tampabay.com

EU may seek Rumsfeld, Cheney views on prisons

Associated Press
Published January 27, 2006


BRUSSELS, Belgium - A European Parliament investigation into alleged CIA secret prisons could ask Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to testify, although it has no legal power to subpoena them, a member of the panel said Thursday.

"Very senior people" would be asked to answer the allegations of human rights violations on EU territory, said Sarah Ludford, vice president of an investigation into the alleged prisons being conducted by the parliament.

"I don't see why we should not invite Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney," Ludford said. "I'm sure they would be very welcome and they would be heard with great interest, or (Secretary of State) Condoleezza Rice perhaps, why not?"

Ludford, a British Liberal Democrat Party member, acknowledged that the parliament had no legal power to subpoena them.

"I would not be overoptimistic, but I don't think it's completely off the planet to think that they might come to see us," she said.

The parliament committee held its first meeting Thursday, electing Portuguese Conservative Carlos Coelho as its president.

"I hope that we will be inviting very senior people from governments, from nongovernmental organizations and people who have knowledge of the intelligence community," Ludford said. "If they are seen not to cooperate then I think we can draw conclusions."

The 732-member EU legislature agreed two weeks ago to launch its own investigation.

The work of the 46-member committee is the first inquiry conducted by the EU. Several EU countries have launched their own investigations, as has the Council of Europe, the continent's top human rights watchdog.

Rocket attack kills two Afghan police officers

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - A rocket killed two police officers during a battle with Taliban rebels in eastern Afghanistan, while a roadside bomb wounded two U.S. troops traveling in a convoy, officials said Thursday.

Militants also fired rocket-propelled grenades and mortars at American forces on patrol after Wednesday's roadside blast in the eastern province of Kunar, prompting troops to call for reinforcements, U.S. military spokesman Lt. Mike Cody said in an e-mail.

AH-64 Apache helicopters, A-10 attack aircraft and artillery responded, pounding the militant positions, he said. It was not immediately clear if there were casualties among the rebels. Both injured service members were taken for medical treatment at a nearby base, Cody's e-mail said.

BRITISH PRESENCE TO RISE: Britain will send at least another 4,000 troops - four times its current deployment - to Afghanistan in coming months as a NATO mission expands into a dangerous region rife with Taliban and al-Qaida insurgents, British Defense Secretary John Reid said Thursday.

India protests U.S. envoy's comment on nuclear deal

NEW DELHI - India on Thursday protested a suggestion by the U.S. ambassador that a landmark nuclear deal between the two countries would fall apart unless New Delhi backed Washington's effort to bring Iran before the U.N. Security Council because of its atomic program.

Under the deal signed in July, Washington is to share civilian nuclear technology and supply nuclear fuel to India in return for New Delhi separating its civilian and military nuclear programs and allowing international inspections of its atomic facilities.

But U.S. Ambassador David Mulford said Wednesday that if India does not vote next month to refer Tehran to the Security Council, which could impose sanctions, it would be "devastating" to the deal currently before the U.S. Congress.

The State Department said the envoy was speaking for himself.