Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The CIA: The world's leading terror group.

Khaled El Masri
By Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

With all the fuss about Muslims and their so-called violent US hating tendencies, I was reminded of the German Muslim, Khaled El-Masri. Remember him?  No? I didn’t think so.

He was abducted in Macedonia and turned over to the CIA as part of the its rendition program, a somewhat less offensive term than kidnapping.  I was in Macedonia just a few years earlier and the population was elated that the Bush Administration had recognized the country as the Republic of Macedonia; Macedonia was formerly the southernmost province of Yugoslavia.

There were huge rallies when I touched down at Skopje airport and people were handing out buttons with Thank You Mr. President on them. I couldn’t imagine why anyone would produce a button like that for Bush until I understood the nation was officially recognized by the world power with the “big stick” as my friend put it. The Greeks across the border were demonstrating against the recognition as they also consider themselves Macedonians.

Anyway, I had a dodgy experience there being followed by two shady characters who I assumed were either CIA or US flunkies in the Macedonian government. Fortunately, I had made the local police aware of my presence and I don’t think that hurt.

In El-Masri’s case, the Macedonians, eager to please their American handlers handed him over to the CIA who then flew him to Afghanistan where he was “imprisoned and tortured.” CIA men allegedly beat and sodomized El-Masri in an airport facility.

Al Masri also wrote of his ordeal in the LA times in a piece titled, I Am Not a State Secret. The title refers to the US government policy of declaring information about abuses by its military, the CIA and other agencies, as state secrets.

El-Masri wrote that he, “ was stripped, severely beaten, shackled, dressed in a diaper, injected with drugs, chained to the floor of a plane and flown to Afghanistan, where I was imprisoned in a foul dungeon for more than four months”

The CIA eventually realized they had the wrong man. Masri writes, “Long after the American government realized that I was an entirely innocent man, I was blindfolded, put back on a plane, flown to Europe and left on a hilltop in Albania — without any explanation or apology for the nightmare that I had endured.”

With the help of the ACLU, El Masri eventually sued the then director of the CIA, George Tenet, as well as other CIA agents involved in his kidnapping. The main thing for El Masri was a “…public acknowledgment from the U.S. government that I was innocent, a mistaken victim of its rendition program, and an apology for what I was forced to endure. Without this vindication, it has been impossible for me to return to a normal life.”

In these types of cases, and there are literally thousands upon thousands of them, the US doesn’t deny its guilt. It simply claims that they should be thrown out because to litigate them would mean exposing state secrets; very handy.

Indeed, El Masiri’s case was eventually thrown out and he wrote in the Times, It seems that the only place in the world where my case cannot be discussed is in a U.S. courtroom.” (my added emphasis)

As Julian Assange explains in his book, The Wikileaks Files, German authorities, who were also attempting to “arrest and prosecute thirteen CIA operatives involved with the case.” were also under massive pressure from the US government to back off.  It is standard practice for US torturers and murderers abroad to be shielded from justice in the country they commit their crimes should they be caught.

El Masri did win a victory against the government of Macedonia in 2012 when the European Court of Human Rights found in his favor accepting his version of events. This marked the first time that the CIA activities against detainees was formally declared 'torture.  The US is exempt from such justice. The reader can hear an interview with Derian Pavli a senior attorney with the Open Society Justice Initiative  on WBAI here: http://www.wbai.org/articles.php?article=769

I cannot stress enough that US workers should make a special effort, put aside the time, to read Assange’s book because the details in it come not just from someone asserting the corrupt nature of the US state apparatus, especially its secret surveillance machinery that makes the old KGB look like amateurs, but from private messages US officials sent to each other, from cables and other communications between agencies and also from foreign missions to the state dept. It exposes their phony diplomacy as nothing but lies and deception with horrific consequences for the victims.

If anything should convince US workers of how important it is to read these details it is the throwing out of the court case on the false grounds that litigation will expose the US population to state secrets. The rest of the world are more informed than we are and that should tell us something, that our own government does not want us to know what it is doing or has done. American workers, and indeed all workers, owe people like Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden and Julian Assange a debt of gratitude, they are all incarcerated in one way of another for bringing us information we should have freely.

But it would not be so easy for them to convince us that their actions abroad are justified as a response to potential terrorist attacks on the American people and our way of life if we knew the truth. Terrorists hate us we are told and all because we are free and they don’t want to be free. It’s almost laughable were the consequences no so tragic.

How many more El Masiri’s are there? What do Iraqi’s, Muslims, the worker’s of the Middle East feel like when Madeline Albright, a former senior US government official claimed the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi's mostly women and children due to US imposed policies through the UN were “worth it.”

How will the friends, relatives and siblings of El Masri and the thousands of other innocent victims of US aggression respond? I know how we would. We would have no love for the perpetrators of such brutality and we’d be looking for a way to avenge it.

No comments: