Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Pinko Liberal crapola

I'll update this with my comments as soon as I calm down...

Reason # 17 why we should do away with the EU...(hyperbole, not a real threat).

From The Wall Street Journal Opinion Page:

Unlawful Rendition

June 27, 2006; Page A14

At about 10 in the morning on Sunday Aug. 15, 1994, a small plane landed at Villacoublay military airport outside Paris. On board was a team of agents from the Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire, or DST -- broadly speaking, the French equivalent to the CIA. Their handcuffed and hooded prisoner had been captured only hours before in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum. His name was Illich Sanchez Ramirez, better known as Carlos the Jackal, self-styled revolutionary, terrorist and murderer.

Two years later, the European Commission on Human Rights, a predecessor of the European Court of Human Rights, rejected his complaint and ruled that the circumstances of his arrest and transfer to France did not violate the European Convention on Human Rights.

This ruling by a Council of Europe body has been repeatedly used by the highest officials in the U.S. State Department to try to prove that so-called extraordinary renditions are justified and lawful under international law, including European human-rights laws.

I am disappointed because this is nothing less than obfuscation.

The decision in the case of Sanchez Ramirez v. France is only seven pages long and can be read in a couple of minutes. It is available on the Council of Europe Web site -- admittedly only in French, but I find it almost impossible to believe that the entire State Department has so profoundly misunderstood a straightforward legal ruling because of linguistic difficulties.

What Condoleezza Rice's colleagues systematically -- perhaps deliberately? -- omit in their analogies between the capture of Carlos and so-called extraordinary renditions of al Qaeda terrorist suspects are a few basic and very important details.

Carlos did not disappear, nor did he end up in some Caribbean gulag. He was taken to Paris and brought before a judge, with the right to a lawyer and a fair trial. This was because he was arrested on the basis of a valid arrest warrant, issued before his capture on the basis of his alleged involvement in a car-bomb attack which killed two people and injured 70 people in Paris. An arrest warrant is a piece of paper signed by a judge. This may not seem much, but it makes all the difference. This is the stuff our freedom is made of.

The Commission on Human Rights acknowledged that Carlos may have been arrested and transferred to France in an unusual manner, but this did not change their views on the lawfulness of his detention. And this proves another very important point.

Contrary to the belief of some people, the European Convention on Human Rights is not a collection of lax, ineffectual and utopian principles. It is a body of international law, which was drafted in difficult and uncertain times and has been tested in courts ever since. The convention balances the rights and freedoms of individuals against the interest of the larger community. It allows for a robust, effective and fair response to the threats faced by society, including from terrorism. In Europe, we reject the bogus choice between our security and our freedom.

After his arrest, Illich Ramirez Sanchez was given a fair trial and was sentenced to life imprisonment. Today he may be an angry old man, but he is not a martyr. He spends his time filing complaints through the very system he once set out to destroy. I do not know whether Carlos has atoned for his crimes, but what is important is that he has been deprived of the opportunity to commit new crimes or alternatively inspire other people to follow his example.

There is a message in all that. A really effective fight against terrorism is one which stops more terrorists than it helps to recruit.

Mr. Davis is secretary general of the Council of Europe.

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