Condi Rice’s made it official. Not only is Romania the hush-hush site for at least one of the European CIA secret torture facilities, now it’s gone public as our newest vassal state and accomplice in projecting U.S. power. You’ll remember that before the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan Uzbekistan was our vassal state flavor of the month. Before that it was Saudi Arabia. I guess things didn’t turn out so well in either place, did they Ms. Secretary?
According to Defense News, Condi signed a new base deal with the government:
Rice will make a lightning visit to Bucharest on Dec. 6, where she will sign a deal to open U.S. military facilities in Romania.
The deal is the first in Washington’s strategy to redeploy some 60,000 to 70,000 personnel from bases in Germany and South Korea to Eastern Europe.
The locations of the new U.S. military facilities have not yet been disclosed but sources suggest that the Black Sea air bases of Mihail Kogalniceanu and Fetesti will be used.
The U.S. Army previously used Mihail Kogalniceanu airport as a rear base during the Iraq war and it has been cited as the possible location of a secret CIA prison, though Romania has repeatedly denied any such operations on its soil.
The new U.S. facilities would not be “bases in the traditional sense of the word” like those in Germany with “thousands of soldiers”, Romanian President Traian Basescu told AFP in an interview in mid-November.
Rather, they would be “more restrained facilities” which still had “large deployment and rapid intervention capacities”.
The Romanian foreign ministry [called] the…agreement…“an important step in the consolidation of the strategic partnership between Romania and the United States” and demonstrated their “reciprocal confidence and solidarity”.
Read the full transcript of her Bucharest press briefing following the signing.
I like that, “more restrained facilities.” How is a U.S. military base restrained? How is a CIA torture facility “restrained?” Don’t you just love what political gooks do to the language in seeking to soften or evade truth? I know Romania is a very poor country. And I know the hundreds of millions of greenbacks that Condi flashed before their eyes in today’s signing ceremony was too good to be true for them and their economy. But must they? Really must they? To become the new Saudi Arabia of fortress America is deeply saddening.
Condi Having Hard Time Defending U.S. Torture
In addition to looking for new American vassal states, Condi’s been trying to explain and defend the U.S. habit of exporting its dirty work to willing foreign nations. The Post published a brilliant editorial “take-down” of her arguments:
[Her] defense [is] based on the same legalistic jujitsu and morally obtuse double talk that led the Bush administration into a swamp of human rights abuses in the first place. Ms. Rice insisted that the U.S. government “does not authorize or condone torture” of detainees. What she didn’t say is that President Bush’s political appointees have redefined the term “torture” so that it does not cover practices, such as simulated drowning, mock execution and “cold cells,” that have long been considered abusive by authorities such as her State Department.
Ms. Rice said, “It is also U.S. policy that authorized interrogation will be consistent with U.S. obligations under the Convention Against Torture, which prohibit cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.” What she didn’t explain is that, under this administration’s eccentric definition of “U.S. obligations,” cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment is not prohibited as long as it does not occur on U.S. territory. That is the reason for the secret prisons that the CIA has established [abroad]: so that the administration can violate the very treaty Ms. Rice claims it is upholding.
Nicely put, with a fine rhetorical dagger-thrust at the end.
Al Qaeda Torture Detainees: Which Way Did They Go?
Finally, ABC News (video link) had a big scoop yesterday quoting former CIA officials saying the top Al Qaeda operatives held in those secret European prisons were whisked off to North Africa just before Rice’s visit. The sheer mendacity of this action is breathtaking. In order to appear to be speaking the truth when she denies charges of U.S. torture on European soil, they spirit these guys to new locations so she can say: “we don’t torture.” Sure we don’t now (in Europe). Now we’re doing it in Egypt. I’ve got my money on Mubarakville as the new location for our Cheney torture labs–Mr. M’s doing so well beating up the Muslim Brothers and innocent bystanders who threaten his electoral hegemony. His knife-wielding security thugs might be able to teach the CIA interrogators a thing or two about how to beat someone up properly.
We must congratulate Brian Ross and ABC News for finally beginning to get this torture story right. Of course, I wish they’d been revealing stuff like this three years ago during the worst of the WMD fantasy fest. But I’m glad the MSM are getting feisty now. May they continue to do so.