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[NYC-L] NYC-L Digest, Vol 61, Issue 23

ak2480 at ak2480 at
Sat Jul 30 15:32:51 EDT 2005

Yes, since 9/11 Albania (remember they are part of the coalition of
the willing) and plenty of other countries have been much too eager
and proud to display their government's concerted efforts against
the "war against terror." See for instance the NYT article below to
read what the government of Macedonia did in order to impress the
U.S. and show them that they too were doing their utmost best to
track the terrorists - or at least pretend that they were.

Kindest Regards,

A Fake Macedonia Terror Tale That Led to Deaths

By Nicholas Wood

SKOPJE, Macedonia, May 14 - Roughly two months after the Sept. 11,
2001 attacks on New York and Washington, a group of high-level
officials met here in Macedonia's Interior Ministry to determine
how their country could take part in the United States-led campaign
against terror.

Instead of offering troops to support American soldiers fighting in
Afghanistan, as other countries in the region had done, senior
officials and police commanders conceived a plan to "expose" a
terrorist plot against Western interests in Skopje, police
investigators here say.

The plan, they say, involved luring foreign migrants into the
country, executing them in a staged gun battle, and then claiming
they were a unit backed by Al Qaeda intent on attacking Western

On March 2, 2002, this plan came to fruition when Interior Minister
Ljube Boskovski announced that seven "mujahedeen" had been killed
earlier that day in a shootout with the police near Skopje. Photos
were released to Western diplomats showing bodies of the dead men
with bags of uniforms and semiautomatic weapons at their side.

At the time, diplomats in Skopje questioned the government's story,
but it was not until the nationalist-led government lost elections
in September 2002 and a new center-left administration came to
power that the police began to investigate the shooting in earnest.
The full extent of the state's involvement in the incident has only
emerged in the last two weeks.

On May 4, state prosecutors charged three senior police commanders
with the killings, with two other police officers and a
businessman. Mr. Boskovski, who was voted out of office with his
colleagues in September 2002, is wanted for questioning in
connection with the attack, but the police say he has fled the
country and is believed to be in Croatia.

The current government has also raised the question of whether the
man who was prime minister at the time, Ljubco Georgievski, knew
about the plan.

Speaking in the Macedonian Parliament in late April, Hari Kostov,
who was interior minister then and has since become prime minister,
asked Mr. Georgievski if he had given "the green light for the

Mr. Georgievski did not respond on this occasion, but he and Mr.
Boskovski have consistently denied any knowledge of the plot.
Nevertheless, former members of their administration say the
investigation has implicated the state at very high levels.

"It is monstrous, there is really no other explanation for it," said
Dosta Dimovska, a former deputy prime minister in Mr. Georgievski's
government and later chief of Macedonia's intelligence agency. "The
damage will be difficult to repair."

A senior government adviser and former Interior Ministry official
who spoke on condition of anonymity said: "The state did it. The
Republic of Macedonia did it. And we will have to pay the price."

In late 2001, after a six-month guerrilla war with ethnic Albanian
rebels, relations between Macedonia's nationalist government and
the outside world were at a low ebb. Diplomats, government
officials and investigators here have suggested that the government
hoped to use the post-Sept. 11 campaign against terror to give the
government a free hand in its conflict with the mostly Muslim
ethnic Albanians.

According to a recent briefing by an Interior Ministry official,
after the first planning meeting in November 2001, police
commanders contacted the chief of police in Delcevo, a town close
to the border with Bulgaria. Delcevo is also the home town of Mr.
Georgievski and a known center for human trafficking.

The official said the police chief was told to "find a group of
Muslims with a specific physical description, who have to look like

In a recent interview, that police chief, Vlatko Ristov, who was
also a member of Mr. Georgievski's nationalist party, VMRO-DPMNE,
admitted contacting the trafficker responsible for finding the

"I only contacted the persons who transported them" across the
border from Bulgaria, Mr. Ristov said. He said the group's journey
to Skopje was organized by another human trafficker based in

But later in the same interview, he denied any knowledge of the
deal, and said reports of his involvement had been made by local
criminals seeking to discredit him.

The migrants - six Pakistanis and one Indian - had hoped to make
their way to Western Europe, when they were contacted by the
traffickers, and offered the possibility of traveling to Greece,
the Interior Ministry official said. The Pakistanis were later
identified as Muhammed Riaz, Omar Farooq, Syed Bilal, Hussein Shah,
Asif Javed, and Khalid Iqbal. The name of the Indian remains

They were brought across the border and housed in Delcevo for one
night, after which they were driven to Skopje and taken to an
apartment, where they were given food and clothing. The official
could not say how long the men were kept in the apartment.

At the same time a special police unit, called the Lions, formed by
and under the direct control of the interior minister, was
instructed to train for an antiterrorist operation at their base in
Katlanovo, a village close to Skopje.

"Only their general knew that they were not real terrorists," said
the official.

In February 2002, Mr. Boskovski surprised one Western diplomat with
claims about the presence of mujahedeen in areas affected by the
previous year's conflict northwest of Skopje, something the
diplomat said international cease-fire monitors in the region were
unable to confirm.

At 2 a.m. on March 2, the official said, the seven Asian men were
driven in a minivan to a vineyard on the outskirts of Skopje and
left there. Once their driver left, four members of the Lions
opened fire on the men with automatic weapons, killing all seven.

Within hours, Mr. Boskovski appeared outside the United States
Embassy in Skopje accompanied by television camera crews, an
armored personnel carrier and members of the Lions, where he
announced the shooting and explained that the police had been
monitoring the men, who were suspected of connections with Al Qaeda
and ethnic Albanian rebels, to prevent them from carrying out
attacks against the British, American and German Embassies.

In an apparently contradictory statement, he also said the shooting
occurred when a routine police patrol had been ambushed.

Autopsies performed on the men as well as police photos suggested
that all the shooting had come from the police side, and that the
police had tried to stage the crime scene.

All seven bodies had multiple bullet wounds and in one case as many
as 53, according to the Interior Ministry. Later, the police showed
pictures of a Lada jeep with two bullet holes in it as proof that a
gun battle had taken place.

One of the guns found on the men was new and had not been fired. In
another case, the official said, a pistol was wedged into one of
the men's jeans in a position that covered four bullets wounds, but
the pistol itself was undamaged, suggesting it had been placed there
after the man had been killed. The positions of the men, and their
clothing, also suggested they had been dragged into place.

"It was not a professional job," said Mirjana Kontevska, spokeswoman
for the Interior Ministry.

Under pressure from Western diplomats, in the summer of 2002 Mr.
Georgievski's government opened an inquiry into the shootings, but
exonerated the police involved of any wrongdoing, a conclusion some
diplomats here said suggested a cover-up. Another year and a half
passed before the new government pressed charges.

A lawyer for relatives of the Pakistani men is now seeking damages
from the Macedonian government.

Quoting nyc-l-request at

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> Today's Topics:
>    1. 60 Minutes Transcripts (Jeton Ademaj)
> Message: 1
> Date: Fri, 29 Jul 2005 17:37:15 -0400
> From: "Jeton Ademaj" <jeton at>
> Subject: [NYC-L] 60 Minutes Transcripts
> To: nyc-l at
> Message-ID: <BAY108-F13B8C6821EFF07D9CBC8DDB5CE0 at phx.gbl>
> Content-Type: text/plain; format=flowed
> hey all
> i figured i may as well post these transcripts to NYC-L. Neither
> is too new,
> both provide additional details. First, I'm pasting the
> transcript of the
> 7/17 segment interviewing Florin Krasniqi. Second, i'm including
> the 7/24
> segment transcript on CIA "renditions" of terror "suspects". The
> latter
> includes followup on Khaled Al Masri, an innocent who was
> kidnapped in Shkup
> at the CIA's direction, tortured and interrogated in Afghanistan,
> and then
> released on a roadside near Tropoje. As i posted here last year,
> the story
> clearly indicates that Albania has been coopted into the
> outrageously stupid
> and shortsighted "rendering" policy.
> >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
> Buying Big Guns? No Big Deal
> July 17, 2005
> Fifteen years ago, Osama bin Laden sent one of his operatives to
> the United
> States to buy and bring back two-dozen .50-caliber rifles, a gun
> that can
> kill someone from over a mile away and even bring down an
> airplane.
> In spite of all the recent efforts to curb terrorism, bin Laden
> could do the
> same thing today, because buying and shipping the world’s most
> powerful
> sniper rifle is not as difficult as you might think.
> Last winter, Correspondent Ed Bradley reported on just how
> powerful the gun
> is. New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly had a
> sharpshooter fire the
> department’s own .30-caliber sniper rifle and the bullets bounced
> off a
> half-inch-thick plate of steel. Then, the marksman fired the
> .50-caliber
> sniper rifle, and the bullets blew right through the steel plate.
> Now, you’ll hear from a gunrunner who, just a few years ago, was
> able to
> outfit a guerrilla army in Kosovo with those powerful weapons. He
> was
> willing to talk to 60 Minutes, because now he thinks what he did
> was much
> too easy.
> The gunrunner's name is Florin Krasniqi, and he is seen providing
> a new
> shipment of weapons to Albanian rebels, who are about to smuggle
> them over
> the mountains into Kosovo. After a few days' journey on
> horseback, the guns
> will end up in the hands of a guerrilla force known as the Kosovo
> Liberation
> Army, which has been fighting for independence from Serbia for
> nearly a
> decade.
> Krasniqi took these guns to his family's home in Kosovo. Most of
> them were
> easy to get in Albania, but not the .50-caliber rifles. "This is,
> we get
> from the home of the brave and the land of the free, as we would
> like to
> say," says Krasniqi, who lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.
> Krasniqi came to America in 1989. He was smuggled across the
> Mexican border
> in the trunk of a car with just $50 in his pocket. Today, he’s an
> American
> citizen, and the owner of a highly successful roofing business.
> "This is what I do for a living," says Krasniqi. "This is how we
> earn the
> money in New York. There’s a large Albanian-American community in
> the New
> York City area."
> When the war broke out in Kosovo in 1998, many of the young men
> volunteered
> to fight. Krasniqi realized he’d be more valuable raising money
> for the
> guerrilla army. Then, he started buying standard equipment at a
> Brooklyn
> Army-Navy store.
> "Anything you need to run a small guerrilla army, you can buy
> here in
> America," says Krasniqi. "You have all the guns you need here to
> fight a
> war. M-16s. That's what the U.S. soldiers carry in Iraq. All the
> rifles
> which U.S. soldiers use in every war, you can buy them in a gun
> store or a
> gun show."
> What gun became the weapon of choice for Krasniqi? "By far, the
> weapon of
> choice was a .50-caliber rifle," says Krasniqi. "You could kill a
> man from
> over a mile away. You can dismantle a vehicle from a mile away."
> He says it can also be "very easily" used against helicopters and
> planes.
> If the power of the .50-caliber rifle amazed Krasniqi, what
> amazed him even
> more was how easy it was to buy. Krasniqi allowed a Dutch
> documentary film
> crew to accompany him to a gun store in Pennsylvania.
> "You just have to have a credit card and clear record, and you
> can go buy as
> many as you want. No questions asked," says Krasniqi.
> Was he surprised at how easy it was to get it? "Not just me. Most
> of
> non-Americans were surprised at how easy it is to get a gun in
> heartland
> America," says Krasniqi. "Most of the dealers in Montana and
> Wyoming don’t
> even ask you a question. It’s just like a grocery store."
> And, he says there are a variety of choices for ammunition, which
> is easy to
> get as well. "Armor-piercing bullets, tracing bullets," says
> Krasniqi.
> "[Ammunition] is easier than the rifles themselves. For the
> ammunition, you
> don't have to show a driver’s license or anything."
> "You can just go into a gun show or a gun store in this country
> and buy a
> shell that will pierce armor? A civilian," asks Bradley.
> "You never did that? You’re an American. You can go to the shows
> and see for
> yourself," says Krasniqi. "Ask the experts. They’ll be happy to
> help you."
> 60 Minutes asked expert Joe Vince, a former top official at the
> Bureau of
> Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, if anyone, even a terrorist, could
> easily buy
> 50-caliber rifles.
> "We are the candy store for guns in the world. And it's easy for
> people to
> acquire them here," says Vince, who adds that America is
> "absolutely" the
> best place for a terrorist to equip himself with guns.
> "There’s a lot of concern about terrorists bringing weapons of
> mass
> destruction into the United States," says Bradley. "Why should we
> care about
> small arms, guns like the .50-caliber, leaving the United
> States?"
> "Small arms are the No. 1 weapon for terrorists," says Vince. "On
> the
> newsreels about Iraq and Afghanistan, you always see the
> insurgents standing
> there with their shoulder-held rocket launchers. But in fact,
> that is one
> round, where an assault weapon can be repeatedly fired – as many
> rounds as
> you have. It’s a much better tactical weapon."
> Are these small-caliber weapons used more often to kill people
> than large
> weapons? "Absolutely," says Vince.
> 60 Minutes asked Krasniqi how he shipped .50-caliber rifles out
> of the
> United States.
> "You just put in the airplane, declare them and go anywhere you
> want," says
> Krasniqi. "It's completely legal. It's a hunting rifle."
> Krasniqi says he shipped the rifles to Albania, and then the
> soldiers
> carried them onto the battlefields. He wouldn’t say how many
> .50-caliber
> rifles he sent to Kosovo, so 60 Minutes asked Stacy Sullivan, a
> former
> Newsweek correspondent, who wrote a book about Krasniqi called,
> “Be Not
> Afraid, For You Have Sons in America.”
> How many guns did Krasniqi ship over there? "Probably a couple of
> hundred,"
> says Sullivan. "It's easy. You're allowed to take two or three at
> a time. He
> had a group of guys that were dispersed in the U.S., some in
> Alaska, some in
> Nevada, some in California, some in Michigan, some in Illinois.
> And they
> would each buy a few at a time, and they would take them over in
> twos and
> threes on commercial airlines."
> Krasniqi’s team of gunrunners never had a problem getting the
> guns out of
> the United States. But they often had to switch flights in
> Switzerland, and
> authorities there wanted to know what they were doing with such
> powerful
> weapons.
> "We told them ‘We’re going to hunt elephants.’ And they said,
> ‘There’s no
> elephants in Albania,’" says Krasniqi. "And we told them we were
> going to
> Tanzania, so we had set up a hunting club here and a hunting club
> in
> Albania."
> "You had to set up a phony hunting club in Albania, tell the
> Swiss
> authorities that men from this hunting club were going to go to
> Tanzania to
> shoot elephants," asks Bradley.
> "Yes," says Krasniqi. "I never saw an elephant in my life, never
> mind shot
> one."
> Even so, Krasniqi’s team needed evidence to support the African
> hunting
> story, so he says, "We had bought an elephant in Tanzania and set
> up the
> whole documentation, so it proved to them we are just elephant
> hunters."
> He says he paid approximately $10,000 for the elephant. But he
> never got the
> elephant. "We were not interested in elephants," says Krasniqi.
> "We were
> interested to fight a desperate war."
> Krasniqi’s shipments of .50-caliber rifles gave the guerrillas a
> confidence
> and firepower they’d never had before. But they weren’t getting
> enough of
> them. So Krasniqi broke the law by shipping the rifles out in
> larger
> quantities than customs allowed.
> What was Krasniqi's largest shipment of .50-caliber rifles to
> Kosovo? "One
> was on an airplane that he filled up with weapons," says
> Sullivan. "And I
> think there were about a hundred guns in there,
 100 .50-caliber
> rifles."
> According to Sullivan, the gunrunners transported the guns on a
> truck to New
> York’s Kennedy airport and hid them inside shipments of food and
> clothing
> destined for refugees.
> "They put the palettes into a plane. Nothing gets X-rayed," says
> Sullivan.
> "It's wrapped up as humanitarian aid."
> The fact that Krasniqi could smuggle a large shipment of guns out
> of Kennedy
> airport came as no surprise to the man who oversaw U.S. Customs
> at the time,
> now New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
> "With the volume of shipments that leave our country and come in,
> I wouldn’t
> doubt that it’s possible to ship these guns overseas," says
> Kelly. "There
> are regulations that permit rifles to be shipped overseas. They
> limit the
