Friday, December 14, 2012

Outsourcing the shame of empire

The judgement doesn't even show up in the electronic summary of the New York Times I look at every morning.

Yesterday the European Court for Human Rights issued a 6000 page judgement against EU member state Macedonia for its cooperation with the U.S. CIA in capturing and torturing Khalid el-Masri in 2003. El-Masri is a German auto mechanic; our spooks mistook him for a terrorist. When they realized their mistake, they dumped him without apology on an Albanian mountain side. U.S. courts won't touch his case; that's why his lawyers have gone after the European state for enabling his treatment.

What did we do to him? We tortured him. I reproduce part of the ECHR description of his capture:

On that occasion [el-Masri] was beaten severely from all sides. His clothes were sliced from his body with scissors or a knife. His underwear was forcibly removed. He was thrown to the floor, his hands were pulled back and a boot was placed on his back. He then felt a firm object being forced into his anus…a suppository was forcibly administered on that occasion. He was then pulled from the floor and dragged to a corner of the room, where his feet were tied together. His blindfold was removed. A flash went off and temporarily blinded him. When he recovered his sight, he saw seven or eight men dressed in black and wearing black ski masks. One of the men placed him in a nappy. He was then dressed in a dark blue short-sleeved tracksuit. A bag was placed over his head and a belt was put on him with chains attached to his wrists and ankles. The men put earmuffs and eye pads on him and blindfolded and hooded him. They bent him over, forcing his head down, and quickly marched him to a waiting aircraft, with the shackles cutting into his ankles.

Naturally the guy's a mess now, sometimes in trouble with the law; most people have a hard time making a good life after this kind of thing.

This atrocity was U.S. work, but we'll let the Macedonians -- who admit their complicity -- pay the fine.

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