April 25, 2007

Representative Dana Rohrabacher… The Ugly American

Filed under: Uncategorized — Volt @ 4:01 pm

Ann Wright, t r u t h o u t, April 23, 2007

“I hope it’s your family members that [sic] die,” said US Rep. Dana Rohrabacher to American citizens who questioned the Bush administration’s unlawful extraordinary rendition policies.

Congressional hearings provide a deep insight into the inner spirit of our elected representatives – and sometimes the insight is not pretty.

On April 17, we witnessed Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-California) unleashing his anger onto members of the European Parliament’s House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Human Rights. The members were invited guests and witnesses at the hearing. The subcommittee had issued a report in January, 2007 that was sharply critical of the Bush administration’s extraordinary rendition program in which persons from all over the world were detained by either the CIA or local police, then flown by CIA jet (torture taxi) to other countries where they were imprisoned (Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Libya, Djibouti, Morocco, Yemen). The report was equally critical of European governments for allowing the unlawful flights to take place.

From 2001 through 2005, the governments of fourteen countries in Europe allowed at least 1,245 CIA flights with illegally abducted terrorist suspects to be flown through their airspace or to land on their territory. Germany, Britain, Ireland and Portugal allowed the highest numbers of covert flights. As well as at least the 1,245 flights operated by the CIA, there were an unspecified number of US military flights for the same purpose.

The European Parliament report differentiated between lawful extradition of criminal suspects for trial in another country and unlawful abduction – sending to a third country usually noted for torture of prisoners and imprisoning for years without trial persons suspected of criminal terrorist acts.

The report acknowledged that terrorism is a threat to European countries as well as to the United States, but the European Parliament committee said that terrorist acts must be handled lawfully by both European countries and by the United States. The report said: “After 11 September 2001, the so-called ‘war on terror’ – in its excesses – has produced a serious and dangerous erosion of human rights and fundamental freedoms.” The extraordinary rendition program undercuts the exact liberties we are defending, the rule of law, the right for a fair and speedy trial and the right to know the evidence on which one is held and prosecuted.

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