GoogleIt Mail IT Print IT PermaLinkThe CIA's Gulag
08:15:00 AM
Written By : Richard SchwartzCategory : News And Comment
Location : Nashua, NH

What can I say? It's problematic enough that the CIA is running a secret prison system at all, but to be using former Soviet prisons reeks of offensiveness at every level. Mid-term elections can't come soon enough. 2008 can't come soon enough. Someone has to draw a line in the sand and say "America doesn't do this", and hopefully that started yesterday, but why has it taken so long for the opposition to get their act together?

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Comments :v

1. Wild Bill11/02/2005 09:09:21 AM

Have you not heard about "CIA Airlines" ?

---* Bill

2. Richard Schwartz11/02/2005 09:33:55 AM

Yes, I have heard of "extraordinary rendition". But that's small potatoes, involving a relatively small number of prisoners. In comparison, running a chain of secret prisons that obey no laws and answer to no one... that's a much larger problem IMHO.

3. Alan Bell11/02/2005 03:49:44 PM

the CIA airlines thing is hitting the headlines in the UK now. Apparently it has been refueling on British soil, they are calling it the torture plane, and some MPs are calling for the police to board it as they would for a plane full of drugs.
The secret prison network is pretty grim, it might be full of nasty people, but with no oversight or due process it might be full of ordinary people who got swept up by the village load along with some nasty folk.

4. Bruce Perry11/02/2005 05:11:57 PM

No wonder the Republicans got so upset when Guantanamo (sp?) was called a gulag. We hadn't found their real gulag yet.

5. Jon Johnston11/03/2005 12:21:49 AM

It's taken so long because there's been no opposition, Rich. Only now that Bush's ratings have dropped so low has the so-called opposition appeared, and that's only because it's politically expedient for them to do so.
Apparently everyone thought this was a necessary evil. Maybe it is, even though we'd all rather not admit it. I'd prefer to believe that we could do better without it, and that the US doesn't need it to succeed.
If the Democrats hearings on Iraq intelligence yield information that shows we were purposefully misled, don't they look as stupid as the Republicans? They went along with it, and in order for us to believe that it was one-sided, we'll all have to believe that they're complete idiots. That intelligence committees are made up of members of only one side.

There's no moral high ground in Washington on either side. That's sad because it reflects of lack of leadership on account of everyone. I'm as conservative as anyone, but one thing I do know that we need is a strong Democratic party. A strong opposing voice. It isn't there. I hope this changes for the better of everyone.

6. Richard Schwartz11/03/2005 09:55:51 AM

@Jon: true. The opposition has been behaving like a deer in the headlights. This is partly due to the natural post-911 deference and solidarity that they reflexively (and properly) showed, partly due to the skill of GOP operatives at bashing down any dissent as unpatriotic (the very name "USA Patriot Act" just scratches the surface of how skillfully the GOP played 911) but a large part of it is that they were totally shocked by the fact that they lost the last two elections, unable to agree on a strategy for going forward, find unable to find a spine.

7. Bruce Perry11/03/2005 05:28:51 PM

@Jon: I don't think that stupidity alone is an adequate explanation of the intelligence problems that happened leading up to the war. Your average congresscritter doesn't have a background in military intelligence. They have to have some degree of trust that the information they're being given to do their oversight work is good. Colin Powell went to the UN and made some very scary claims. Faced with many similar claims and the demands of constituents for security, one would have to be extremely certain that the administration was wrong to oppose demands for action.

There's already considerable evidence that Cheney's team worked outside the normal intelligence groups and guidelines for review. Information, even of dubious provenance, that supported their ideas went straight to the top. Information that did not was ignored. Skeptics were ignored, harrassed into retirement, or demoted. We need to know exactly what happened so that we don't make this mistake again.

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