Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Display:
Thanks Page. I was going to do a story on this as well, so now I don't need to. Let me add a few other articles (you can find several more already in the Breakfast thread) - feel free to use them as you need:


`Secret CIA jails' deepens US/EU divide (FT)

The senior European diplomat could not have been clearer: "You don't talk about torture in the morning and then say in the afternoon: `Democratise yourself'."

His comments, on the contrast between the Bush administration's use of intensive interrogation techniques abroad and its public message about worldwide democratisation, underlined how Iraq-war tensions have found an echo in the controversy over the CIA's alleged "secret prisons".

They also show how, despite President George W. Bush's high-profile attempt this year at rapprochement with Europe, the two sides of the Atlantic are still often at odds over international law and the fight against terrorism.

The storm has steadily grown ever since the Washington Post claimed this month that Europe had hosted secret facilities used by the Central Intelligence Agency to interrogate terror suspects.

The issue is also likely to overshadow the inaugural trip to Washington on Tuesday of Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germany's new foreign minister, who will discuss the issue with Condoleezza Rice, US secretary of state.

(...)

"We cannot limit ourselves solely to the `secret prisons' issue," said Dick Marty, the Swiss politician who has headed the main political investigation into the incidents under the auspices of the 46-member Council of Europe, covering countries from east and west Europe, including Russia.

He said that further investigation needed to look into "illegal detention, even of a short duration" of US prisoners on European soil, such as stops to refuel aircraft.

At heart, many European countries recoil from Washington's approach to its "war on terrorism", preferring instead the legalistic approach for which the Bush administration criticises its Democratic predecessor.

The controversy is strongest in the "old Europe" countries to the west of the continent, where US diplomacy is often seen as particularly heavy-handed. Despite Mr Bush's multiple trips to Europe this year, public opinion has not warmed to his administration. (...)

"This is a reflection of how the two sides see the world differently and how they see terrorism differently," says Jeremy Shapiro, director of research at the centre for US and Europe at the Brookings Institution in Europe.

"But I don't see this as a huge problem for EU-US relations, because there's not going to be any hugely public spat on this issue. The US won't say that there weren't any secret prisons in Europe, but it will give assurances that they are not there now."

He added that a quiet US backdown was all the more likely because of the attempt by Senator John McCain to provide firmer checks against the use of torture - an initiative that has led to a public relations disaster for the White House.

But in the meantime the dispute has only served to highlight, once again, the profound difference in philosophy between the EU and the Bush administration.

I think this Shapiro guy is wrong. If Frattini, a close Berlusconi ally and a tough right wing law'n'order guy can talk about stripping a country of its EU votes, that means that Europe is starting to take these stories pretty damn seriously - and not just talking about it.

The Council of Europe, which has been shamefully lenient with Russia, can probably use this an opportunity to restore its human rights credentials (and that Swiss prosecutor seems intent to get things moving).

It's going to pollute relationships with Germany, and prevent any rapprochement with Merkel, and it's going to put Blair/Straw in an impossible position (as current presidents of Europe) to have to convey Europe's deep unhappiness over this to Washington or lose all credibility inside Europe.

I was not hopeful when this came out that there would be any meaningful reaction, but now I am getting optimistic that this good become really huge.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 29th, 2005 at 05:38:31 AM EST
Thanks, Jerome.  I'll check out the breakfast thread as well.

I also think this will be huge.  It had better be.  If it gets to the point that there is a vote, and the UK dissents, how will Blair/Straw explain that one?

That's a rhetorical question, obviously.

by Plutonium Page (page dot vlinders at gmail dot com) on Tue Nov 29th, 2005 at 05:43:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
More from the FT


Washington seeks to shift EU focus from 'secret jails'

The US sought yesterday to push ahead with its attempt to strengthen ties with Europe, in spite of the continuing furore over allegations that Washington has maintained secret prisons in the continent.

(...)

The Council of Europe, a pan-European grouping, yesterday called for the co-operation of all its 46 member governments, in its own investigation into the affair. The European Commission has declared that hosting secret detention facilities would be incompatible with the obligations of EU membership. One senior US official has privately remarked that the issue of the treatment of terror suspects is the one he most hates addressing in public. The controversy also complicates the US's attempted rapprochement with the EU.

In spite of visits to Europe by President George W. Bush, three-quarters of Europeans polled in a survey by the German Marshall Fund of the US said relations with the US had stayed the same or become worse over the previous 12 months.

