"[A] number of coherent and converging elements indicate that . . . secret detention centers did indeed exist in Europe," Dick Marty, a Swiss investigator working on behalf of the Council of Europe, the continent's official human-rights organization, has written in a report to be debated by the Council of Europe on June 27 in Strasbourg, France, the Washington Post reported Wednesday. -- "Even if proof, in the classical meaning of the term, is not as yet available," Marty has concluded that "the CIA transported high-level terrorism suspects from Afghanistan to airports in Szymany, Poland, and Timisoara, Romania, in October 2003 and January 2004, respectively. Marty said a close examination of the flights indicated that the suspects were dropped off in those countries for detention," the Post said. -- In addition, "at least seven European nations colluded with the CIA to abduct and secretly detain terrorism suspects, including several who were ultimately cleared of wrongdoing. He said those countries should be held accountable under European human-rights laws. -- Sweden, Italy, Britain, Turkey, Germany, Bosnia, and Macedonia 'could be held responsible for violations of the rights of specific individuals' who were handed over to the CIA or captured by U.S. operatives in those countries." -- An AP story on Marty's report also named Spain, Cyprus, Ireland, Greece, and Portugal as countries "complicit in 'unlawful inter-state transfers' of people." ...
REPORT SUGGESTS POLAND, ROMANIA ALLOWED CIA PRISONS
By Craig Whitlock
** Several European Nations Implicated by Watchdog for Collusion with U.S. Terror Detention Effort **
June 7, 2006
BERLIN -- A European investigator concluded Wednesday that there are "serious indications" that the CIA operated secret prisons for suspected al-Qaeda leaders in Poland and Romania as part of a clandestine "spider's web" to catch, transfer, and hold terrorism suspects around the world.
In addition, Dick Marty, a Swiss investigator working on behalf of the Council of Europe, the continent's official human-rights organization, said at least seven European nations colluded with the CIA to abduct and secretly detain terrorism suspects, including several who were ultimately cleared of wrongdoing. He said those countries should be held accountable under European human-rights laws.
Sweden, Italy, Britain, Turkey, Germany, Bosnia, and Macedonia "could be held responsible for violations of the rights of specific individuals" who were handed over to the CIA or captured by U.S. operatives in those countries, Marty said in a report released Wednesday in Paris.
"It is now clear," he added, "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."
While he acknowledged that he lacked proof that would firmly establish the existence of the secret prisons, Marty cited flight data and satellite photos that he acquired from European agencies as evidence that the CIA transported high-level terrorism suspects from Afghanistan to airports in Szymany, Poland, and Timisoara, Romania, in October 2003 and January 2004, respectively. Marty said a close examination of the flights indicated that the suspects were dropped off in those countries for detention.
"Even if proof, in the classical meaning of the term, is not as yet available, a number of coherent and converging elements indicate that such secret detention centers did indeed exist in Europe," Marty wrote.
Government authorities in Poland and Romania have repeatedly denied that they permitted the CIA to detain al-Qaeda suspects within their borders, although Marty accused both nations of either stonewalling his requests for information or failing to conduct serious investigations on their own.
Marty, who lacks subpoena power or other tools to compel countries to cooperate, began his probe after the Washington Post reported in November that the CIA had established secret prisons for suspected al-Qaeda leaders in eastern Europe, as well as in Afghanistan and Thailand, since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
The Post has not published the names of the East European countries involved in the covert program, at the request of senior U.S. officials, including a direct appeal from President Bush. They argued that the disclosure might disrupt counterterrorism efforts in those countries and elsewhere and make them targets of possible terrorist retaliation.
Marty's report is scheduled to be debated by the Council of Europe on June 27 in Strasbourg, France. The council, which has 46 member nations, functions as Europe's primary human-rights watchdog. Members are legally bound to observe its human-rights statutes and treaties, although the council has limited powers to assess sanctions.
SECRET PRISON INVESTIGATOR SAYS 14 EUROPEAN NATIONS HELPED CIA VIOLATE RIGHTS
By Jan Silva
June 7, 2006
PARIS -- Fourteen European countries colluded with U.S. intelligence in a "spider's web" of secret flights and detention centres that violated international human rights law, the head of an investigation into alleged CIA clandestine prisons said Wednesday.
Swiss Senator Dick Marty said the countries aided the movement of 17 detainees who claimed they had been abducted by U.S. agents and secretly transferred to detention centers around the world.
Some said they were transferred to the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and others to alleged secret facilities in countries including Poland, Romania, Egypt, and Jordan. Some said they were mistreated or tortured.
"I have chosen to adopt the metaphor of a global spider's web, a web that has been spun out incrementally over several years using tactics and techniques that had to be developed in response to new threats of war," Marty said.
Marty provided no direct evidence but charged that most European governments "did not seem particularly eager to establish" the facts.
"Even if proof, in the classical meaning of the term, is not as yet available, a number of coherent and converging elements indicate that such secret detention centers did indeed exist in Europe," he wrote, saying it warranted further investigation.
Marty relied mostly on flight logs provided by the European Union's air traffic agency, Eurocontrol; statements gathered from people who said they had been abducted by U.S. intelligence agents, and judicial and parliamentary inquiries in various countries.
He concluded that several countries let the CIA abduct their residents, while others allowed the agency to use their air space or turned a blind eye to questionable foreign intelligence activities on their territory.
He listed 14 European countries -- Britain, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Bosnia, Macedonia, Turkey, Spain, Cyprus, Ireland, Greece, Portugal, Romania, and Poland -- as being complicit in "unlawful inter-state transfers" of people.
Some, including Sweden and Bosnia, already have admitted some involvement.
The 67-page report, addressed to the 46 Council of Europe member states, will likely be used by the human rights watchdog to put pressure on the countries implicated to investigate.
A parallel investigation by the European Parliament has said data show there have been more than 1,000 clandestine CIA flights stopping on European territory since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States. Officials said it was not clear if or how many detainees were on board, and have not shed any light on allegations of CIA secret prisons.
Allegations that CIA agents shipped prisoners through European airports to secret detention centers, including compounds in eastern Europe, were first reported in November by the Washington Post.
Poland's prime minister denied Wednesday that CIA planes carrying terror suspects ever stopped or dropped off prisoners in Poland.
"This is slander and it's not based on any facts," Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz told reporters in Warsaw.
Former Polish president Aleksander Kwasniewski admitted he had heard of a few cases of secret landings by CIA planes in Poland, saying it was "natural" in the global fight against terrorism.
Romeo Raicu, head of Romania's parliamentary committee overseeing foreign intelligence services, told the Associated Press: "There is no evidence there were such detention bases in Romania."
He noted that agreements with the U.S. and NATO allow their aircraft to land in Romania and to fly over Romanian territory.
"The responsibility for what those planes transport is not Romania's responsibility," he said.
Britain said it had granted two of four U.S. rendition requests.
The first concerned Mohammed Rashid, a man later sentenced in the United States to seven years in prison in connection with the bombing of a Pan Am flight in 1982.
A second was to transport Mohamed Rashed Daoud al-Owhali via London's Gatwick airport. He was sentenced to life in 2001 for his role in the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi.
Clandestine prisons and secret flights from Europe to countries where suspects could face torture would breach the continent's human rights treaties, including the European Convention on Human Rights.
The Council of Europe has no power to punish countries for breaching the treaty other than terminating their membership in the organization. Based on irrefutable evidence, the European Union might be able to suspend the voting rights of a country found to have breached the convention.