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Muslim bortført i Tyskland og sendt til tortur i Afganistan (engelsk)

Source:www.hizb.org.uk
Date:01/02-2006

The revelation that Khaled al-Masri, a German Muslim of Kuwaiti descent, was kidnapped in Germany by the US and flown to Afghanistan to be tortured has shed new light on the atrocities being committed by western governments. The latest round of sordid revelations reveals that not only have individuals been kidnapped, held without charge or evidence, flown to secret locations and interrogated at the behest of the US, but that European countries have been complicit in these crimes by operating secret prisons.

The whole process has been given the misleadingly benign name of "extraordinary rendition". The US has also coined colourful new terms such as "enhanced interrogation". What else can this semantic name game be called apart from an attempt to blur the boundaries between lawful and unlawful behaviour?

This latest revelation in the 'War on Terror' has implicated European countries in either holding or abetting the torture process. France, Germany, Britain, Spain, Ireland, Sweden, Iceland and others have been shown to have allowed hundreds of CIA flights to land and pass thorough their territories on route to torture facilities in countries such as Poland, Romania and beyond. Germany alone allowed 437 suspect flights to land on its territory.

Despite initial protestations by European governments against such torture and terror tactics, the US has managed to allay European fears with very little objection. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice's, statement that "As a matter of US policy, the United States obligations under the [convention] which prohibits, of course, cruel and inhumane and degrading treatment, those obligations extend to US personnel wherever they are, whether they are in the United States or outside of the United States." appears to have been accepted at face value. In subsequent statements between US and European ministers, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the meeting was "very satisfactory for all of us". Dutch Foreign Minister Ben Bot, one of those apparently most concerned by the issue, also said he was "very satisfied". With Rice having left Europe, it seems that the matter is now closed.

In view of the litany of abuse committed upon innocent people since 9/11 such as the emergence of torture prisons in Afghanistan, the scandals of Abu Ghraib, the abuse of detainees at Guantanamo Bay and the most recent admission of the use of White Phosphorous in Fallujah, does anyone believe Rice's denial? In recent days we have seen more and more evidence suggesting otherwise. If the US doesn't torture people, then why does the US have to ferry people around the world in secret flights to unknown destinations?

For Muslims worldwide, living in fear of being picked up for such renditions as well as those currently undergoing torture, the affair is far from being over. The truth of the matter is that the Americans do torture and the Europeans have actively aided them in that process. Whether this torture is carried out by US personnel or by 'friendly' regimes makes little difference to the one who is on the receiving end of such abuse. With hundreds of suspect flights passing through European airspace, were the Europeans really naive enough to believe nothing was wrong? It beggars belief that with the increased emphasis on anti-terrorism and enhanced security, any half competent civil aviation authority, let alone an intelligence agency, should have known what cargo was being flown thorough it's airspace.

The irony of these events coincided with "Human Rights Day" marked on the 10th of December. George Bush recently travelled to China, where he promised to take up the issue of Human Rights with the Chinese. With what moral authority did Bush expect to look his Chinese hosts in the eye with? The complicity of the Europeans with the Americans belies all talk of Human Rights. Whilst the West could once upon a time claim the moral high ground, this claim is now no longer sustainable. The rhetoric of Human Rights is nothing more than a crude sales pitch to sell the ruthless policies of exploitation, pillage and modern colonialism to the rest of the world.

Even people within the West are no longer immune from State sanctioned authoritarianism. Recently a British woman was convicted for simply reading out the names of 97 dead servicemen who died in the Iraq war within earshot of 10 Downing Street. The Patriot Act in the USA, the decision by the Supreme Court to allow the indefinite detention of an American citizen without charge and the passing of new 'anti-terror laws' in the UK and Australia have all put paid to that.

The West has long advocated its values and shown scorn for others. Repeatedly we see accusations that the Muslims are backward, they deny women their rights and are 'barbaric' in their call for the implementation of the Shariah. Yet what is becoming clearer is that far from respecting others cultural values, the West does not even respect its own self professed values and rules.

If the West cannot even practice its own ideological norms, how can other societies such as the Muslim world hope to follow in the West's footsteps? From disillusionment in politics to economic malpractice by corporations to the dissolving family structure and social disharmony, western society is increasingly becoming disorientated and dysfunctional at every level. The reason for this is because its ideas about life, its ideology, are failing. Increasingly, the West is no longer being seen as a solution to global problems but rather as a cause of them. The West has now become the sick man of the world.

The revelations of torture will come as no surprise to most within the Islamic world-the only surprise being that it has taken so long for people to see the lengths that western governments are prepared to go to. That the incidents of abuse and torture are rapidly coming out in the open is testimony to the growing pace of political change within the Muslim world and the increasingly desperate attempts by the West and its allies to curtail the inevitable establishment of the caliphate.