Two Italian secret service agents were arrested today and 22 other CIA agents are being investigated in connection with the Milan kidnapping of Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr.  Former Prime Minister and George Bush paisano Silvio Berlusconi claims that he knew nothing about this operation, but that is hard to believe.  These renditions could not take place without the cooperation of European governments. So, while European citizens protest against US actions, their governments seemed to be giving US agents and their overseas counterparts carte blanche. 

The horrors of these renditions are not known to many, but a graphic description is included in a recent article by Nat Hentoff in The Village Voice.  The description is based on a well-documented 67 page report published by the Council of Europe, as reported by its Chief Investigator, Dick Marty:

To begin: “Four to six CIA agents perform the operation [on the blindfolded victim]. They are dressed in black . . . wearing black gloves with their full faces covered. . . . The CIA agents ‘don’t utter a word when they communicate with one another,’ using only hand signals. . . . “The man’s hands and feet are shackled. The man has all his clothes [including his underwear] cut from his body using knives or scissors in a careful, methodical fashion . . . the man is subjected to a full body cavity search . . . the man is photographed with a flash camera when he is nearly or totally naked. . . . “Some accounts [the specific sources of all these accounts are footnoted] speak of a foreign object being forcibly inserted into the man’s anus . . . in each description this practice has been perceived as a grossly violating act that affronts the man’s dignity. . . After an incontinence pad is shoved on the victim, ” ‘they put diapers on him.’ ” His ears are muffled . “[A] cloth bag is placed over the man’s head, with no holes through which to breathe or detect light” and he “is typically forced aboard a waiting” airplane where ” ‘they bind him up in a very uncomfortable position that makes him hurt from moving.’ ” “

Most interesting is the “extraordinary” comfort that many of the same CIA operatives were enjoying while conducting extraordinary rendition.  According to the Washington Post, referencing “Italian court documents  . . . Americans spent more than $100,000 to stay in luxury hotels in Milan, Florence and Venice before and after Nasr’s disappearance.”  So, it seems that American taxpayers are footing the bill to extravagantly fund operations that they know little to nothing about.

Also, according to the Post article, Nasr was a suspicious character who had been monitored by Italian counterterrorist forces.  But the end does not justify the means.  Abusing and torturing people, merely on suspicion, lowers US agents to the same moral level as the terrorists, which means that they have won the ideological battle.  When terrorists force their victims to abandon their principles and seek the lowest forms of retribution, they have, in effect, justified their own actions. 

“Extraordinary Rendition” is the logical extension of Cheney’s “One Per Cent Doctrine,” which, based on ongoing events in Iraq and Afghanistan, has failed to make the world a safer place.  It has, however, made the world a more immoral place, and  has significantly diminished the United States’ power to act as a moral arbiter of human rights.

Advertisements