[News] European Parliament hears evidence on CIA extraordinary rendition programme

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Mar 29 10:39:36 EDT 2012

European Parliament hears evidence on CIA extraordinary rendition programme

Reprieve’s Crofton Black this week gave evidence 
to the European Parliament on new developments in 
his European renditions accountability investigation.

Dr Black has been investigating the CIA 
renditions network with a particular focus on 
European secret prisons. As a global conspiracy 
by the USA, the network required the co-operation 
of corporations, governments and service 
providers.  Reprieve, a legal action charity, is 
working with the European Parliament to ensure 
these parties are held accountable so that such 
co-operation may never happen again.

Reprieve reported the following:
Since the last European Parliament report in 
2007, two more CIA "black sites" have been firmly 
identified in Lithuania and Romania, using 
information provided by former CIA employees and 
supported by documentary evidence.

The Lithuanian site, in the former riding stables 
at Antaviliai, was purchased by a mysterious 
company, Elite LLC,incorporated in Washington DC 
and Panama and acting through power of attorney 
given to an individual named Valdas Vitkauskas. 
Elite was incorporated in July 2003. In March 
2004, Elite and Mr Vitkauskas purchased the site from its local owners.

Residents living in the vicinity with a clear 
view of the site spoke of a building programme, 
overseen by Americans, in which a large metal 
warehouse structure was created. Vehicles with 
darkened windows visited the site regularly and 
guards patrolled around it. In January 2007 it 
was sold to its current owners, the Lithuanian security services.

During this period, a number of flights, related 
by documentary evidence to companies 
participating in the renditions programme, made 
flights to Lithuania, sometimes disguising their 
routes. Planes came to Vilnius and Palanga from 
Bucharest and Morocco. On landing, the planes 
were not checked: normal border guard duties were 
suspended on the instructions of the security 
services. Landing forms were signed, not by the 
pilots, but by officers of the airports.

These planes also visited Romania. Telephone 
records connect the Romanian landings to other 
landings in the renditions network, and flight 
information connects them to the contracting 
companies and ultimately to the US government.

Reprieve is building a database of financial 
transactions relating to renditions programme 
flights - some of which can be linked to the 
renditions of specific prisoners. Most 
transactions involve non-European companies 
paying European companies and European 
governments fees and taxes. The Danish 
government, for example, receives a fee for "each 
crossing between Europe and North America by an 
aircraft, wherever registered, in the course of 
which the aircraft is at any time north of the 
45th parallel North between the meridians of 15 
West and 50 West" (CAA charges for Denmark and Iceland 2003).
Reprieve made the following recommendations:

Flight control agency Eurocontrol is key to this 
investigation. It states that its agreements with 
service providers and operators preclude it from 
providing data to NGOs, journalists and "third 
parties". However, it can assist when requested 
by "member states". New, broad and detailed 
engagement with Eurocontrol by European states is therefore crucial.

The European Parliament must capitalize on recent 
developments by seeking the assistance of 
Eurocontrol to confirm private and state 
involvement in flights implicated in the secret prisons network.
Reprieve Investigator Crofton Black said: “A lot 
of crucial evidence has already been collected. 
Unfortunately, however, in many European 
countries involved in renditions and secret 
detention, the quality of the evidence has often 
been spoilt by poor interpretation. Governments 
and prosecutors have been very reluctant to 
follow the evidence and draw the necessary and 
logical conclusions from it. The European 
Parliament needs to scrutinize these failings and 
make a firm statement about the reality of the 
renditions programme: many European countries are 
still trying to brush under the carpet things 
that the US has already acknowledged.”


Notes to Editors:

1.For more information please contact Katherine 
O’Shea or Donald Campbell at Reprieve’s Press 
Office on katherine.oshea at reprieve.org.uk/ 
donald.campbell at reprieve.org.uk  +44(0)20 7427 
1099 or go to http://www.reprieve.org.uk/investigations/eucomplicity/

2. Watch Dr Crofton Black's testimony on Reprieve's website.

3. The European Parliament has resolved to seek 
accountability for European participation in the 
CIA renditions programme: "In its resolutions of 
2007 and 2009 the Parliament urged the EU and the 
Member States to take action, acknowledge, repair 
and prevent in the future the human rights 
violations that occurred in Europe in the context 
of the US rendition and secret detention 
programmes. The hearing's objective is to assess 
the developments at national level on the 
implementation of the Parliament recommendations. 
The event will substantiate the upcoming LIBE 
report and contribute to the Parliament's 
commitment to fully take up its responsibilities 
under the new legal framework of the Lisbon 
Treaty. (2012/2033(INI), Rapporteur Hélène 
FLAUTRE (Verts/ALE, FR)); Tuesday, 27.03.12, 9.00-12.00."

4. Reprieve, a legal action charity, uses the law to enforce the human
rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay. Reprieve
investigates, litigates and educates, working on the frontline, to
provide legal support to prisoners unable to pay for it themselves.
Reprieve promotes the rule of law around the world, securing each
person’s right to a fair trial and saving lives.  Clive Stafford Smith
is the founder of Reprieve and has spent 25 years working on behalf of
people facing the death penalty in the USA.

Reprieve has represented, and continues to represent, a large number of
prisoners who have been rendered and abused around the world, and is
conducting ongoing investigations into the rendition and the secret
detention of ‘ghost prisoners’ in the so-called ‘war on terror.’

PO Box 52742
London EC4P 4WS
Tel: 020 7353 4640
Fax: 020 7353 4641
Email: info at reprieve.org.uk
Website: www.reprieve.org.uk
Email: info at reprieve.org.uk
Website: www.reprieve.org.uk

Reprieve is a charitable company limited by 
guarantee; Registered Charity No. 1114900 
Registered Company No. 5777831 (England) 
Registered Office 2-6 Cannon Street London EC4M 
6YH; Chair: Ken Macdonald QC; Patrons: Alan 
Bennett, Julie Christie, Martha Lane Fox, Gordon 
Roddick, Richard Rogers, Ruth Rogers, Jon Snow, 
Marina Warner, Vivienne Westwood

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