> number, but there are probably ways of getting around the
> regulations."
> "I would assume it’s safe to say we don’t have the number of
> customs agents
> who could check in that kind of detail every flight that leaves
> the
> country," says Bradley.
> "No, that's true," says Kelly.
> Tracking weapons as they leave the country is like finding a
> needle in a
> haystack, unless federal agents are already tracking the
> smugglers and their
> activities. Vince, a former ATF official, says Congress should
> pass a law
> that would enable law enforcement officials to maintain
> computerized records
> of gun sales, something the gun lobby strenuously opposes.
> Right now, Vince says there isn't a central database for gun
> purchases.
> "There is no national registration whatsoever," says Vince. "If
> we had
> computerized all the sales of firearms, we could be looking at
> patterns of
> activity."
> And Vince says this includes all those .50-calibers purchased by
> Krasniqi
> and his team of gunrunners: "People normally buy firearms for
> hunting, for
> sporting purposes and self-defense. But you don’t buy 50 of the
> same type of
> weapon – or more in this case. It would obviously, through any
> type of
> analysis, ring buzzers with customs or anybody else investigating
> this."
> How would Krasniqi describe the gun laws in this country? "More
> liberal than
> the wildest European imagination," says Krasniqi. "You can
> imagine them
> being liberal, and they are more liberal than that."
> "But you wouldn’t have been able to buy guns for the Kosovo
> Liberation Army
> if the gun laws in this country were stricter," says Bradley.
> "And I’m
> hearing you say you’re anti-gun. How can you be anti-gun when
> you’re buying
> guns to free your people?"
> "I took advantage of a liberal law here in this country to help
> my old
> country," says Krasniqi. "And I believe in my heart I did it for
> the good.
> But some people can do it for the bad."
> © MMV, CBS Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved.
> >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
> CIA Flying Suspects To Torture?
> July 24, 2005
> You may not have heard the term "rendition," at least not the way
> the
> Central Intelligence Agency uses it. But renditions have become
> one of the
> most important secret weapons in the war on terror.
> In recent years, well over 100 people have disappeared or been
> "rendered"
> all around the world. Witnesses tell the same story: masked men
> in an
> unmarked jet seize their target, cut off his clothes, put him in
> a blindfold
> and jumpsuit, tranquilize him and fly him away.
> They're describing U.S. agents collaring terrorism suspects. Some
> notorious
> terrorists such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, the mastermind of
> 9/11, were
> rendered this way.
> But as Correspondent Scott Pelley reported last March, it's
> happening to
> many others. Some are taken to prisons infamous for torture. And
> a few may
> have been rendered by mistake.
> One of the covert missions happened in Stockholm, and the details
> have
> touched off a national scandal in Sweden.
> Two Egyptians living in Sweden, Mohammad Al-Zery and Ahmed Agiza,
> were
> arrested by Swedish police and brought to an airport. An
> executive jet was
> waiting with a crew of mysterious masked men.
> "America security agents just took over," says Tomas Hammarberg,
> a former
> Swedish diplomat who pressed for and got an investigation into
> how the
> Egyptians disappeared.
> "We know that they were badly treated on the spot, that scissors
> and knives
> were used to take off their clothes. And they were shackled. And
> some
> tranquilizers were put in the back of them, obviously in order to
> make them
> dizzy and fall asleep."
> An airport officer told 60 Minutes she saw the two men hustled to
> the plane.
> She didn't want to be identified, but she had no doubt about
> where the plane
> came from: "I know that the aircraft was American registration
> ... because
> the 'N' first, on the registration."
> The so-called "N" number marks an American plane. Swedish records
> show a
> Gulfstream G5, N379P was there that night. Within hours, Al-Zery
> and Agiza,
> both of whom had been seeking asylum in Sweden, found themselves
> in an
> Egyptian prison. Hammarberg says Sweden sent a diplomat to see
> them weeks
> later.
> What did they tell the diplomat about how they were being
> treated?
> "That they had been treated brutally in general, had been beaten
> up several
> times, that they had been threatened," says Hammarberg. "But
> probably the
> worst phase of torture came after that first visit by the
> ambassador. ...
> They were under electric torture."
> The Egyptians say Agiza is an Islamic militant and they sentenced
> him to 25
> years. But Al-Zery wasn't charged. After two years in jail, he
> was sent to
> his village in Egypt. The authorities are not allowing
> interviews.
> "The option of not doing something is extraordinarily dangerous
> to the
