Commentary from Jim Kirwan – 2004-06-21 14:03:55
On May 13, ABC’s Nightline discussed the existence of super-secret CIA prison systems overseas. This subject is classified and the reason that all of this is secret is classified as top-secret. And the reason for these classifications being secret is, of course, secret as well.
The inmates in these American Gulags are to all intents and purposes just ‘disappeared people.’
According to ABC News: “The CIA’s secret prisons, established after 911 are unprecedented in American history. They operate entirely outside the US judicial system, according to a set of rules approved by the Justice Department. But like everything else about the CIA’s prisons, even the rules are top secret.
“The prisoners being held within these foreign prisons, believed to be operating inside US military bases on foreign soil, are classified as HVD’s or High Value Detainees. They consist of a who’s who of Al Qaeda leaders, and are perhaps as many as twenty people.”
Some are known characters, but most are not household names, and some are known only to the CIA. “There are no plans to prosecute them, officials say and they could be held in secret indefinitely, even though their usefulness as sources of intelligence quickly dries up.”
A System ‘beyond the Law’ Invites Abuse
According to a spokesperson for Human Rights Watch: “These are people who have not only been placed beyond the law; in this case, they are even a sort of future step beyond those who have already been placed ‘beyond the law.’ Such as those now held in Guantanimo. It’s a system that invites abuse.”
ABC: “These men are not accorded Geneva Convention Rights, there are no Red Cross inspections, no notification to families, no access to lawyers or to any legal systems. There is no public oversight of their treatment. There is no acknowledgment in fact that these men even exist.”
The US is seeking the gain of intelligence information at the expense of long-term credibility for our entire national standing on the planet. This is not the image that we continue to try to force down the collective throat of the entire world that concerns our law-abiding nature and the transparency of our system of laws and justice. In effect we are saying to the world ‘do as we say, and not as we do.’ And we justify this because this is something “special” because “There’s a WAR on!”
If this nation loses its principles the minute it becomes convenient, then there were never any real principles to be observed in the first place. So what are Bush and his Bandits playing at here?
Bush’s Dangerous Claim to Be Above the Law
‘When CIA took charge of this worldwide operation immediately after 911, their priority was information and not prosecution. The point was to by-pass the checks and balances of the traditional justice system.’ Bush sought to carve out a special category, just as he tried to carve out a special status for those captured in Afghanistan. How many more special categories will there be before you or your loved ones fall into one his black holes?
Bush justified this outrageous behavior by claiming that he needed to by-pass the criminal laws and court systems of the USA, because we were at war. But then he refused to list those we captured as Prisoner’s of War, choosing instead to create a whole new category of detained persons without any status whatever, and these he calls “enemy combatants.”
Yet to create an entirely new classification for a traditionally recognized aspect of war and conflict carries with it the need to define the reasons and the point behind that classification -– this he has refused to do.
Bush took this extreme step, he says, in response to the horror of the acts of 911. This might have been somewhat believable had he also made an equal and as determined an effort to fully investigate what happened on that day here in the USA. He did not do that either.
In fact, for almost 3 years, Bush & the Bandits have stonewalled all attempts to discover what happened here, and who exactly might have been derelict in their duties on that day. This was on his watch, and he, as president, is directly responsible for every life lost during those attacks. Yet he has not listened to the survivors, the victim’s families, or to any of those who want to know what happened and who want to see those responsible punished accordingly for their actions or inactions –- including the president, on that day.
How Does Foreign Aggression ‘Defend the US’?
After 911 the government says that it moved quickly to “defend the country” and that this CIA prison system is part of the effort “to win the war on terror.” Yet there are many ways to “defend the country” beyond bombing foreign nations back to the Stone Age – and none of those other methods were explored.
If the Cheney-Bush Cabal were remotely serious about anything that 911 created for this country and the world, they would have raced to discover every knowable fact behind the events of that day, and they would have done this first and immediately.
Resistance to 9-11 Inquiries Suggests White House Complicity
They did none of this and are still trying to block any knowledge of who did what, when, why, or how! The ringing question militarily should have been ‘Where were the US military fighter aircraft that should have interrupted the hijackers immediately after that first plane hit the first tower?’
No answer so far, and none will likely ever surface until we get to an impeachment hearing.
We must never forget that US government complicity had to have been a part of all that death on 911 -– why else is this government so reluctant to allow an investigation into the facts? The hijackers had to have been assisted by insiders here, in order to pull off anything as far-reaching as those attacks obviously were.
Instead of that, when Bush emerged from cowering in Iowa, he almost immediately blamed the Arabs. Citing the weighty “evidence” of supposed intelligence to that effect, and nobody even questioned that. He was after all the President (at least nominally) but his words have, over the last nearly four years, come to always mean something other than the truth. Too late, we have learned that having the “word” of George W. Bush on anything, is not only worthless, the exact opposite of whatever he says is probably true.
We have to return to the Constitutional Democracy that we claim to be, because if we do not, then how are we different from Stalin’s Russia, Hitler’s Germany, or Saddam’s Iraq? There are real limits beyond which no free society can go, at least not if that society intends to remain transparently free or democratic.
‘Staying the Course’ towards Tyranny and Ignominy
Bush and his CIA see these foreign prison systems as a part of “staying the course.”
The rest of us see them as the beginning of a totalitarian or a fascist state that is beyond the bounds of any control, by the very people it professes to represent.
This government has assured the few individuals with oversight for these CIA prisons that “all US and international laws are being observed within the prison system they established.” Why then are these prisons secret? Why is the secret of the prisons also classified as top-secret?
The effect of these detentions without any form of ‘status’ for those that are detained creates a group of people that no longer officially exist — anywhere. Today the “need” is to restrict “terrorists” but tomorrow it could be anyone of us, and no one would ever know what happened to anyone they seize. Does that sound like it comports with US or International law?
In all of this, the oversight process has failed utterly. Congress has failed the public in their duty to faithfully enforce the public’s right to know what the hell is going on here – and that “it’s a war” thing just won’t cut it anymore!
Congress sold out the people, the courts have failed us as well, and the entire administration from Offense, Defense, State and Justice – all of them are complicit in their failure to protect us, from them. Terrorists are one thing, but this internal chaos cannot continue.
The public needs real answers and all we are given are huge helpings of lots more lies. The costs of these colossal failures at every level of this government, is off the charts in terms of human lives, national treasure, and the societal direction that this country was embarked upon. This has continued throughout two wars, and over three years time. It’s way past time for this obscenity to end.
The blood-stained history that has been written here, will mark us all, as co-conspirators, in what shall come to be seen as the most hated American administration in the entire history of these United States.
If we do not demand accountability from all of those responsible for the slaughter of so many lives, for the waste of treasure, and for the continuing lawlessness that this nation is practicing upon the global stage: Then we shall have condoned the actions of these few that have sought to alter not only the direction of this country, but of the world community as well.
And none of this will remain a secret no matter how many stamps they use to classify it.
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