The Guardian writes that the US state cables contain criticism by the US of European human rights standards. Specific criticism was directed at the Council of Europe for its stand against extraditions to the US, secret renditions and US prisons for terrorism suspects. The European court of human rights is also criticized for banning deportations to countries which practise torture and requiring more information in cases where the US would sentence life imprisonment with no possible appeal or automatic judicial review of the life sentence. One cable outlines that the US sought to pressure current Council of Europe secretary general Thorbjørn Jagland, the former prime minister of Norway, to prevent him from criticising secret renditions or other human rights issues concerning the US.
“The Council of Europe (COE) likes to portray itself as a bastion of democracy, a promoter of human rights, and the last best hope for defending the rule of law in Europe – and beyond,” wrote US consul general Vincent Carver.
Of Thomas Hammarberg, human rights commissioner for the Council who criticized US policy, the cables assert that he saw himself as “God’s gift to the world”.