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Israel's Very Dangerous Gamble

STEPHEN GREEN reports on the real motivations behind Israel's MISSILE STRIKE on SYRIA. PETER MONTAGUE on the NUCLEAR RENAISSANCE or How the Nuke Industry is using Gore's Prize and Global Warming to Plot Its Big Comeback. WILLIAM BLUM on the DEVALUING of "ANTI-SEMITE" or How to Make a Term Meaningless. Get your copy today by subscribing online or calling 1-800-840-3683 Remember contributions to CounterPunch are tax-deductible. Click here to make a donation. If you find our site useful please: Subscribe Now

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"Imperial Crusades: a Diary of Three Wars" by Cockburn and St. Clair

Academy Award Winning Documentary Film-maker Corinne Marrinan in Portland!

Today's Stories

October 20 / 21, 2007

Alexander Cockburn
The Man Who Builds Hillaryworld

October 19, 2007

John Ross
Che's Mexican Legacy

Sheldon Rampton
Shared Values Revisited: a Case Study in the Limits of Propaganda

Rahul Mahajan
A Tale of Two Atrocities: Blackwater and Haditha

Devra Davis
Deadly Secrets: Chemical Pollution and Cancer

Christopher Brauchli
Blasphemous Science

Wadner Pierre
Haiti After the Deluge

Bill Quigley
Jailed for Justice

Website of the Day
Textbook Sticker Shock

 

October 18, 2007

Saree Makdisi
Academic Freedom is at Risk

Meg Dwyer
What I Learned from 9/11: Who Wouldn't Want Us Dead?

Alevtina Rea
Sketches of Russian Life

Norman Solomon
The United States of Violence

Kristoffer Larsson
Something is Rotten in Sweden

Harvey Wasserman
Nukes are Back and So are We

Website of the Day
Eve Ensler: "A Filibuster Would Stop This War"

 

October 17, 2007

Steve Niva
Counter-Insurgency, American-Style

Andy Worthington
The Case of Mohamed Jawad

Alan Farago
The Credit Shock

Russell Mokhiber
The New Billionaire-Criminal Class

Sharon Smith
Democrats, AWOL When It Mattered

Mike Whitney
Time for the Banks to Face the Hangman

Robert Fantina
Iraq, Iran and the US: Business as Usual

Chris Irwin
Where Have All the Rednecks Gone?

Website of the Day
Sex Ed at Oral Roberts University

October 16, 2007

Peter Linebaugh
Doris Lessing and the Dynamite Prize

Paul Findley
Follow the Leader: The Open Secret About the Israel Lobby

Robert Bryce
Inconvenient Corrections: Al Gore's Wacky Facts

Uri Avnery
The Mother of All Pretexts

Paul Craig Roberts
The Iraqi Genocide

Ray McGovern
What Did Nancy Pelosi Know About NSA Spying and When Did She Know It?

Norman Solomon
The Pro-War Undertow of the Blackwater Scandal

Martha Rosenberg
The Curse of Cymbalta

William S. Lind
Out of the Frying Pan

Joel S. Hirschborn
Time to Boycott Voting

Website of the Day
Pipeline Through Paradise: Big Oil's Arctic Play

 

October 15, 2007

Gary Leupp
Response to an Angry Marine

Andy Worthington
A Gitmo Detainee Finally Gets a Break

Heather Gray
Al Krebs, a Fighter for Family Farmers

John Walsh
Blacks Turn Against the War: Why Won't Liberals Join Them?

Joshua Frank
Nobel Gore?

Dave Lindorff
Slaughter of the Innocents in Iraq

Matt Vidal
Squaring the Circle on Children and Health Care

Ali Khan
Pakistan's Constitutional Mess

Sen. Russ Feingold
The CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program

Johnny Barber
The Balm of a Peace Process Infuses the War on Terror

Website of the Day
The Real Gore

October 13 / 14, 2007

Alexander Cockburn
Al Gore's Peace Prize

Wajahat Ali
Privatizing Terror, Outsourcing Diplomacy: an Interview with P. W. Singer

Jeffrey St. Clair
A Half Mile of Hell

Ralph Nader
Impeachment, Cowardice and the Democrats

David Heleniak
Gitmo at Home

Laura Carlsen
Plan Mexico and the Billion Dollar Drug Deal

Brian Cloughley
The Flat Drug World

Richard Rhames
Here Come the "Bankrupted Social Security" Scamsters, Again

Ron Jacobs
For the Sake of a Future

Fred Gardner
The Overrated Importance of Being "On Message"

John Ross
The Betray Us Flap

Russell Hoffman
Another Pro Nuker Wins the Peace Prize

Missy Beattie
Will Someone Please Give Lou Dobbs a Lobotomy?