Mr Fried said the two sides of the Atlantic had to move beyond "analysing the US-European partnership as if it were a sick child", and focus instead on a common agenda such as Middle East reform and democratisation beyond Europe.

the issue of the treatment of terror suspects is the one he most hates addressing in public.

Poor man... Hint: actually treat terror suspects in accordance with the (US) law and you'll be fine...

analysing the US-European partnership as if it were a sick child

Another hint: it would not be analysed as such if it weren't. It's been bitten by a rapid dog.


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 29th, 2005 at 05:43:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... that I decided to cross-post here.  There are some fantastic comments on the thread at The Next Hurrah, but check out this one.  My very own troll.  How incredibly ignorant and and "we rule the world".
by Plutonium Page (page dot vlinders at gmail dot com) on Tue Nov 29th, 2005 at 05:47:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
how fitting this criticism comes from Europe, which has a sorry history of appeasement.
Yes, we have been appeasing the US for 4 years now, and we're getting rather tired of it. So, don't push it because you are still mired in your "two simultaneous wars" with no end in sight. The US needs its European allies more than the Europeans need US secret prisons on their territory.

Why doesn't this "Kate" volunteer her basement as a detention facility?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 29th, 2005 at 05:57:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe someone should arrest this Kate for suggesting things that are obviously illegal in the USA. Maybe she is a terrorist, trying to undermine the constitutional order and subvert the country. I think that a few days in a cell somewhere could make her intentions clearer.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 29th, 2005 at 06:01:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
She should definitely be subject to "pressure" so she "softens up" and gives up "actionable intelligence" about "her associates".

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 29th, 2005 at 06:04:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I know, why don't we bash Kate over the head and...

Oh dear, I'm getting carried away again.

;)

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Nov 29th, 2005 at 06:24:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not on the head, not on the head... It leaves marks ! (snark)

"What can I do, What can I write, Against the fall of Night". A.E. Housman
by margouillat (hemidactylus(dot)frenatus(at)wanadoo(dot)fr) on Tue Nov 29th, 2005 at 07:59:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think quite a few veterans of the Battle of Britain would be very much offended by that statement.  And the pilots in that were not only Brits, but Continental Europeans, Canadians, Aussies, and Americans.

Me thinks Kate needs to read some history...from, you know, books...and turn Fox News off.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Nov 29th, 2005 at 07:01:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Americans are consumed by the meme that they "saved Europe from the Germans twice". They will tell you at the slightest opportunity that "if it wasn't for the US of A you'd be speaking German". Problem is, German is the second most spoken language in Europe anyway, as a native language ans also as a foreign language. And I usually say that if it hadn't been for Hitler we would all be speaking German as Germany was an industrial, scientific and philosophical leader even through the terrible depression of the 1920's and 30's.

The problem is not Fox News. The problem is that Americans construct their worldview around the City on the Hill, the Last Best Hope of Mankind, and the one thing you cannot challenge is people's worldview---you won't change it and they'll hate you for the challenge. This is where hubris comes from, and it will be their downfall, and they need to fall down and crawl back up like the Japanese and the Germans did. I just hope they won't take the whole lot of us with them.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 29th, 2005 at 07:44:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's certainly a myth to say that it was all America.  The Brits and Soviets played critical roles.  More critical than America's, though America's role was, of course, crucial.  I'm personally convinced that, had it not been for Hitler's losses in the Battle of Britain and the invasion of Russia, history would've been very different.

In the end, Germany turned into one of the great success stories of the 20th Century.  Europe went into a spectacular boom after WWII -- like nothing Western Civilization had (or has) ever seen, and much of that came from Germany.

What bothers me about many conservatives in America is the attitude of "We saved your ass in WWII" when none of us were even alive when the war was fought.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Nov 29th, 2005 at 09:22:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll add to that, what bothers me is the notion that a previous good deed justifies a bad deed now.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Wed Nov 30th, 2005 at 04:18:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh and to add an appropriate UK-centric bitterness to the issue, you Yanks were nothing but mercenaries. You were well paid for your part. I believe Britain's payments to the US for material aid offered in the war finally expired just a couple of years ago...
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Wed Nov 30th, 2005 at 04:20:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is not a troll, it's just an ignorant, scared person. It's a very common mindset, to think that toughness will make you invulnerable. It's also a mindst that makes terrorism a bigger problem than it is.

