Expert: Estonia unlikely to criticize US for interrogation report ({{commentsTotal}})

Andreas Kaju, an expert observer of United States domestic affairs, told Vikerraadio on Thursday that the Estonian government is unlikely to publicly criticize the US for the Central Intelligence Agency's "enhanced interrogation techniques" program.

In a report published on Tuesday, the US Senate found that the methods used by the CIA as part of the "enhanced interrogation techniques" program were harsher than the agency hitherto admitted. Yet, the interrogations failed to produce useful information, claimed the report.

Kaju explained the reasons behind the report that many believe provides ammunition for the adversaries of the US.

He said that the decision to launch an official investigation into the matter was partly political; Democrats are now in control of the Senate, and the majority of the investigated periods relates to the administration of former President George W. Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney. Republicans refused to take part from the early stages of the investigation. "The investigative committee was headed by Senator Dianne Feinstein, a highly influential Democrat. So there is definitely a political reasoning behind it," Kaju said.

He added that there is also the fact that many Congressmen and top level officials have been under an impression that the CIA leaders have lied and misled them for years. "There have also been suspicions that the CIA has been monitoring the e-mail exchange between the members of the Intelligence Committee and its employees," Kaju said. So the relations between the CIA and the administration have been complicated for a while.

The third aspect, Kaju said, is that former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates made a decision to hand over a series of photos to the press back in 2009, with a reasoning that with speculations about the CIA methods rife, it is better to control the information that the media receives and publishes.

Kaju said that the discussions following the publication of the report have concentrated on the questions surrounding the ethical justification of torture and the relations between the CIA and the legislative power. It has been asked whether the legislative and executive powers should have a full overview of the truth, whether they deserve the truth and know how to handle it. Republicans are trying to argue that the official acceptance of past deeds is in the US's best interests.

Kaju also found that other countries continue their cooperation with the US, because it is in their best interests. He added that reactions from abroad follow the expected pattern. Official admission by the US of using torture during interrogation of suspected terrorists is unlikely to damage existing partnerships, but may add to the arguments of those countries who oppose America and its actions.

"I would bet on the fact that the countries who today have intensive and good relations with the United States will not be deterred by the report, for I'm sure that the Americans have spend years assuring their allies that they no longer torture people," Kaju said.

He added that the Estonian government will probably not give a public thrashing to the US for the deeds that are now part of the past and that, on the official level, have been covered in several ways over the years.

Kallas, Kasemets, Maasikas: EU is strong, no upside to losing the euro

Speaking on Vikerraadio's "Reporteritund" ahead of the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, Siim Kallas, Keit Kasemets and Matti Maasikas agreed that despite its prblems, the EU remained strong as a union.

Opinion digest: How can Estonia shed its reputation as a frontline state?

In a recent opinion piece in Postimees, Propastop, a blog maintained by Estonian Defence Forces volunteers, listed suggestions on how Estonia could shed its international reputation as a frontline state.