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From the ACLU (h/t Dan Froomkin for tweeting it):

NEW YORK ­– In a historic ruling, the European Court of Human Rights today condemned Macedonia's illegal transfer of Khaled El-Masri into CIA custody and found that his abusive treatment at Macedonia's airport by the U.S. rendition team "amounted to torture." The court also found that his abduction and detention – including the time he was in U.S. custody – constituted "enforced disappearance" under international law.

"Today’s landmark decision is a stark reminder of America's utter failure to hold its own officials accountable for serious violations of both U.S. and international law. Continued lack of accountability is turning the United States into an outlier among its European allies, which is an appalling outcome for a nation that prides itself as a global leader on the rule of law and human rights," said Jamil Dakwar, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Human Rights Program. "Today’s ruling makes it harder for the United States to continue burying its head in the sand and ignoring domestic and global calls for full accountability for torture. This remarkable decision will no doubt put greater pressure on European nations to fully account for their complicity in cooperating with the illegal CIA 'extraordinary rendition' program, and to hold responsible those who violated the human rights of El-Masri and those like him."

El-Masri is a German citizen who in 2003 was mistaken for another person and abducted by Macedonian authorities at a border crossing and held incommunicado for 23 days. He was then handed over to CIA operatives who put him on a secret flight a "black site" in Afghanistan where he was secretly held, tortured and abused for about four months.

The European Court of Human Rights' full ruling can be read here:

(Warning -- El-Masri's account of his detention, contained therein, is extremely disturbing)

Let's hope this is one step toward bringing justice to the Bush Cabal war criminals.

Originally posted to Animal Nuz on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 09:05 AM PST.

Also republished by Bloggers Against Torture and Inherent Human Rights.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The ruling won't do anything to the US. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ericlewis0, IB JOHN, tardis10

    Heck, it won't do anything to Macedonia.  

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 09:22:20 AM PST

  •  Do we have enough people in THIS (12+ / 0-)

    country who abhor torture?  I really don't think so.  As long as most people think that torture is the right way to gain intelligence (damn the innocents who get caught up in the net) torture has become our modis operandi.

    I will go on record saying that torture is abhorrent whether the "suspect" is innocent or guilty; that once torture is embedded in our system of "justice" there is NO more justice.  This country has crossed the line from informal and closely guarded secrets to above board legalistic "reasons" for torture.  And this is only one of the reasons this country is making me sick to my stomach.

    •  The ONLY way that those at the top who are (4+ / 0-)

      responsible for the torture inflicted by the US since 9/11 will be held legally accountable is if those of us who believe they should be held legally responsible speak out, talk with our family members and friends, and communicate with our elected representatives.

      We MUST take that responsibility.

                        Standing for justice and accountability,
                                       For Dan,

      Torture is ALWAYS wrong, no matter who is inflicting it on whom.

      by Chacounne on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 11:23:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  We all should be marching in the streets (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joe shikspack, ericlewis0, ciganka

        The electoral process has become so corrupt that the very person(s) we have supported, en mass, to solve these problems have themselves become as complicit as the leaders they replaced.

        The Industrial Military Complex, the oligarchy, seems to be so powerful that even presidents serve its agenda.

        As long as they can complacently take votes for granted, your complaints to representatives have, and probably will, go unheard.

        We need to massively protest. Yes, we need to speak with friends, neighbors, people we meet in everyday life.

        But the next time there is a call for a massive direct action, each person should get off their duffs and put down the phones and the computers and go join the people demonstrating.

        Have you ever joined an Occupy gathering or direct action event?

        "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

        by ZhenRen on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 12:19:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I completely agree that we need to have a protest. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ericlewis0, allenjo

          In fact, for several years I have been trying to organize one, but because of my hearing disability it has been very difficult, because my emails to the large organizations I need to help with the logistics have gone unanswered, and I am not able to call them.

          I have lobbied senators and congressional representatives in person in DC on three trips I paid for myself, and am planning another one in February.

          Oh, I also moved from Vancouver to Ottawa two years ago to lobby the Canadian government to request the repatriation of Omar Khadr, the Canadian child, now grown, who spent almost ten years in Guantanamo.

                         Standing for justice and accountability,
                                        For Dan,

          Torture is ALWAYS wrong, no matter who is inflicting it on whom.

          by Chacounne on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 01:09:19 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  It's likely going to require (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe shikspack, ciganka

      a nation state other than the US to hold the US accountable. When our chief executive has openly not only excused the torturers of the Bush administration, but has passed such legislation as the NDAA which allows indefinite detention, and still practices rendition, and allows what some human rights leaders call torture in the Manning case, and a congress which largely goes along with this, then it will be up to some other country to act according to international law to bring the US into accountability.

