Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The price of the war on terror

What is the price of the "war on terror"? The answer is human rights - but I've never seen a case which makes this devil's bargain as clear as the one below.

In August 2006, Rashid Rauf was arrested in Pakistan on suspicion of terrorism. Rauf is also wanted in the UK in connection with last year's supposed plot to blow up airliners with liquid explosives, and for the last six months the UK has been trying to extradite him so that he can stand trial. However, the Pakistani won't give him up for free, and want something in exchange: they want the UK to turn over up to eight people they accuse of terrorism. Except they're not terrorists - they're dissidents and human rights activists. Of those named, one is a leading figure in the Baluchistan nationalist movement, while another, Mehran Baluch, is a human rights activist who speaks regularly at international conferences about Pakistani abuses (including torture and disappearance) in the region.

This is what the "war on terror" has reduced us to: contemplating cooperating with a dictatorship to hand over its critics so they can be disappeared, tortured, and executed. If that is the price of prosecuting terrorists, then it is simply too high.


Thats exactly what his own government is saying about Ahmed Zhoui - that he is a terrorist. Whether you see him as an opressed dissident depends entirely on where you are standing.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/30/2007 02:28:00 AM