Rendition, lying and corruption — updated 12 June

11 Jun

Corruption? Yes, at least in senses 1 and 2 below:

1. lacking in integrity; “humanity they knew to be corrupt…from the day of Adam’s creation”; “a corrupt and incompetent city government” [ant: incorrupt]
2. not straight; dishonest or immoral or evasive [syn: crooked] [ant: square]
3. containing errors or alterations; “a corrupt text”; “spoke a corrupted version of the language”
4. touched by rot or decay; “tainted bacon”; “‘corrupt’ is archaic”

This is not to say the more obvious connotations of bribery and venality apply.

I have of course just watched Ghost Prisoners on Four Corners. After the parade of lies I saw there — as we all saw if we were watching it here in Australia and as you all will on that site now — there is no doubt at all that the word “corrupt” applies to the Australian government in this matter, even allowing for the exigencies of war. On this ground alone the Australian government should be thrown out of office as soon as possible.

And not only them.

That comes from Kurt Nimmo in the USA. I don’t always agree with him, and he really needs a spam catcher, but the November 2006 entry that picture links to was borne out in spades on tonight’s Four Corners.

Remember when rendition did not have sense 3 below? Orwell, eat your heart out.

noun: 1. a performance of a musical composition or a dramatic role etc.; “they heard a live rendition of three pieces by Schubert”
2. an explanation of something that is not immediately obvious; “the edict was subject to many interpretations”; “he annoyed us with his interpreting of parables”; “often imitations are extended to provide a more accurate rendition of the child’s intended meaning” [syn: interpretation]
3. handing over prisoners to countries where torture is allowed
4. the act of interpreting something as expressed in an artistic performance; “her rendition of Milton’s verse was extraordinarily moving”

Destroying our own integrity, betraying our own values, and gaining practically nothing from the whole abominable practice, which began, it was revealed, in CIA circles in a smaller way as far back as 1995: that’s the message I have taken from Four Corners, that and the hypocrisy of our own government.

You don’t even have to be a fan of Mamdouh Habib to come to that conclusion. Watch the program or read the transcript.

…SALLY NEIGHBOUR: For the entire six months of Habib’s detention in Egypt, and ever since then, the Australian Government has disavowed any knowledge of his rendition and claimed his presence there was never confirmed by the Egyptian authorities.

But a paper trail of Government cables and other documents, many of them marked “secret” but released under Freedom of Information, shows that within days of his transfer, the Government was “aware that Habib was in Egypt”, and “in the custody of an Egyptian agency”.

(On screen text: “the Australian Government is aware that Mr Habib is in Egypt, and is in the custody of an Egyptian Agency.”)

This unequivocal statement stands in stark contrast to the years of duplicity and dissembling that followed.

(Excerpt from “Sunday” program, 13 February 2005):

ALEXANDER DOWNER, FOREIGN MINISTER: The Egyptians have at no time acknowledged that they did actually detain Habib, though we for a long time believe that they did, did detain him to the extent that when he was, we believe, in Egypt, and we know from what Habib said that he was in Egypt, our Ambassador raised his welfare and the fact that we thought the Egyptians had him with the Egyptian Prime Minister and other ministers and officials.

LAURIE OAKES, INTERVIEWER: Did we raise it with the US who took him there? In effect abducted him from Pakistan to send him there?

ALEXANDER DOWNER, FOREIGN MINISTER: Well, I don’t have all – I don’t have all the details of that. I don’t have any evidence that the Americans took him there. To the best of my knowledge the Pakistan …

LAURIE OAKES, INTERVIEWER: Well, he didn’t walk.

ALEXANDER DOWNER, FOREIGN MINISTER: Well, he went from Pakistan to Egypt. There are a lot of different ways you can get from Pakistan to Egypt.

(End of excerpt)…

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: In February 2002, three months after Habib’s rendition, two ASIO agents travelled to Egypt and discussed Habib’s presence there with Egyptian intelligence.

Afterwards, on the strength of this discussion, DFAT wrote to Habib’s wife Maha saying it had obtained “credible advice” that Habib was “well and being treated well”.

(On screen text: “credible advice”, “well and being treated well”)

Yet even after this, the Government continued to insist it didn’t know that he was there.

(Excerpt from “Dateline”, 9 March 2005):

PHILIP RUDDOCK, FEDERAL ATTORNEY GENERAL: We were seeking access to him, if he was there. It was never obtained, and I think that’s the end of the matter. We have no knowledge of him being there.

PROFESSOR JOE MARGULIES, LAWYER FOR GUANTANAMO DETAINEES: Wait, they never confirmed he was there but they said he was well?

SALLY NEIGHBOUR (to Joe Margulies): Yeah, that’s right.

PROFESSOR JOE MARGULIES, LAWYER FOR GUANTANAMO DETAINEES: I see. He’s not there, but if he’s there he’s being treated well.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR (to Joe Margulies): Yeah.


SALLY NEIGHBOUR (to Joe Margulies): You don’t believe it?

PROFESSOR JOE MARGULIES, LAWYER FOR GUANTANAMO DETAINEES: I don’t. The suggestion that they would not know and the absurd suggestion that they would not know but they hear he’s doing well and that we should accept that is offensive…

Ruddock, Downer and others seem to have been modelling themselves on Sergeant Schultz.

Schultz: I see nothing. I know nothing.

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Posted by on June 11, 2007 in Aussie interest, Current affairs, Politics


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