Gitmo: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

(9 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

cross posted at The Dream Antilles

This morning’s New York Times reports that Spain will investigate whether a previous government permitted Spanish territory to be used in transporting prisoners to Gitmo.  One thing is obvious.  Yes, Spain permitted its territory to be used to transport prisoners.

According to The Times

Spain will investigate whether a previous government allowed Spanish territory to be used to transport captured terrorism suspects to Guantanamo Bay, the Foreign Ministry said Sunday.

The ministry said in a statement it had not been informed whether the government of Jose Maria Aznar, in power from 1996 to 2004, allowed CIA flights carrying captured foreigners to use Spanish air space or runways.

The newspaper El Pais said in a report Sunday that it had obtained a government document showing that a U.S. official asked the Foreign Ministry for such access in January 2002. El Pais published the document — labeled MUY SECRETO, or top secret — in its paper and Web site editions.

The request was communicated to Josep Pique, who was foreign minister, hours before a CIA flight landed at Moron air base in southwest Spain, the El Pais report said.

The story in El Pais is here (en Espanol), and the documents are here: part 1 (pdf) and part 2 (pdf).  All are in Spanish.

The important part (my translation from the El Pais story, for which I apologize in advance):

The USA is going very soon to initiate flights to transfer Taliban and Al Qaeda prisoners from Afghanistan to the Guantánamo, Cuba base”, Aguirre de Cárcer wrote. “These flights will be carried out with long distance airplanes and, consequently, without stop overs,” it continued. “Nevertheless, if for unanticipated reasons, like the necessity of a forced landing, the Government of the USA wants to obtain authorization from the Spanish Government to use some airport in our country”. “The Government of the USA,” he emphasized, “Assures that these stop overs would be for the time minimum essential to transfer to another airplane at the airport to continue the flight and that, to this end, the US would have prepared airplanes in reserve in the region to move immediately if necessary. At any moment, the USA would be responsible for the security of the transported people”.

So this is how it’s done.  The US serves up at the last possible minute a fait accompli with some seriously misleading terms and voila! the flight can land in Spain.  Among the seriously misleading parts are who the prisoners are, where they might be from, where they’re going, and on and on, the entire litany of black holes, extraordinary renditions, illegal extraditions, kidnappings, torture.

Is it any wonder that there is no trust of the present Administration across the world.

A first step to remedy some of this?  Close Gitmo.  Find out who’s there.  Try those that can be tried in federal courts.  Release everybody else.  Put a period at the end of this ugly chapter from our national story.  Prosecute those who are responsible.


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  1. Thanks for reading.

    • OPOL on November 30, 2008 at 19:18

    I wonder if he will.

  2. for many detainees — I don’t think many of them can ever, ever be restored to a so-called “societal” normalcy.  To endure what so many of them endured (most of whom were not guilty of anything) for so long — six years — with no hope in sight, I fear, has way too deep a psychological impression, such that cannot be overcome ever — the best that might be hoped is that “they” might be rejoined with whatever family they might have and try to have some reconnection with “love.”

    • Valtin on December 1, 2008 at 06:54

    charged Pinochet with crimes against humanity. They fought to extradite him from Britain, where the Brits held him for awhile as his appeal from extradition wound its way through their courts. Ultimately he was allowed to go back to Chile, I believe. But the precedent has been set. The principal of universal jurisdiction states that any country can bring charges for certain crimes against humanity.

    Watch out, George Bush, Dick Cheney, et al. You are about to be hounded until the end of your days, if nothing else, by the thought that some country somewhere will come after you for prosecution. Then you will hope that they don’t practice extraordinary rendition.

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