Poets' Basement
Gibbons, Buknatski and Ford

Website of the Day
"Psychokiller", the Blackwater Version


October 12, 2007

Cindy Sheehan
Leadership Void

Brendan Cooney
Washington's Holocaust Deniers

Alan Farago
Gore Still Lost Florida

Jan Oberg
Gore's Peace Prize, a Grand Misjudgment

M. Shahid Alam
The Mercenary State: Pakistan's Killer Elites

David Macaray
Lies About Teachers and Unions

Julia Kendlbacher
Urban Legend, We Love Our Forest People

Peter Rost, MD
Drug Money and the Clinton Campaign

Website of the Day
Nader Live: "Things are a Lot Worse Than We Thought"


October 11, 2007

Al Giordano
Bill Clinton as Ambassador to the World?

Saul Landau
Killing for Profit: Blackwater in Iraq

Jacob G. Hornberger
The Failed Legacy of Interventionism

William S. Lind
The Iraq Mirage

Joshua Frank
Big Sky Rebels

Josh Mahan
Colorado River Blues

Pat Williams
Where Are You, Paul Wellstone?

 

 

October 10, 2007

Michael Yates
Travels Across Greenspan's America

Gary Leupp
Spreading Awareness or Smearing a Religion?

David Macaray
How Wal-Mart Can be Beaten

Alan Farago
Corruption and the Law of Intended Consequences

Tom Clifford
Homeless in Their Own Land: Iraq's Deepening Refugee Crisis

Col. Douglas MacGregor
Washington's War

Sunsara Taylor
Nooses at Columbia

George Wuerthner
Behind the Bovine Curtain

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
Indigenous Peoples' Day

Michael Dickinson
Forgetting Lennon's Birthday

Website of the Day
Paying for War

 

October 9, 2007

Paul Craig Roberts
Blinded by Ideology: Cato, Trade and Outsourcing

Andy Worthington
Fourth Whistleblower Rocks Guantánamo

Alan Farago
The Fall of Florida's Largest Land Developer

Brian Eno
Exporting Democracy with Missiles

David Rovics
The RIAA vs. the World

Farzana Versey
Two Lovers and the Funeral of Secularism

Andrew Buncombe
and Omar Waraich
Musharraf's Landslide

Website of the Day
Romney and the Wheelchair Bound Medical Marijuana Patient

 

October 8, 2007

David Macaray
Lesbians for Hillary? or Teamsters for Hillary?

Jeff Ballinger
Nike, Steroids and Marion Jones

Brian Eno
This Ban Won't Stop Us

Christopher Brauchli
Translating Bush

Louay Safi
End the Disgrace of Guantánamo

Matt Reichel
Homocide by Cops at the Phoenix Airport

Dave Lindorff
Finally, A Good Day for the Constitution

Thomas P. Healy
The Politics of Mercury Pollution

Martha Rosenberg
E. Coli Spreading Slaughter Allowed to Stay Open

Richard Rhames
A Democrat's Lament

Website of the Day
Not All Italians Love Columbus

 

October 6 / 7, 2007

Alexander Cockburn
A Rainbow Over a Graveyard

Norman Finkelstein
Jeffrey Goldberg's Prison

James Bovard
Are Presidents Entitled to Kill Foreigners?

Patrick Cockburn
The Invasion of Afghanistan, Six Years Later

Jeffrey St. Clair
At Disaster Falls

Ralph Nader
Where Are the Lawyers of America?

Ray McGovern
So Who's Afraid of the Israel Lobby?

Saul Landau
A River Runs Through It

Ben Tripp
Bring on the Next War!

