The failure of either the US Government or the relevant European states to investigate or deliver any real accountability for secret prisons opened/operated under the effective control of the CIA brings into doubt commitment to the rule of law as well as transparency. The fact that such were run as secret torture dungeons only adds to the illegality and hypocrisy associated with such operation and most critically need for some formal accountability. Romania was not the only outlaw outpost, and I can only confirm that I have received credible reports of similar operation in Bosnia & Herzegovina in the last decade. See Article in Open Society Justice Initiative by Amrit Singh Senior Legal Officer, National Security and Counterterrorism: “Time for Romania to Face Truth over Secret CIA Prisons”
Brief excerpt from Ms. Singh’s article defining how accountability was evaded and the cover-up became another lie and act of illegality as well as deception in the “Bright Light” operation: “Romania assisted the CIA in secretly flying these suspects in and out of the country, probably drugged and chained spread-eagled to the floor of the aircraft. Evidence of the secret CIA prison in Romania has been mounting since 2005. Yet, Romania has consistently denied its existence. The Foreign Ministry declared last September, after being urged to come clean by the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, that it had “no information whatsoever showing that there existed secret CIA detention centers on its territory”.A superficial Senate inquiry previously concluded years ago, in a report that seemed like an echo of the public lies of Romania’s authoritarian past, that CIA detention centers did not exist in Romania, no flights transported prisoners through Romania, and no Romanian institutions participated in the CIA programme.”
Whether Ecuador had justification to grant Julian Assange asylum or if he had real reason to fear is a discussion that cannot be fairly reviewed as long as there is no accountability/transparency for what was done covertly and apparently in contradiction to national/international laws in the name of national security. (Carl Bildt’s role as Sweden Foreign Minister only adds to suspicion of potential abuse of the extradition process once Assange would have been delivered to Sweden). Also see our Interviews with Carne Ross of Independent Diplomat on Wikileaks.
In the Name of National Security:
Should Julian Assange have sough asylum from Ecuador? Having been in similar circumstances, I prefer to carry the fight in the open and full gaze of the rule of law, regardless of how difficult it may appear at the moment. However, I will not second-guess Assange, but rather use the opportunity to ask for accountability/transparency for recent actions/programs. Washington nor Bucharest nor London can claim the high ground until there has been full accountability for the secret rendition and detentions program, including torture operated in the name of national security. Read - "Guantanamo Stories - an American Tragedy". Washington has already defined Assange as a national security risk, some political leaders even advocating violence/covert action to curtail Wikileaks. Further, as extradition is a political act rather than one based upon justice (contrary to presumption by most casual observers), there is reasonable basis to expect/demand accountability for previous actions where politics may have been deemed to trump human rights and the rule of law. See our Blog for Film: “US Blocking Access to Detainees”. Also Read:“UN Human Rights Chief: ‘Guantanamo Entrenched’”
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