A Voice from Civilization

The headline is far too tame: New Swedish Documents Illuminate CIA Action. Here's the real meat regarding Sweden's new report an an extraordinary rendition conducted by the US CIA which removed an Egyptian national from Sweden to Egypt (chained to a mattress no less):

… in Sweden a parliamentary investigator who conducted a 10-month probe … recently concluded that the CIA operatives violated Swedish law by subjecting the prisoners to “degrading and inhuman treatment” and by exercising police powers on Swedish soil.

“Should Swedish officers have taken those measures, I would have prosecuted them without hesitation for the misuse of public power and probably would have asked for a prison sentence,” the investigator, Mats Melin, said in an interview. He said he could not charge the CIA operatives because he was authorized to investigate only Swedish government officials, but he did not rule out the possibility that other Swedish prosecutors could do so.

Swedish security police said they were taken aback by the swiftness and precision of the CIA agents that night. Investigators concluded that the Swedes essentially stood aside and let the Americans take control of the operation, moving silently and communicating with hand signals, the documents show.

“I can say that we were surprised when a crew stepped out of the plane that seemed to be very professional, that had obviously done this before,” Arne Andersson, an assistant director for the Swedish national security police, told government investigators.

Yes, the US is very experienced in barbarity these days.

The two Egyptians later told lawyers, relatives and Swedish diplomats that they were subjected to electric shocks and other forms of torture soon after their forced return to their country.

Which was, of course, the point of the whole exercise.

Note that the two men had applied for asylum, but been refused, and were subject to an expulsion order.

Swedish security police wanted to arrest the men and put them on a flight to Cairo immediately to avoid giving their lawyers a chance to file an emergency appeal in court.

Swedish government ministers hastily scheduled a meeting for Dec. 18, 2001, to formally approve the expulsion. But the security police were unable to charter a flight to take the Egyptians to Cairo until the next morning. Police officials, worried about an overnight delay, turned to the CIA for help, according to the documents.

I'm sure there's a Swedish fable about getting help from ogres or something.

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4 Responses to A Voice from Civilization

  1. hmm says:

    “Yes, the US is very experienced in barbarity these days.”

    A knee-jerk comment, I am sure. I don’t know that one investigator “concluding” that CIA agents violated Swedish law is meaningful. On what does he base his conclusion, given that he admits that most of the information is classified? What agreement was there between the Swedish gov’t and ours? Does anyone think that these were loose-cannons out on their own lark, or without the knowledge/approval of the Swedish gov’t? (at least, with the relevant person(s) in gov’t). This sounds like a Fort Bragg-type takedown, maybe Rangers. Who knows? We don’t know who did the arrest, or why, or on whose authority, or what reasons they had. We have no information. I support a critical view of governmental exercise of power, but certainly there are circumstances where seizing a person in this manner is appropriate. Searching them, securing them physically, etc. Obviously there was some information that convinded the Swedish officials to agree to the operation. As to what happened afterwards, what evidence is there that these men were subjected to electic shocks or other torture?

  2. michael says:

    As to what happened afterwards, what evidence is there that these men were subjected to elect[r]ic shocks or other torture?

    Well, there’s more evidence for that than there is for your existence, since the people making that accusation used their real names…

  3. otto says:

    The Post article reads:

    “The basic facts of the Stockholm rendition were reported last year; this article is based on newly released documents from the parliamentary probe that provide elaborate details about an operation that normally unfolds entirely out of public view and about the government deliberations that preceded it.”

    Does anyone know if the “newly released documents” are available anywhere?



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