Terry Lodge
The Grateful Dead Body Parts Delivered to Your Door Reform Act

Seth Sandronsky
Market Mystification and the Liberal Virus

Kevin Funk / Steve Fake
Divestment and Darfur

Missy Beattie
In the Custody of Bush and Cheney

Website of the Weekend
Snoop Dogg vs. Bill O'Reilly

 

October 5, 2007

Andy Worthington
The Anonymous Victims of Guantánamo

David Macaray
De-Skilling America's Labor Force

Lee Sustar
The Democrats and Iran: Can They Sink Any Lower?

Dan La Botz
Cincinnati Six Years After the Killings and the Riots

Aaron Hess
Hate Week Comes to Campus

William A. Cook
Unmasking AIPAC

Website of the Day
Range of Memory

 

October 4, 2007

Uri Avnery
The Power of the Israel Lobby

Dave Marsh
Dick Cheney, a Eulogy

Valerio Volpi
How Italy Became a Launching Pad for the US Military

Cecilie Surasky
Dissenting at Your Own Risk

Dave Lindorff
Remaking Iraq, as Vietnam

Norman Solomon
Sputnik, 50 Years Later

Laura Carlsen
Costa Rica and CAFTA: Memo Reveals Manipulation Scheme

Walter Brasch
When Compassion Fails: Bush and the Children's Health Act

Ben Terrall
Haitian Human Rights Advocate Kidnapped

William S. Lind
Beyond the OODA Loop

Website of the Day
Musicians in Handcuffs

 

October 3, 2007

Vijay Prashad
Gang of Four

Anita Sinha
Black Ties and Bulldozers in New Orleans

Winslow T. Wheeler
Posturing at the Petraeus Hearings: Where was the Oversight?

Sharon Smith
The Kucinich Quandary

Jeff Leys
Our Bonhoeffer Moment

Sen. Russ Feingold
We Must End This Tragedy

Mohamad Bazzi
Playing Into the Hands of Ahmadinejad

Brenda Norrell
A Cry from the Top of the World

Robert Weissman
No Sex, Still a Scandal at the IMF

Website of the Day
Jena by Mellencamp

 

October 2, 2007

Ibrahim Warde
Logical Lies About Bin Laden's Wealth

Gary Leupp
"I Hate All Iranians": Frank Talk from a Defense Dept. Official

David Macaray
The Hunt for a Blue November: In Pursuit of the Labor Vote

Conn Hallinan
Religion and Foreign Policy

John Ross
The Great American Chess Match

Alan Farago
Ripping Off Miami's Poor

Sonja Karkar
The Right to Exist: States or People?

Niranjan Ramakrishnan
The Meteor and the Mahatma

Website of the Day
Grandin on Che's Legacy

 

October 1, 2007

Al Giordano
The Clinton Campaign's Reckless Race for Big Money Donors

Paul Craig Roberts
From Burma to Iraq: Hypocrisy Rules the West

Moshe Adler
The Crimes of Microsoft

Ingmar Lee
My Kayak Journey Down the Wild Pacific Coast

John V. Walsh
Ahmadinejad is Not My Enemy

Norman Solomon
Political Science and Truth of Consequences

Roger Burbach
Historic Victory in Ecuador for the Left

Ramzy Baroud
The Politics of Assassination

Stephen Lendman
The Maestro of Misery: Greenspan's Dark Legacy

Susie Day
Honey, I Shrank the Military!

Website of the Day
Letters from Fort Lewis Brig

 

September 29 / 30, 2007

Alexander Cockburn
Clinton Time: Do We Set Our Clocks Forward or Back?

Uri Avnery
So What About Iran?

Andrew Cockburn
Iraq's WMD Myth: Why Clinton is Culpable

Jeffrey St. Clair
Through the Gates of Lodore

Wajahat Ali
The Good, the Bad and the Iraqi

Andy Worthington
The Curse of the Military Commissions

Don Santina
Ethnic Cleansing in San Francisco

Ralph Nader
Free Lunches, for Corporations!

