Monday, March 05, 2007

Khaled El Masri

Another depressing story of "extraordinary rendition". In Khaled El Masri's own words:
"ON NEW YEAR'S EVE in 2003, I was seized at the border of Serbia and Macedonia by Macedonian police who mistakenly believed that I was traveling on a false German passport. I was detained incommunicado for more than three weeks. Then I was handed over to the American Central Intelligence Agency and was stripped, severely beaten, shackled, dressed in a diaper, injected with drugs, chained to the floor of a plane and flown to Afghanistan, where I was imprisoned in a foul dungeon for more than four months."
When they realized he was innocent, they blindfolded him, put in back on a plane, and dumped him in the middle of Albania. In some good news, German prosecutors are trying to indict the 13 CIA agents involved in this kidnapping. As for El Masri himself, he sued the CIA, in an effort to garner a public apology. The US government attempted to dismiss the case on the grounds that it would expose state secrets and jeopardize national security. Always the last defense of a tyrant. And in this case, the courts agree, despite the fact that El Masri's story is public. Surreal. As he himself concludes: "It seems that the only place in the world where my case cannot be discussed is in a U.S. courtroom".

Incidentally, the CIA in this case is clearly involved with "formal cooperation in evil". This means "cooperation occurs when a person or organization freely participates in the action(s) of a principal agent, or shares in the agent’s intention, either for its own sake or as a means to some other goal". So just because the CIA did not themselves torture El Masri does not let them off the hook. For formal cooperation in evil is always morally illicit. And that formal cooperation extends not only to Tenet and the CIA, but to Rumsfeld, Cheney, and ultimately to Bush.

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