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November 28, 2005


More on the flights: it looks like they're landing at Schipol (Amsterdam) too.

unanimity would also be impossible to achieve if two or more voting members were found to have hosted these prisons -- if all it takes is one vote to maintain voting rights, the nations that harbor torture chambers would vote to maintain each others rights.


That's an interesting point, but if that were the case, such a vote could never work.

My guess is that the countries with the CIA gulags in them are not in the EU (yet), but this is a warning shot to all those with plans on joining -- get rid of them now, or you won't be joining us any time soon. Since the US has a receding influence at the moment and the pull to join has to be pretty strong, I wouldn't be at all surprised if the gulags got shut down.

I mean, what, the US is gonna complain in public?

At least from what we've been told, only Poland has the prisons. Romania does, too, but they're not yet in the EU. Czech Republic was offered one (bonus! An American torture chamber in my backyard!), but declined. I tend to think BushCo would only do this in New Europe (would only have the leverage to do so). So they might be able to get 23 against Poland.

But not the UK.

Until the Blair government goes down.

The nice thing about going after the jails is it sends a message to countries like Italy, where certain factions have been friendly to the renditions, that they need to get those factions under control.

The nice thing about going after the jails is it sends a message to countries like Italy, where certain factions have been friendly to the renditions, that they need to get those factions under control.

Hm, I hope I didn't imply that the UK had those prisons. What I meant was that the UK is Bush's best and most vocal ally, so they would be less likely to vote for sanctions against a member of the EU "helping" Bush by maintaining such prisons in their country.

Oh, the humanity. Imagine - that US would imprison the top terrorists of Al-Queda in a secret prison so that they could get information from them to avoid terrorist attacks on the US that could cause hundreds of thousands of lives. The President should ignore his primary responsibility to protect the US from terrorists.

Keep these dangerous terrorist planners in a public prison where the ACLU can have access and where we can have public trials and reveal our operating advantages like in the 1993 WTC trial where it was publicized that we traced UBL's satellite phone and he stopped using it.

And, how fitting this criticism comes from Europe, which has a sorry history of appeasement.

Yes, Kate, put them in public prisons, give them access to lawyers and give them fair trials. That's how we used to do it in America at one time. We managed to catch, convict and imprison the folks behind the first attack on the World Trade Center that way.

Funny how that works, huh?

Oh yeah, the guy that convicted the terrorists? Patrick Fitzgerald. Good thing he knows how terrorists cells work for his next big trial...

Yam - you convinced me. Treating terrorism like a law enforcement issue is the way to go. Yes, and I am incredibly impressed by Fitzgerald and the others who prosecuted the first World Trade Center attack. Didn't they get several convictions.

Prosecution works! Why the World Trade Center stands proudly today as a result of the strong prosecution that struck fear into the heart of terrorists. Oh, yeah, that's right.

Actually, I'm not a big fan of rendition, which is actually a Clinton Administration initiative. A well aimed Hell fire missile is the way to go, and cheaper too.

Uh, Kate, the US government had enough information in August 2001 to thwart the attack. Colleen Rowley had intelligence, gathered by legal means, to notice something suspicious about the "students" enrolled in flight schools. And then there is teh Presidential Daily Briefing of August 6, 2001 which contained an explicit warning about al-Qaeda's pontential use of aircraft. We already had the intelligence tools to counter terrorist attacks, but we don't have intelligent people to use the tools.

Kdm: we didn't thwart the first WTC bombing, the embassy bombings, the Kobar Towers, the Cole bombing. Most of the planning and initial phases for 9/11 happened during Clinton's administration. (1999-Sept 2001 Hamburg, Florida)

The fact is that the millenium bombings were uncovered by an alert border guard.

Islamic Fascists declared war on the US in 1979 with the takeover of the US embassy in Iran. The US, through both Democratic and Republican administrations, refused to take the threat seriously until it culminated in 9/11.

George W. Bush is dealing with the threat. Treating terrorism like a law enforcement issue is an approach that has proven a failure over many years.

When the toddler beheaders are captured I want them to sweat. I want them to tell us their plan.

Kate, just read the story of the Iraqi who gave false information under torture that helped make the case for war. See here While the FBI was interrogating him using tried and true techniques of feigning sympathy and understanding and getting the confidence of the prisoner, they got good information. Then the CIA came storming in, grabbed him, and sent him off to be tortured. And he told them what he thought they wanted. It wasn't true. But it was useful to promote the Iraq war. Maybe to you that's the same thing, as it apparently is for Cheney.

Name me one instance other than on "24" where a prisoner actually had crucial infromation and gave it up under torture.

The only one I know of is from Sri Lanka, and they didn't torture the prisoner; an interrogator pulled out a pistol and shot one of three prisoners in the head at close range. The other two divulged information about a bonb planted at a train station.

More power to the Europeans. I agree it is a mesage sent to aspirants more than current members (other than Poland--don't forget Poland).

The other problem no one is talking about is how these torturers are going to be integrated back into society. People gravitate toward this kind of work who have a sadistic bent, or they are bent doing this kind of work. If ordinary people who engage in combat and kill come home shell-shoked or with PTSD, how much worsefuture murders or serial rapist/torturers are we creating with this war?