Fred Gardner
The Man Behind the MoveOn Ad

Seth Sandronsky
The US Economy Since 1980

Gideon Levy
The Children of 5767

William S. Lind
A Ticking Bomb

Reza Fiyouzat
An Anti-Imperialist Case Against a Nuclear Iran

Richard Rhames
Wag the Tail, Frag the Dog

David Michael Green
Buyer's Remorse: Their Purchase, Our Regret

Zach Mason
Hate and Hope in Herndon

Poets' Basement
Gibbons, Ali, Davies and Suss

Website of the Weekend
Domestic Crusaders

 

 

September 28, 2007

Kathleen and Bill Christison
The Teflon Alliance with Israel

Roberto J. González /
David H. Price

When Anthropologists Become Counter-Insurgents

Saul Landau
September, the Cruelest Month in Chile

Tom Clifford
Burma by the Numbers

Christopher Brauchli
Of Toxic Almonds and Bad Beef

Martha Rosenberg
Spinning Suicide Statistics

Dave Zirin
Soldier in Winter: John Carlos Speaks Out on the Jena 6

Laray Polk
Bush Library or Lockbox?

Binoy Kampmark
When Reagan Turned Brown

James McEnteer
Hell, Columbia: an Academic Hotshot Introduces a Petty Tyrant

Website of the Day
Concerned Anthropologists

 

September 27, 2007

Alan Farago
Housing Market Crashes and Burns

Andy Worthington
A Bad Week at Guantánamo

Jonathan Cook
Why Did Israel Attack Syria?

William Hughes
Billy Graham, a Prince of War Exposed

Ray McGovern
Bush, Oil and Moral Bankruptcy

Ron Jacobs
Joe Biden's Plan to Chop Up Iraq

Dave Lindorff
Quit the Party! Join the Mass Resignation Movement!

Joshua Frank
Pruning the Green Party

Anne Dachel
The CDC, Vaccines and Autism

Website of the Day
The God-O-Meter

 


September 26, 2007

Bill Quigley
HUD's Home Wreckers

Paul Craig Roberts
A Pandemic of Police Brutality

Jeff Kisseloff
Still Smearing Alger Hiss

China Hand
Is China the True Target of Financial Sanctions Against Iran?

Behzad Yaghmaian
At the Gates of Paradise

Sonja Karkar
The Quality of Mercy in Gaza

Mike Ferner
Interrupting the Empire, 30 Seconds at a Time

Col. Dan Smith
Freedom to Speak, Freedom to Learn

Clifton Ross
Bollinger's Barbarous and Ignorant Speech

Brenda Norrell
A Meeting of Indigenous Peoples in Caracas

Website of the Day
The Smearing of Jean Maria Arrigo, a Psychologist Opposed to Torture

 

September 25, 2007

Nicole Colson
On the March Against Racism

Uri Avnery
Foam on the Water

Brendan Cooney
Ahmadinejad on Broadway: Free Speech? Arrest Him!

Harry Browne
Bruce Springsteen Comes Home ... to Hell

Marjorie Cohn
The Drift Toward War with Iran

David Macaray
The UAW-GM Strike: the Long Knives are Already Out

Ralph Nader
Hypocrisy and Inverted Priorities in Congress

Dan Bacher
Schwarzenegger, the Climate Change Hypocrite

Anthony Papa
Perverted Justice & America's Drug Laws

Christopher Ketcham
All Politicos Now Classed as Sexual Deviants

Website of the Day
John Waters on Free Speech

 

September 24, 2007

George Ciccariello-Maher
Racist Violence from Jena to Oakland

Saree Makdisi
The War on Gaza's Children

David Keen
Action-as-Propaganda: Learning About the Iraq War from Hannah Arendt

Sherwood Ross
Just How Powerful is the Israel Lobby? Only Cheney Knows for Sure

Ron Jacobs
Greenspan's Open Secret

Donna Saggia
The Cult of the Military and the Decline of Democratic Values

Mike Ferner
Free Speech Takes a Capitol Beating

Malini Johar Schueller
Norman Hsu is a Model Minority

Monique Dols
and Dylan Stillwood
Ahmadinejad and Columbia

Website of the Day
The Promotion


September 22 / 23, 2007

Alexander Cockburn
On Naomi Klein's "The Shock Doctrine"

