Sunday, January 16, 2005

Germany investigating claims citizen kidnapped by US

Over at the Bellman, we've been discussing extraordinary rendition for some time, but the Associated Press is reporting an investigation by German authorities into an allegation that a Lebanese-born German citizen was kidnapped by the US or elements in league with the US.

Facts are too sketchy in this article to know if there's any substance to the allegations, but at this point, it wouldn't surprise me if the allegations were true.

More details are available in this Guardian article.

If true, the abduction would add to our understanding of a pattern of US behaviour frightening in its implications both for America and for the rest of the world. The former director of the CIA, George Tenet, told the US 9/11 Commission last year that even before September 11 the US had abducted more than 70 foreigners it considered terrorists - a process Washington has declared legal under the label "extraordinary rendition".

An investigation by the Washington Post last year suggested that the US held 9,000 people overseas in an archipelago of known prisons (such as Abu Ghraib in Iraq) and unknown ones run by the Pentagon, the CIA or other organisations. But this figure does not include others "rendered" to third-party governments who then act as subcontractors for Washington, enabling the US to effectively torture detainees while technically denying that it carries out torture. |Link|

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