[Ppnews] Europe 'aided US in CIA flights'
Political Prisoner News
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Jun 7 10:57:56 EDT 2006
3 articles from European press follow
Europe 'aided US in CIA flights'
Fourteen European states colluded with the CIA in secret US flights
for terror suspects, a report concludes.
The report comes from Europe's human rights watchdog, the Council of Europe.
The report says there is evidence to back suspicions secret prisons
are or were located in Poland and Romania - allegations both countries deny.
Under the CIA policy of rendition, prisoners are moved to third
countries for interrogation. There have been allegations some were tortured.
The US admits to picking up terrorism suspects but denies sending
them to nations to face torture.
The report by Swiss senator Dick Marty follows a seven-month inquiry.
It began in November amid a political outcry over media allegations
of the existence of CIA detention centres in eastern Europe.
Mr Marty has drawn on air traffic logs, satellite photos and accounts
of prisoners who say they were abducted.
In an interim report in January, Mr Marty said European governments
were almost certainly aware of the CIA's secret prisoner flights via
European airspace or airports.
The new report says: "It is now clear - although we are still far
from having established the truth - that authorities in several
European countries actively participated with the CIA in these
"Other countries ignored them knowingly, or did not want to know."
Spain, Turkey, Germany and Cyprus provided "staging posts" for
rendition operations, while the UK, Portugal, Ireland and Greece were
"stop-off points", the report says.
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It says Italy, Sweden, Macedonia and Bosnia allowed the abduction of
residents from their soil.
The most serious charges are levelled at Poland and Romania, where Mr
Marty says there is enough evidence to support suspicions that CIA
secret prisons were established.
Although the Swiss senator says the US must bear responsibility for
the flights, he says the programme could operate only with "the
intentional or grossly negligent collusion of the European partners".
The "spider's web" of US rendition flights is based on an "utterly
alien" approach that breaches human rights, he concludes.
In Warsaw, Polish Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz described
the latest accusations as "libellous", while Romania rejected them as
COUNCIL OF EUROPE
Founded in 1949 and based in Strasbourg, France
Forty-six members, 21 of them from Central and Eastern Europe
Set up to defend human rights, parliamentary democracy and the rule of law
Acts as human rights watchdog for Europe
Oversees the European Court of Human Rights
Comprises a decision-making committee of ministers and 630-member
In London, Tony Blair said the report "added absolutely nothing new
whatever to the information we have".
Media allegations on CIA jails broke last November, when the
Washington Post newspaper said the intelligence agency had been
running facilities in eastern Europe, Afghanistan and Thailand.
It said more than 100 people had been sent to facilities known as
"black sites" since they were set up following the 11 September 2001 attacks.
European media reports have since alleged that the CIA has used
several European airports for its programme of "extraordinary renditions".
Under the highly secretive process, US intelligence agencies send
terror suspects for interrogation by security officials in other
countries, where they have no legal protection or rights under American law.
Washington does not deny that terror suspects have been transferred
for interrogation in other countries, but rejects accusations that
they are being tortured.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/06/07 12:00:57 GMT
Rendition and the rights of the individual
By Paul Reynolds
World Affairs Correspondent, BBC News website
The outrage evident in the Council of Europe report on the secret CIA
rendition programme emerges from a clash between the methods used by
the United States to break up al-Qaeda networks and the sensitivities
of human rights mechanisms introduced into post-war Europe and
designed not to permit the unhindered use of government power.
The report's author, Swiss Senator Dick Marty, following up his
earlier draft findings, identified what he felt was the difference
between the responses to terrorism by Europe and the US:
"While the states of the Old World have dealt with these threats
primarily by means of existing institutions and legal systems, the
United States appears to have made a fundamentally different choice:
considering that neither conventional judicial instruments nor those
established under the framework of the laws of war could effectively
counter the new forms of international terrorism, it decided to
develop new legal concepts.
"This legal approach is utterly alien to the European tradition and
sensibility, and is clearly contrary to the European Convention on
Human Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights."
The American decision to engage in counterterrorism beyond the reach
of national or international law arose from a desire - a need as
Washington saw the matter - to avoid the restrictions of the US law
and constitution, which protect individual rights.
It therefore built not only Guantanamo Bay, but a series of "black
sites", or secret prisons around the world. In these black sites,
senior al-Qaeda suspects were held and interrogated, sometimes by
so-called "enhanced" methods.
For the Bush administration, authority for this came from a
congressional resolution passed on 14 September 2001.
Under this resolution "the President is authorized to use all
necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations,
or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the
terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001... in order to
prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United
States by such nations, organizations or persons."
Specific authority for the CIA to act as it saw best against al-Qaeda
was then given by President Bush in a "presidential finding" on 17
It was therefore perhaps inevitable that one day, there would be a
clash between the operational requirements of the CIA and the legal
concerns of European human rights organisations, led by the Council
of Europe, which administers the European Convention on Human Rights.
This clash is but one element of the wider legal struggle that has
seen efforts to get rights for the Guantanamo Bay prisoners and
pressure on the US to abide by a strict interpretation of the
international convention against torture.
The US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has stated that her
country does not engage in torture or hand over prisoners to those who do.
Poland and Romania
The most serious charge Mr Marty makes in his report is against
Poland and Romania, both of which he all but accuses of having
allowed the CIA to run black sites.
These suspected secret prisons were in fact exposed by the Washington
Post in an article in November 2005.
