. And their reward for informing the American public of what's being done in our name? A threat of criminal prosecution from the bootlicking servitors of the autocratic extrajudicial killer in the Oval Office.)
But of course Condi Rice was lying. That's her job, that's her function, that is how she best serves the autocratic extrajudicial killer in the Oval Office. This week, documentary proof that the Bush Regime had run secret gulag sites across Eastern Europe – in Poland, Romania, Ukraine, Kosovo, Macedonia and Bulgaria – was unearthed by a major national newspaper. Not in the United States, of course, but in Scotland, where the Sunday Herald's Neil Mackay – one of the best in the business – came up with the goods.
An intercepted fax from one of Bush's favored Terror War partners – the repressive, anti-democratic, terrorist-breeding regime in Egypt – underscored the results of the Council of Europe's extensive investigation into Bush's rendition program and the role that European nations have played in the illegal scheme. As Mackay notes, the probe found that 14 European countries had taken part in the program, despite their heated denials. However, despite strong circumstantial evidence of the existence of the secret prisons, the COE investigators said they lacked conclusive evidence. Mackay has now provided it for them. (For more on the COE investigation, see the Guardian here, or the full report here.)
Below are some excerpts from Mackay's piece (after the jump):
[EXCERPT]: The intercepted top-secret fax contained information that Amer ica never wanted the world to know – that the US was holding war-on-terror captives at clandestine "black site" prisons in eastern Europe.Reprinted from:
The fax, datelined November 10, 2005, 8.24pm, was sent by the Egyptian foreign minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, in Cairo, to his ambassador in London. It revealed that the US had detained at least 23 Iraqi and Afghani captives at a military base called Mihail Kogalniceanu in Romania, and added that similar secret prisons were also to be found in Poland, Ukraine, Kosovo, Macedonia and Bulgaria.
The discovery of the fax seriously undermines the US’s denial that it has ever used secret detention facilities, breaching international law. It also adds to the pressure for the release of information on "extraordinary renditions". These rendition flights see kidnapped terror suspects taken by the CIA to countries where torture is common, such as Uzbekistan. British intelligence has supported this practice and UK airports, particulary Prestwick, have given CIA jets logistical support...
The fax, intercepted by Swiss intelligence, indicates that Egypt has such proof. It is headed: "The Egyptians have access to sources which confirm the existence of American secret prisons"...
The report noted: "The [Egyptian] embassy got the information from its own sources that 23 Iraqi and American citizens have actually been interrogated at the military base Mihail Kogalniceanu close to the [Romanian] city of Constanza at the Black Sea. Similar interrogation centres exist in Ukraine, Kosovo, Macedonia and Bulgaria."
The fax also referred to "prisoners being transported with American military planes from the base Salt Pit in Kabul to the Polish base Szymany and to the Romanian base on September 21 and 22, 2005."
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