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Ian McColgin
12-13-2012, 03:56 PM
Europe court: German was victim of CIA extraordinary rendition program

By Ian Johnston, NBC News, and wire reports

The European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday in favor of a German man who claims he was mistaken for a terrorist, then kidnapped and tortured by the CIA as part of the controversial extraordinary-rendition program.

The court ordered that Khaled El-Masri should be paid about $78,000 in damages by Macedonia, the European country where he says he was captured before being taken to a secret prison in Afghanistan known as the "Salt Pit."

James Goldston, lead lawyer on the case and executive director of the New York-based Open Society Justice Initiative, told NBC News that the ruling was significant because it was the first time a court had established "beyond reasonable doubt" that what El-Masri was saying had happened.

He said that in light of the ruling the Obama administration should apologize to El-Masri, pay damages and launch a wide-ranging investigation into his case and others like it.

"Notably, the court found that the CIAís treatment of Mr. El-Masri at the airport in Skopje, Macedonia in January 2004 amounted to torture. This judgment by the highest court in Europe represents an authoritative condemnation of some of the most objectionable tactics employed in the post-9/11 war on terror," Goldston said in a statement.

Macedonia's 'complete denial'

According to El-Masri, he was brutally interrogated at the CIA-run Afghan prison for four months after he was flown there from Macedonia.

The European court's ruling said El-Masri's*account of his "alleged ordeal was very detailed, specific and consistent."
While Macedonia had issued a "complete denial," there was a "a wealth of compelling evidence supporting his [El-Masri's] allegations and rejecting the Governmentís explanation as utterly untenable," it added.

The ruling said El-Masriís account was supported by several factors including:

aviation and flight logs;
geological records of minor earthquakes he recalled during his detention in Afghanistan;
sketches he drew of the prison where he was held;
and scientific tests on his hair showing "he had spent time in a South Asian country and had been deprived of food for an extended period of time."

The ruling said the court "observes" that El-Masri was taken from his hotel in Skopje, Macedonia, to the city's airport where he was "beaten severely by several disguised men dressed in black."

"He was stripped and sodomized with an object. He was placed in a nappy and dressed in a dark blue short-sleeved tracksuit. Shackled and hooded, and subjected to total sensory deprivation, the applicant [El-Masri] was forcibly marched to a CIA aircraft Ö
When on the plane, he was thrown to the floor, chained down and forcibly tranquillized," the ruling said.

"While in that position, the applicant was flown to Kabul (Afghanistan) via Baghdad," it added.

Macedonian authorities said they would not comment until they are formally notified of the ruling, The Associated Press reported.*Though the case focused on Macedonia, it drew broader attention because of how sensitive the CIA extraordinary renditions were for Europe.

They involved abducting and interrogating terror suspects without court sanction in the years following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the U.S., under former President George W. Bush.
A 2007 Council of Europe probe accused 14 European governments of permitting the CIA to run detention centers or carry out rendition flights between 2002 and 2005.

'Huge victory for justice'

The White House referred NBC News'*request for comment on the European court's ruling to*the National Security Council press office, which had not responded by the time of publication.

Goldston, who argued the case before the court, told NBC News that the United States had never commented on the claims officially and attempts to get a U.S. court to hear El-Masriís case had failed.

He said he hoped the European courtís decision would prompt action in the U.S.

"The Obama administration should now apologize and acknowledge what the court has found, and undertake a more sweeping, intensive inquiry that what has been done to date," Goldston said.
"Itís incumbent on the administration to do that," he said, adding that the U.S. should also pay compensation to El-Masri.

Jamil Dakwar, head of the human rights program at the American Civil Liberties Union, told the AP that the ruling was "a huge victory for justice and the rule of law."

He predicted "it will make it harder for the United States to continue burying its head in the sand" about accusations that its officials tortured suspects in the war on terrorism.

El-Masri was given a prison sentence in 2010 for assaulting the mayor of Neu-Ulm, Germany, and is due for release next year, Goldston said.

The court's rulings are binding on the 47 member states of the Council of Europe.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
12-13-2012, 04:21 PM
That's petty cash.

This is the tip of an iceberg@

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20715507

If the British Government forks over that sort of dosh to avoid having to give evidence in Court, its got plenty to hide.

The names of Blair and Straw may feature prominently, along with those of Bush and Cheney

John of Phoenix
12-13-2012, 04:28 PM
That's petty cash.

My thought too but it sets precedent. Here's hoping we can build on this "huge victory for justice and the rule of law."

I hope someone sends this article to cheney and dubya.

Phillip Allen
12-13-2012, 04:33 PM
let us hope that the truth will be known and that the living perps will be shown a light on... not just the ones which may satisfy 'some' of us but ALL the perps...

PhaseLockedLoop
12-13-2012, 04:35 PM
My thought too but it sets precedent. Here's hoping we can build on this "huge victory for justice and the rule of law."

I hope someone sends this article to cheney and dubya.

How about sending thousands of copies of the article to the entire Obama administration? Obama has fought hard, and is fighting hard, to continue this kind of thing. That is, when he isn't just droning suspects and their families and friends to death.

John of Phoenix
12-13-2012, 04:49 PM
One of Obama's biggest mistakes was not prosecuting the previous administration but we all know how that would have gone.

When was the last extraordinary rendition? The last waterboarding?

The population is the sea in which the terrorist swims.

Phillip Allen
12-13-2012, 04:57 PM
One of Obama's biggest mistakes was not prosecuting the previous administration but we all know how that would have gone.

When was the last extraordinary rendition?

presidents don't do that... I'm sure it goes far beyond just the last two admins... (as the example which first occurs to me may show) The Roosvelt admin kidnaped people of Japanese decent and put them in camps while others plundered their property, etc... worthy of prosecution? (depends on what party you're a fan of)

Phillip Allen
12-13-2012, 04:57 PM
One of Obama's biggest mistakes was not prosecuting the previous administration but we all know how that would have gone.

When was the last extraordinary rendition? The last waterboarding?

The population is the sea in which the terrorist swims.

maybe yesterday... (how would anyone know?)

skuthorp
12-13-2012, 05:04 PM
If any of these 'incidents' were followed to their proper conclusions we'd find that the names would be at the very top of several countries political leadership. None of the present incumbents want's that precedent set. Thatcher defended Pinochet because if the precedent was set she was vulnerable herself. That situation continues.
Several countries leaders over the past 2 or 3 decades could be prosecuted as war criminals or instigators of official torture regimes, I think that any action is exceedingly unlikely, unfortunately.