Poland and Romania were not named in that article - the reference was
to "several democracies in Eastern Europe" - at the request of the
White House, but they were soon revealed.
It is believed that the sites were rapidly closed and the prisoners
transferred, perhaps to somewhere in North Africa.
Mr Marty has now collated flight data from rendition flights and has
pointed a finger of suspicion at both countries, which continue to
deny they did anything wrong. In this, he goes beyond his earlier,
Other intriguing circumstantial information has come from Muhammad
Bashmila, a former secret prisoner now free in Yemen.
In a rare interview with the BBC Newsnight programme, he spoke of
being transferred from Afghanistan to a secret prison where it was
cold, where the food appeared European and where evening prayers were
held at the late hour of 2045. Somewhere in Eastern Europe is suspected.
Balance of liberties
It is argued, by the British government among others, that the
phenomenon of Islamic terrorism is so grave that there has to be a
reconsideration of the balance of liberties.
Previously, according to this view, the individual had to be
protected against governments. But now the individual ability to wage
war on societies is so great that individuals have to be restricted.
Mr Marty does not accept this.
In his report, he states: "The compilation of so-called "black lists"
of individuals and companies suspected of maintaining connections
with organisations considered terrorist and the application of the
associated sanctions clearly breach every principle of the
fundamental right to a fair trial: no specific charges, no right to
be heard, no right of appeal, no established procedure for removing
one's name from the list."
But he also quotes within his report a defence from Dan Fried, the US
Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs:
"We are attempting to keep our people safe; we are attempting to
fight dangerous terrorist groups who are active and who mean what
they say about destroying us. We are trying to do so in a way
consistent with our values and our international legal obligations.
"Doing all of those things in practice is not easy, partly because -
as we've discovered as we've gotten into it - the struggle we are in
does not fit neatly either into the criminal legal framework, or
neatly into the law of war framework."
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/06/07 13:10:15 GMT
FACTBOX-Alleged victims of CIA secret transfers
Wed Jun 7, 2006 12:50 PM BST
(Reuters) - Council of Europe investigator Dick Marty cited 17
individual cases to back his conclusion that 14 European countries
colluded in a "global spider's web" of secret CIA prisons and
transfers of terrorist suspects.
Here are brief details of the cases, as contained in Marty's final
report published on Wednesday:
-- Khaled el-Masri
A German of Lebanese origin, Masri was arrested in Macedonia at the
end of 2003. The report backs his account that he was handed over to
CIA agents, flown to Afghanistan and jailed for months as a terrorist
suspect before being released without charge in May 2004. He is
trying, so far without success, to sue the former head of the CIA for
abduction and torture.
-- The 'Algerian six'
Lakhdar Boumediene, Mohamed Nechle, Hadj Boudella, Belkacem Bensayah,
Mustafa Ait Idir and Sabre Lahmar, six Bosnians of Algerian origin,
were arrested in October 2001, suspected of having planned bomb
attacks on the U.S. and British embassies. Although prosecutors found
no evidence, the report says they were handed over to the U.S.
military in Bosnia in January 2002 and flown to the U.S. detention at
Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, where they remain.
-- Ahmed Agiza and Mohammed Alzery
The two Egyptian men were deported from Sweden in December 2001. The
report said they were handed over at a Swedish airport to hooded U.S.
agents who cut off their clothes with scissors, dressed them in
tracksuits, checked every body aperture, handcuffed them and shackled
their feet and flew them to Egypt, where there is evidence they were
-- Abu Omar
The Muslim cleric was abducted in broad daylight in Milan, Italy in
June 2003 and flown via U.S. airbases in Italy and Germany to Egypt,
where he was tortured before being released and re-arrested, the
report says. Italian prosecutors have accused 22 CIA agents of kidnapping him.
-- Bisher Al-Rawi and Jamil El-Banna
Both permanent residents of Britain, they were arrested in Gambia in
November 2002 on the basis of information supplied by British
domestic intelligence MI5, the report says. They were questioned by
CIA and Gambian agents before being flown the next month to
Afghanistan and later to Guantanamo, where they remain.
-- Maher Arar
A Canadian citizen of Syrian origin, he was arrested during an
airport stopover in New York in September 2002, interrogated for two
weeks and then is alleged to have been transported via Washington,
Rome and Amman to a prison of Syrian military intelligence. He spent
more than 10 months there, during which he says he was tortured,
abused and forced to make false confessions.
-- Muhammad Bashmila and Salah Ali Qaru
Arrested in Jordan in 2003, they are alleged to have been held in at
least four secret U.S. detention centres, probably in three different
countries. Amnesty International says there is evidence that they and
a third man, Muhammad al-Assad, were at one time held in a U.S.
prison in Eastern Europe.
-- Mohammed Zammar
The German-Syrian man, suspected of involvement with the Hamburg cell
of al Qaeda, was arrested in Morocco in late 2001 and is alleged to
have been flown to Syria on a CIA-linked aircraft, the report says.
German security officials have visited him in a Syrian prison.
-- Binyam Mohamed al Habashi
The Ethiopian citizen, resident in Britain since 1994, was arrested
in Pakistan in April 2002 and interrogated by Pakistani, American and
British agents before being handed over to the United States, the
report says. It says he has been held at secret detention facilities
in Morocco and Afghanistan, and is now in Guantanamo. He says he has
been severely tortured during his captivity.
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