What Fresh Hell Is This?

December 20, 2014

Prosecute The Torture (A German Update)

From the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights:
The ECCHR has today lodged criminal complaints against former CIA head George Tenet, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other members of the administration of former US President George W. Bush. The ECCHR is accusing Tenet, Rumsfeld and a series of other persons of the war crime of torture under paragraph 8 section 1(3) of the German Code of Crimes against International Law (Völkerstrafgesetzbuch).
If you're curious about paragraph 8 section 1(3) of the Völkerstrafgesetzbuch, here it is in translation:
Whoever in connection with an international armed conflict or with an armed conflict not of an international character...treats a person who is to be protected under international humanitarian law cruelly or inhumanly by causing him or her substantial physical or mental harm or suffering, especially by torturing or mutilating that person...shall be punished..., with imprisonment for not less than two years.
And why Germany?  This is why:
The US Senate report devotes one section explicitly to the case of German citizen Khaled El Masri, who was abducted by CIA agents in 2004 due to a case of mistaken identity and was tortured in a secret detention center in Afghanistan.

The criminal complaint details the US Senate report’s finding that once the unlawful error was discovered, the former CIA director refused to take further steps against those responsible.
The Guardian had more:
Khaled El-Masri, a German national, was seized by Macedonian security officers on 31 December 2003, at a border crossing, because he had been mistaken for an al-Qaida suspect. He was held incommunicado and abused in Macedonian custody for 23 days, after which he was handcuffed, blindfolded, and driven to Skopje airport, where he was handed over to the CIA and severely beaten.

The CIA stripped, hooded, shackled, and sodomized el-Masri with a suppository – in CIA parlance, subjected him to "capture shock" – as Macedonian officials stood by. The CIA drugged him and flew him to Kabul to be locked up in a secret prison known as the "Salt Pit", where he was slammed into walls, kicked, beaten, and subjected to other forms of abuse. Held at the Salt Pit for four months, el-Masri was never charged, brought before a judge, or given access to his family or German government representatives.

The CIA ultimately realised that it had mistaken el-Masri for an al-Qaida suspect with a similar name. But it held on to him for weeks after that. It was not until 24 May 2004, that he was flown, blindfolded, earmuffed, and chained to his seat, to Albania, where he was dumped on the side of the road without explanation.
All that was done to an innocent man.  Yea, I'd say he was treated cruelly and inhumanely.  Remember he wasn't a terrorist.  They got the wrong guy and no one's been held accountable for it.

Back to the ECCHR:
ECCHR calls on Federal Prosecutor Harald Range to open investigations into the actions of Tenet, Rumsfeld and other perpetrators and to set up a monitoring process as soon as possible. This would allow the German authorities to act immediately in the event that one of the suspects enters European soil and not have to wait until such point before beginning the complex investigations and legal deliberations. [Emphasis added.]
The investigation should proceed and Bush/Cheney/Tenet et al should be arrested immediately upon arriving in any European country.  If the Obama Administration doesn't have the courage to follow the law, perhaps someone else does.

We should all be ashamed.  Ashamed that it happened to this man, ashamed that those in charge got away with it, and ashamed that it was all done in our name - to protect America and the American way of life.

Prosecute the torture.

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