[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.

'Spider's web'

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 
unlawful activities.

"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.

Whatever it takes to keep our world safe
Ken, Canada

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.

'Black sites'

In Warsaw, Polish Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz described 
the latest accusations as "libellous", while Romania rejected them as 

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 
parliamentary assembly

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."

American attitudes

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 
September 2001.


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, 
preliminary report.

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 
later tortured.

-- 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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