> American people," says Michael Scheuer, who until three months
> ago was a
> senior CIA official in the counterterrorist center. Scheuer
> created the
> CIA's Osama bin Laden unit and helped set up the rendition
> program during
> the Clinton administration.
> "Basically, the National Security Council gave us the mission,
> take down
> these cells, dismantle them and take people off the streets so
> they can't
> kill Americans," says Scheuer. "They just didn't give us anywhere
> to take
> the people after we captured."
> So the CIA started taking suspects to Egypt and Jordan. Scheuer
> says
> renditions were authorized by Clinton's National Security Council
> and
> officials in Congress - and all understood what it meant to send
> suspects to
> those countries.
> "They don't have the same legal system we have. But we know that
> going into
> it," says Scheuer. "And so the idea that we're gonna suddenly
> throw our
> hands up like Claude Raines in 'Casablanca' and say, 'I'm shocked
> that
> justice in Egypt isn't like it is in Milwaukee,' there's a
> certain
> disingenuousness to that."
> "And one of the things that you know about justice in Egypt is
> that people
> get tortured," says Pelley.
> "Well, it can be rough. I have to assume that that's the case,"
> says
> Scheuer.
> But doesn't that make the United States complicit in the torture?
> "You'll have to ask the lawyers," says Scheuer.
> Is it convenient?
> "It's convenient in the sense that it allows American policy
> makers and
> American politicians to avoid making hard decisions," says
> Scheuer. "Yes.
> It's very convenient. It's finding someone else to do your dirty
> work."
> The indispensable tool for that work is a small fleet of
> executive jets
> authorized to land at all U.S. military bases worldwide.
> Scheuer wouldn't tell 60 Minutes about the planes that are used
> in these
> operations - that information is classified. The CIA declined to
> talk about
> it, but it turns out the CIA has left plenty of clues out in the
> open, in
> the public record.
> The tail number of the Gulfstream was first reported by witnesses
> in
> Pakistan. In public records, the tail number came back to a
> company called
> Premiere Executive Transport Services, with headquarters listed
> in Dedham,
> Mass. But Dedham is a dead end. The address is a law office on
> the second
> floor of a bank. There's no airline there.
> But there was one thing in the records that did lead somewhere -
> a second
> tail number. That number belonged to an unmarked 737. 60 Minutes
> found the
> jet in Scotland, apparently refueling. It's possible to track
> these plans by
> their flight plans. Often the information is on the Internet.
> Using the Web and aviation sources, 60 Minutes was able to find
> 600 flights
> to 40 countries. It appears the number of flights increased
> greatly in the
> Bush administration after Sept. 11.
> The planes are based in North Carolina. They usually fly to
> Dulles Airport
> outside Washington before heading overseas. Major destinations
> read like a
> roadmap to the war on terror - 30 trips to Jordan, 19 to
> Afghanistan, 17 to
> Morocco, 16 to Iraq. Other stops include Egypt, Libya, Guantanamo
> Bay, Cuba.
> The flight log shows one flight took the 737 to Skopje,
> Macedonia, to
> Baghdad and finally Kabul, Afghanistan. 60 Minutes found a man
> who says he
> was on that flight.
> Khaled el-Masri was born in Kuwait, but he now lives in Germany
> with his
> wife and four children. He became a German citizen 10 years ago.
> He told 60
> Minutes he was on vacation in Macedonia last year when Macedonian
> police,
> apparently acting on a tip, took him off a bus, held him for
> three weeks,
> then took him to the Skopje airport where he believes he was
> abducted by the
> CIA.
> "They took me to this room, and they hit me all over and they
> slashed my
> clothes with sharp objects, maybe knives or scissors," says
> el-Masri.
> "I also heard photos being taken while this was going on - and
> they took off
> the blindfold and I saw that there were a lot of men standing in
> the room.
> They were wearing black masks and black gloves." El-Masri says he
> was
> injected with drugs, and after his flight, he woke up in an
> American-run
> prison in Afghanistan. He showed 60 Minutes a prison floor plan
> he drew from
> memory. He says other prisoners were from Pakistan, Tanzania,
> Yemen and
> Saudi Arabia. El-Masri told 60 Minutes that he was held for five
> months and
> interrogated by Americans through an interpreter.
> "He yelled at me and he said that, 'You're in a country without
> laws and no
> one knows where you are. Do you know what that means?' I said
> yes," says
> el-Masri. "It was very clear to me that he meant I could stay in
> my cell for
> 20 years or be buried somewhere, and nobody knows what happened
> to you."
> He says they were asking him "whether I had contacts with Islamic
> parties
> like al Qaeda or the Muslim Brotherhood or aid organizations,
> lots of
> questions."
