Torture: Where In The World Is Diego Garcia?

cross posted from The Dream Antilles


A Map

Today UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband apologized to parliament.  He admitted that US “special rendition” illegal extradition flights had landed on British soil despite earlier assurances that they hadn’t.

Join me in the middle of the Indian Ocean.  

Miliband said that on two occasions in 2002 US flights carrying “terrorist suspects” stopped to refuel at the airbase on the British Indian Ocean territory of Diego Garcia.  Diego Garcia?  You’ve got to be kidding.  Look at the map.  Why in heaven’s name would a flight between any two points ever stop in Diego Garcia?  Were the people being transported from or to Indonesia?  Unfortunately, you cannot be told that, even though the flights were 6 years ago, if you were told, you’d have to be silenced.

The balance of the story from The Independent:

He said his concern about the case was shared by US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice.

“We both agree that the mistakes made in these two cases are not acceptable and she shares my deep regret that this information has only just come to light,” he said.

Mr Miliband told MPs that he was “very sorry indeed” to have to correct previous statements made by then prime minister Tony Blair and foreign secretary Jack Straw that rendition flights had not used British bases.

In other words, the previous statements by Blair and Straw and Rice and heaven knows who else were false.  Regardless, the details about the two admitted flights are extremely limited:

Mr Miliband said that in each of the two cases, the aircraft involved had been carrying a single detainee – neither of them British – who did not leave the plane while it was on the ground at Diego Garcia.

One of those detainees has since been released but the other is still being held by the Americans at Guantanamo Bay.

Mr Miliband said the Americans had given an assurance that no detainees had been held on Diego Garcia and that US records showed no record of any other rendition through Diego Garcia or any other UK territory.

Oh thank heavens that the two souls being illegally extradcited or kidnapped weren’t British.  That makes this so much more palatable.  Not.

Of course, the US version of the story is more detailed.  It seems that CIA Director Michael Hayden told agency employees that information previously provided to the British “turned out to be wrong.”  Hayden told AP AP:

One of the two prisoners is now jailed at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base and the other was released to his home country, where he has since been freed by that government, the U.S. intelligence official said.

The CIA didn’t interrogate or imprison either man, according to the official. In this case, the CIA only moved the two men from one country to another.

The CIA has held and interrogated fewer than 100 prisoners in its detention program, using “enhanced” or harsh interrogation techniques on about a third of them, Hayden has told Congress.

The rendition program secretly transfers alleged terrorists from one country to another without formal extradition proceedings. It can involve moving prisoners to the custody of governments where harsh interrogation techniques, including torture, are known to be used. The U.S. government insists it does not move prisoners to third countries without assurances that torture will not be used.

Does this make sense to anyone?  In fact, it raises more questions than it answers.

* The CIA allegedly didn’t imprison either of the two people who were flown through Diego Garcia.  They obviously were not free to leave the plane.  Is keeping someone on a plane traveling between two countries who wish to or have imprisoned the person being transported something other than “imprisonment?”

* Is the CIA now some kind of secure, worldwide prison taxi service carrying prisoners from one country to another?  How is it that the CIA has that particular job?  And between what countries does the US ferry prisoners?  Does the CIA direct or participate in deciding where prisoners should be imprisoned?

* What are the admitted “harsh interrogation techniques” in the sending and/or recipient countries and what standard is being used, if any, to determine that they do not amount to “torture?”  Or put another way, when the US receives an assurance that “torture will not be used” what is the definition of torture?

* Why are third party countries and not the US imprisoning and using “harsh interrogation techniques” on these prisoners?

May we have answers to these questions?  Of course not.  If we were told the answers we’d imperil the safety of the free world.  We’d give the terrists information we don’t want them to have.  We’d be aiding the enemy.  We’d be thwarting the GWOTTM.  How very silly of you to ask.  Did you think this was the US and that the Government would answer these questions? How very silly of you.



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  1. closing Gitmo, restoring habeas corpus, and ending the GWOTTM.

    And maybe even some tips for telling the truth?

    Thanks for reading.  

    • documel on February 22, 2008 at 02:08

      Are the pilots and crew of these admitted kidnappings open to prosecution?  Are renditions against international law and open to prosecution in the Hague?

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