December 6, 2005- "'Erroneous Rendition'of German Citizen Exposed.." "CIA Ruse is Said to Have Damaged Probe in Milan"- Will Secretary Rice Abet CIA Indifference to the Law?

December 6, 2005

Dear Colleague:

In yesterday’s Washington Post, you can read about how the CIA snatched a suspect off the streets of Italy by allegedly misleading their counterparts in Italy (“CIA Ruse Is Said to have Damaged Probe in Milan,” p. 1.)  Last Sunday, the Post carried another front page story about the rendition of a German citizen, Khaled Masri, (“Wrongful Imprisonment: Anatomy of a CIA Mistake,” p. 1.)  The report details the “rendition” of a German citizen wrongfully suspected of being a terrorist.  The man says he is someone else and gives the CIA a valid passport to prove it; while waiting to see whether the passport checks, the CIA takes the man away from local authorities, puts the man in a ghost CIA plane and flies him to a CIA black site in Afghanistan where, he says, he was beaten; five months later the CIA confirms that his passport is genuine and he is the wrong guy.  They then threaten the man if he ever talks, and seek to engage German authorities in a cover up of CIA mistakes. They drop him off on a rural road in Albania, he is scooped up again by armed men and taken to the airport and flown home.  

Secretary Rice is now in Europe trying to explain the virtues of “extraordinary rendition” to our allies.  Her counterpart in Britain, Jack Straw, has just written her a series of questions based on previous alleged violations of European law by the CIA.  Now we must add more.  Will she acknowledge and apologize for the CIA’s handling of the Masri case?  Will she aid and abet the CIA’s drive for an exception from international and domestic law so that it can continue “extraordinary renditions” that amount to little more than kidnappings?

Meanwhile, here at home the director of the CIA, Porter Goss, and Vice President Cheney are actively lobbying for the CIA to be exempt from our laws and treaties against torture.  Carving out a “Goss-Cheney Hole” in the law against cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment of prisoners would be a black hole for torture.  

As you know, rendition has been used over and over again by the CIA to violate the sovereignty of our allies, to violate international agreements, to outsource torture to countries on our own State Department’s list of countries which use torture, and to demean the very notion that the United States respects the law where other nation’s do not.

The Goss-Cheney Hole in the law against torture has become an international embarrassment in its current unacknowledged secret form.  Our fighting men and women would be even more vulnerable to beheadings and brutality if the US Congress were to vote to keep that hole open.  Please support the McCain amendment against torture and the Markey amendment against rendition as the Congress decides these matters in the next two weeks.  Thank you.


Edward J. Markey