      Even our current administration is under review and investigation for war crimes. Obama going after war criminals isn't likely to happen when he is (alleged by the UN and the press) allowing war crimes to occur under his own command.

      "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

      by ZhenRen on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 11:54:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Too bad the government responsible for these (9+ / 0-)

    atrocities will never be held accountable since the US doesn't believe in the rule of law.

  •  Always good to revisit this. (7+ / 0-)

    Thanks for the post.

    "I'm gonna dance between the raindrops"

    by IB JOHN on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 09:37:11 AM PST

  •  A brief synopsis here (11+ / 0-)

    Khaled El-Masri, a German national, was seized by Macedonian securityofficers on 31 December 2003, at a border crossing, because he had been mistaken for an al-Qaida suspect. He was held incommunicado and abused in Macedonian custody for 23 days, after which he was handcuffed, blindfolded, and driven to Skopje airport, where he was handed over to the CIA and severely beaten.

    The CIA stripped, hooded, shackled, and sodomized el-Masri with a suppository – in CIA parlance, subjected him to "capture shock" – as Macedonian officials stood by. The CIA drugged him and flew him to Kabul to be locked up in a secret prison known as the "Salt Pit", where he was slammed into walls, kicked, beaten, and subjected to other forms of abuse. Held at the Salt Pit for four months, el-Masri was never charged, brought before a judge, or given access to his family or German government representatives.

    The CIA ultimately realised that it had mistaken el-Masri for an al-Qaida suspect with a similar name. But it held on to him for weeks after that. It was not until 24 May 2004, that he was flown, blindfolded, earmuffed, and chained to his seat, to Albania, where he was dumped on the side of the road without explanation.

    Thanks for posting this. Khaled el-Masri's personal nightmare may be over but we are still in the middle of our collective nightmare. War on Terror is a War on US.  

    "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

    by tardis10 on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 09:40:32 AM PST

  •  can never forget the torturors got off (9+ / 0-)

    without any punishment

    I like Michelle more than Barack.

    by duha on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 09:43:02 AM PST

    •  And, my friend, we can never stop pushing (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe shikspack, ericlewis0

      for those at the top responsible for the torture to be held legally accountable.

                 Standing for justice and accountability,
                                For Dan,

      Torture is ALWAYS wrong, no matter who is inflicting it on whom.

      by Chacounne on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 11:31:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It is our obligation under international law to (8+ / 0-)

    prosecute war criminals in our midst or to deliver them to a court where they would be tried for war crimes. To fail to do so is itself a war crime. No I did not just call President Obama a war criminal. But the US government is guilty of war crimes. This is a stain that can not be washed off. We have committed war crimes as early as the Spanish American War. The difference is that back then the government tried American soldiers for war crimes. We do not do so now. Bush and his cabinet walk free along with the lawyers CIA officials and consultants that made torture an instrument of US policy. And the American people support the use of torture broadly. That makes the entire country guilty. Even those of us who opposed the "War on Terror" from the beginning.

    We are an outlaw nation that does not recognize international law. Yet we expect other nations to respect what we will not. We expect Iran and North Korea to abide by treaties that we refuse to abide by. Who do we think we are anyway? The American exceptional ism theory is partially true. We believe we are different and we are. We do as we please and expect every other nation to recognize and respect that the laws do not apply to us.

    We should hang our heads in shame.

    •  Some bad things happened at Den Haag (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ericlewis0, codairem, joe shikspack

      recently as well.   That justice starts to look very selective there as well - it seems the US-supported sides are having their convictions overturned on appeal.  

      Some of the justices wrote some pretty incredible dissenting opinions that are well worth reading.  

      These things are just not good for America long-term.  

      It gets on my nerves, and you know how I am about my nerves...

      by ciganka on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 11:02:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  And, we need to push with everything we have (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lady Libertine, ericlewis0

      to have those responsible at the highest levels for the torture inflicted by the US since 9/11 to be held legally accountable.

      We have a responsibility.

                     Standing for justice and accountability,
                                    For Dan,

      Torture is ALWAYS wrong, no matter who is inflicting it on whom.

      by Chacounne on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 11:33:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You're absolutely correct (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe shikspack, Garrett, ciganka
      To fail to do so is itself a war crime. No I did not just call President Obama a war criminal. But the US government is guilty of war crimes. This is a stain that can not be washed off.
      As a signatory to the Convention Against Torture, we agreed as a nation to enforce the convention. In fact, the international law created by the treaty is useless without the deterrence of enforcement.

      Thus enforcement is crucial. Without enforcement, it is nothing but a piece of paper.

      And yet, not only did Obama excuse the previous administration officials, he and his administration is now being investigated for war crimes.

      My hope is that another country or the UN will have the strength to go up against the behemoth that ignores international law simply because it is so economically powerful it can do as it pleases.

      "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

      by ZhenRen on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 12:07:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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