Page (or anyone), how many steps removed from the extreme measure of expulsion from the EU is this punishment of revoking voting rights? When dealing with member nations who did something rotten there is obviously a balance to be made between trying to reform vs. casting them out, and I'm just wondering where on that spectrum this measure falls & if it seems appropriate.

What no one is talking about is the United States' significant loss of stature on the world scene. Sure signals are being sent to nations that this behavior needs to be controlled...but the principal nation getting bitchslapped is the United States. Did this start under Clinton? We were a superpower then and Europe didn't say boo about it. Now...

What Kate and her ilk in their insular arrogance believe is that the world waits on us and our decisions. It doesn't. And it isn't. While Bush has been preoccupied in his empire fantasies, the rest of the planet has been forging new alliances and re-aligning business relationships which render the United States as insignificant as they can possibly make us. Because Bush has made it clear that dealing with us is pointless since our word is worthless. Sure, we have a fancy and expensive arsenal. We CAN blow up the world. Ain't that useful. But any of our other toys require replacement parts from foreign nations which are under no obligation to sell them to us. Why? Because Reagan's administration outsourced our steel industry and our tool and die industry. So if we want a part to a machine, we have to ask somebody else to make it. Wasn't that an act of genius? But it sure made huge short-term profits.

In the end, it won't matter if we've fostered terrorism because we won't actually be big enough, or important enough, or even dangerous enough to be the target. The nations that have been becoming strong enough to bite our ass while Bush was playing warrior will have the job of coping with what we've done. We'll just be another nation of beggars with a few corrupt, greedy millionaires sucking what's left of our life's blood.

Terrorists won't have to do a thing. After all, no terrorist ever destroyed a city. But the global warming that Bush ignored...Any archaeologist can tell you, when a great power begins to lose or abandon its cities...it's dying.

So, we've abandoned our principles and our constitution and at least one of our cities...and we still think we matter in the world?

Yes, apologists for Bush always point out that Rendition started under Clinton, but then say that Clinton (and the others) didn't take terrorism seriously. Wha?

The fact is that under Clinton, Rendition was the unfortunate kludge used on people who nobody knew quite what to do with, but, bad as it was, it involved only a couple dozen very special prisoners. The problem with Rendition is that you can never let those people go, can't try them, and can't (legally) kill them. As is his wont, W Bush made something bad much much worse by expanding Rendition to many hundreds of people (or more, for all we know). Those people can never be brought to trial and can never be released. That's what a gulag is. Limbo. I hope no one reading this - including Kate - comes back in a subsequent life as an innocent person grabbed in a superpower 'sweep' and locked away forever. Notice I didn't say 'American Sweep', but generic 'superpower' sweep. Whatever happened to 'American Exceptionalism'? Oddly enough, the people who lately march under that banner are actually the ones 'zeroing-out' what made the US exceptional in the first place. Nice going guys!

You would expect any competent Administration to eventually figure out a rational system for dealing with all the people being picked up. This huge expansion of what was an ad hoc program - Extreme Rendition - proves beyond a doubt that the Bush 'administration' is, as usual, just making it up as they go (as if we needed more proof). Just another item on the VERY long list of disasters future presidents and governments will have to somehow deal with.

And, no, torture doesn't work anyway. It brutallizes the torturers and torturees, and doesn't produce good information. It's revenge, not interrogation. Let's not euphemize it. It's not 'making them sweat'. It's: shoving flourecent lightbulbs up their asses; hanging them by their hands from the ceiling; kicking them in the same spot on their bodies for hours (rotating kickers as they tire); beating the shit out of them and then locking them in an oppressively hot, brightly lit shipping container for days with the 'Barney' song blasting over and over 24 hours per day ('I love you; you love me'); it's...well, you do your own research, if you have the guts. Do your own research on the efficacy of torture, too. As was mentioned already, this is not a TV show. It is an expression of cowardice and profound moral weakness - hysterical fear is weak, not strong - to forget that, crazy or sociopathic as they may be, these people are human beings. It stands to reason that you aren't going to get very far interrogation-wise if you approach them as anything else ('pure evil' etc.).

Yahoo has a 58 photo slideshow on this issue with a quick summary of some of the European players and names of the Romanian and Polish airports that are suspected. I recommend it for anyone researching this topic - it really gives some depth to the news story.

(Click slideshow link at left)

joejoejoe - thanks for the slideshow. Sorry I didn't look at it earlier; it was late here in Europe!

I second aquart's comment. the Asians in particular are busy making new alliances that don't include us. They will determine their own future--and they have the population and many of the resources to do it, to say nothing of holding a great deal of our debt. We are at the mercy of foreigners who control our supply chains and our debt. WEe ought to care more about their good opinion purely for selfish reasons, if nothing else.

aquart has hit the crux of this.

After 9/11, I kept looking for what forces might exist that could impede a run-a-muck superpower. I thought it would take quite a long time for enough friction in the world system to develop to slow us down.

Because of the Neocons' complete incompetence, we're being reined in remarkably rapidly. We'll flap around and kill a lot of people; we'll probably destroy the sad remnants of our democratic system in the quest to hold on to our inflated standard of living. But we seem to have dissipated the moment of our peak power, military and soft (we'd already trashed our economic base for individual gain) remarkably quickly. I don't expect a pleasant landing.

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