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Europeans Seek More Info on Secret Jails
"President Bush has finally realized that American values are the way to win the war on terror _ the values of true openness, a commitment to having fair trials and not allowing the torture of detainees," lawyer Zachary Katznelson, who represents 36 Guantanamo detainees, told the AP.
Marine Maj. Michael Mori, the Pentagon-appointed lawyer for Australian Guantanamo detainee David Hicks, said that legislation the White House wants to use to prosecute terrorist suspects in military trials is similar to provisions already deemed illegal by the high court.
"It appears to be just a rubber stamp of the old illegal commission system," Mori told the Australian Associated Press in the United States.
Bush is pressing Congress to quickly pass administration-drafted legislation authorizing the use of military commissions for trials of terror suspects after the Supreme Court in June ruled that trying detainees in military tribunals violated U.S. and international law.
Shami Chakrabarti, director of London-based human rights group Liberty, said Bush's disclosure raised fresh questions about a possible role of Britain and other countries in so-called extraordinary rendition flights, allegedly used to ferry prisoners to and from the secret prisons.
"After years of allegations come shocking admissions of guilt by the U.S. President as to the existence of secret prisons outside the rule of law," Chakrabarti said in a statement.
Andrew Tyrie, a British lawmaker and chairman of the All Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition, said he hoped Bush would in the future provide more details about the treatment of detainees at the CIA prisons.
Bush said that interrogation techniques used were tough, but did not constitute torture.
Human Rights Watch has previously identified Poland and Romania as possible sites of secret prisons, a charge both countries have repeatedly denied.