T Nation

Another Rendition Incident


I know many don't care, especially since the "person" in this case is German, and hence not really an "human" who should have rights, but it is another example of abuse and dentention of the wrong person.

The reason it is interesting is because the US has apparently admitted that this was a mistake... which means he wasn't guilty and didn't deserve it, in case you missed that. Obviously I don't know what the alleged "torture" entails.

German Man Claims U.S. Tortured Him
WASHINGTON - A German man alleged in a lawsuit Tuesday that the CIA held him captive and tortured him in
Afghanistan last year after the spy agency mistakenly identified him as an associate of the Sept. 11 hijackers.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the U.S. has acknowledged making a mistake in the man's arrest.

"I'm happy to say we have discussed the one case, which the government of the United States has of course accepted as a mistake," Merkel said after meeting with Rice.

The suit names as the main defendant former CIA Director George Tenet. In addition to torture, he claims his due process rights were violated and that he was subjected to "prolonged, arbitrary detention." He is seeking damages of at least $75,000.

"I am asking the American government to admit its mistakes and to apologize for my treatment," al-Masri said in a written statement. "Throughout my time in the prison, I asked to be brought before a court but was refused. Now I am hoping that an American court will say very clearly that what happened to me was illegal and cannot be done to others."

The CIA rendition program, in which terror suspects are captured and taken to foreign countries for interrogation, has been heavily criticized by human rights groups.

The scope of the program has not been disclosed by the CIA. However, Amnesty International claimed Monday that six planes used by the CIA for renditions have made some 800 flights in or out of European airspace, including 50 landings at Shannon International Airport in Ireland.
Anyway, just a note. If folks are annoyed because I used the phrase "willy-nilly" to describe the torture going on -- I get to be just as annoyed that innocent people are in fact being tortured.

Human rights isn't something that should be ignored, especially by the country that is busily telling other countries to respect human rights. It's insanity, as well as hypocrisy, and par for the course with the Bush administration.


This article gives a lot more information:

I don't think anyone believes it is good policy to have the CIA pick up innocent civilians. I think everyone also thinks that the CIA should take all reasonable measures to minimize such mistakes.

However, point 1 is that, unless actions were taken that were outside of authorized protocol, there was no torture of any innocent civilians. This is not to say it is a good thing for innocent civilians to be subjected to coercive interrogation techniques, but given that words have meanings, it's important to clarify that point.

Point 2 is that the nature of intelligence is such that it's rarely, if ever, going to be cut-and-dried, proven-in-court level stuff. It's necessarily less certain. To the extent we want the CIA to act on intelligence and not hold trials, I don't think there is any way to eliminate such mistakes of identity. What should hopefully be in place, especially given the relatively small number of "rendees" {Note: From the article: The CIA, working with other intelligence agencies, has captured an estimated 3,000 people, including several key leaders of al Qaeda, in its campaign to dismantle terrorist networks. It is impossible to know, however, how many mistakes the CIA and its foreign partners have made.}, is a system for ascertaining, in a relatively quick manner, whether they have the right person.


Another quote from the article, to put things in perspective:

[Clarification note: the quote below references estimates of mistaken renditions.]

One official said about three dozen names fall in that category; others believe it is fewer. The list includes several people whose identities were offered by al Qaeda figures during CIA interrogations, officials said. One turned out to be an innocent college professor who had given the al Qaeda member a bad grade, one official said.

Please do read the whole thing for yourself, and draw your own conclusions. I'm definitely not saying there is no room for improvement -- but people do need to keep in mind the scope of both the problem and the correct renditions, as well as the nature of the intelligence information and operations generally.


Gee Vroom, judging by some of your posts I'm getting the idea that maybe you don't like torture.



You do realize this was part of a covert action undertaken based on actionable intellegence.

The administration had little to do with this if anything. Purely a CIA operation. They will be the guys initiating the covert actions you know.

Hardly par for the course, more like an unfortunate incident.



You don't know what did or did not happen yet either... so spare me the words have meanings baloney. It seems that torture has various meanings depdenting on who you ask.



Covert operations don't have to involve torture -- nice try though. I'm not against the guy being picked up and detained, but the other parts, depending on the details as they come out, I might have issue with.

