December 04, 2005

Bucharest Blues

Dinmore:

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. 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...

...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.

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.

Developing...poorly, it would appear.

P.S. Don't miss the last line of Dinmore's piece:

"Ms Rice is also due to visit Romania, Ukraine and Brussels."

Hmmm. Wonder what might be on the Romania agenda?

P.P.S. Yes, I know, the Euros are such hypocrites to not focus on human rights violations in parts of their near abroad, shall we say, like Sudan and such. But that doesn't change the immense irony presented by the sad fact that the pages of the FT are replete with stories about secret American detention centers in former Warsaw Pact nations. It's time for some smarter cost-benefit analysis in the halls of government, and we're still making the wrong calls, it would appear. Pity.


Posted by Gregory at December 4, 2005 02:21 PM | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Sins of omission and sins of comission are both sins, but they're not identical. For one thing, it's a lot easier not to commit genocide than to figure out how to stop other countries from doing so. It's a lot easier not to send prisoners to be tortured in Egypt and Syria then it is to stop prisoners from being tortured in Iraq. (We obviously have not succeeded in that last one.)

Don't miss Dana Priest's story in the Washington Post today. Up to 30 "erroneous renditions", many based on intelligence obtained under torture or torture lite. Reportedly "one turned out to be an innocent college professor who had given the al Qaeda member a bad grade, one official said."

Of course, according to the administration, if he taught something useful like English or engineering or chemistry to a student who turned out to be an Al Qaeda member, he could legally be held as an enemy combatant.

But we do not condone torture, we treat prisoners humanely, we comply fully with international law, America's values and interests are now one....

I hope Rice has a really, really sh*tty week. I'd rather this be resolved by Congress (it will obviously not within the administration), but that will never ever ever happen unless the Democrats control at least one set of committees.

Posted by: Katherine at December 4, 2005 04:30 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

European nations are right to focus on human rights violations in their own backyard before worrying about their near abroad. The hypocrisy that may prove dangerous for many European governments is that they were quite complicit in the extraordinary renditions up until now.

But Condi shouldn't count on such uncomfortable truths to stop this snowball from rolling. Unlike America, Europe (with the possible exception of Britain) is not run by war executives, and its media is not doing the "fair and balanced" dance.

Posted by: Anders Widebrant at December 4, 2005 05:28 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

There is a lot of criticism that the CIA secret prisons are a violation of basic human rights. I agree, but what bothers me at least as much is the whole idea was so foolish.

The plan could work only if it was kept secret, but what were the odds of doing that when there are many facilities, and the course of a war on terrorism will likely go on for decades? It was predictable that sooner or later, the facts would come out and the whole thing would blow up in our face (by the way, this was the same flaw with the planting-stories-in-the Iraqi-press idea)

I feel sorry for Rice. My impression is she is a lot more sensible than the nutcases who dreamed up this idea, but she's the one who is going to have to clean up their mess.

Oh, and I am wondering what will happen to the people responsible. Will they be pushished by Bush, or given promotions?

Posted by: Les Brunswick at December 5, 2005 12:46 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Maybe if we let Abu Zubeydah, or Khalid Sheik Mohammed out, for
a while, they can't do anything dangerous; one planned out 9/11
(partially in Hamburg, with Zammar, Darkanzali, Muntasiq, et al;
the other planned the USS cole bombing.) By the way, have they
been keeping an eye on Darkanzali, since they let him go 6 months ago; Dana Priest 'revealed the 'Salt Pit' not long after
that Omar Al Faruq of Jemaa Islamiya ; a minor little faction, Dan Darling apprised you of, when you were way. escaped. How about those 'innocent' Moroccans released from Gitmo, who were detained by the Moroccan govt, last week. Or the Amman bomber,
Rashawi, released in part to the pressure put on Mr. Sites, re the
Fallujah mosque incident, that ultimately forced Hilario Pantano, out
of the surface. (The only real explanation why someone detained
in Fallujah, was allowed to cross the Jordanian border, without any
warning. The Baghdad bomber, who was let go because of faulty
paper work. Wake up and smell the Semtex; Dale Carnegie, isn't
going to cut with any of these people.

Posted by: narciso at December 5, 2005 05:38 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"And what's going to happen is the Iraqi government is going to be formed after the December 15th election in two weeks -- whatever -- and it'll be seated by the 31st of December. The --"


IE - the problem is largely with the current SCIRI interior minister. Theres about to be a new election, which likely return a govt that will differ in many ways. Lets wait and see what we get, and not start taking rash policy actions based on a situation that will look different in a couple of weeks.

Posted by: liberalhawk at December 5, 2005 05:58 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"P.P.S. Yes, I know, the Euros are such hypocrites to not focus on human rights violations in parts of their near abroad, shall we say, like Sudan and such. But that doesn't change the immense irony presented by the sad fact that the pages of the FT are replete with stories about secret American detention centers in former Warsaw Pact nations. It's time for some smarter cost-benefit analysis in the halls of government, and we're still making the wrong calls, it would appear. Pity."

Uh, some countries do tend to throw a hissy fit about human rights abuses WITHIN THEM secretly conducted by other countries. Odd, that. For example, if Germany was running a few secret prisons in the US, to torture people it didn't want to acknowledge holding, some Americans would actually be mad! And many of them would be Republicans! Imagine that!


"European nations are right to focus on human rights violations in their own backyard before worrying about their near abroad. The hypocrisy that may prove dangerous for many European governments is that they were quite complicit in the extraordinary renditions up until now."

In their own backyard, or withing their own borders. And I'd bet that many of the governments were not aware of what their intelligence and military services were doing. And, even if the highest levels of the government were complicit, their citizenry should be more enraged.

Posted by: Barry at December 8, 2005 04:56 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
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