Monday, December 05, 2005

You Are Either For Us Or...

That is the shorter summary of Condoleezza Rice's message to the Europeans on the questions of rendition and the possible use of European countries as places to hide various terrorist suspects. She reminded those arrogant Old Europeans that whatever we are doing is saving their hides, too! Well, not in Madrid and not in London, but in principle.

But she didn't deny the existence of U.S. interrogation centers in Europe:

In her remarks, the Bush Administration's official response to the reports of a network of secret detention centers, Ms. Rice repeatedly emphasized that the United States does not countenance the torture of terrorism suspects, at the hands of either American or foreign captors.

She offered her remarks to reporters early this morning, in a departure lounge at Andrews Air Force Base, just before setting off for a trip to Europe, where she was certain to be asked about the growing controversy over the secret Central Intelligence Agency prisons believed to be located in at least eight European nations. Her statement is also to serve as the basis for the government's response to an official inquiry from the European Union over the secret prisons.

Noting that half-a-dozen international investigations are underway, Ms. Rice did not explicitly confirm the existence of the detentions center. But that was implicit in her remarks.

"We must bring terrorists to justice wherever possible," she said. "But there have been many cases where the local government cannot detain or prosecute a suspect, and traditional extradition is not a good option."

"In those cases," she added, "the local government can make the sovereign choice to cooperate in the transfer of a suspect to a third country, which is known as a rendition.

"Sometimes, these efforts are misunderstood," she said.

News reports starting early last month said the Central Intelligence Agency began holding dozens of terror suspects in secret prisons in as many as eight European nations shortly after Sept. 11. The Administration has not confirmed the reports but has repeatedly maintained that it is abiding by American law and international agreements. Officials have also repeatedly said that the United States and the European states share a common concern about terrorism.

I want to hear a lot more about "the efforts being misunderstood", a lot more. Like in what way are we misunderstanding them, exactly? Is it that the European interrogation centers were just chosen because they had excellent food and beer?

The U.S. administration doesn't understand the Europeans at all, which is not very surprising as this administration has shown itself incapable of understanding anyone who isn't a religious wingnut or a wealthy corporation. I think that someone should tell Rice about this:

An unnamed European diplomat who had contact with US officials over the handling of the scandals told Reuters yesterday: 'It's very clear they want European governments to stop pushing on this... They were stuck on the defensive for weeks, but suddenly the line has toughened up incredibly.'

Andrew Tyrie, the Conservative MP who will be chairing a Commons committee of MPs along with Menzies Campbell, Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, has said Rice needs to make a clear statement. She 'does not seem to realise that for a large section of Washington and European opinion, the Bush administration is in a shrinking minority of people that has not grasped that lowering our standards [on human rights] makes us less, not more, secure'.

That's it, in a nutshell.