• This is a political forum that is non-biased/non-partisan and treats every persons position on topics equally. This debate forum is not aligned to any political party. In today's politics, many ideas are split between and even within all the political parties. Often we find ourselves agreeing on one platform but some topics break our mold. We are here to discuss them in a civil political debate. If this is your first visit to our political forums, be sure to check out the RULES. Registering for debate politics is necessary before posting. Register today to participate - it's free!
  • Welcome to our archives. No new posts are allowed here.

"KHALID-WHO?" (Or: "How He Was Tortured for Having A Common Name")

remove

New member
Joined
Dec 9, 2005
Messages
30
Reaction score
0
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
"KHALID-WHO?" (Or: "How He Was Tortured for Having A Common Name")
By Arlen Parsa
December 9, 2005
The Daily Background


Although it was first reported more than a year ago, most recently this story began circulating as early as the 9th of November, the story first made hundreds of Headlines starting on December 4.

Here's a rough timeline and a brief roundup of what now we know-

Khalid El-Masri, a German citizen of Lebanese decent was originally arrested by Macedonian customs officers, because the way he spells his name "Khalid El-Masri" is similar to the way that another *-Masri spells his name: Khalid Al-Masri, who is suspected of being involved in 9/11 planning and recruitment, according to the 9/11 Commission. Readers should note that both El-Masri and Al-Masri are extremely common names in some parts of the middle east, including Macedonia where El-Masri was originally apprehended.

And that's about it for the reason he was arrested. He happened to have a very common middle-eastern last name. So do I, actually, mine's Parsa (about as common and generic as say- Mr. Smith in Iran and other parts of the middle-east), and I wouldn't be at all surprised to find out there was more than one terrorist with my last name.

Not knowing what the terror suspect Khalid Al-Masri looked like, it's reasonable that had Mr. Khalid El-Masri spelled his name the same way, customs would have spent a reasonable amount of time ascertaining that he was in fact not a terror suspect. While keeping in mind that that Khalid is a very common first name and that *-Masri is a very common last name, not to mention that he had a legit German passport.

This was back in late 2003. Probably hoping to to score points in the new TWOT (... er, The War On Terror) by capturing an (albeit decidedly B-List) terror recruitment suspect (who would have been incredibly dumb to try and cross the Macedonian border at an official crossing point using a fake German passport), Macedonian customs called the CIA who in turn sent over a super-duper-double-secret "BLACK SNATCH TEAM", and it wasn't the University of South Carolina Intramural Sports 2-Win, 3-Loss Touch-Football Team of the same name either. But it might as well have been.

Apparently not asking any questions (or giving Mr El-Masri even the vaguest semblance of benefit of the doubt), the super-duper-double-secret "BLACK SNATCH TEAM" that was in charge of this government kidnapping, er... Routine Rendition whisked him away.

After two months of not making any headway in El-Masri's interrogation (which took place at an ominously named secret CIA haunt called "The Salt Pit"), the CIA began to have second-thoughts about whether or not they did in fact have a terror mastermind. He was in fact, merely a car salesman. He was in fact, an unemployed one at that- living in a single room in a German town with his wife and six kids. In February 2004, the CIA determined El-Masri's passport was in fact legit and that he was not in fact a terrorist, and that he did in fact have a wife and kids back home in Germany, and that he had in fact been telling the truth all along.

MSNBC quotes then-CIA Director George Tenet when informed of the situation as asking "You've got an innocent guy in the Salt Pit?" and then immediately said that El-Masri should be released. However, Masri (who claims he was tortured was held for weeks after Tenet ordered that he be released (according to Yosri Fouda, investigative journalist of Jazeera fame, he was held for months, not weeks). Masri describes his experience in detention in an interview with the British daily newspaper The Guardian:


"I heard the door being closed," says el-Masri. "And then they beat me from all sides, from everywhere, with hands and feet. With knives or scissors they took away my clothes. In silence. The beating, I think, was just to humiliate me, to hurt me, to make me afraid, to make me silent. They stripped me naked. I was terrified. They tried to take off my pants. I tried to stop them so they beat me again. And when I was naked I heard a camera." El-Masri breaks down as he recalls the moment when the men carried out an intrusive anal search...
El-Masri says the first of many interrogations was carried out by a masked man with a south Lebanese accent, with seven or eight silent observers in black masks listening in. "He said: 'Do you know where you are?' And I answered: 'Yes, I know, I'm in Kabul.' So he said: 'It's a country without laws. And nobody knows that you are here. Do you know what this means?'"
As it turned out, no-one did know where Masri was- including his wife who assumed that he had abandoned their family. He was released in late May. Journalist Fouda describes his release via Steve Clemons of The Washington Note:

"[he was] dumped him blind-folded in the deep forest, mountainous triangle area between Albania, Serbia and Macedonia. He had to walk out with no money, no identification.

He got to a border guard station -- and because of his inability to identify himself and because of how "outlandish" his story sounded to the border guards he met, he feared that the entire process would begin [again]..."
A year later, Condoleezza Rice may have finally offered an official apologya few days ago while on a diplomatic trip in Europe to German Chancellor Merkel. However if Rice did apologize to Merkel, as Merkel has publicly claimed- Rice certainly isn't willing to admit it.

A shocking story, no doubt. If there's a bright spot, it's that the ACLU has decided to take up his case- as of December 6th, 2005.

If there's any single dark spot however, it's that it seems El-Masri isn't alone- according to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald, which notes that the CIA is "investigating a growing number of what the agency calls 'erroneous renditions.'"
 

Bergslagstroll

DP Veteran
Joined
Jul 26, 2005
Messages
5,302
Reaction score
1,022
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
That is the big problem then you start thinkning that everything is black and white, that the terrorist are evil scums and there don't deserve any rights. Because that leads to this, that innocent people will suffer.

But if you are cynical bastard this is not a big problem so long as the guy lives in Egypt or another country people don't care about. But in this case the guy comes from a big western nation and that means bad PR for the USA. So even cynical bastards in America should start to worry about that image USA gets abroad.
 
Top Bottom