Thursday, December 08, 2005

Condi's Trail of Lies

Condi's Trail of Lies
By Sidney Blumenthal

Thursday 08 December 2005
Condoleezza Rice's contradictory, misleading and outright false statements about the US and torture have taken America's moral standing - and her own - to new depths.

The metamorphosis of Condoleezza Rice from the chrysalis of the protégé into the butterfly of the State Department has not been a natural evolution but has demanded self-discipline. She has burnished an image of the ultimate loyalist, yet betrayed her mentor, George H.W. Bush's national security advisor Brent Scowcroft. She is the team player, yet carefully inserted knives in the back of her predecessor, Colin Powell, climbing up them like a ladder of success. She is the person most trusted on foreign policy by the president, yet was an enabler for Vice President Cheney and the neoconservatives. Now her public relations team at the State Department depicts her as a restorer of realism, builder of alliances and maker of peace.

On her first trip to Europe early this year she left the sensation of being fresh by listening rather than lecturing. The flirtation of power appeared to have a more seductive effect than arrogance. So the old face became a new face. But on this week's trip the iron butterfly emerged.

Rice arrived as the enforcer of the Bush administration's torture policy. She reminded the queasy Europeans that their intelligence services, one way or another, are involved in the rendition of hundreds of suspected terrorists transported through their airports for harsh interrogation in countries like Jordan and Egypt or secret CIA prisons known as "black sites." With her warnings, Rice recast the Western alliance as a partnership in complicity. In her attempt to impose silence, she spread guilt. Everybody is unclean in the dirty war and nobody has any right to complain. "What I would hope that our allies would acknowledge," she said, "is that we are all in this together."

For the European leaders, facing publics hostile to U.S. policy in Iraq and torture, Rice's visit was disquieting. In Italy, prosecutors have issued indictments of 22 current and former CIA operatives for their "extraordinary rendition" of an Egyptian suspect; among those indicted is the former Rome CIA station chief, whom an Italian judge has ruled has no immunity from prosecution. Italian Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini, asked about renditions, said, "We know absolutely nothing. We have not one single piece of knowledge." If the Italian government knew the facts, it would investigate, he added....