May 30, 2008

WAR CRIMINAL RICE LIES (of the Blackwater private army fame) IN ICELAND

REYKJAVIK, Iceland - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Friday rejected allegations that terror detainees at Guantanamo Bay are abused.

And she reiterated the Bush administration's desire to close the detention facility in Cuba as soon as possible. Her comments came a day after Iceland's parliament adopted a resolution condemning abuses at Guantanamo and calling for its immediate closure.

"I strongly object to the notion that there are human rights violations at Guantanamo as is suggested by the resolution," she said, advising Icelandic lawmakers to read a report on conditions there by the Organization for Security in Europe.

That report, Rice said, found no evidence of systematic violations at Guantanamo.

But, she said, it remains the administration's desire to shut the facility down once countries can be found to take the prisoners who are now there.

"Guantanamo is a place that the president himself has said that we would like to close. There is, of course, the problem of what to do with the people that are there," Rice said. "The United States has been trying to return people to their places of origin and in many cases we have been able to that.

"In some circumstances, unfortunately, we have done that only to meet these people again on the battlefield," she said, referring to a recent case where a released detainee committed a suicide bombing in Iraq. "They should not be released on unsuspecting populations."

Rice spoke at a news conference with Iceland's Foreign Minister Ingibjorg Gisladottir, who presented the secretary with the resolution. Rice said she would provide the minister with a copy of the OSCE report on Guantanamo.

The Bush administration has defended tough interrogation tactics that were approved for terrorism suspects in the wake of 9/11, saying they comply with both U.S. law and treaty obligations — though human rights groups and critics disagree.

Earlier in May, Rice defended the U.S. record.

She said that legal restrictions on the treatment of detainees had evolved significantly between 2002 and 2003, when administration officials had allowed harsh techniques, including one that some believe to be torture, and the passage in 2005 of the Detainee Treatment Act, which prohibits cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

Rice — who was President Bush's national security adviser at the time — refused to specify what specific techniques were approved, but said America was safer because of interrogations conducted on al-Qaida detainees captured in the first months and year after 9/11.

She maintained that Bush's top aides had been scrupulous in making sure the early interrogations conformed to existing rules.

This week, defense lawyers for Guantanamo detainees accused the U.S. government of rushing the 9/11 suspects to trial to influence the presidential elections, and asked a military judge to dismiss the cases.

Military lawyers for alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four co-defendants revealed that prosecutors are seeking a Sept. 15 trial date, just weeks before the Nov. 4 election.

The five men accused of mounting the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that killed almost 3,000 people are to be arraigned June 5 at the U.S. Navy base in Guantanamo Bay in the most high-profile of the military commissions, as the war-crimes proceedings are called.

Why did Iceland let her in in the first instance?

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