Saturday, December 1, 2007, Turkish Daily News
Orhan Kemal Cengiz
A dingy, crowded room in a remote airport. Around the man in the middle whose ankles are shackled, a group of six or seven black-clad, black-gloved, black-masked men are in feverish activity. Two are gripping the man tightly. Two others with scissors in their hands are carefully cutting his clothing with unbelievable speed… Cutting off his underwear and leaving him stark naked, they place the cut clothing in a bag. The man’s mouth, ears, and crotch are inspected very thoroughly; something hard is inserted into his anus; a nappy is put on him and then new clothes. This operation, occurring in absolute silence with only the use of hand gestures, takes 15-20 minutes to complete.
This is a procedure made not only to break a person’s spirit but to make him feel humiliated. It is clear that every feature, each detail has been carefully thought through. It is an overwhelming exhibition of authority, a show every second of which is full of meaning…
I am talking about the ‘packaging’ procedure made routine by the CIA. The rendered ‘packages,’ who are abducted in the daylight, will be delivered to various places in the late hours of the night by secret crews departing on CIA airplanes, some to Guantanamo, some to be delivered to local torturers in Algeria, Morocco, or Egypt, and some to secret detention centers in Romania, Poland and Ukraine. In the small room in the airport the victims’ blindfolds were untied so they could watch the show, but they will have their eyes covered again for the entire flight; they will not drink water, they will not use the toilet, but will lie bound hand and foot on the floor of the plane…
The CIA has been at this a long time and practically every airport in Europe, including İncirlik in Adana, has been used as a transfer point for this procedure.
The procedure I am talking about may not be shocking after the inhuman images of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. We are already used to controversial methods used by U.S. servicemen.
This rendition program and secret detention programs of the CIA are no longer secret either. The EU Parliament adopted a report on CIA rendition early this year. It is unlikely, the report says, that European governments were unaware of rendition activities on their territory. It is indeed impossible to be not aware if you consider that more than 1,000 flights with stopovers in European territory took place in the last five years. In Italy and Germany some lawsuits have been brought against this practice of broad daylight kidnapping. And from Europe’s other capitals, news is emerging of prosecutors preparing cases against the blatant kidnapping of people by CIA agents.
Giovanni Claudio Fava, who prepared the CIA report certified by the European Parliament, says the report ‘doesn’t allow anyone to look the other way. We must be vigilant that what has been happening in the past five years may never happen again.’
I said earlier in this column that the methods applied by the United States in the name of the struggle against terror have the potential to create more terror and terrorists. Terrorism, especially its modern and post-modern forms feed from the feelings of injustice and repression. The United States with every illegitimate step it took fed these feelings. This rendition program also shows us that the U.S. is not alone in creating these feelings and unfortunately has European partners.
Illegal methods, methods that counter basic human rights lead us nowhere, on the contrary they have fed terror and terrorists. These are the lessons that any reasonable person can draw from history.
I hope that Mr. Fava is right in saying that EU countries would not turn a blind eye to the matter any longer; I hope the trial in Milan against the CIA rendition will lead somewhere. I hope that, Turkey included, no country will close their eyes to this modern banditry any more. All this hoping and wishing is not for these victims of inhumanity alone, at the same time it is for the American people who suffered as victims on Sept. 11.
As Martin Luther King said ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ It is high time to take seriously the injustice created in the name of the struggle against terror!