Jennifer Loewenstein
Beneath the Hideous Veneer of Security

Linn Washington, Jr.
The Injustice in Jena: Prosecutorial Misconduct More Dangerous Than Racism

Jeffrey St. Clair
Going Down in Dinosaur: Oil, Dams and Whitewater (Part One)

Alan Farago
Genuflecting to China

Brian Cloughley
Of Hate, Hubris and Atrocities

Robert Fantina
The Deadly Pattern of US Imperialism

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
Land Tenure and Resistance in New Mexico

Jason Hribal
Fear of an Animal Planet

David Rosen
Slugger Sex: Athletes, Violence and Male Sexuality

Mike Whitney
The Era of Global Financial Instability

John V. Walsh
Who Will Lead a Filibuster of the Iraq War Spending Bill?

Dave Lindorff
Why Aren't We Banning Blackwater Here?

David Michael Green
Hiding Behind a Camouflage Skirt

Fred Gardner
Claudia Jensen (Look Back in Anger)

Cassandra Jones
Support Our Mercenaries

Roger van Zwanenberg
Pluto Press Under Attack by Israel Lobby

Poets' Basement
Buknatski, Davies and Ford

Website of the Weekend
"For the Bible Tells Me So"

 

September 21, 2007

Karim Makdisi
Letter from Lebanon

M. Shahid Alam
A History of Violence

Alan Farago
Who Will Buy My House?

Joshua Frank
The Demise of the Congressional Black Caucus

Dave Zirin
Notre Dame and the Economy of Sports

Kenneth Couesbouc
A Short History of Lending and Borrowing

Dr. Steffie Woolhandler and Dr. David Himmelstein
Mass Health Care Failure

Ben Terrall
The Streets of San Francisco: Where Impeachment is Taken Seriously--By Everyone But Pelosi

Steve Fournier
Ex-Dems, Sign Up Here

Frederico Fuentes, et al
Voices in Defense of Bolivia

Website of the Day
Sabra and Shatila, Remembered

 

September 20, 2007

Kathleen Christison
Whatever Happened to Palestine?

Zoltan Grossman
An Endless Occupation?

Paul Craig Roberts
As the Empire Slips: Greenspan and the Economy of Greed

Stan Cox
and Wes Jackson
Carbon-Free and Still Wrecking the Planet

Russell Mokhiber
AARP to Kucinich: Drop Dead

Charles Modiano
Jim Crow's Children: the Jena 6, Shaquanda Cotton and Blog Power

Raymond J. Lawrence
Bush's Worrisome Use of Religion

Brendan Cooney
Body-Snatched Nation

Website of the Day
Mind Control for Breakfast

 

September 19, 2007

Paul Craig Roberts
Why Did Senator John Kerry Stand Idly By?

Paul Krassner
The Power of Laughter

Sgt. Martin Smith
The New Private Warriors: Blackwater in Iraq

Seth Sandronsky
Living in a Dilapidated Market: To Rent or Own?

Claud Cockburn
Looking back at the Great Crash

Victoria Buch
Israel's Agenda for Ethnic Cleansing and Transfer

Robert Weissman
Oil Warriors: From Greenspan to Kissinger

Mike Ferner
Can We Talk?

Dan Bacher
Schwarzenegger's $9 Billion Boondoggle for Big Water

Website of the Day
Housing Cost Calculator

 

September 18, 2007

Mike Whitney
U.S. Banks Brace for Storm Surge as Dollar and Credit System Reel

Alan Farago
Interviewing Alan Greenspan: How 60 Minutes Blew It

John Ross
America's Great Wall:
Where Will the Workers Go
When They Finish It?

Ron Jacobs
Nooses Hung From Jena, La. to College Park, Md.

Alex Doherty
Britain's 9/11 "Truth Movement": Who's Responsible?

