Sunday, December 04, 2005


Condi admits to war crimes in Europe

from DailyKos:

Sat Dec 03, 2005 at 04:33:38 PM PDT

This was already discussed yesterday in The Gnostic's diary here (Condi: Europe, Shut up and Back Off on Torture Flights and in DuctapeFatwa's diaries over at the Tribunes (Rice to warn Europe to back off over torture camps) but we need to keep on harping on it, both in Europe and in the USA.

Rice to warn Europe to back off over detainees (Reuters, via The Star)

On the trip, she will remind allies they themselves have been cooperating in U.S. operations and tell them to do more to win over their publics as a way to deflect criticism directed at the United States, diplomats and U.S. officials said.

This has been alluded to elsewhere, but this points out to two things:

The lesson is that we cannot count on our governments to get to the truth. We have to push for independent enquiries and support the legal procedures that may be started in various countries.

more form the same article

On the trip, she will remind allies they themselves have been cooperating in U.S. operations and tell them to do more to win over their publics as a way to deflect criticism directed at the United States, diplomats and U.S. officials said.

"It's very clear they want European governments to stop pushing on this," said a European diplomat, who had contact with U.S. officials over the handling of the scandals. "They were stuck on the defensive for weeks, but suddenly the line has toughened up incredibly," the diplomat said.

Ahern said he accepted the U.S. word. Germany, whose foreign minister also pressed Rice this week during a visit, said it would wait patiently for a U.S. response.

But the State Department also plans a stronger defense of its policies to try to reframe a debate in Europe that threatens to undo some of the repair Rice has made this year to trans-Atlantic ties that were frayed over the Iraq war.

Rice will stress in public that Washington does not violate allies' sovereignty or break international law, and she will remind publics their governments are cooperating in a fight against militants who have bombed commuters in Madrid and London, senior U.S. officials said.

"It is the responsibility, also, of governments to explain as clearly as possible to their publics and publics around the world what it is that they are doing in fighting the war on terrorism," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.

It's the usual stuff: 9/11 changed everything, terrorists are evil, and thus we should do anything to fight them. And don't complain about it, because it could strike you as much as us - and because you worked with us before.

Here's another version:

Rice to take hard line on CIA prisons claim (FT)

Condoleezza Rice, US secretary of state, is expected to begin her trip to Europe next week with a forceful rejection of requests for information regarding alleged secret CIA prisons in Europe and clandestine transiting of war-on-terror suspects.

So, not a rejection of the claims, not a denial of the facts, a rejection of the requests for information

Diplomats said that Ms Rice, who arrives in Germany on Monday and meets Chancellor Angela Merkel the next day, is not expected to reveal information - as formally requested by the European Union last week - but to defend the US need to obtain intelligence.

"Her response will be suitably diplomatic, but also forceful," commented one envoy.

The US state department declined to comment on how Ms Rice would respond. While refusing to respond to reports of secret prisons and transport of detainees in Europe, officials insist that US actions are in compliance with US law and international conventions. US law prohibits secret prisons on US territory.

As noted by Fran in an earlier thread, there is no mention of international law here, but there is also this new parsing of words: "US law prohibits secret prisons on US territory" (i.e. but not, presumably, on foreign territories). Is that actually true, in any case? That sounds really strange to me. And it is sad to see European governments accepting to take Condi's word for these reassurances that nothing illegal is happening.

Elizabeth Cheney, a senior state department official and daughter of the vice president, told Arab reporters this week that "a new set of rules" was required when dealing with an enemy like al-Qaeda.

European concerns have been exacerbated by the Bush administration's efforts to exempt the CIA from proposed US legislation that would prohibit the "cruel, inhumane and degrading" treatment of detainees.

We say we don't do torture, but we don't want to be prevented from doing it. But you should believe us that we don't do it. What's with that Cheney family?? Please extraordinarily render the whole lot!!

While EU member states share no desire to have these sensitive issues aired openly, the mounting public attention threatens to undermine what diplomats generally regard as the positive trend in transatlantic relations driven by President George W. Bush in his second term.

Yeah, it's a pain not to be friends with the USA. They had stopped humiliating us, so we could go back to being poodles without it being too obvious, and now this. Bummer... Being a diplomat sucks, sometimes.

Diplomats said there had been intense debate within the Bush administration over how to respond to the request penned last week by Jack Straw, the UK foreign secretary, for the EU presidency. In the end, an uncompromising stance appears to have prevailed.

So - who was in favor of a less uncompromising stance within the administration? Washington journalists - here's a potential scoop for you if you do your job right.

The Council of Europe, representing 46 nations, has already opened an official inquiry.

Yep, maybe our only chance now to get to some information. The CoE lost some of its credibility by not being very tough on Russian crimes in Chechnya. Now would be a good opportunity to regain some credibility, even if the price is to appear to have double standards and being somewhat anti-American. But who says that the USA should only be held to the standards used for Russia? Go, CoE!

The alleged existence of secret CIA prisons in eastern Europe was reported last month by the Washington Post. It said US officials asked that the countries involved not be named. Poland and Romania denied subsequent claims by Human Rights Watch, based on flight records, that they had provided facilities.

Why on earth is the WaPo still withholding that information?

Our European governments are not going to be doing much about this, unless we hold their feet to the fire. They are responsible to us, not to Washington, it's time they remembered this. Let's keep the pressure.

So we have to keep making a noise here in Europe so that our governments cannot ignore it, and you guys in the US have to try to get journalists to do their job and unearth the information which is in that city.

This crisis is going to set a lot of precedents, and we want respect of the lawx, refusal of torture, transparency and accountability to prevail. Let's do this together.

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