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Big News: U.S. Gulags somewhere in Eastern Europe

by Upstate NY Thu Nov 3rd, 2005 at 02:06:23 PM EST

From the front page ~ whataboutbob

The Washington Post reveals that the US is keeping a Gulag somewhere in Eastern Europe.

Not good for a Euro country

The Washington Post is not naming the country at Bush's behest. Nor should they. If WAPO revealed the country's name, they would risk their credibility and damage their reputation as an Establishment organ full of shills for the powers that be.

If I were to guess, the most likely countries would be Poland, Romania and Bulgaria, given the emphasis on Soviet-era prisons. Initially my mind went to Kosovo and Albania as remote places where such a secret may be kept hidden, but when I read of the emphasis on Soviet, well. I feel bad for the EU prospects of the Balkan countries if one of them is engaging in such behavior.


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Is this what Rumsfeld meant when he called it "New Europe?"

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Wed Nov 2nd, 2005 at 03:34:23 AM EST
This should be vigorously investigated by the EU, actually. If it is Poland they should lose their EU voting rights, if Romania or Bulgaria, their accession talks should be suspended.

The US congress should also subpoena the WaPo to reveal which country they are talking about.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 2nd, 2005 at 03:43:56 AM EST
I think it is Georgia, but if it is one of the three you and UpstateNY mention, I second what you say.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Nov 2nd, 2005 at 04:38:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, Georgia would make a lot of sense. After all, they have a US-friendly leader who thinks a functioning oposition is not needed in a democracy.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 2nd, 2005 at 05:42:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Georgia hypothesis would also explain the Bush administration's reluctance to let the location be known.  The Bush administration took much credit and played an important role in the 2003 "Rose Revolution" that replaced Shevarnadze with Saakashvili. Like the Orange Revolution, they presented it as a sign that democracy is finally coming to the ex-Soviet republics. Saakashvili can safely be described as a US client, and something like this might tarnish his image, and would damage the Bush administration at home if anyone remembered what they were saying about him when he took power.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 2nd, 2005 at 05:50:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
By the way, the Caucasian republics (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia) as well as Russia and the Ukraine are members of the Council of Europe (not to be confused with the Council of the European Union), so the Council of Europe should also investigate this. Interestingly, Belarus has been forgotten by everyone in this thread, is in Europe not Eurasia, is ruled by a thug, and is not a member of the Council of Europe, so there you go.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 2nd, 2005 at 06:06:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I forgot to mention: Moldova is also in the COE.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 2nd, 2005 at 06:08:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Belarus, Georgia, ... doesn't really matter. If the country concerned is a signatory to the Convention on the Prevention of Torture and the Convention on Human Rights they can be held to account in the European Court of Human Rights.

If the USA has been granted "extraterritorial rights" to the facility then the Council of Europe should take action against the country granting the "rights".

Eats cheroots and leaves.

by NeutralObserver on Wed Nov 2nd, 2005 at 07:18:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Belarus? The last Soviet state, targeted for regime change by the Bushistas? Loudly anti-Western? I doubt it very much.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Nov 2nd, 2005 at 07:42:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Syria has collaborated with the US's "extraordinary rendition" program. Collaboration with US shenanigans is not incompatible with being a target for regime change.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 2nd, 2005 at 08:05:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's true, but taking over and torturing suspected common enemies in your own prisons is one thing, letting the US do it at a base handed over to them is another.

BTW, the WaPo's wording - "at various times has included sites in eight countries, including Thailand, Afghanistan and several democracies in Eastern Europe" - suggests there have been more countries, and didn't include Belarus (a dictatorship, at least surely from the WaPo's point of view).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Nov 2nd, 2005 at 08:19:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the WaPo's wording - "at various times has included sites in eight countries, including Thailand, Afghanistan and several democracies in Eastern Europe" - suggests there have been more countrie
Let's just hope that this ends up the honeymoon that the Eastern European democracies have been having with the US and get out of their abusive co-dependent relationship.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 2nd, 2005 at 08:26:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Would Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan or Uzbekistan be qualified as part of Europe?

I will become a patissier, God willing.
by tuasfait on Wed Nov 2nd, 2005 at 03:54:34 AM EST
Nothing East of the Urals should be considered Europe except that the Russian heartland is west of the Urals and so the whole Russian Empire (and hence its descendent ex-Soviet republics) are included.

