Friday, May 12, 2006

Why Else Would We Have Secret Prisons?

The main reason that the U.S. is maintaining secret prisons for "terrorist" suspects is so to facilitate keeping such prisoners in a state of extra-legal limbo--away from international do-gooders and others who do not understand the calculus of the "war on terror."

The United States has again refused the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) access to terrorism suspects held in secret detention centers, the humanitarian agency said on Friday.

The overnight statement was issued after talks in Washington between ICRC President Jakob Kellenberger and senior officials, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley.

"Mr. Kellenberger deplored the fact that the U.S. authorities had not moved closer to granting the ICRC access to persons held in undisclosed locations," the Geneva-based agency said.

Kellenberger said: "No matter how legitimate the grounds for detention, there exists no right to conceal a person's whereabouts or to deny that he or she is being detained."

The former senior Swiss diplomat said that the ICRC would continue to seek access to such people as a matter of priority...

Antonella Notari, chief ICRC spokeswoman, noted that Kellenberger had first raised the issue with former Secretary of State Colin Powell and Rice, then National Security Adviser, in January 2004.

"We have just received a negative response again," Notari said on Friday.

The United Nations torture investigator, Manfred Nowak, told a European Union parliamentary committee probing the allegations there was evidence of secret detention centers outside the United States, but no definite proof they had existed in Europe.

EU Foreign Minister Javier Solana made the same questionable claim last week.

It all depends on one's definition of "definite proof." If they are waiting for a signed affidavit from the head of the CIA admitting that we had such facilities in Eastern Europe before hastily closing up shop and relocating the prisons elsewhere, the international community will never be able to say they have anything resembling "proof."

By this problematical standard, any number of dubious activities can be conducted in secret and the rest of the civilized world can guiltlessly turn a blind eye.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

and the rest of the civilized world can guiltlessly turn a blind eye.

What can the rest of the world do - even if it wanted to do something, though? The rest of the world is guiltily turning away...

Since there isn't another country that can match the U.S. in military power -- And, as yet no one country has emerged as having a moral authority that Americans will respect, for this short period of history it appears that America can do as it likes...

It might take a coordinated effort by several countries to reign America in... But that day may well be coming...

The rest of the world appears to be in a strange twilight zone of denial... It still doesn’t want to believe that the nice young man is (or has morphed into) a reckless, swaggering bully (tired cliché - I know :-))...

I’m optimistic, though! Maybe Americans themselves can arrange some kind of intervention upon themselves...


5/12/2006 4:19 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...


As a practical matter, the rest of the world does have some economic leverage over the U.S.

They could stop buying U.S. debt, or even start unloading the mountains of debt (U.S. treasury bonds) that they have bought with the proceeds of their exports to the U.S.

This would drive the U.S. dollar into the toilet, with understandably bad consequences for the U.S. economy.

The reason they have not done this yet is there currently is not a better place for them to rathole away their loot.

I would not be suprised to see a co-ordinated effort of some sort to pressure the U.S.

The Russia/China combination would be a possibility. Or the EU.

An intervention by the American people at the ballot box is problematic--given that a new U.S. law is forcing most (if not all) votes to be cast via the electronic voting machines. The "tamper-proof" machines prove time after time in tests to be manipulated fairly easily by motivated techies.

The Republicans are known to hire motivated techies.

5/12/2006 4:52 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...



Try not to lose your optimism about the U.S. possibly getting back to good form. Admittedly, my previous comment was grim.

I actually remain optimistic too.

5/12/2006 4:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a very good point, Mr. F. And any extra loot I find I may just keep in Cdn mutual funds or European funds - but not U.S. - Not even a micro speck of dust in the scheme of things, I know, but it's the principle...

- Heard a Jungian analyst talk today about America's patrirarchical disease - It wasn't all that good - but it's nice to see Bush so unpopular...


5/12/2006 10:23 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...


Good idea re the funds. I hear that the CDN dollar is doing well these days.

I bet the Jungian lecture was crowded.

5/13/2006 8:46 AM  
Blogger Meatball One said...

The road to definite proof is the road travelled by the dead and the dying.

It's also the road paved most favorably by the killing.

5/24/2006 7:41 PM  

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