The press reports on the alleged CIA flights transferring highly sensitive suspects to secret jails have exposed a rift between the US and Europe over howto wage the war on terrorism.
At the centre of the controversy is the question of whether prisoners have been tortured in clandestine camps. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has accepted that transfers have taken place, and underlined the importance of interrogating detainees. Talking of the detainees, she said: “Many are extremely dangerous, and some have information that may save lives, perhaps even thousands of lives. The captured terrorists of the 21st century do not fit easily into traditional systems of criminal or military justice which were designed for different needs. We have to adapt.” September 11, 2001, was the turning point, when Washington decided it had to be more pro-active in tracking and stopping terrorists. The Bush administration clearly feels the CIA should not have its hands tied too tightly when it faces such an unpredictable enemy. Some European states appear to be caught in the crossfire in this global battle. It is claimed Romania is one of the countries where prisoners were transferred, and possibly held in secret jails. President Trian Basescu issued a sharp denial: “We don’t have such facilities for CIA in Romania and we are not prepared to accept anybody talking about that.” The European Union says secret CIA prisons would violate the European Convention of Human Rights. Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini said: “If there were evidence of a state or a candidate allowing or having allowed on its terrirory, camps or prisons, we would have the duty to declare a serious violation of the Treaty.” Rice says she will respond to a request from Brussels to clarify how prisoners may have been interrogated and where.