Saturday, December 03, 2005

U.S. Plans to Get Defiant About Secret C.I.A. Prisons

Reuters reports that Condoleezza Rice is planning to abandon the somewhat conciliatory approach initially taken by the U.S. in response to European concerns about secret C.I.A. prisons on European soil.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected to give allies in Europe a response next week to their pressure over Washington's treatment of terrorism suspects: back off.

For almost a month, the United States has been on the defensive, refusing to deny or confirm media reports the United States has held prisoners in secret in Eastern Europe and transported detainees incommunicado across the continent.

The European Union has demanded that Washington address the allegations to allay fears of illegal U.S. practices. The concerns are rampant in among the European public and parliaments, already critical of U.S. prisoner-abuse scandals in Iraq and Guantanamo, Cuba.

But Rice will shift to offense when she visits Europe next week, in a strategy that has emerged in recent days and been tested by her spokesman in public and in her private meetings with European visitors.

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.

Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern said Rice told him in Washington she expected allies to trust that America does not allow rights abuses -- a sign she will avoid giving Europe a detailed response on U.S. intelligence work.

And she refused to give Ahern a personal assurance Ireland has not been used for secret prisoner transfers, saying he had already heard that denial from the U.S. ambassador, a senior State Department official said.
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.

In other words, we don't have clandestine prisons in your countries, but if we do, shut up, because you agreed to do what we tell you to do.

But here's the truth: Condi is a vile and despicable liar. Washington does force sovereign countries to host the C.I.A. gulag and Washington does land planes on sovereign European ground to kidnap people and force them onto those planes and fly them to secret prisons where nobody can hear them scream as they're being tortured. And since Washington has not denied that there is a C.I.A.-run secret detention and interrogation network -- and indeed has all but admitted it by refusing to answer any questions about it; and since secret, clandestine, hidden prisons are undeniably and unarguably a complete and total violation of international human rights agreements by which the U.S. has agreed to abide, the fact of the matter is that Washington does break international law. And everyone knows it.

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