September 17, 2007

Marjorie Cohn
Erwin Chemerinsky and the Post-9/11 Attack on Academic Freedom

Paul Craig Roberts
Conservatism Isn't What It Used to Be

Ricardo Alarcón
The Return of C. Wright Mills Amid the Dawn of a New Era

Marc Levy
Fake Vets Chasing Fame

Eva Liddell
In 1969 We Already Knew What 2007 Would Look Like

Website of the Day
Propaganda: Your Job in Germany. Directed by Frank Capra, and written by Theodor Geisel

Sept. 15-16, 2007

Alexander Cockburn
The General Came to Washington

Vicente Navarro
How the U.S. Schemed Against Spain's Transition from Dictatorship to Democracy

Mike Whitney
Plummeting Dollar, Credit Crunch

Herman Mindshaftgap
Has There Ever Been a Surge? If so, Has it a Future?

Ellen Cantarow
Girls! Music! Palestine!

Jordan Flaherty
K-Ville: Fox's New Paean to the N.O.P.D.

Zachary Hurwitz
Julio Cusurichi on Amazonian Development

September 14, 2007

Debbie Nathan
New York Times reporter was a member of an illegal underage porn site, claims he was only "posing as online predator"

Franklin Lamb
Sabra-Shatilla, 25 Years Later

Patrick Cockburn
Greet Bush and Die: The Killing of Abu Risha

Farzana Versey
The World's Richest Muslim Tycoon

Alan Farago
This is Florida, Epicenter of the Housing Bust and of Public Corruption

Hank Edson
Bill's New Book is Giving Me a Headache

September 13, 2007

Patrick Cockburn
Petraeus Confided Presidential Ambitions to Iraqi Official

Scott Vest, former Air Force Captain at Minot
The Barksdale Nukes

Andy Worthington
Guantánamo: "Ghost" Prisoners Speak At Last

Michael Baney
Mr. Fixit of Quake-Stricken Peru Has Death Squad Past

Dr. Susan Block
Is U.S. Run by Secret Homintern?

September 12, 2007

Paul Craig Roberts
American Economy: RIP

Stan Goff
The Petraeus Report

William Blum
When Soldiers Mutiny...Only Those Fighting the War Can End It.

Manuel Garcia
Forgetting 9/11

Debbie Nathan
Why One Sex Survey Didn't Make the Big Time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Weekend Edition
October 20 / 21, 2007

Guantánamo's Ghosts

The Shame of Diego Garcia

By ANDY WORTHINGTON

One of the more sordid and long-running stories in Anglo-American colonial history -- that of Diego Garcia, the chief island of the Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean -- reared its ugly head again on Friday when the UK's all-party foreign affairs committee announced plans to investigate long-standing allegations that the CIA has, since 2002, held and interrogated al-Qaeda suspects at a secret prison on the island.

The shameful tale of Diego Garcia began in 1961, when it was marked out by the US military as a crucial geopolitical base. Ignoring the fact that 2,000 people already lived there, and that the island -- a British colony since the fall of Napoleon -- had been settled in the late 18th century by French coconut planters, who shipped in African- and Indian-born laborers from Mauritius, establishing what John Pilger called "a gentle Creole nation with thriving villages, a school, a hospital, a church, a prison, a railway, docks, a copra plantation," the Labor government of Harold Wilson conspired with the administrations of Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon to "sweep" and "sanitize" the islands (the words come from American documents that were later declassified).

Although many islanders traced their ancestry back five generations, a British Foreign Office official wrote in 1966 that the government's aim was "to convert all the existing residents ... into short-term, temporary residents," so that they could be exiled to Mauritius. Having removed the "Tarzans or Men Fridays," as another British memo described the inhabitants, the British effectively ceded control of the islands to the Americans, who established a base on Diego Garcia, which, over the years, has become known as "Camp Justice," complete with "over 2,000 troops, anchorage for 30 warships, a nuclear dump, a satellite spy station, shopping malls, bars and a golf course." So thoroughly were the islands cleared, and so stealthy the procedure, that in the 1970s the British Ministry of Defence had the effrontery to insist, "There is nothing in our files about a population and an evacuation."

Suffering in exile, the Chagos islanders have struggled in vain to secure the right to return to their ancestral home, winning a stunning victory in the High Court in 2000, which ruled their expulsion illegal, but then suffering a setback in 2003, when, with typically high-handed authoritarianism, Tony Blair invoked an ancient and archaic "royal prerogative" to strike down their claims once more. Although the appeal court reversed this decision in May 2006, ruling that the islanders' right to return was "one of the most fundamental liberties known to human beings," it remains to be seen how this belated judicial recognition of their rights can be squared with the Americans' insistence that their military-industrial archipelago must remain unsullied by outsiders.