  • people who are willing to kill themselves are pretty much impossible to stop. It might thus be a good idea to avoid policies that spawn more and more people willing to kill themselves;

  • again, if we are fighting for our "freedom", the way to do it is probably not to curtail our rights. ("But I a not a terrorist" - yes, but who will you tell if you ever get arrested, because you sat in the bus next to someone who is on a FBI list, or because your phone number is in the addressbook of the neighbor of a terrorist suspect, or....)

  • terrorism is nothing new around the world, it did not appear out of nowhere on 9/11. A number of countries are leanrt to deal with it, and live with it, without going to war with the whole world (and they are not all pussies).


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 29th, 2005 at 05:58:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jérôme, how can you forget that "law abiding citizens have nothing to worry about"?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 29th, 2005 at 06:02:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a very common mindset, to think that toughness will make you invulnerable.

Isn't that what Bush's 2004 campaign was all about, and the reason people voted for him?  "9/11 changed everything, and I'm waging the War on Terror™, which means I'm tough!"

Also, I hate to slam some of my fellow Americans, but the "I'm so badass" attitude isn't just a stereotype (when you're talking about Bush voters, in particular).

It's also a mindset that makes terrorism a bigger problem than it is.

Right - I mean, the Iraq war was all about being "tough" and taking down Saddam.  And look what happened:  terrorism has INCREASED, in part because of the Iraq war.

by Plutonium Page (page dot vlinders at gmail dot com) on Tue Nov 29th, 2005 at 06:19:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
.
Handsomely "forgot" Al Qaeda HQ and OBL were/are located in Afghanistan and supported by the Taliban, a creation of the Pakistani government and ISS. Iran and Iraq were fervent opponents of Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Iraq is the wrong place to fight Al Qaeda, costing 2100+ American lives, 16,700+ U.S. casualties and 40,000+ Iraqi lives.

Only three states recognized the Taliban regime on 911 :: Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and UAE Dhubai et al.

"Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason?
For if it prosper, none dare call it treason."
 

▼▼▼ READ MY DIARY

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Tue Nov 29th, 2005 at 06:21:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Monographs by Ehsan Ahrari

Jihadi Groups, Nuclear Pakistan and the New Great Game pdf file - 50 pages
Published August 2001 (Carlyle: Strategic Studies Institute, 2001)

The Dynamics of the Great Game in Muslim Central Asia
(Washington, D.C: National Defense University Press, January 1996)


Crawford Texas August 25, 2001  

But, alas ... George doesn't read books nor PDB briefs when on holiday in Texas.

"Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason?
For if it prosper, none dare call it treason."
 

▼▼▼ READ MY DIARY

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Tue Nov 29th, 2005 at 09:41:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mr Fried said the two sides of the Atlantic had to move beyond "analysing the US-European partnership as if it were a sick child", and focus instead on a common agenda such as Middle East reform and democratisation beyond Europe.
Yeah, democratisation in the US would be a goog thing to focus on.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 29th, 2005 at 05:53:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"We cannot limit ourselves solely to the `secret prisons' issue," said Dick Marty, the Swiss politician who has headed the main political investigation into the incidents under the auspices of the 46-member Council of Europe, covering countries from east and west Europe, including Russia.

He said that further investigation needed to look into "illegal detention, even of a short duration" of US prisoners on European soil, such as stops to refuel aircraft.

Do you realize how the Swiss investigator is getting ready to argue that keeping the detainees in the airplanes while refueling amounts to illegal detention, that is, kidnapping?

This is going to get huge, because the prisons may not exist, but the rendition program and the refueling are well documented.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 29th, 2005 at 05:50:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To paraphrase Rumsfeld: you don't indict criminals on the charges you'd like, but on the charges you have (evidence to back).

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 29th, 2005 at 06:51:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Today, Joschka Fischer's successor as German foreign minister, Frank Walter Steinmeier, pays his inaugural visit to the U.S. Judging from the media reports, stating that the visit was "overshadowed" by the CIA-in-Europe-affair would be an understatement. From Der Spiegel:

Politicians from SPD and Greens still demand a clarification of facts from the USA: Steinmeier is expected to ask about this "forcefully and effectively", the SPD-faction's foreign policy spokesman Gert Weisskirchen said. Weisskirchen is confident that Steinmeier will be able to get answers to his questions. "A wholehearted clarification of facts would be in the best interest of Condoleeza Rice", said the SPD-politician. Although the USA had a priviledged status in Germany, "this does not mean that they are not bound to international law or the German constitution."

Steinmeiers first mission is a delicate one...

by Saturday (geckes(at)gmx.net) on Tue Nov 29th, 2005 at 06:11:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Display:

Top Diaries

Occasional Series