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CIA Flights the Work of Gangsters

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    CIA Flights Likened to the Work of Gangsters By Stephen Castle The Independent UK Wednesday 25 January 2006 http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/012506L.shtml The
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 2, 2006
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      CIA Flights Likened to the Work of Gangsters
      By Stephen Castle
      The Independent UK
      Wednesday 25 January 2006

      The United States was accused of "gangster tactics" yesterday, and
      European governments were accused of turning a blind eye to the
      "outsourcing of torture", as a human rights watchdog concluded that
      the CIA conducted illegal anti-terror activities in Europe.

      Dick Marty, a Swiss parliamentarian conducting a formal inquiry,
      said evidence pointed to a system of "relocation" of torture of terror
      suspects, and that reliable indications suggested secret interrogation
      centres may have existed in Europe.

      The document highlighted cases under legal investigation in Europe
      involving an Egyptian cleric, Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, also known
      as Abu Omar, who disappeared from Milan in 2003, and a Lebanese-born
      German, Khaled el-Masri, who was abducted in Macedonia last year and
      flown to Afghanistan where he was held for four months.

      Mr Marty said he was "scandalised that a few kilometres from where
      I live people can be lifted by foreign governments. When someone goes
      on holiday in Macedonia they are lifted by foreign agents."

      He added: "If a government has to resort to gangster tactics - I
      say 'no'."

      Speaking to the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe,
      the continent's main human rights watchdog, Mr Marty revealed he had
      received flight logs, archived by the Brussels-based air safety
      organisation Eurocontrol, that could show the route of CIA-sponsored

      However, Mr Marty's interim report yesterday uncovered little
      unpublished evidence and prompted immediate criticism from British

      The row over CIA activities has raised transatlantic tensions,
      leaving European governments apparently embarrassed. Mr Marty's
      interim findings argued there was "a great deal of coherent,
      convergent evidence pointing to the existence of a system of
      'relocation' or 'outsourcing' of torture'. It is highly unlikely that
      European governments, or at least their intelligence services, were
      unaware," he added.

      The report suggested that more than 100 terror suspects may have
      been transferred to countries where they faced torture or
      ill-treatment in recent years. "Acts of torture or severe violation of
      detainees' dignity through the administration of inhuman or degrading
      treatment are carried outside national territory and beyond the
      authority of national intelligence services," the report said.

      With more information coming to light over suspected CIA flights
      across EU airspace, Mr Marty also accused some European governments of
      showing more interest in conducting leak inquiries than in pursuing
      the truth.

      The allegations that sparked the investigation surfaced in the US
      press last November with claims of the existence of secret CIA prisons
      thought to be in Poland and Romania.

      Mr Marty conceded there is "no formal, irrefutable evidence" they
      were set up. But he said there were "many indications from various
      sources that must be considered reliable, justifying the continuation
      of the investigative work".

      Craig Murray, the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, who
      appeared at yesterday's session, said he had "direct experience that
      the governments of the UK and the US are willing to accept
      intelligence obtained by foreign intelligence agencies under torture".
      He said he was satisfied people had been held in "pre-existing
      American bases as part of rendition".

      But he argued: "I have not yet seen anything that convinces me
      that the there has been a kind of purposefully constructed detention
      centre in either Poland or Romania."

      Though Mr Marty has, so far, failed to uncover any significant new
      evidence, he has raised the profile of the rendition issue, raising
      pressure on national government to answer questions.

      The secretary general of the Council of Europe, Terry Davis, has
      invoked article 52 of the European Convention to ask all his 46 member
      nations to reply to a series of questions on the claims by 21 February.

      Moreover, the European Parliament has launched its own
      investigation and Franco Frattini, European commissioner for justice
      and home affairs, called on EU member states to co-operate with the

      Critics accuse Mr Marty of grandstanding. Denis MacShane, former
      Europe minister, said: "The report has more holes than a Swiss cheese.
      I have read it carefully and there is nothing new, no proof, no
      witness statement, no document that justifies the claims made."



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