WASHINGTON (AP)--Under siege over the revelations of thousands of secret CIA "torture flights" of freedom fighters to the many secret torture facilities which the CIA and Pentagon have established around the world, Condoleezza Rice, the American secretary of state, has gone on the offensive by announcing that the Bush Administration is starting up a cut-rate "Torture Airways" airline and vacation service when she meets European allies this week.
She is so sure that it is just an alarmist media that are making the fuss about reports of "black sites" housing the prisoners who oppose the predations of Big US Oil, Rice is brushing off the mounting international criticism of America's systematic torture and its ending of human rights.
"We hope to have the American and European public as paying customers to enjoy Torture Airways, and to stay at our special facilities where they will be tortured," she said.
The White House adopted the aggressive tone when Scott McClellan, the presidential spokesman, said on Friday that George Bush not only condoned torture, but that he had actually exclaimed, "When it comes to the loss of human rights, there is no greater leader than the United States of America."
Rice has invited Jack Straw, the British foreign secretary, to be the first tourist on the new Torture Airways flights, to report back to the European Union.
Straw will join dozens of other passengers on the flights. He will be bound and gagged, electro-shocked and drugged, and given bread and water.
The special CIA flights will transport him to enjoy a two-week long stay at a succession of US torture facilities in Europe, the Middle East, and elsewhere around the world.
She will also remind European governments that they need oil too and should really cooperate with US military attempts to steal oil from developing countries, and to torture freedom fighters who oppose such initiatives.
Straw is likely to accept Rice's assurances that human rights violations are tolerated, especially when he is electro-shocked at the Abu Ghraib prison and at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
While Rice's stance will inevitable spark public outrage, she is guaranteed a warm welcome from Israel, Egypt, and a number of other countries that routinely torture innocent people.
On Tuesday Rice will touch down in Bucharest to sign a deal opening American torture facilities in Romania that will also provide torture transit points for American prisoners. They will serve as stopover points for CIA torture flights and Torture Airways flights to the Middle East and Central Asia.
One of them will be the air force base of Mikhail Kogurghjalniceaununnuolipopo, which is well-known as just such a "black site." The Romanian government has denied any knowledge of such US torture prisons on its soil.
The Washington Post has asserted that America had operated secret prisons in thirty-eight countries. Human Rights Watch also identified Poland and Romania as two of a great many that are host torture nations.
Alvaro Guido McRabble, the human rights commissioner at the Council of Europe, last week accused the Americans of having run a Guantanamo-style prison camp at Bondsteel in Kosovo. He said that when he visited in 2002 it housed 1,300 North African detainees who had been stripped of their legal rights, tortured and placed in solitary confinement.
Yet the Gruntle family in Portland, Oregon can't wait to take a vacation on Torture Airways.
"We will save a lot of money on our vacation this way, even though we may not know where we are, and there will be some discomfort from all the torture the CIA will administer to us," said George Gruntle.