I don't know yet what happened either of course...


Personally I thought Hedo's response had more to say about the lack of the administrations responsibility in this particular incident than whether or not torture was involved. As usual, you see what you want.

And let's not forget, you know nothing of what actually happened. But just like the news. Blast the story on the front page and put the retraction on the last.


It wasn't a random sweep. A covert operator gathered the intelligence and others acted on it. The result is someone got put on a list and got picked up and detained.

More then a nice try. It's an example of covert action at work. Nothing works 100% of the time. You prepared for the times it doesn't?


Your right I think the administration had little if anything to do with the actual operation.


Hedo, Sasquatch,

You guys are missing the point. I am not concerned that a covert operation took place or that the guy was picked up -- even if accidentally.

What part of that is hard to understand?

However, the behavior of the groups conducting "interrogations" is set by administration policy... I don't see the need to duck out of that one that you guys obviously do?

On another note, the way it is being described varies depending on who you are listening to. Apparently his name is a common name, so he was mistaken for someone else of that name -- according to the source I most recently was listening to.


I seriously doubt whether or not each administration sets its own policy wrt interrogation/torture. Of course we'll never know Clinton's policy as he refused to take a stand.

But I'm betting that nothing new is going on here. And again, we don't know what happened.

And another thing, since when do you believe the president or the administration actually has a say in how the CIA conducts its business?


Vroom, why do you dwell on this?

Why don't you focus on the evil done by the terrorists?

Why don't you mention the UN report that recently pointed out that China is still torturing many of its own citizens?

Are you anti-US or anti-torture?


Like that needs to be answered!

If ever a mans past behavior(writings) were an indicator of his future behavior this is case study 101. From Downing St. to 'the alleged leak' to each and every non-story ever blogged, vroomys there to make sure the rest of us dolts know what our administration is up to. Funny thing though, ain't nothing there. Then the obligatory blah,blah wasn't saying it did happen...

Just look at the way the thread started. Trying to push off that most others wouldn't see the story here because the guy was German! WTF

Par for the course for this administration--even though he has claimed no knowlege of what actually happened.

And let me say that if I was held captive and tortured----my price tag would be a tad higher than 75,000.


Wow, since Cheney has been fighting to exempt the CIA from the anti-torture guidelines that have been proposed?

You expect me to believe that the president, and the legal opinions that have been created to support torture during this administration, have absolutely no effect on policy?

What are you smoking?


Zap, I know where you are coming from, but the terorrists aren't claiming moral superiority or that others should refrain from human rights abuses. I also am not in a position to present my thoughts to them...

Anyway, of the folks that argue so strongly against concepts such as moral relativism, I have to ask again, is torture right or wrong? It is obviously wrong... especially to have it be part of policy.

Human RIGHTS are human rights. These are things that people are willing to fight and die to protect. If you want to take the high ground you do have to wrap yourself in some sort of virtues, don't you?

Anyway, honestly, as much as Sassy will bitch and whine, I'm not anti-US, though I am certainly anti-torture. I am also against some of the policies that the current administration puts forth.

That is allowed. I expect western civilizations to be based on principles, and I'm yelling loud and often when it doesn't seem to be the case. I don't care if anyone likes the fact that I'm dissappointed in what I see. This is especially true of those that can't peel out the issues from their allegiances. They are certainly seperable.


Look, somebody else in need of reading lessons. I think you missed the point of the wording of my post.

Basically, non-US citizens seem to be lesser beings to many. Rights of people who aren't American simply don't matter -- to some people. Even basic human rights.

I'm not saying people won't see the story, I'm saying they damn well won't care! This will be true both for compassionate conservatives and bleeding heart liberals. Can you see the difference between not seeing and not caring? It's huge.


In this case

seeing and caring are one in the same. It isn't I who needs clarification.

And you can name call all you want, because quite frankly that is all you have to go on here, but it remains a fact that the 'administration' probably had less to do with this particular detention than you or I, yet that is where you took your pot shot.

Claim you're just out to protect human rights--yah we all buy that load.

Scream to the highest mountain that you're only interested in fair play.

