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"Macho" Bush Turns Stoolie Under Pressure

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At least you assume that there's honor among thieves.

Not, apparently, in the Bush administration, where political expediency has trumped the basic courtesies of notifying your allies and fellow conspirators when you're doing something you all need to hide from your supposedly democratic "subjects."

In this case it was Bush's secret gulags for alleged terrorist suspects.

Reporters, human rights investigators and officials from the European Union have long been digging into the story that the U.S. government has been holding hundreds of people in secret "black" prisons in places like Eastern Europe, Portugal, and other former dictatorships that had in place excellent hell holes for use as gulags complete with already-equipped torture facilities. One of the best clues about this program was a long list of flights by unmarked jet aircraft flying in suspicious routes that were traced to the CIA and CIA front companies.

The Bush administration, until this past weekend, had denied that it had any rendition program to send captives from Iraq, Afghanistan and even perhaps the U.S. to such a secret network of prisons, and that it was torturing them. And governments in Europe, including Britain, Germany, and Poland, all denied that they had knowingly been involved in any such criminal activity. But now Bush, desperate to find a way to galvanize support for his sagging regime and party in the run-up to November elections, has disclosed publicly that, yes, in fact the U.S. does have secret gulags around the world, and he is going to take 14 of the prisoners who have been held for years in some of those places and bring them to Guantanamo to face some kind of military tribunal, yet to be established.

His admission has caught America's ostensible allies in Europe in an embarrassing spot. According to EU officials who had been investigating the secret flights, they were told point-blank by Bush and White House officials that the U.S. was not operating a system of secret prisons and torture centers. And that's what they told the citizens of Europe, who understandably are upset at the idea, having lived through an era, not too long ago, when such activities were commonplace.

Some Americans may not give a damn that some terrorist responsible for killing Americans was held in secret detention and was waterboarded, or had his toenails pulled out, in order to get information out of him, but that's because such people have a pinched and short-sighted view of things. Countries that authorize torture cease to have any moral authority to stop torture by others, which is what Bush has done to America. Moreover, after already ramming through an illegal war against the wishes of most of America's important allies in Europe, the last thing that America needed was another affront to the sensibilities of the people of that region.

In suddenly, for personal gain, announcing that indeed the U.S. does have a rendition program, and does maintain a network of secret torture centers around the globe, Bush has created a major political crisis for virtually every government in Europe.

Those countries' governments deserve that crisis, for no doubt there were at least elements in each that well knew about the program, and the secret flights, and the existence of prisons and transfer cells on their own territory. But a good gangster would not rat out his buddies at the first sign of pressure. Our fake-macho President Bush has shown himself to be the worst kind of stoolie, spilling the beans as soon as it became apparent that he needed to cover his electoral ass.

Clearly far more important to Bush than good relations with his allies in Europe and elsewhere is making sure that Congress doesn't pass into Democratic hands, at which point he could find himself seriously called to account for his crimes against the Constitution. So he's betrayed his co-conspirators in Europe.
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Dave Lindorff, winner of a 2019 "Izzy" Award for Outstanding Independent Journalism from the Park Center for Independent Media in Ithaca, is a founding member of the collectively-owned, journalist-run online newspaper (more...)

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