Tuesday, November 29, 2005

HERE'S A FOLLOW-UP on yesterday's post about the European Union cracking down on member nations that host the C.I.A.'s clandestine prison camps:

Under German pressure, the United States acknowledged for the first time on Tuesday that allegations of secret CIA prisons in Europe have raised widespread concern in the region.

On the first visit by a German official from a coalition that took power last week, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier also won a personal pledge from U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that Washington would respond to the accusations.

"The United States realizes that these are topics that are generating interest among European publics as well as parliaments and that these questions need to be responded to," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters after the diplomats' meeting.

Rice maintained the U.S. position of avoiding denying or confirming a newspaper report that secret centers to interrogate terrorism suspects were located in Eastern Europe, but Steinmeier said he was reassured Washington would be more forthcoming.

Steinmeier said that Rice, who will visit Germany on a trip to Europe next week, pledged to "provide a prompt and detailed response" to an EU request for clarification of the report.

Pres. Bush's response to the controversy is his usual denial that the U.S. practices torture.

"The United States of America does not torture. And that's important for people around the world to understand," Bush said in Texas.

Let's see now: A global network of secret interrogation centers. Dick Cheney pressing for a C.I.A. exemption to a law banning cruel, humiliating, or degrading treatment of detainees in U.S. custody. Bush administration lawyers writing memos concluding that the president is not bound by domestic or international laws that prohibit torture and that the Justice Department cannot prosecute U.S. government agents who torture prisoners on the instructions of the president. Thousands of pages of actual reported incidents of torture in U.S.-run detention centers.

Yeah, Mr. President. We believe you. The United States of America does not torture.

1 comment:

Steeph said...

This issue is really becoming critical over here in Europe.
Political parties that used to support the war in Afghanistan and Iraq are now proposing to pull back troops because they don't want to be associated with torture.
They feel they will become legitimate targets when the tolerate the secret prisons.

Rice (and Bush) is playing with fire with this issue. I hope they are just trying to win some time to clear up what they created so they can make a public statement that is isn't true (anymore).