European Commission to Investigate CIA Secret Renditions

There's a lot of news in Europe the past two days on the CIA's extraordinary renditions of terror suspects via Ghost Air:

  • Europe sets up CIA prison inquiry
    The European Parliament is setting up a committee to investigate claims that the CIA has been transporting suspects to secret prisons in Europe....The committee's inquiry will run alongside the investigation by human rights watchdog the Council of Europe....46 members of the new committee are set to be announced on Thursday.
  • A British Foreign Office memo has been leaked showing that British airports may have been used and UK leaders were concerned about the legality of the CIA's rendition program.

In related news, Human Rights Watch has released its 2006 World Report finding:

New evidence demonstrated in 2005 that torture and mistreatment have been a deliberate part of the Bush administration’s counterterrorism strategy, undermining the global defense of human rights.

The evidence showed that abusive interrogation cannot be reduced to the misdeeds of a few low-ranking soldiers, but was a conscious policy choice by senior U.S. government officials. The policy has hampered Washington's ability to cajole or pressure other states into respecting international law, said the 532-page volume's introductory essay.

HRW's report also criticizes other countries:

Many countries used the “war on terrorism” to attack their political opponents, branding them as “Islamic terrorists,” and the world report documents many serious abuses outside the fight against terrorism.

The Administration's feeble response:

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said yesterday he had seen news accounts only of the report but rejected its conclusions. "It appears to be based more on a political agenda than facts," he said.

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