A story published in the NY Times last week reported that the U.S., since shutting down many of its secret prisons, has been “relying heavily on foreign intelligence services to capture, interrogate, and detain all but the highest-level terrorist suspects seized outside the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan.”
The NY Times article suggests that this shift in policy represents a “loosening of the reins” as it is now pushing cooperation with foreign partners and its intelligence services to new limits.
This shows that the extraordinary rendition program of the Bush years has undergone an evolution to a point where CIA and other U.S. agencies and arms of the military do everything possible to not have anything to do with the arrest and detention of terror suspects (because, of course, this makes it less likely the U.S. will be accused of conspiring to violate the rule of law).
Might Panetta and his CIA and members of the Obama Administration be continuing a horrible habit of the Bush Administration --- trying to get around the rule of law as much as possible?
The article raises a few questions for those observing and monitoring the “war on terror” closely, for those who are weary of the “war on terror’s” dark and inhumane impact on human rights and civil liberties worldwide.
First, there was no mention of how the Obama Administration is handling the refurbished “extraordinary rendition” program on Thursday of last week when Obama gave his “national security speech” (notice Cheney said nothing about Obama’s plans to ruin that program).
Perhaps, we should assume this program is something the administration wishes to keep secret. It has been difficult to garner information on renditions because the CIA guards that information closely (probably as “state secrets”).
Second, who are these foreign partners or Middle East allies which are holding our terror suspects for us?
They could be Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar who were placed on a human trafficking black list by the Bush Administration in 2007. http://www.forbes.com/feeds/afx/2007/06/12/afx3812500.html
A Bush trip in January 2008 shows that the allies could he visited after Israel were Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Bush_urges_US_allies_in_Middle_East_to_support_Israeli-Palestinian_peace_talks
Most likely, the countries Bush visited on his trip are who we have enlisted to help us in the “war on terror.”
That brings me to my third question---Are foreign partners any better than the CIA, which used to take suspects to “black sites” or American military prisons located in various places of the globe to interrogate terror suspects?
Are we to believe in these "diplomatic assurances" which Panetta refers to in the article?
Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency is cited in the NY Times article as an agency in Pakistan that has been helping the U.S. locate, capture, and detain suspects. The ISI is widely believed to be an arm of the CIA and it also believed by various U.S. officials to have rogue elements in the agency.
The New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) called for an inquiry into the ISI’s torturing of British terror suspects. Particularly, HRW called on the British government to close “legal loopholes” so that MI5 officers could not collude in torture and be immune from prosecution.