You hate Bush and the administration and you go as far as making connections that don't exist to try and show cause.

Cheney's actions had nothing to do with this case and I believe you know that. You just choose to throw that in there for support. Support for what by the way. Haven't even proven torture.


Oh, no, obviously I was claiming that Cheney and Bush were personally on hand kicking him in the teeth.

I know that you have a hard time understanding the concept of leadership and responsibility, but this administration has worked very hard to put prisoners out of sight and out of American jurisdictions, so that "American laws" are not being broken.

That is the talking point language being discussed on television these days. No American laws are being broken.

Well then, surely it is fine.

Don't let your bias against me, my words or my politics blind you to the principles and issues involved. They are present whether or not it is me talking about them...


You take yourself way to seriously to believe anything you write influences me in any way,shape,form.

Actually I understand leadership quite well, and responsibility even moreso. I don't see the revelance to your post.

My contention is, now read slow, that nothing the CIA is doing now hasn't been done in the past. And especially since 9/11. Way before your outrageous claim about Cheney's effect on this situation.

Look at the percentage of problems to missions run. Mistakes are made. If this was a mistake, then the CIA/U.S. should be held accountable. Fine. Your assertion that this shows anything accountable directly to 'this administration' is your bias showing. It's YOUR political agenda that overshadows your common sense with each post.

Twist away, but you have shown nothing here to back up your original claim that this was somehow the responsibility of this administration.
Hell, you haven't even shown torture which was your original claim.

Your redundancy is only topped by your inability to accept any information that doesn't back your ridiculous claims. I believe it's the very thing you claim to be the problem of all the Bush lovers.


May I dwell on this a little bit?

Do you realize that kidnapping one of our citizens, sending him to a unknown location and interrogating him in a rather unpolite fashion is actually considered to be a crime by most, if not all, European law sytems?

There might even be some Europeans that get the impression that American organisations act under the assumption that European citizens are second-class human beings,


Since 9/11 a light has been shone on this whole area. The quantity of people undergoing rendition and possibly torture has increased greatly.

Or do you think that the US didn't step up its efforts at all since 9/11?

Whether or not things were done incorrectly in the past, these actions are now being used and defended by the current administration.

How you can sit there and claim that Cheney did not want the senate to include exemptions for the CIA with respect to proposed anti-torture legislation is beyond me.

These issues were all over the news for weeks.

So, if you have half a brain, and you don't imagine that something being done wrong in the past means that it is okay to continue doing so, you will easily see that the current administration has at the very least been pushing very hard to maintain the status quo.

In the realm of torture... I don't find the status quo appropriate.

Now, perhaps you should read real slow, it is up to the leadership to set the tone and direction of the administration and those that report to it. Failure to do so is in fact their responsibility, who else would you like to assign it to instead?


Never ONCE, in any post did I say/claim or infer in any way/shape or form-- that Cheney did not want to include CIA exemptions. Don't know where you got that one.

My only inference at all to Cheney or the administration is a rebuttal to your accusation that the Bush administration is the root of all the actions being done by the CIA in these renditions. They are not. This has been the practice for some time.

I never said I agreed with it either.

Wouldn't you expect an increase in such actions given the how the parameters have changed since 9/11? And you're wrong about the condoning of activities. As much as this incident may say to you, I look at the white house reactions and the calling out by Condi against these very acts. I know you'll say that's just pc speak, but you believe what you want and I'll do the same.

My half a brain isn't the issue. The status quo is not going to change whether or not I agree or disagree. Do you think the U.S. is the only country in the world performing similar operations? Pull your head out boy blue, this isn't confined to U.S. intel.

I guess I'd take this administrations leadership[ role over the previous ones lack of. This quite possibly could have all been averted given a different response to the attacks over the previous administrations reign. And before you get all goofy with the Clinton thingy--it merely is to suggest that a more aggressive stance, maybe like we are seeing now, would have saved thousands of lives.

Maybe--Maybe not--we'll never know.


Actually, it just changed. Check out recent news in Europe. Rice has just announced a change in policy with respect to the CAT agreements.

Or, look in the thread Boston started recently... detailing the polls showing that the "majority" support torture. I just posted a link in there.