Liberty BeatThe CIA's Kidnapping RingSat Apr 16, 2005 00:38126.96.36.199
The CIA's Kidnapping Ring
U.S. ally Uzbekistan teaches interrogators
how to boil suspected terrorists to death
by Nat Hentoff
April 15th, 2005 1:13 PM
U.S. law and international conventions bar sending prisoners to another
nation unless there are strong assurances of humane treatment. The CIA says
with a straight face that it gets those assurances before delivering
suspects to jailers in Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and
Pakistan�countries that have such abysmal human rights records that promises
of decent treatment are a joke. Editorial, Los Angeles Times, March 11
But of course they're out of control, there's only so much we can do. Porter
Goss, director of Central Intelligence, quoted by Democratic congressman
Edward Markey of Massachusetts in a letter to his colleagues, March 8
During a White House press conference on March 16, George W. Bush was asked:
"Mr. President, can you explain why you've approved of and expanded the
practice of what's called 'rendition'�of transferring individuals out of
U.S. custody to countries where human rights groups and your own State
Department say torture is common for people under custody?"
The president: "[In] the post-9-11 world, the United States must make sure
we protect our people and our friends from attack. . . . One way to do so is
to arrest people and send them back to their country of origin with the
promise that they won't be tortured. That's the promise we receive. This
country does not believe in torture."
Question: "As commander in chief, what is it that Uzbekistan can do in
interrogating an individual that the United States can't?"
George W. Bush repeated his talking point: "We seek assurances that nobody
will be tortured."
Actually, there is much that U.S. interrogators can learn from their
counterparts in Uzbekistan on how to break down prisoners. One of the CIA's
jet planes used to render purported terrorists to other countries�where
information is extracted by any means necessary�made 10 trips to Uzbekistan.
In a segment of CBS's 60 Minutes on these CIA torture missions (March 5),
former British ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray told of the range of
advanced techniques used by Uzbek interrogators:
"drowning and suffocation, rape was used . . . and also immersion of limbs
in boiling liquid."
Two nights later on ABC's World News Tonight, Craig Murray told of photos he
received of an Uzbek interrogation that ended with the prisoner actually
being boiled to death!
Murray, appalled, had protested to the British Foreign Office in a
confidential memorandum leaked to and printed in the Financial Times on
October 11 of last year:
"Uzbek officials are torturing prisoners to extract information [about
reported terrorist operations], which is supplied to the U.S. and passed
through its Central Intelligence Agency to the U.K., says Mr. Murray."
Prime Minister Tony Blair quickly reacted to this undiplomatic
whistle-blowing. Craig Murray was removed as ambassador to Uzbekistan.
On the BBC (October 15), Steve Crawshaw, director of the London office of
Human Rights Watch, spoke plainly about George W. Bush's continual, ardent
assurances that this country would never engage in torture:
"You can't wash your hands and say we didn't torture, but we will use what
comes out of torture."
CIA director Porter Goss also engages in what George Orwell called
doublespeak. Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee on March
17, Porter Goss said, "The United States does not engage in or condone
As for our ally Uzbekistan, run by the merciless dictator Islam Karimov,
Philip Stephens, a forthright columnist for the Financial Times, noted on
"Uzbekistan provides a vital base for U.S. operations in neighbouring
Afghanistan. U.S. financial aid [to Uzbekistan] provides a bulwark against
Russian influence." And�dig this�an October 16 Financial Times editorial
points out that because the Bush administration supports the barbaric
government of President Karimov, the U.S. "has given [Karimov] the
confidence to sell a long-running campaign against internal dissidents as
part of the campaign against Al Qaeda." (Emphasis added.)
In 2003, Fatima Mukhadirova sent photographs of her son�who was tortured to
death in an Uzbek prison�to the British embassy. As reported in Muslim
Uzbekistan (February 12, 2004): "His teeth were smashed, his fingers were
stripped of nails, and his body had been cut, bruised and scalded." His
mother was put on trial "for attempted encroachment on the constitutional
order" to convince her to shut up about what was done to her son. (She was
subsequently convicted and sentenced to six years in prison.)
Meanwhile, Porter Goss told the Senate Armed Services Committee on March 17
that one of the CIA's own techniques, waterboarding, is "an area of what I
call professional interrogation techniques."
As Reed Brody, special counsel for Human Rights Watch, noted in a March 21
letter to The New York Times: "Waterboarding, known in Latin America as the
submarino, entails forcibly pushing a person's head under water until he
believes he will drown. In practice, he often does. Waterboarding can be
nothing less than torture in violation of United States and international
"Mr. Goss, by justifying the practice as a form of professional
interrogation, renders dubious his broader claim that the C.I.A. is not
practicing torture today." (Emphasis added.)
I cannot resist repeating what George W. Bush said on the United Nations
International Day in Support of Victims of Torture (June 26, 2003): "The
United States is committed to the worldwide elimination of torture and we
are leading this fight by example. I call on all governments to join with
the United States . . . in prohibiting, investigating, and prosecuting all
acts of torture." Let's start at home.
74 percent of the CIA s total budget. The following quotes describe the culture of lawlessness that pervaded the CIA: Stanley Lovell, a CIA...
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