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CIA, MI6 Guilty in Two Extraordinary Rendition Cases

sami al saadi

Sami al-Saadi, Libyan dissident rendered to Libya and tortured with help of MI6 (Amine Landoulsi/Demotix)

Two European cases involving the CIA and extraordinary rendition put the case of Dirar Abusisi in the spotlight today.  The European Court of Human Rights found Macedonia guilty of collaborating with the CIA in the case of Khaled al Masri, who was kidnapped and tortured by the U.S. in Afghanistan until he was able to persuade his captors that they had the wrong man.  Before he was finally released, dropped on the side of a road in the middle of nowhere in Macedonia, he was grievously tortured.  He won an $80,000 judgment from Macedonia, where he was kidnapped.

In a second case, the UK agreed to a $3.5-million settlement with Sami al-Saadi, who was kidnapped from Hong Kong and rendered to Qaddafi’s Libya, where he was tortured.  After the recent Libyan revolution, CIA documents discovered in secret police headquarters revealed that MI6 has facilitated his kidnapping.

Another case also relates to the Abusisi case in that it proves that the Ukraine, where he was kidnapped by the Mossad, readily collaborates with other nations, most particularly Russia, in the kidnapping and rendition of foreigners who are in the midst of applying for asylum.  about the case of Leonid Razvozzhayev, a political dissident wanted by Russia on trumped-up charges, who was kidnapped on the streets of Kiev and rendered to Russia where he was imprisoned.  The Russian state lied, alleging that he returned voluntarily from Ukraine.  The latter refused to open any investigation because it claims there is no record of anyone being kidnapped.  This is almost precisely the stance it has taken in the Abusisi case.  A perfunctory “investigation” followed by statements denying there is any evidence of a crime (because no country has complained that Abusisi was kidnapped!).

All of these cases are focusing attention on two critical elements of the extraordinary rendition process: the intelligence agency that orders and carries out the kidnapping and detention; and the nation which allows its territory to become the scene of such flagrant violations of human rights and international law.

Though the CIA has been the most guilty party in terms of intelligence agencies exploiting this process, the Mossad has apparently been studying these methods. Not that it needed any tutelage. The Mossad has been performing extraordinary rendition even before the term was coined. The cases of Adolph Eichmann, Mordechai Vanunu and Abusisi are but a few prominent examples. Not to mention those cases in which it dispensed with the kidnapping and simply assassinated the victim (Mahmoud al-Mabouh).

It is indeed welcome news that international law is finally catching up with such flouting of its basic safeguards. We can only await the day when the CIA or the U.S. government will be held accountable for its behavior. This will be hindered by the fact that the Republicans in Congress have refused to allow us to sign the International Criminal Court treaty. This means that the U.S. can act with relative impunity in the world. Perhaps European countries need to warn the U.S. that they will refuse to allow the CIA to operate on their territory unless we agree to adhere to the same conventions they do.

No government, no intelligence agency is above the law.  If they are not violating their own domestic laws, they are violating international law and must be held accountable.

The next step would be to hold the Mossad and Ukraine accountable for their behavior in the Abusisi case.  The family has been considering filing a case in the same European Court of Human Rights which heard the al-Masri case.  I wish them success.

{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Haver December 14, 2012, 4:39 AM

    See UK Supreme Court Rejects Jack Goldsmith’s Interpretation of GC IV . . . Rahmatullah continues to be detained by the U.S. — illegally, as the U.K.’s highest court has now made clear.

  • Haver December 14, 2012, 4:39 AM
  • pabelmont December 14, 2012, 7:20 AM

    Thank you, Haver. Good opinion, web-site new to me.

    Isn’t it odd that governments go to great trouble (or so it seems) to negotiate EXTRADITION treaties between themselves which involve the LEGAL (that is, court-tinged or law-tinged) removal of people from one country to another and then turn it all on its head with RENDITION, a system of out-and-out kidnapping or kidnapping-with-permission-of-dark-unsupervised-agencies-without-names. The nations (including or especially USA and UK) which used to criticize the human-rights “violations” of USSR and Nazi Germany are now happily joining those (unfairly, it now seems) criticized nations (nations which were only looking after their own “security” after all! in the way now enthusiastically adopted by the USA and UK).

