3/13/2005

Sinking lower and lower...

From the WaPo:
Italian authorities suspect a kidnapped Egyptian in Milan was the target of a CIA-sponsored operation known as rendition, in which terrorism suspects are forcibly taken for interrogation to countries where torture is practiced. The Italian probe is one of three official investigations that have surfaced in the past year into renditions believed to have taken place in Western Europe. Although the CIA usually carries out the operations with the help or blessing of friendly local intelligence agencies, law enforcement authorities in Italy, Germany and Sweden are examining whether U.S. agents may have broken local laws by detaining terrorist suspects on European soil and subjecting them to abuse or maltreatment. The Bush administration has received backing for renditions from governments that have been criticized for their human rights records, including Egypt, Jordan and Pakistan, where many of the suspects are taken for interrogation. But the administration is getting a much different reception in Europe, where lawmakers and prosecutors are questioning whether the practice is a blatant violation of local sovereignty and human rights.

And from the AP:    
Unreleased U.S. Army reports detailing the deaths of two Afghan men who were beaten to death by American soldiers show that military prison abuses began in Afghanistan in 2002, and were part of a systematic pattern of mistreatment, a human rights representative said Saturday. More than two dozen American soldiers face possible criminal prosecution - and one already is charged with manslaughter - in the deaths at the main U.S. detention facility in Bagram, just north of the Afghan capital of Kabul. As documented by the Army's Criminal Investigation Command, the men died a year before the photographed horrors at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, according to John Sifton, the Afghanistan researcher for the New York-based Human Rights Watch. The American Civil Liberties Union sued to obtain the case files under the Freedom of Information Act, but the Army withheld portions of the records because of an ongoing investigation and possible charges. "The Bush Administration and the Pentagon describe the abuse problems as isolated incidents, not systematic, not part of a plan. The evidence shows otherwise," Sifton said. "Far from being isolated incidents, these beatings were part of a pattern of abuse." Members of the 519th Military Intelligence Battalion who set up intelligence operations at the Bagram facility did the same at the Abu Ghraib prison. The two Afghan detainees died in December 2002 - a week apart - as reported in Army memos, with updates detailing their fate after they were captured by Afghan forces and handed to the U.S. military.

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