Just Above Sunset
December 4, 2005 - Dominatrix Diplomacy













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Well, we're doing a good job ticking off everyone around the world.

Our new UN ambassador - a recess appointment because the senate had a bit of trouble confirming a fellow who often said the organization was totally useless, we should pull out and let it die, and the place should be leveled - seems now to be coordinating his work at the UN with James Dobson, head of the Christian evangelical "Focus on the Family" group (see this for details). Of course - it is a problem that some of those countries at the UN aren't even Christian folk, like normal people. What should we do? James knows.

Bolton too has already ticked off the Brits, big time, by threatening to shut down all UN spending, which the Brits see as somewhat bonkers, and they were willing to disagree with our King George on the matter.

But it's important we get our way, isn't it? We cannot be seen as wimps. And what kind of religion do they have over there, anyway? The pope wasn't good enough for them so they came up with that Catholicism-lite Anglican stuff. Screw 'em.

But Bolton cannot offend everyone on his own. His boss, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, is joining in the fun.

Reuters has a late Friday afternoon scoop here (Friday, December 2nd, 3:30 PM Eastern), on how we plan to respond to the allegations we hold prisoners in secret in Eastern Europe - incommunicado and in violation of local and EU laws - and seem to have transported these "detainees" through small airports (and some large ones) to our "black sites" where we practice "enhanced interrogation" (seems like torture but we say it isn't).

For a month we've been refusing to deny or confirm media reports about whether we do this or not. The European public and various parliaments don't seem to want to participate in potential human rights violations, and some don't like their own laws being violated. One EU commissioner, Franco Frattini, said Monday he would propose the suspension of voting rights for any nation found to have hosted a secret detention center. Spain has been upset about us using their airports for stops on the way to oblivion and pain for those we think may be bad guys, or may know something about bad guys, or may know someone who knows something about bad guys. And Friday, December 2nd, the French figured out we've been using their airports - one on the coast and Orly - as refueling stops for the flights of those we are "disappearing." There's a bit of grumbling.

The Rice solution, if Reuters's sources are good, is that we're going to tell the effete fussbudget European wimps to just "back off." Rice is going to remind these "allies" they themselves have been cooperating in our anti-terror operations - and they should simply "do more to win over their publics."

In short, yeah, we do this, and the message will be clear to the leaders of the European nations - it's your jobs, not ours, to explain to your people that all this is just fine. It's necessary. And you know it.

This is said to be what Rice and the administration decided was the best way "to deflect criticism directed at the United States." In short, it's not our problem - it's yours.

A little detail from Reuters –

 

"It's very clear they want European governments to stop pushing on this," said a European diplomat, who had contact with U.S. officials over the handling of the scandals. "They were stuck on the defensive for weeks, but suddenly the line has toughened up incredibly," the diplomat said.

Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern said Rice told him in Washington she expected allies to trust that America does not allow rights abuses - a sign she will avoid giving Europe a detailed response on U.S. intelligence work.

And she refused to give Ahern a personal assurance Ireland has not been used for secret prisoner transfers, saying he had already heard that denial from the U.S. ambassador, a senior State Department official said.

 

That seems to be a clear "fuck you" to the Irish - we're doing this and there's nothing you can do about it, so tell your people we're the good guys, no matter what you think.

Ah, diplomacy!

And Reuters understands Rice will deliver just about the same message in private meetings with officials in Germany and at the EU headquarters in Brussels. This "in your face" trip starts Monday - and, to top it off, this excursion includes a stop in Romania. Romania denies the accusations it hosts a secret prison, but the evidence is pretty clear they do. Rice is sending a message here. 

 

To be fair, the stated purpose of the visit to Romania is to sign a deal Tuesday to set up US military bases there, mainly air bases, closer to the action and outside of what Rumsfeld called "Old Europe" with its childish scruples.  What this seems like is a way of saying that if you give us grief no GI's will be spending their money locally in your beer halls. Romania knows the score.

 

The message, either way, is clear – keep your press on public quiet. We do not do bad things. Fall in line. Even if you don't trust us on that, say you do.

Will this work? Ahern said he accepts our word on matters from here on out. The Irish are no dummies - you don't mess with the bully.

"Germany, whose foreign minister also pressed Rice this week during a visit, said it would wait patiently for a US response."

Yeah, but the new chancellor, Merkle, will fall in line. The we-think-for-ourselves former chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder, is gone. The new Iron Lady wants to be one the side of the Big Dog. She's no dummy.

The whole thing is a bit of theater - Rice will say, in public, that "Washington does not violate allies' sovereignty or break international law," and she will say in her speeches that there's no issue - all governments "are cooperating in a fight against militants who have bombed commuters in Madrid and London." There's nothing to see here, folks - move on. Behind the scenes she'll crack the whip (note the boots) - telling these folks to get in line and get their press and public under control.

And within an hour of the Reuters story, Associated Press ran this on the wire - White House Defends Human Rights Record.

Listen up –

 

The White House said Friday 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.

"The president had made it very clear that we do not torture, he would never condone torture or authorize the use of torture," White House press secretary Scott McClellan said. "If someone doesn't abide by our laws, they're held accountable. That's the difference between us and others."

 

We do this stuff, but prosecute the low-level people actually involved in the physical act, so we're clean. In fact, that makes us good guys.

Well, that one way of looking at 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, like North Korea," McClellan said.

"We show that by liberating people in Afghanistan and Iraq - some 50 million people. No one has done more when it comes to human rights than the United States of America. I think the American people understand."

 

Yeah, yeah - we do understand, sort of.

AP notes that Europe may be harder to persuade. The European Union's justice commissioner said that secret prisons would violate European law. That's something we need to work around.

And we see that these European lawmakers accused European Union countries Thursday of "failing to address allegations about CIA prisons and flights across the continent."

This should be interesting.

Sarah Ludford, a British member of the European Parliament's civil liberties committee –

 

I am not at all reassured that there is sufficient determination by (member states) to get to the bottom of this and establish the truth.

The allegations are now beyond speculation. We now have sufficient evidence involving CIA flights. We need to know who was on those flights, where they went.

 

Sarah and Condoleezza need to talk. Condi will set her straight, and make her shut up.

We will get our way. Maybe. And maybe not.

 

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A reaction from Ric Erickson, editor of MetropoleParis -

 

"... White House press secretary Scott McClellan said. 'If someone doesn't abide by our laws, they're held accountable. That's the difference between us and others.'"

 

And if the "someone" is President Bush?

 

"Others" are trying bad folks for war crimes, crimes against humanity and other nastiness - that's the real difference between the US and the corrupt Europeans. 

 

Holding bad guys accountable to universal laws - and treating them humanely before convicting them and throwing away the key. Tell Rice she's bringing the wrong message to the wrong place.

 

Someone will tell her.































 
 
 
 

Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
 
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