The European Court of Human Rights ruled yesterday against Macedonia for allowing the torture of an innocent German man of Lebanese origins by the CIA in 2004—but the real brunt of the ruling hit the CIA's post-9/11 "war on terror" strategies, with the court explicitly calling them torture for the first time, reports the Guardian. CIA agents imprisoned, tortured, beat, and sodomized Khaled el-Masri, taking him from Macedonia to Afghanistan where he was incarcerated for four months. Then, after it was clear Masri was innocent, he says US authorities dumped him on an Albanian mountainside. The court's ruling establishes that Masri was indeed an innocent victim of torture; US courts, including the Supreme Court, have repeatedly refused to hear his case.
In other torture-themed news, a 6,000-page, three-years-in-the-making report on the CIA's interrogation program was approved by the Senate Intelligence Committee in a 9-6 vote yesterday, reports the New York Times. Sen. Olympia Snow sided with Democrats in the vote, and John McCain also endorsed the report, which contains 20 official conclusions and a staggering 35,000 footnotes. In a letter sent to the committee, he pressed the group to "finalize and declassify" the report; whether that happens, and to what degree, remains to be seen. After the vote, Sen. Dianne Feinstein said in a statement that the report "uncovers startling details ... and raises critical questions about intelligence operations and oversight." The GOP maintains that the report contain inaccuracies. (Read more torture stories.)