CIA "rendition" confirmed in Europe

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

CIA seal.

The Council of Europe is pressing member governments to provide information concerning CIA prisons operating secretly in Europe.

In an interim report by the human rights council rapporteur, Swiss senator Dick Marty made public the 42-member nation's preliminary conclusions regarding CIA activity on European Union soil.

Marty reported, "Individuals have been abducted, deprived of their liberty and transported to different destinations in Europe, to be handed over to countries in which they have suffered degrading treatment and torture." The report estimates the rendition of "more than a hundred persons."

But when it comes right down to it, no irrefutable evidence exists to confirm allegations that the CIA operated secret detention centers in Europe. "There is a great deal of coherent, convergent evidence pointing to the existence of a system of 'relocation' or 'outsourcing of torture'," the report stated while further noting that, "It is highly unlikely that European governments, or at least their intelligence services, were unaware."

"Our aim is to find out the truth that is being hidden from us today", he said. He adds that he is afraid of "the pressure put on the media in the United States not to report on this affair."

A researcher for Human Rights Watch, John Swift, said; "Cooperation is going to be needed if this investigation is going to succeed. European governments are at a crossroads. They can decide to cooperate with this investigation and uphold European traditions of human rights, or they can continue their romance with the CIA. But they can't do both."

The report has also been criticized for appearing to lack new content and to be incomplete. Former minister for Europe and British member of parliament Denis MacShane has said that Marty's report "has more holes than a Swiss cheese." US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack has rejected the report and stated that it was an example of the "same old reports wrapped up in some new rhetoric. There's nothing new here."

US Department of Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff has stated regarding the US government that "the government acts in accordance with the law and with respect to the sovereignty of host countries in which it operates," and further stated that "The authorities are free to investigate what they want to investigate but we should not allow ourselves to be distracted from the need to identify, prevent and protect against terrorist acts of violence."

The group Amnesty International USA is calling for the US Congress to create a commission to investigate detention and interrogation practices. The United States neither confirms nor denies the existence of secret detention centers.