We should talk about Eurasia in this context, really.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 2nd, 2005 at 05:53:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... countries?

That's "Europe".

by Plutonium Page (page dot vlinders at gmail dot com) on Wed Nov 2nd, 2005 at 04:13:55 AM EST
Russia is only one country, Page!
The various "republics" inside Russia are no more independent than any US State is - they have varying degrees of autonomy (all decreasing since POutin has been centralising power again) but would not be able to do this without Moscow.

But Russia itself should not be dismissed as an option.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 2nd, 2005 at 07:01:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm really hoping this isn't Romania because if it is, it will be a major backlash.

My guess is actually Macedonia or Albania, esp Macedonia.

Pax

Night and day you can find me Flogging the Simian

by soj on Wed Nov 2nd, 2005 at 04:22:32 AM EST
My first reaction was Romania or Macedonia - actually, Serbia-Montenegro would also be a real possibility.

I doubt it is Georgia. It would be in Le Canard Enchainé as, remember, the foreign minister of Georiga until recently was a French diplomat.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 2nd, 2005 at 06:59:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would guess that these "gulags" would be located on US military bases - which means that Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria are the most likely locations. Certainly, all the other known locations are so situated - and US bases do have the virtue of being secure and beyond routine scrutiny.

Albania is an outside possibility - as there are very close links between the local intelligence services and the CIA. I would imagine that US forces attatched to UN peacekeeping operations in the Balkans would be a very unlikely locations - too many prying eyes around.

by londanium on Wed Nov 2nd, 2005 at 07:39:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The USA vacated its base in Hungary a year or two ago.

As for Romania and Bulgaria, it has no bases there yet - only reached agreements recently.

My tip is still Georgia.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Nov 2nd, 2005 at 07:41:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I disagree about the US forces at the Balkans - whose eyes would that be? When they manage to not let even their European allies look into their matters there? In fact, Kosovo would be my second guess.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Nov 2nd, 2005 at 07:44:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Albania is a distinct possibility.

I really don't think it can be an EU-25 country, and I am pretty skeptical for Bulgaria. (Romania has been so blatantly pro-US recently that I don't exclude it with the same confidence).

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 2nd, 2005 at 08:34:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I side with tuasfait - my guess is on Georgia.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Nov 2nd, 2005 at 04:37:15 AM EST
The people of the EU need to pressure the European Parliament and the leaders of each EU member country and each aspirant one individually to issue a concise, clear, direct statement whether this 'Soviet-era compound in Eastern Europe' is in their country or whether anything is known about this prison by their government, military, intelligence services, etc. Let the UK answer the question first, and then Sweden, and Malta, and every other one, including Turkey, because if the WaPo was unwilling to name the country maybe its mention of the 'Soviet era' and 'Eastern Europe' are just more putrid WaPa red herrings: this statement in fact stinks somehow. And why not even Russia?: it is in Europe, after all.

Anyone who suggests that the outing of Plame can be excused because the CIA is a wretched bunch anyway fails to understand that the CIA may be less wretched than the Bush regime, with its warmongers, punks and thugs, starting with the no. 1 and no. 2 man (and no. 3 woman).

by Quentin on Wed Nov 2nd, 2005 at 08:02:15 AM EST
We need to send letters to:
  • Council of Europe
  • EU
  1. Presidency
  2. Commission
  3. Parliament
  4. Mr. PESC
  5. Court of justice
  6. Ombudsman
* Individual countries
  1. Government
  2. Parliament
  3. State prosecutor/Supreme Court?
  4. Ombudsman
and send copies to the press.

Some of these targets may not be appropriate, and the same letter may be good for more than one.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 2nd, 2005 at 08:49:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So, having struggled for 50 years to bring human rights to Eastern Europe, the CIA is now reversing all that and restoring torture and arbitrary detention. Wonderful.

These countries need to be named, so their leaders can be driven from office and replaced with people who give more than lip service to their laws against torture.  As for the CIA torturers, I they ought to be prosecuted.  18 USC 113C outlaws torture by US nationals anywhere in the world (yes, includign Guantanamo Bay); it's long past time they started applying it.

