Not only does the former general talk about getting rid of Gitmo, but of the revisionist "military commission system" established by the Military Commissions Act, last year, by the Bush administration which skirts the law in innovative, and singularly terrifying ways, he tells Reuters that turning close to 350 Gitmo detainees over to our federal courts would be "more understandable in constitutional terms."
And when, only a few days ago, British police insisted they have no proof that CIA planes involved in the activity landed "illegally" at British airports, they did so in defiance of findings by the European Parliament, last year, that the CIA flew 1245 secret flights into European airspace with the United Kingdom coming in second only to Germany in the number of stopovers. As director of the human rights group, Liberty, says: "When politicians spin it's disappointing. When police engage in the same activity it is rather more dangerous." (Reuters)
But, how is it one can refuel without landing? Also, is there anything more than a rhetorical difference between flying over a country's airspace, and landing at its airport? Clearly, allowing the CIA to fly in U.K. airspace would require the same degree of collaboration as allowing the aircraft to land at one of its airports. If, as chief constable of Greater Manchester Police suggests, there is no evidence to substantiate claims, by the human rights group Liberty, that the CIA planes landed in England more than 200 times since 2001, how is it that the European Parliament reported more than 170 flights into the U.K. as of late November? Somebody is not clearly not telling the truth here.
And, while much of European and American media had been squarely focused on manufactured reasons for taking the country, and the world, to war, the egregious, and contemptible practice of holding prisoners of war, using linguistic sleight of hand, as well as secretly flying suspects to be tortured in hiding, and over cooperating airspace, has gone largely unnoticed by the American people, and their elected representatives. Would that it were, but it's not enough to shut down Gitmo, and send those 300 plus back to the United States; it's a good place to start, not stop. Until we eliminate the mindset that would concoct a detention camp for indefinite incarceration without access to counsel, or evidence, in defiance of the Fourth Amendment, we won't solve the problem that brought us Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib.
Until Congress, and the Supreme Court, confront the concept of extraordinary rendition, and get to the meat of the human rights abuses committed under the pretext of a war on terror, we may rest assured that torture "made under the auspices of the U.S.A." won't be going anywhere anytime soon, and can only lead to more attacks, and greater condemnation against the United States. And, for those friends who think impeachment is a solution, constitutional amendments, Supreme Court rulings, and legislation are designed to outlive presidents and presidential regimes. While Attorney General Alberto Gonzales faces a no-confidence congressional vote tomorrow, the issue that now brings him to his knees, remarkably, is the firing of nine U.S. attorneys, and not his collusion in the core issue of human rights abuses, redefining torture, dismantling of habeas corpus, and dismantling of due process by recent military legislation.
It isn't Mr. Gonzales' competency that 's in question here, but his honesty that Congress will consider in deciding his fate. And, by extension, it is our honesty, as a nation, that Europe, and the rest of the world, will take into account when it casts its no-confidence vote in us as a member of their community, a vote that will affect quality of life,in the U.S., for generations to come.