Outlawed – An Important Message

Here is the link to the full length (27 minutes) video of Outlawed, produced in association with 14 different organisations including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Amnesty International and (in a strange combination) the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA. To quote the press release from the Human Rights educational organisation Breakthrough.tv

Breakthrough is very excited to partner with Witness on the film, Outlawed: Extraordinary Rendition, Torture, and Disappearances in the “War on Terror.” This film is a subset of our ongoing “Value Families” campaign on detentions and deportations.

Extraordinary Rendition is a United States government sponsored program, in which numerous persons have been illegally detained and secretly flown to third countries, where they have suffered additional human rights abuses including torture and enforced disappearance. The families and communities are deprived of any information about the missing persons. No one knows the exact number of persons affected, due to the secrecy under which the operations are being handled. In carrying out extraordinary renditions, the US government and participating European governments are in violation of their international human rights obligations.

“Outlawed” tells the stories of Khaled El-Masri and Binyam Mohamed, two men who have survived extraordinary rendition, secret detention, and torture by the U.S. government and various other governments worldwide. It features pertinent commentary from Louise Arbour, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, U.S. President George W. Bush, Michael Scheuer, the chief architect of the rendition program and former head of the Osama Bin Laden unit at the CIA, and Condoleezza Rice, the U.S. Secretary of State.

I encourage you to take the time to watch the film. Take the time to understand that behind the phrases spin doctored talking-points ‘extraordinary rendition’, ‘secret detention’ and ‘enemy combatants,’ there are real faces, real lives, real existences. This film illustrates those issues in an extremely powerful but ultimately almost unemotional manner.

Here are a couple of excerpts I found particularly interesting.

Condoleezza Rice

The United States has not transferred anyone and will not transfer anyone to a country where we believe he will be tortured. Where appropriate, the United States seeks assurances that transferred persons will not be tortured.

Khaled El-Masri , quoting from his ‘Pakistani’ guard. A man al-Masari says had a Lebanese accent.

You are in a county without laws. Do you know what that means? We can imprison you for 20 years…or bury you; nobody would know.

George W. Bush

We do not condone torture, I have never ordered torture. I will never order torture. The values of this country are such that torture is not a part of our soul and our being.

Bill Clinton

I did not have sexual relations with that woman! [Oops! Sorry, wrong film.]

Condoleezza Rice

International law allows a state to detain enemy combatants for the duration of the hostilities. The US does not seek to hold anyone for a period that beyond what is necessary to evaluate the intelligence or other evidence against them, prevent further acts of terrorism or hold them for legal proceedings.

Khaled El-Masri

I will continue to fight for this case until we succeed or until I die. For morality, for principles for values, This cannot continue.

Khaled El-Masri’s lawsuit against former CIA director George Tenet and others was dismissed in May 2006 because the government claimed the trial could reveal information which would threaten national security. El-Masri’s attorneys have appealed this decision. From yesterday’s Washington Post,

ACLU lawyer Ben Wizner told the court in Richmond Tuesday that el-Masri was “the public face of a publicly acknowledged program.” Since the basics of the rendition program already are common knowledge, he argued, the lawsuit could be considered without exposing state secrets.

Greg Katsis, a lawyer for the U.S. Department of Justice, argued that the government properly invoked its state secrets privilege to protect information outlined in a classified affidavit that Judge T.S. Ellis III read before dismissing the lawsuit

El-Masri’s allegations also are the subject of a German parliamentary investigation that is trying to clarify when German government officials became aware of el-Masri’s case and whether German security services participated in interrogations in Afghanistan.

The appeals court usually takes several weeks to issue its ruling.


1 comment so far

  1. Anomalous Data on

    Expedience and right.

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