The questions Condoleezza must answer

Anne Penketh
Tuesday 06 December 2005 01:00

You say the US does not permit torture under any circumstances. So why are you bending the torture rules?

After 11 September 2001, the CIA sought authority for more aggressive interrogations. A US Justice Department memo dated 1 August 2002 for President Bush's legal counsel Alberto Gonzalez (now the Attorney General) said "torture may be justified". Also the CIA has been seeking exemptions from a proposed ban on subjecting prisoners to "cruel and inhumane treatment".

If rendition is done in co-operation with local governments in some cases, as you say, why is it done in secret?

Amnesty International said yesterday that six planes used by the CIA for renditions have made some 800 flights in European airspace, including 50 landings at Shannon airport in Ireland. The information contradicts assurances given last week by Ms Rice to the Irish Foreign Minister, Dermot Ahern, that Shannon had not been used for "untoward" purposes, or as a transit point for terror suspects.

Could you explain why you believe these renditions are "permissible under international law"?

Amnesty International's senior director of regional programmes, Claudio Cordone, said: "Flying detainees to countries where they may face torture or other ill-treatment is a direct and outright breach of international law with or without so called 'diplomatic assurances'. These assurances are meaningless. Countries known for systematic torture regularly deny the existence of such practices."

You say that the US respects the sovereignty of other countries. On what basis do you fire missiles at suspects who are on foreign soil?

An unmanned, CIA Predator aircraft is believed to have killed an al-Qa'ida commander in Pakistan at the end of last week. In 2002, a Predator operating in Yemen airspace killed six al-Qa'ida suspects, including an American citizen, in a country considered to be at peace with the US.

What plans do you have for trials where you believe the suspects have committed crimes?

There have been a number of cases, including the kidnapping of a German national, Khaled Masri, in which the suspect has been wrongfully imprisoned. The CIA picked up a terror suspect, Imam Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, two years ago in Milan. He was flown to Cairo where he was questioned and tortured. An Italian judge has issued arrest warrants for 13 CIA agents involved. According to Human Rights Watch, it remains unclear under what law the CIA was acting without the blessing of the local judicial authorities.

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