The scandal of CIA 'rendition' will not go away. Inspite of all the protestations of senior US officials, including those of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the evidence is now overwhelming that terror suspects are being flown beyond the reach of US anti-torture laws to be questioned in countries where torture may be used.
It is Condoleezza Rice's intention, this week, to warn European countries to 'back off' their concerns in this area and this is guaranteed to inflame the issue further, smacking as it does of bullying and blackmail. What it does tell us, is how far the administration of President George W Bush has gone beyond international norms and conventions, as it deliberately constructs legal loopholes to circumvent anti-torture legislation on US soil.
This does not mean that every CIA flight identified flying through Europe is involved in this 'out-sourcing' of torture, but the fact that this repugnant practice exists shames an administration that sets so much stock on words such as democracy and freedom. Moreover, what value is the information gained from duress.
The consequence of this cavalier approach to human rights, as witnessed from Guantanamo Bay to Abu Ghraib and beyond, is to undermine the very values that the "War On Terror" was supposed to encourage. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Iraq, where torture and death squads have become common currency.
How can the administration remonstrate against kidnap, torture and murder, when they themselves are doing exactly that. That is why Condoleezza Rice must be disabused of the notion that reassurances and bluster are sufficient response when she visits Europe this week.