Wednesday, September 26, 2007

And in torture news...

Khalid El-Masri. Photo by Chip Somodevilla

Germany backs down

For a moment earlier this year, it seemed as though Germany might turn international relations on their head. A Munich court in January issued arrest warrants ... for 13 CIA agents allegedly responsible for kidnapping a German citizen. The agents are accused of flying him to Afghanistan for interrogation before dumping him on the side of an Albanian road in May 2004 after they realized they had abducted the wrong man.

Now, though, in the face of US intransigence, Germany has backed down. ... in order to avoid a conflict with Washington, Berlin has decided to forgo forwarding a formal request that the agents be arrested.

Der Spiegel,
Sept. 24, 2007

In case you've forgotten, El-Masri was held for five months, during which time he claims he was beaten and sodomized. All by mistake. Earlier this year, U.S. courts threw out his lawsuit seeking damages for his treatment because a public trial would "present a grave risk of injury to national security." The ACLU is appealing.

Congressional Democrats achieve something...
Now that is hard to believe, but apparently they indicated they couldn't stomach appointing a guy who approved of torture as the CIA's lawyer.

The White House withdrew its nominee to become the CIA’s top lawyer on Tuesday after Democrats raised concerns that the agency’s interrogation techniques may be illegal. ...

At the hearing in June, Rizzo said he did not object to the 2002 memo that said for an interrogation technique to be considered torture, it must inflict pain “equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death.” He said he later deemed the document an “aggressive, expansive” reading of U.S. law.

Sept. 25, 2007


Man Eegee said...

They probably backed down so their own dirty laundry regarding his detention and torture wouldn't be aired out during the investigation.

I'm glad Rizzo was blocked, let's see if he ends up coming back during a recess appointment.

janinsanfran said...

Do follow man eegee's link about the El-Masri case. The dirty laundry is pretty smelly!

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