Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Investigation confirms European complicity

A big thank you goes out to Donkephant who has done one ... two ... three ... four(!) torture themed posts for June already. I think we should tie magnets to Cyberotter's fingers, to harness a valuable new renewable energy resource.

Inconvenient News has some news on tomorrow's Guardian article. The Guardian got a sneak preview of a report, which comes from a 7 month investigation study [did not have full investigative powers] by the Council of Europe into rendition flights. Inconvenient News writes:

The report will show that 14 European countries actively colluded with the CIA in facilitating CIA "rendition" flights and the kidnapping of their own citizens by the CIA, or they looked the other way while the CIA operated on their territory. ... The aspect of the report which may receive the most publicity is the finding that Roumania almost certainly, and Poland probably, have allowed the CIA to set up secret prisons on their soil.

I would like to quote from the last press conference held on the topic (April this year), which you can find here

[While we are waiting for the full assessment] we can already draw two important conclusions.

First, the second batch of replies confirmed that virtually none of our member states have proper legislative and administrative measures to effectively protect individuals against violations of human rights committed by agents of friendly foreign security services operating on their territory. It looks as if the analysis of laws and administrative practices regulating the use of civil aircraft will lead to a similar conclusion. Some governments are trying to remedy the situation by asking for diplomatic assurances, a method which in my view has not proven to be adequate and to provide the level of positive protection required by the European Convention of Human Rights.

Second, on the basis of the information I have received so far, I am now in position to say that we no longer need to speak about "alleged" cases of rendition. I am not in a position to go into any further detail at the moment, but we have received official acknowledgment of "handing over" individuals to foreign officials through procedures which ignore the standards and safeguards required by the European Convention on Human Rights and other legal instruments of the Council of Europe. A few other replies contain inconsistencies which we are in the process of clarifying in direct contact with the authorities of the countries concerned.

A press conference will be held at 1pm Paris time (UTC +2), and a video of the press conference will be up at about 4pm (Paris time) here [update: note that rapporteur's comments are in French]. Multimedia and background material from the January meeting is here, but for those who'd prefer a shorter version, Inconvenient News also provides a convenient background post here.

In an interesting coincidence, in my trip around the blogroll today I found two different bloggers writing on a similar theme -- the banalisation of torture. First Make Some Noise writes about torture in South America. Quoting Isabelle Allende:

You learn to live with things. For example, something is taken away, like let's say, the freedom of the press or... yeah, let's say that you're telephones are tapped so you say "Okay, I can live with that" and then the next day something else, and then you say, "Okay, I will have to live with that too," and so forth. And then after a few months, you realize that you have lost everything. But, you got sort of used to it. And then there's a point when you're talking torture at breakfast time with your kids. And all of a sudden you have this epiphany or this revelation in which you realize what kind of life you are having... and then there is a point where I left.

Then Les Politiques writes:

Our governments continue to torture. And with the debate about its justification, it is no more secretive, shameful, brutal and forbidden. It is around us, it is between us, it is with us, it is intractable. So it is something we are starting to talk about, like other things, organise an action day so we may feel good about the issue and powerful only during this day, like action day against mental illness or action day against tobacco or earth action day or mother's day or car free day and so on...

I don't think any of us want to live in a country where torture is breakfast-time conversation with the kids. Yet here we are, being dragged into this mess and being made accessories to this crime, even in Europe. It is our responsibility to stand against it with everything we've got.

Get out your Diary time

ReCollection links to 10 things you can do to shut down Guantanamo.

Today, CCR New York are holding a teach in. You can find out more about it here.

On 13 June, Amnesty BucksMont are holding a panel discussion in West Chester. You can find out more here.


No need to do an update here, as the growing network of Bloggers Against Torture are on the story! See: The Osterley Times,, The Nether-World.

(Add yourself in the comments if I've missed you).

Also Reykjavik Transit has been doing valuable work for some time collating info about the rendition programme.


Blogger : smintheus :: said...

Good post. By coincidence, or maybe by necessity, I talked about the banality of torture too, in the post you linked to (here).

As you probably are aware, June has been marked out as Torture Awareness Month. To my mind, this is the clearest possible sign of how badly the world has been abused by George Bush's presidency. When I was a lad, the idea that Americans would ever feel the need to declare a 'Torture Awareness Day', much less 'Month', would have been considered far-fetched. Now, we almost consider it a normal thing to do.

It reminds me of a talk I had years ago with a Spanish friend, a conservative Catholic. I asked him what it was like growing up under a dictatorship. He replied 'It was just normal. I never really thought about it that way. I didn't think there was anything strange about it because that was all I'd ever known.'

We are rapidly reaching that point in America, too. Will the next generation think it is normal for our government to torture and kidnap people? Will it even occur to them to wonder whether there's another way of life?

Sadly, the longer this goes on unchecked, the more pressing that becomes.

9:33 AM  
Blogger Cyberotter said...

Great Job so far fellow bloggers. Let's keep the information flowing. Take a moment to promote and cross-link whenever and wherever you can.

KEEP IT UP ! ! ! !

9:36 AM  
Blogger Davide Simonetti said...

I have updated my latest post about the Council of Europe report. It now includes a link to the full report, a map of the "spiders web" rendition circuit and some links to other good posts on the subject. I particularly recommend viewing Reykjavik Transit.

I have also included a link to the BBC news site where you can watch video of Tony Blair not answering questions on rendition put to him in Parliament.

10:43 AM  
Blogger Davide Simonetti said...

Oops! I forgot to put the link in to the post in my last comment. Here it is.

11:08 AM  
Blogger Cyberotter said...

Love all of these really well put together articles. As for myself for day 7 I decided to go back to the roots of this torture problem in Iraq. I wrote an article called, "The Book of Genesis for Torture" and in it we breakdown the OLC Babee memo.

I also recommend writing as many news outlets as you can during this month. Most all of them have e-mail addresses listed on the web and any type of exposure is good exposure.

I look forward to reading all of your wonderful posts to come. I don't be surprised if I drop by and leave a note or two.

Once again great job everyone.

4:57 AM  
Blogger Davide Simonetti said...

I have just posted an article on the Russian torture dungeon recently discovered in Grozny, Chechnya.

It only seemed fair to discuss some of the other countries practicing torture after all the revelations about American torture and European complicity with it.

8:36 AM  
Blogger De said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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12:27 AM  

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