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Four Color Politics

Mainly the Quotes of the Morning, with occasional Other Crap.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Quotes of the Morning: Another Rendition of the Same Old Tune

“Time for a little chat about ‘rendition’. Rendition is our habit of taking people to countries that are a little.. freer.. about things like torture in order to get information from them, except, of course, that we don’t allow torture because torture is bad, mmmkay?”

“Q Scott, one follow-up on that: Why not take them back to U.S. soil if you are concerned that they not be tortured, where you are under clear guidelines both of U.S. law and, of course, the whole torture issues that you raised. Why move them around to foreign countries --
MR. McCLELLAN: A couple of things. Renditions have been in place for a long time.
Q Yes.
MR. McCLELLAN: Secretary Rice talked yesterday about the Jackal and others that have been rendered previously and brought to justice, and the importance of rendition as a tool that will -- can help us prevail in the war on terrorism. And she made very clear that we are going to do everything lawful within our means to protect our citizens. And we have to recognize --
Q Render them back here?
MR. McCLELLAN: Hang on, no, hang on, I'm coming to your question. We are in a different kind of war against a different kind of enemy.”
-Press Gaggle with White House Spokesman Scott McClellan, December 6, 2005

“I’m not exactly sure what renditions have to do with the type of war or the type of enemy.. I mean, by the time we send them off they aren’t ‘in’ the war anymore. They’ve been captured. We are then sending them somewhere that isn’t America to be questioned. If that isn’t in order to torture them, why send them to a third country?”

“Q Why not -- why not render them back to the United States where there is --
MR. McCLELLAN: Response to that -- the way I would say -- respond to that is that we make decisions on a case-by-case basis, working with other countries, in terms of where individuals are rendered.
Q What is the purpose of rendition, other than, if it is not, in fact, to subject detainees to a degree of interrogation somewhat more difficult than that which they would be subjected to in the United States? And that being the case, what definition of torture does the United States understand and accept?
MR. McCLELLAN: The ones that are defined in our law and our international treaty obligations. We have laws --
Q If that's the case, then why bother to render anybody?
MR. McCLELLAN: We have laws that prohibit torture. We have treaty obligations that we adhere to. And the Convention Against Torture is a treaty obligation that we take seriously and we adhere to. And in that treaty, it -- those treaties and laws, it defines torture. And --
Q Then what's the purpose of rendition?
MR. McCLELLAN: -- so we adhere to our laws and our treaty obligations, and our values. That's very important as we move forward in conducting the war on terrorism.
But what this is about is how we conduct the war on terrorism, how we protect our people, our citizens.”
-Press Gaggle with White House Spokesman Scott McClellan, December 6, 2005

“Still not getting this.. Apparently we are going to ‘protect our people, our citizens’ by shipping prisoners to other countries to be questioned (though not tortured). Our rendition ‘allies’ are held by the United States to the same moral standards that we are (aka: not torturing), so how is it that these other countries supposedly do so much better than the U.S. in getting intelligence?”

“Q If the countries to which we are rendering detainees are not torturing, are we to conclude that they have some technique that is, in fact, more successful in gaining intelligence than the United States?
MR. McCLELLAN: No, I didn't say anything -- I didn't say anything to suggest that.”
-Press Gaggle with White House Spokesman Scott McClellan, December 6, 2005

“Um, but then why do we rendition them?”

Q But if we are committed to international conventions against torture, what, then, is the purpose of rendition?
MR. McCLELLAN: Again, I'm not going to get into talking about specific intelligence matters that help prevent attacks from happening and help save lives. As Secretary Rice indicated yesterday, the steps we have taken have helped save lives in America and in European countries. We will continue to work with --
Q But you seem to be suggesting that --
MR. McCLELLAN: No, you're --
Q -- there's more to be gained by interrogating these people outside the United States than there is inside.
MR. McCLELLAN: It depends. It's a case-by-case basis, Bill, and in some cases they're rendered to their home country of origin. You cited two examples of past renditions yesterday, one individual that was involved in the attack on the World Trade Center in 1993; another individual that is one of the most notorious terrorists of all time.
Q But how do we know they weren't tortured? They claim they were.
MR. McCLELLAN: I'm sorry?
Q How do we know they weren't tortured?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, we know that our enemy likes to make claims like that.”
-Press Gaggle with White House Spokesman Scott McClellan, December 6, 2005

“Well I’m convinced. Given the extraordinary safeguards described by Scottie against abuses at least we can sleep easy knowing that only the worst of the worst are being tortured.. I mean renditioned.. Our intelligence teams are second to none. Thank Goddess. I’d hate to see us get it wrong when turning the thumbscrews and heating up the branding irons.”

“A lawsuit filed in Virginia Tuesday alleges former CIA Director George Tenet violated the U.S. constitution and international law by authorizing the detention and interrogation of a German man the agency erroneously believed to be a terrorist.
‘I'm filing this lawsuit because I believe in the American system of justice,’ said Khaled el-Masri, a German citizen of Lebanese descent, in a statement. ‘What happened to me was outside the bounds of any legal framework, and should never be allowed to happen to anyone else.’
The complaint filed in the case says el-Masri was seized Dec. 31, 2003, ‘while on holiday in Macedonia,’ and later handed over to U.S. officials who beat and drugged him, and took him to a secret prison in Afghanistan, where he was detained without charge and subject to ‘coercive interrogation.’
Five months later, according to the complaint, he was ‘deposited at night, without explanation, on a hill in Albania.’"
-UPI, December 6, 2005


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