In their resistance to the islanders' claims, Blair and the Foreign Office were clearly protecting the interests of their American allies, for whom the geopolitical importance of Diego Garcia as a strategic base had recently been augmented by its use, and the use of some of the ships moored there, as fabulously remote offshore prisons in which to hold and interrogate "high-value" al-Qaeda suspects.

The suspicion, which the foreign affairs committee has pledged to investigate, is that on Diego Garcia the Americans found a far more compliant partner in torture -- the British government -- than they found in most other locations chosen for secret CIA prisons. According to various reports over the years, the Americans' other partners in the offshore torture game -- Thailand, Poland and Rumania, for example -- were only prepared to be paid off for a while before they got cold feet and sent the CIA packing.

Whether the committee will probe deeply or not remains to be seen. The British-based legal charity Reprieve, which has called for such an investigation for some time, has already told the committee in a submission that it believes that the British government is "potentially systematically complicit in the most serious crimes against humanity of disappearance, torture and prolonged incommunicado detention." Clive Stafford Smith, Reprieve's legal director, told the Guardian that he is "absolutely and categorically certain" that prisoners have been held on the island.

When questioned by diligent MPs like Andrew Tyrie, the Conservative MP for Chichester, who is a staunch opponent of the CIA's use of "extraordinary rendition," the British government has persistently maintained that it believes "assurances" given by the US government that no terror suspects have been held on the island, but there are several compelling reasons for concluding, instead, that the government is actually being economical with the truth.

Studies of planes used by the CIA for its rendition program have established that on September 11, 2002, the day that 9/11 plotter Ramzi bin al-Shibh was seized after a firefight in Karachi, one of the CIA's planes flew from Washington to Diego Garcia, via Athens. Bin al-Shibh did not resurface again until September 2006, when he was moved to Guantánamo, and he has not spoken about his experiences. Unlike his supposed mentor Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, he refused to take part in his tribunal at Guantánamo earlier this year, but this is not the only piece of the torture jigsaw that has been reconstructed by diligent researchers.

In June 2006, Dick Marty, a Swiss senator who produced a detailed report on "extraordinary rendition" for the Council of Europe, also concluded that Diego Garcia had been used as a secret prison. Having spoken to senior CIA officers during his research, he told the European Parliament, "We have received concurring confirmations that United States agencies have used Diego Garcia, which is the international legal responsibility of the UK, in the 'processing' of high-value detainees."

Anecdotally, Marty's findings have been confirmed by other sources. Manfred Novak, the UN's Special Rapporteur on Torture, declared that he heard from "reliable sources" that the US has "held prisoners on ships in the Indian Ocean," and detainees in Guantánamo have also told their lawyers that they were held on US ships ­ in addition to those held on the USS Bataan and the USS Peleliu, which are discussed in my book The Guantánamo Files. One detainee told a researcher from Reprieve, "One of my fellow prisoners in Guantánamo was at sea on an American ship with about 50 others before coming to Guantánamo. He told me that there were about 50 other people on the ship; they were all closed off in the bottom. The people detained on the ship were beaten even more severely than in Guantánamo."

The most incriminating evidence of all, however, has come not from opponents of Guantánamo, or, indirectly, from those subjected to some of the regime's most horrendous abuses, but from an upstanding insider. Barry McCaffrey, a retired four-star US general, who is now professor of international security studies at the West Point military academy, has twice let slip that Diego Garcia has, as the administration's opponents have struggled to maintain, been used to hold terror suspects. In May 2004, he blithely declared, "We're probably holding around 3,000 people, you know, Bagram air field, Diego Garcia, Guantánamo, 16 camps throughout Iraq," and in December 2006 he slipped the leash again, saying, "They're behind bars ... we've got them on Diego Garcia, in Bagram air field, in Guantánamo."

Do we need any further proof?

Andy Worthington is a British historian, and the author of 'The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America's Illegal Prison' (to be published by Pluto Press in October 2007).

He can be reached at: andy@andyworthington.co.uk

 

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