Washington Brief

Secret Prisons

Washington, DC. Feb. 16th, 2005 ---- If there is one indicator amongst a whole list of indicators that shows us that the US has crossed the line and betrayed the hopes and dreams of it's founding fathers it is the issue of secret political prisoners held in secret prisons around the world and shipped through Middle East allies to be tortured.

I realize that Vice President Cheney loves the phrase "An Undisclosed Location" and believes that he is above rules that define how mere mortals conduct themselves in a civilized society, but to condone practices that ring of King George III makes freedom lovers around the world sick.

Please don't give me the bull about 9/11 as an excuse for the treatment of suspected Al Qaeda. That was flogged to death by German invaders arresting and torturing civilians in occupied countries for thinking about freedom. If there is enough justification in arresting and holding suspects bring them to trial for the world to see.

In the history of the world 9/11 has been blown out of all proportions and used as an excuse for so many abuses of Constitutional rights that the remedy has become as disgusting as the cause. And what was the cause that demands such measures as secret prisons and torture. No single government employee has been charged with negligence for allowing the slaughter. The 9/11 Commission was a "Made for TV drama" but nothing has really been achieved.

FBI Director Freeh has quietly avoided being seriously questioned and being accountable. The Israeli connection has been whitewashed. The President's actions in providing an escape route for an undisclosed number of Saudi friends and relatives of Bin Laden before anyone could question them has been sidestepped. Boston Airport has shaken off all responsibility. Ambassador Bodin has never accepted that had she not interfered in the investigation of the USS Cole in Yemen 9/11 would probably never happened. Had the New York police and firefighters been supplied with the communications equipment they begged for many would still be alive. Had the FBI leadership not been so incompetent, and the CIA Country Club not still been counting Soviet Tanks then we could still look up at the two towers. But then again there is questions about their design and fire safety, and on and on.

Could it be that bringing these Al Qaeda leaders to justice in a civilized manner would answer some or all of these questions?

One thing I do know is that the billions who buy American products around the world must be watching the Michael Jackson Circus and wondering what kind of country has that kind of justice for one person, and imprisons another in secret prisons, sends suspects to Egypt for torture, and with no charges brought or reasons given for imprisonment and abuse, does not allow access to lawyers or the courts.

Alan Simpson brings you regular commentary from the corridors of power in Washington DC . With experience of working in over 80 countries he looks at events from a global perspective.