Idiot/Savant
No Right Turn - New Zealand's liberal blog

by IdiotSavant on Wed Nov 2nd, 2005 at 08:18:44 AM EST
The CIA spent 50 years trying to overthrow the Soviet bloc, but I think it is safe to guess human rights was not one of their primary goals, considering what they were doing during those 50 years in Iran, the Domenican Republic, Congo, Haiti, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama, Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Phillippines.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 2nd, 2005 at 08:32:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm still going to vote for Macedonia.

  1. It is definitely in Eastern Europe.
  2. The shooting of 6 innocent Pakistanis in front of the US Embassy in 2002 to impress the Americans of their resolve in the "War on terror" (Ljube Boskovski)
  3. The incident of Khaled Al-Masri
  4. Bush's sudden adoption of Macedonia as the country's name, instead of FYROM, earlier this year.  We never got a good explanation for the switch because it sure as hell angered the Greeks.

Plus for some reason there's that whole weird American sympathy to the "Greater Albania" cause and the US let the Albanians get that redistricting referendum in Macedonia this year too.

Washington is very very tight with Skopje.  

As someone else said, the Americans don't have any bases in Romania or Bulgaria and here at least there would be a major major backlash if it were found out people were even being HELD here by the CIA, much less tortured.

p.s. You know, I just had a very evil thought.  What if these interrogations are being done in Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo???

Pax

Night and day you can find me Flogging the Simian

by soj on Wed Nov 2nd, 2005 at 09:13:17 AM EST
Macedonia backed the US's Iraq foray in the UN and has given them cover elsewhere. So, it's not a surprise.

As for Greece's anger, there is a viable solution. Two things should happen: Macedonia should call itself whatever it wishes to call itself, and it should renounce claims on Greek territory (which hasn't happened yet). When the US "accidentally" released a map showing that the region around Thessaloniki is under dispute between Greece and Macedonia, I don't think the Greeks were amused at all. Bush's biggest fund raiser during the last election, Mr. Alex Spanos, was sucker-punched the morning after election day when the US backed Macedonia's interests against Greece. Serves him right. Many were unhappy over that, but that's what you get when you lie down with snakes.

by Upstate NY on Wed Nov 2nd, 2005 at 09:32:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Macedonia backed the US's Iraq foray in the UN

No, that was Bulgaria.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Nov 2nd, 2005 at 02:38:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I just read an article about this yesterday. Macedonia most certainly gave the US diplomatic cover in Iraq and provided troops.
by Upstate NY on Wed Nov 2nd, 2005 at 03:32:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Macedonia has not yet been a member of the UN SC since its formation. Perhabs I erroneously assumed that you refer to this organ of the UN, and to the prelude to the invasion or the confirmation of the occupation.

What kind of diplomatic cover at the UN (or elsewhere) did the article you read speak of?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Nov 2nd, 2005 at 03:51:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hi Dodo.

This is the article I had read yesterday:

Macedonia and the US

by Upstate NY on Wed Nov 2nd, 2005 at 11:07:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nothing about diplomatic cover I can find there - only sending troops to Iraq and signing the ICC waiver for the USA.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Nov 4th, 2005 at 08:30:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, I'm late on this one today.

Even under the last pro-US government, Bulgaria would not sign the ICC waiver that the Americans wanted. It cost the military some $20 million in defense assistance.

From   http://www.sofiaecho.com/article/bulgaria-on-us-blacklist/id_7642/catid_5 2003:

Forty-four governments have acknowledged signing such agreements, and it is understood a further seven have signed secret agreements.

US President George W Bush, empowered by last year's American Service Members Protection Act to issue waivers from the military aid suspension for countries that sign exemption deals, or when he thinks continued military aid would be in the US national interest, did not do so in the case of Bulgaria, in spite of pro-Bulgarian lobbying in Washington. Waivers were issued for 22 countries, among them countries not publicly identified as having signed exemption agreements.

To have this happening...particularly since it's going to come out eventually...would not only kill the current government, but it would also kill the previous government. It would also have meant that the rightest parties would have problems as well. This just wouldn't make sense.

by gradinski chai on Wed Nov 2nd, 2005 at 02:41:22 PM EST


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