> He says he told the Americans he'd never been involved in
> militant Islam.
> El-Masri says he wasn't tortured, but he says he was beaten and
> kept in
> solitary confinement. Then, after his five months of questioning,
> he was
> simply released.
> At that point, did anyone ever tell him that they'd made a
> mistake? "They
> told me that they had confused names and that they had cleared it
> up, but I
> can't imagine that," says el-Masri. "You can clear up switching
> names in a
> few minutes."
> He says he was flown out of Afghanistan and dumped on a road in
> Albania.
> When he finally made his way back home to Germany, he found that
> his wife
> and kids had gone to her family in Lebanon. He called there to
> explain what
> happened.
> El-Masri says that his wife believed him: "I never lied to her,
> and my
> appearance showed that I had been in prison."
> How did he explain what happened to him to his son? "I explained
> to him what
> happened to me. And he understood," says el-Masri. "I said it was
> the
> Americans [who did this to me]."
> "How do you know if you're picking up the right people," Pelley
> asked
> Scheuer.
> "You do the best you can. It's not a science," says Scheuer.
> "It's gathering
> as much information as you can, deciding on the quality of it and
> then
> determining the risks the person poses. If you make a mistake,
> you make a
> mistake."
> There's another destination that 60 Minutes noticed frequently in
> the
> plane's flight logs: Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, a
> predominately
> Muslim country, with a reputation for torture.
> Craig Murray is the former British ambassador there. He told 60
> Minutes that
> Uzbek citizens, captured in Afghanistan, were flown back to
> Taskent on the
> American plane.
> "I know of two instances for certain of prisoners who were
> brought back in a
> small jet, and I believe it was happening on a reasonably regular
> basis,"
> says Murray.
> Murray says the jet was operated by Premiere Executive Airlines.
> He says in Uzbekistan, many prisoners are subject to torture
> techniques
> straight out of the Middle Ages: "Techniques of drowning and
> suffocation,
> rape was used quite commonly, and also immersion of limbs in
> boiling
> liquid."
> Murray complained to his superiors that British intelligence was
> using
> information gleaned by torture. He was recalled by London four
> months ago
> and quit the foreign service.
> Is there any reason to believe that the CIA knows that people are
> being
> tortured in these jails?
> "The CIA definitely knows. I asked my deputy to go and speak to
> the CIA, and
> she came back and reported to me that she'd met with the CIA head
> of
> station, who told her that 'Yes, this material probably was
> obtained under
> torture, but the CIA didn't see that a problem.'"
> The CIA disputes that. The agency told 60 Minutes that the
> meeting Murray
> described didn't happen. The CIA also says it does not knowingly
> receive
> intelligence obtained by torture.
> President Bush, in a January interview with The New York Times,
> said:
> "Torture is never acceptable." He added, "nor do we hand over
> people to
> countries that do torture."
> Scheuer says, in his experience, the United States asks receiving
> countries
> to promise that suspects will be treated according to the laws of
> that
> country. "I'm not completely confident that any of the
> information received
> was exacted by torture," says Scheuer.
> In Egypt?
> "In Egypt. Again, I think we have people in the Middle East in
> the various
> services we deal with who are extraordinarily experienced in
> debriefing
> people," says Scheuer.
> "I personally think that any information gotten through extreme
> methods of
> torture would probably be pretty useless because it would be
> someone telling
> you what you wanted to hear. The information we have received as
> a result of
> these programs has been very useful to the United States."
> "And if some of that useful information is gleaned by torture,
> that's OK,"
> asks Pelley.
> "It's OK with me," says Scheuer. "I'm responsible for protecting
> Americans."
> Scheuer says in the Clinton and Bush administrations, and in
> Congress,
> details of rendition flights were known to top officials. Now
> that the
> missions are coming to light, Scheuer says there is worry in the
> CIA that
> field agents will take the fall if any of the missions are later
> deemed
> illegal.
> Are CIA people feeling vulnerable to that?
> "I think from the first day we ever did it there was a certain
> macabre humor
> that said sooner or later this sword of Damocles is gonna fall
> because if
> something goes wrong, the policy maker and the politicians and
> the
> congressional committees aren't gonna belly up to the bar and
> say, 'We
> authorized this,'" says Scheuer.
> © MMV, CBS Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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> End of NYC-L Digest, Vol 61, Issue 23
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