Monday, December 05, 2005

Rice Talks Tough, but Mack Trucks Drive Through the Words

(They're full of loopholes.)Dist Congress Act FEMA Ext.TxCts Let Go Abysmal GPA Flaunt New Rules Williams Noted
Excerpt of London Times Article:
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, pausing at Andrews Air Force Base before boarding her flight to Europe, told Europe bluntly it should be grateful for the US’s tough methods in the War on Terror, even if that included controversial CIA techniques.DeLay Dorgan Season FBI

It was the first formal US response to the row over “torture flights” — and it gave not an inch to European misgivings. Britain, the European Union, the Council of Europe and other EU countries have asked the US for comment on reports that the CIA is carrying terrorist suspects on ghost flights through Europe, to countries where they may be tortured, as well as running secret camps or “black sites” in Europe.Most 2 Lacking Conn Insanity
The Secretary of State’s carefully phrased, partial denial will do nothing to help her tour of Germany, Romania, Ukraine and Belgium. That was intended to heal the rift with Western Europe over Iraq, and to court the East. But in Germany the row, inflamed by the case of Khaled Masri, a German allegedly abducted by the CIA, will make it hard for Angela Merkel, the new Chancellor, to repair relations as she wants.

Rice’s statement is remark-able both for the uncompromising tone and for its legal agility. It covers all the main points but leaves a loophole in each one.
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1) Rice formally admits rendition--the article notes for the first time since 9/11 and claims that the US has been doing this for decades.At Forum on Evolution, Beliefs Remain Static Changing Face of SE Taking the Hotel Hom New Paths for Mortgage Giants Boston Scientific Offers $25B for Guidant The Road to Riches Is Called K Street
The Times notes that the US rendition started in the US in the mid 90s. Well, according to her bio Condi excels in piano playing, ice skating, doing the president's bidding, refighting the cold war, looking good in stilleto's. Not everyone is good at everything. That little thing called math just isn't Condi's forte.
The practice began in the mid-1990s under President Clinton, according to Michael Scheuer, a former CIA counter-terrorism analyst, who helped to set up rendition and who has written Imperial Hubris, an attack on President Bush’s War on Terror. He says that Egypt (repeatedly criticised by the State Department for its use of torture) was a favourite destination. Other CIA officials have said that Bush hugely increased the practice after September 11.

2) Swears that the US has respected states sovereignty. Would not send persons of interest to countries without their knowledge.

Nice one Beyyyaattcch! If one of our buddy EU countries (Poland and Romania are metioned many places as possible EU countries harboring CIA prisons) gets caught with one of our little 'non'torture camps in them you just kicked the mule out from under their swinging body. (The EU said it would kick out any country that knowingly harbored torture prisons would be thrown out from that body.)

The Times says the 'holes' include the fact that darling Condi did not deny flying over and country or even stopping there without permission.

3) Condi says 'we' don't 'do' torture (well, except with consenting adults, you know but that's all fun and games).

As the Times describes it:
The US says that it abides by the UN Convention Against Torture. But this may be ambiguous. US government lawyers have argued that the ban on “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” did not apply to interrogation of foreigners outside the US.

Rice says that the US does not “render” suspects to countries “for the purpose of interrogation using torture”, or where it believes they will be tortured. “Where appropriate”, it “seeks assurances” that they will not be tortured. But former officials say governments may give this “assurance” casually.

4) Claims that it's a 'Brave New World' where old laws are passe'. Democracies will do what they have to in order to survive and what they have to do is turn into fascist states, thank you.

5)Times excerpt explains it best:
Rice says that “international law allows a state to detain enemy combatants for the duration of hostilities”. That will provide little comfort for detainees: in the War on Terror there is no clear end. The tactic also brings severe problems for the US. Detainees, once abused, cannot be brought to court, either for trial themselves or as witnesses.

But wait, if they were enemy combatants we couldn't do half of what we are doing to these people. Are they or are they not enemy combatants aka POWs?

It looks to me like the same wordsmiths that wrote the smoking gun mushroom cloud lines have been hard at work here.

Tough words from Rice leave loopholes

The Mirror has some interesting comments on this too.

For example:
Her blunt message as she boarded a flight to Germany seemed to be: "Back us - or back off."

As does the Washington Post

Ms. Rice did offer some persuasive arguments, including that "captured terrorists of the 21st century do not fit easily into traditional systems of criminal or military justice"; that's one reason we believe congressional action to regulate those detentions and interrogations is overdue. It's hard not to sympathize with the secretary of state, who has seen 10 months of meticulous and until now successful work to repair transatlantic relations undermined by a policy not of her making. Yet the Bush administration surely cannot expect that the uproar in European countries, including staunch allies such as Britain, will be contained through such hairsplitting spin. The political backlash is still growing, and the damage could be considerable. For example, the plans of the new German chancellor, Angela Merkel, to rebuild close relations with the United States have been seriously threatened by emerging reports of German participation in CIA renditions.

The only way to remedy the damage is to change the underlying policies. Such a change would help rather than hurt the fight against terrorism. By now the administration should recognize that, whether or not its abductions of terrorist suspects from European countries have been legal or justified, they have surely been counterproductive: The blowback against questionable renditions from Italy, Sweden and Germany has damaged the ability of those countries to support future collaboration with the CIA. If CIA prisoners are still being held in Europe, they probably won't be staying much longer; Washington's Eastern European friends stand to suffer severe censure from the European Union.

Of course, the waffling words of the American press is why I turned to English papers first. I doubt many feel sorry for Ms Rice.


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