Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Allies? Who needs allies?

EU investigators have uncovered more than 1,000 secret CIA flights in Europe, and accused several governments -- notably Italy, Bosnia and Sweden -- of knowing about the flights and doing nothing, in violation of European human rights treaties.

The flights were part of the practice of "extraordinary rendition", in which terror suspects are transferred to countries where they are likely to be tortured.

This doesn't answer the question of whether the CIA secret prisons exist:

The investigation began in January after news reports that U.S. agents had interrogated al-Qaida suspects at secret prisons in eastern Europe. But the focus shifted after people gave detailed accounts of being abducted by U.S. agents in Europe and whisked away to jails in the Middle East, Asia and North Africa.

Few of those who testified at the committee hearings touched on the alleged secret prisons in eastern Europe first reported by The Washington Post in November. Italian lawmaker Giovanni Fava, who wrote the report, said the committee would look into those allegations later.

So as part of our war on terror, we (and possibly a few European countries) ignored European law and the niceties of sovereignity. With the result that now we have a freshly cheesed-off Europe. And all for what? So we could torture some terrorists.

Scratch that. Some suspected terrorists:

The officials, who agreed to discuss the operations only if not quoted by name, said the action was reserved for people considered by the CIA to be the most serious terror suspects. But they conceded mistakes had been made and were being investigated by the CIA's inspector general.

"Gee, we're sorry we mistakenly rendered you for torture. Please accept our apologies for the pain, suffering and lifelong disabilities. You can take comfort in the fact that some of the people responsible might be secretly reprimanded."

When will the administration learn that successfully fighting terror involves courting allies instead of alienating them? And that winning the "war of ideas" means living our ideals and values, instead of violating them in secret and hoping we never get caught?

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