Daily Scribble finishes No. 2 in voting for best Web political cartoon of 2004

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"Though Charles Pugsley Fincher would do well to find a stage name, his daily scribbles are nothing to scoff at. Plain and simple, on lined yellow scratch paper, yet they speak volumes." Jacob Wheeler,

Scribble runs in the opinion section of Flak Magazine.
By Charles Pugsley Fincher, A Spin-Off of
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From :

December 7, 2005
Rice Is Challenged in Europe Over Secret Prisons

BUCHAREST, Romania, Dec. 6 - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was pelted with questions on Tuesday about covert prisons and a mistaken, secret arrest, as she grappled with what has become an incendiary issue in Europe. She declined to answer most of them in two European capitals.

Europe has been roiled by reports that the United States maintained secret jails for terror suspects in Europe, and by residual anger over the American practice of rendition, or secretly transferring terrorism suspects to the custody of third countries, including some outside Europe that routinely use torture.

The anger has made it harder for Ms. Rice to repair already strained relations with many European nations at odds with American policy on Iraq, like Germany, where she met in Berlin with the new chancellor, Angela Merkel, hoping for a fresh start. But the issue confronted her repeatedly.

Mrs. Merkel said at a news conference that Ms. Rice had admitted making a mistake when the United States abducted a German citizen, Khaled el-Masri, on suspicions of terrorism and held him in detention for five months. But aides to Ms. Rice scrambled to deny that, saying instead that Ms. Rice had said only that if mistakes were made, they would be corrected.

...After the mistaken arrest was discovered, the United States asked Germany to keep it secret, and Germany complied. Asked about that, Ms. Rice said, "Intelligence matters need to be handled sensitively."

Before leaving Washington on Monday morning, Ms. Rice issued a long, unapologetic statement on the secret-prison issue, which has become the subject of many investigations in Europe, while refusing to acknowledge that the prisons exist.

...Even though aides to Ms. Rice said they realized that the secret-prison issue would dominate a good part of her trip, at times she has shown exasperation over the debate.

"We have an obligation to defend our people, and we will use every lawful means to do so," she declared in Berlin, adding that the public debate over the secret prisons ought to include "a healthy respect for the challenges we face" fighting terrorism.


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