    • Davey December 15, 2012, 7:45 PM

      I am guessing that extradition requires a plausible charge of some kind, some basis for detaining and extraditing. Extraordinary rendition is aimed at obtaining plausible charges through “interrogation.” Thereupon, I suppose, the detainee is charged, extradited (in effect) and tried, or freed or disappeared. Without countervailing power, nations like people do anything they want, witness Israel, the US, or the UK. I think the instability in the world in our time is due, in part, to the absence of any balance of power.

      • Haver December 15, 2012, 9:02 PM

        Re: I am guessing that extradition requires a plausible charge of some kind, some basis for detaining and extraditing.

        The Geneva Conventions have been universally ratified and declared to be customary law that is binding on non-signatories. States can’t extradite individuals during an armed conflict on the territory of another High Contracting Party. Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention provides that:

        Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive.

        • Davey December 15, 2012, 10:07 PM

          Interesting. So, Khaled al Masri could not have been extradited, as such. However, if he were charged with a crime, he could be tried. Again, extraordinary rendition perhaps aims at uncovering charges. I’m just trying to understand this stuff.

    • shmuel December 15, 2012, 11:33 PM

      I’m shocked that no one else has replied to Pabelmont’s insinuated claim that the US and UK violate human rights like Ussr and Nazi-Germany used to do.

      He even puts “violations” in inverted commas as if to say that the USSR and Nazi-Germany didn’t really violate human rights but there is only a sort of claim to this.

      The comparison is disgusting – violating on a small scale, while at war, is in no way even mentionable in the same breath as the atrocities (without inverted commas) committed on a massive scale by Stalin, Hitler and the cronies.

      Pabelmont, withdraw your comparison!

      • Davey December 15, 2012, 11:45 PM

        I think P was trying to say that “security” is often a cover for extrajudicial activities on the part of all these governments, including the US and UK: I don’t think anything quantitative was implied.

      • Fred Plester December 15, 2012, 11:56 PM

        The UK did this, only when Blair was in charge.
        During that time, it appears to have arranged a rendition from Hong Kong, to Libya, for the benefit of the Libyans rather than the Americans, for which Libya does seem to have put money into the Windrush Limited Partnership (a structure almost unique to Blair’s business dealings) for “consultancy services”.

        No, it’s not the same as Hitler: Mr Hitler doesn’t appear to have solicited specific personal financial rewards in return for rights violations. But the abuses are so concentrated on the Blair era, and, usually, Blair and his closest advisors directly, that I find blanket condemnation flung at the country, or even the rest of the UK government, to be both ignorant and unfair.

        Blair needs to be tried, not for “crimes against humanity” but for simple, grubby, gutter-level fraud and theft. Putting him on the same page in the history books as Hitler, Stalin, Amin and Mitterand (he signed the orders to arrest and transport Jews while he was a Vichy minister), elevates Blair to a position of importance he only pretends to. He’s just a sodding thief and all the other grand, sky-high schemes and pretensions are put on so that nobody will realize that he’s just a sodding thief.

  • Siusaidh December 14, 2012, 9:49 AM

    Watching, breath-held, for compensation to be handed to jihadi extraordinaire Abdulhakim Belhadj. He makes such good use of resources, not least in Syria. Anyone who does not know about his career, I suggest checking.

  • Fred Plester December 15, 2012, 12:52 PM

    There’s a widely-held sentiment that the £2M of compensation which the UK government agreed in the Libyan case, (without actually admitting fault), should come from the pocket of Anthony Charles Lynton Blair, rather than the taxpayer. This stems from the equally widely-held belief that his “deal in the desert” with Gaddafi was almost certainly engineered for his own financial benefit and not that of the British national interest.

    It could be argued, too, that paying this money “because the evidence to vindicate us cannot be produced in open court” is David Cameron’s way of blackmailing MPs into accepting his distinctly iffy plans for courts to hear evidence in secret.

    It’s hard to see anything worse for the public interest than Cameron attempting to use the disastrous outcome of one of Blair’s little self-enrichment schemes, to carry out some large-scale manipulation of his own.

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