White House Defends Human Rights Record

WASHINGTON (CBS/AP) Dec. 3 — The White House said that the United States is the world leader on human rights, despite outrage in Europe over reports of secret CIA prisons where terrorism detainees may have been mistreated.

The administration has refused to address the question of whether it operated secret sites that may be illegal under European law, citing the constraints of classified information. Secret prisons and many harsh methods of interrogation would be illegal on U.S. soil.

Several European governments are investigating whether covert CIA flights were used to transfer Islamist suspects to countries beyond the reach of international law.  

More than a half-dozen investigations are under way into whether European countries may have hosted secret U.S.-run prisons, and whether European airports and airspace were used for CIA flights in which prisoners were tortured or transported to countries where torture is practiced.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has pledged a response to the European Union on the issue, but has given no timetable. It is not clear whether her reply will contain the definitive yes or no as to the existence of prisons first reported a month ago by The Washington Post.

More to follow »»

    The Post reported that the CIA has been hiding and interrogating some of its most important al Qaeda captives at a Soviet-era compound in Eastern Europe as part of a covert prison system that at times has included sites in eight countries, including Thailand, Afghanistan and democracies in Eastern Europe. The Post did not identify the Eastern European countries at the request of senior U.S. officials, who said the disclosure could disrupt counterterrorism efforts in those nations and elsewhere and make them targets of retaliation.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrives in Germany on Monday to start a four-country tour expected to be dogged by questions about reports of secret CIA prison camps and 'torture flights'  AFP/File/Shah Marai

Rice has also pledged to discuss the issue publicly before she leaves Monday for a trip to European capitals. Her itinerary includes Romania, one country identified by the advocacy group Human Rights Watch as a likely prison site. Romania has denied it.

“When it comes to human rights, there is no greater leader than the United States of America, and we show that by holding people accountable when they break the law or violate human rights, and we show that by supporting the advance of freedom and democracy and supporting those in countries that are having their human rights denied or violated …”, according to White House spokesperson Scott McClellan.

Is there a record of the White House lies according to Scott McClellan?

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    Kosovo-Metohija Ombudsman Marek Antoni Nowicki
    Belgrade, 1 December: Kosovo-Metohija Ombudsman Marek Antoni Nowicki said today there was no doubt that Kfor [NATO-led Kosovo Force] had prisons in the southern Serbian province [of Kosovo-Metohija], which were beyond external, civilian and judicial control and this justifiably raises the question of what had occurred there.

    The Paris-based Le Monde newspaper reported on Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Alvaro Gil Robles maintaining that NATO’s US military base in Kosovo was similar to the notorious US prison in Guantanamo in Cuba.

    Nowicki called the controversy on the existence of a secret prison in US Camp Bondsteel, near Urosevac, “irritating”, as he knew that Kfor prisons “have been there since the beginning”.

    “We all talked about this all the time,” Nowicki said which the Belgrade media relayed.

    He said that since the beginning of 2002, prior to Guantanamo, he has talked about the existence of such a prison model in Kosovo which was outside the judicial system and beyond external control.

    “At the time, even Michael Steiner, the [UN] Secretary-General’s former special envoy for Kosovo-Metohija, called me to ask whether I had really said this,” Nowicki said.

      ««  click on pic for story
    Bush at suspected secret prison camp on July 24, 2001, a month and a half before 9-11.  

    Pointing out that Bondsteel was outside his jurisdiction and therefore, he was unable to investigate the prison, Nowicki underlined that the same question arose about the treatment of prisoners in Bondsteel and Guantanamo as “we virtually know nothing about what goes on there”.

    Source: Centre for SouthEast European Studies  

    “Treason doth never prosper: what’s the reason?
    For if it prosper, none dare call it treason.”


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