6 media “Buzz” words and their (Shocking) real meanings 2

2. “Extra-ordinary Rendition”

The Definition

Extraordinary rendition and irregular rendition describe the abduction and extrajudicial transfer of a person from one nation to another.

The Unicorn and Butterfly Fantasy

It’s really quite difficult to put a happy gloss over something like this so as if I was explaining this to a five-year old… OK, well, there are goodies and there are baddies. Sometimes, the goodies have to secretly capture the baddies and take them to secret dungeons all over the world, so that the goodies can hurt them and get information that may or may not be useful.  Oh and sometimes, more often than they would like to admit, the goodies make a big boo-boo and accidentally grab another one of the goodies and send them off the dungeon. There, they get to play a game with foreign nationals called “Torture”.

The Cold Reality

This shit is kidnapping, plain and simple.

What’s worse, it’s kidnapping by the most powerful country in the world.  No judges, no juries.  They just snatch you up, take you someplace, pump you full of drugs and next thing you know, you wake up naked in some off-the-books prison in northern Thailand, Syria, Jordan.  Take your pick of exotic travel locations, with the CIA footing the bill and Condoleeza Rice putting it on her AmEx, the sky’s the limit.

"Welcome to beautiful Syria sir, we hope you enjoy your Torture and Illegal Confinement."

The CIA has even kidnapped people and sent them to Libya.  As most horrific dictators will tell you, it does not pay to be the USA’s friend and ally.  It’s always easier to kill someone who did you a big favor rather than pay them back. The minimum number of people victimized by this program is 3,000 yet the actual total is likely much higher.  The term for these prisoners is “Ghost detainees” because they are kept completely off the books.  No lawyers. No phone calls home.  No convictions.

A brief anecdote regarding one such abduction is singular. At about 5:00Pm on December 18, 2001 the Swedish secret police picked up Ahmed Agiza, age thirty-nine a long time fugitive from the Egyptian government, minutes later they also grabbed Muhammed al-Zery, age thirty-three who fled Egypt in 1991 after being tortured by authorities there.  The police transported both men to Stockholm city airport, Bromma, one hour prior to closing.  There, obviously by prior agreement, they were met by eight balacalava-wearing Americans in business suits who had landed a few minutes earlier.  The Americans used scissors to cut the clothes off the two men, who were still in handcuffs and ankle chains.  They then inserted suppositories presumably containing tranquilizers into their anuses, dressed then in diapers and jumpsuits, and took them out to their Gulfstream aircraft. At 21:49, the two prisoners and the Americans took off for Cairo. That is scary shit because, if they can do it to two guys in Sweden, they can do it to anyone. And they have.

The Media Spin

Here is this CNN piece regarding 21 US CIA and 2 Airforce employees that have been convicted for kidnapping Abu Omar in 2003.  It is clear that in the segment, the priority is not about the US government kidnapping people but rather, how tough it will be for these spies to travel internationally now.  Also, note the “experts” comment “Sure, working for the CIA is dangerous, you break other countries laws….”

You think…?

"I assure you, I'm with the CIA and this is a rendition, now I'll just cut your clothes off and put this diaper on you and...hey, don't give me that look."

1. “Collateral Damage”

The Definition

Broadly defined, collateral damage is unintentional damage or incidental damage affecting facilities, equipment or personnel occurring as a result of military actions directed against targeted enemy forces or facilities.

The Unicorn and Butterfly Fantasy

Collateral damage.  How sad.  But hey, it’s just “collateral damage”.  There really is no happy spin for this term, however what it does do, is remove us far away from the reality of potentially catastrophic damage caused by actions we support.  This in and of itself is a wonderful blanket under which we are allowed to hide our heads.

The Cold Reality

Many groups over the years have used various euphemisms that have later come back to aggressively haunt them.

The Nazi’s had their “transportations”, the shipping of prisoners to death-camps.  The Japanese had “comfort women”, women shipped off to serve as prostitutes for Japanese soldiers near the front lines.   The CIA has it’s “Extra ordinary renditions”, that is to say the kidnapping and illegal confinement and torture of whoever they like.

The militaries horrific word play that will undoubtedly echo sadly in the long halls of history will be “Collateral Damage.”  This cynical euphemism has been “substituted for plainspoken words that might induce feelings of guilt when they bomb and strafe defenseless communities or in soldiers when they kick down doors of private homes…” and “rush in pointing rifles at women and children.”

The following are a short list, highly abbreviated to save space, of some things that the United States military has considered to be nothing more than “collateral damage.”

  • 1991-2003 sanctions against Iraq causing over 500,000 child deaths.
  • The deaths, at the hands of the US military in Iraq, of over 40,000 civilians.
  • The looting of Baghdad’s national museum, perhaps the greatest cultural disaster in 500 years.
  • The burning of the national library and Archives.
  • The burning of the Library of Korans.
  • The spray painting and looting, done by members of the US military themselves in the six-thousand-year-old Sumerian city of UR.
  • The bombing of water treatment plants, civilian power plants.
  • The bombing of schools and hospitals.

These places were not targets, they simply got in the way.

Donald Rumsfeld summed up the American attitude regarding collateral damage with a highly eloquent quote:

“Freedoms untidy…Free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes.”  and “Stuff happens.”

The Media Spin

No spin needed. The media largely avoids such incidents.

"The media just lets it roll right under them."

Go back to part 1

Read more about American Imperialism in We are Holier than thou and Empire in Socialist states of Japan