Geez, who could possibly have imagined something like this happening?
Germany's victim of extraordinary rendition sues in US courts as Rice is forced on defensive
When Khaled al Masri took the bus from Ulm to Macedonia two years ago, his only objective was to cool off after a row with his wife.
But his troubles were only beginning. At the Serb-Macedonian border crossing he was hauled off the coach and handed over to three men in civilian clothes carrying handguns. His name - identical to one of the 11 September hijackers - had lit up a police computer.
The German citizen did not know it at the time, but he was starting out on a journey into the darkest heart of America's war on terror. His ordeal would last five months, where, unknown to his family and friends, he would be trussed up, tortured and abused before being dumped in Albania, fearing he was to be shot.
The controversy over secret CIA flights, torture and illegal imprisonment, continues to rage across Europe. Yesterday saw the extraordinary spectacle of Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, acknowledging the CIA's "mistake" to the German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.
Ah. So mistakes were made, were they? And what does one do when one realizes one has totally screwed the pooch?
The Washington Post this week reported that when the CIA realised they had been wrong, they decided to dump Mr Masri and act as if nothing had happened.
And these are the folks who want to tell Canada who to put on its "no-fly" list? Somehow, I'm not feeling totally comforted.
WHOOPS, LET ME REPHRASE THAT. Uh oh ... apparently, mistakes weren't made after all.
[German Chancellor Angela] Merkel told a joint news conference with Rice in Berlin that the United States had acknowledged it made a mistake in the case of Khaled el-Masri, who says he was flown to Afghanistan by U.S. agents and jailed for five months last year before being freed.
"I'm pleased to say that we spoke about the individual case, which was accepted by the United States as a mistake...," Merkel said in response to questions about the Masri case, which has caused a furor in Germany.
But senior U.S. officials, traveling to Romania with Rice on the next leg of her European tour, quibbled with Merkel's interpretation.
They said they had huddled with Merkel's aides after the news conference, seeking an explanation, because Rice had not admitted a U.S. mistake over Masri.
While the U.S. government had informed Germany about his detention and release, it did not say that was a mistake, one senior administration official told reporters.
"We are not quite sure what was in her head," he said, referring to Merkel.
I guess it all depends on your definition of the word "mistake," doesn't it?