GENEVA -- President Bush's confirmation of secret CIA prisons re ignited controversy yesterday, with European lawmakers demanding the exact locations and other critics saying the system tacitly approves torture.
A top European investigator accused the White House of hiding the truth, though Bush found some support in Australia.
The international Red Cross welcomed the transfer of high-level terror suspects to the U S prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, saying yesterday it planned to check on them very soon. European lawmakers condemned the existence of secret prisons and demanded to know their locations.
``We cannot condone the existence of secret prisons," said Javier Solana, the European Union's foreign policy chief.
Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero of Spain, who pulled his country's troops out of Iraq in 2004, said ``The fight against terrorism can only be done through democracy and respect for the law ."
U N Secretary General Kofi Annan, visiting Zapatero in Madrid yesterday, agreed.
``I cannot believe that there can be a trade between the effective fight against terrorism and protection of civil liberties," he said. ``If as individuals we are asked to give up our freedom, our liberties, our human rights, as protection against terrorism, do we in the end have protection?"
Bush got strong support from Australia, a staunch supporter of his invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.
``A great deal has been achieved through these kinds of programs," Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer told Parliament.