December 10, 2014
It appears that Poland, Romania and Lithuania hosted CIA “black sites”, which were effectively torture chambers, according to The Guardian. Evidence points to other European countries cooperating with the US spy agency in organizing covert rendition flights, including Britain, Sweden, Germany, Austria, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Austria, the Czech Republic, Greece, Cyprus, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Albania, The Guardian said.
MOSCOW, December 10 (Sputnik), Marina Elagina — There are strong indications that Poland, Romania, Lithuania and other EU allies of the United States were deeply involved in the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” program and rendered terrorist suspects to the US spy agency for torture, UK’s The Guardian newspaper reported Wednesday.
The claim comes as the US Senate Intelligence Committee released on Tuesday a 525-page summary of a detailed investigation into CIA interrogation techniques that were used on alleged al-Qaeda agents in the wake of the 9/11 attacks on New York City and Washington, DC.
Despite being a brave attempt by the US government to come clean on its own human rights abuses, the report did not explicitly name nations involved in the unlawful renditions or those that also hosted the CIA’s “black site” torture camps in Europe.
In September 2001, US President George W. Bush signed a covert memorandum granting the CIA unprecedented counterterrorism authority, including the covert capture and detention of individuals. The same year, CIA agents started exploring the “possibility of establishing clandestine detention facilities in several countries,” according to the 2014 torture report.
“To encourage governments to clandestinely host CIA detention sites, or to increase support for existing sites, the CIA provided millions of dollars in cash payments to foreign government officials,” the summary said, adding that foreign governments were encouraged to “think big” in terms of US financial assistance.
In July 2014, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that Poland violated an international treaty to protect human rights by hosting secret CIA prisons on its territory. The case was filed by two CIA detainees, Abu Zubaydah and al-Nashiri, who claimed they had been tortured at a secret CIA facility in a Polish forest before being transferred to Guantanamo Bay. An investigation, opened in Poland in 2008, is still underway.
In 2012, al-Nashiri, a Saudi national accused by the CIA of masterminding the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole, lodged a complaint with the ECHR claiming he was transferred from the CIA’s secret prison in Poland to a “black site” in Romania, where US agents continued to torture him.
Swiss Sen. Dick Marty, who investigated unlawful CIA operations on behalf of the Council of Europe, confirmed in a 2007 report that such sites “did exist in Europe from 2003 to 2005, in particular in Poland and Romania.” Both countries have denied any involvement.
Abu Zubaydah, described by the CIA as the first “high-value detainee” to be captured and questioned by US intelligence in the wake of 9/11 attacks, was held in a secret CIA prison in Lithuania in early 2005, and filed a complaint against the country’s government in 2011.
According to ECHR records, the facility was purpose-built as a CIA detention facility with permission from “high-level Lithuanian authorities.” “The highest state authorities were aware of the CIA’s illegal activities on their territories,” the Swiss investigator said later in his report.
To date, Sweden is the only country that has paid damages to the victims of its extraordinary renditions. In 2006, the UN Human Rights Committee ruled that Sweden helped CIA agents render asylum seekers to Egypt for torture in violation of the global torture ban.
In 2001, Swedish officials expelled Mohammed al-Zari and another Egyptian, Ahmed Agiza, to Egypt at the behest of the US spy agency. Sweden permitted the CIA to ship them to Egypt despite its knowledge that Egypt was a “torture state.”
The British government has so far prohibited any domestic inquiry into its involvement in the CIA’s global kidnap and torture operations, according to The Guardian.
A 2012 report by Human Rights Watch cited official documents unearthed in the Libyan capitol of Tripoli after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi’s government “showing a close degree of cooperation among the US, the UK, and other Western governments with regard to the forcible return and subsequent interrogation of Gaddafi opponents in Libya.” The Guardian said Mi6 agents were involved in at least two renditions to Libya alongside the CIA, during which male suspects were kidnapped together with their wives and children, aged 6 to 12.
British officers are also known to have interrogated Guantanamo inmates in Cuba and detainees at the Bagram military base in Afghanistan, while the UK government provided secret US rendition flights with logistical support, according to British daily.
Italy is the only country to have ever convicted CIA agents of abducting foreigners and sending them to a torture state.
In 2003, Americans snatched Egyptian cleric Abu Omar on the street in Milan and secretly transported him to Egypt, despite his official asylum status in Italy. In 2009, an Italian court found 22 CIA operatives, a US military official and two Italian spies guilty of the kidnapping and sentenced them each to five years in jail. All CIA agents were tried in absentia. None were handed over to Italy.
The court established that Omar was first brought to a US air base at Aviano near Venice, and then transferred to America’s Ramstein base in Germany, from whence he was flown to Egypt. The 2007 report of the Council of Europe established that the CIA performed some 1,000 rendition flights over Europe in the previous six years, using a web of European airports and US military air bases.
Germany was implicated in aiding CIA renditions in 2004 after a German national of Lebanese descent named Khaled El-Masri was mistakenly kidnapped in Macedonia by CIA agents and flown to a US detention facility in Afghanistan, prompting condemnation by the European Court of Human Rights. The German government denied its participation in the blunder.
According to a 2013 report by George Soros’s NGO Open Society Justice Initiative, a total of 54 foreign governments participated in CIA rendition operations in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on US soil. These countries hosted CIA prisons, tortured people, assisted America in renditions and provided information leading to secret arrests of alleged terror suspects.
Obama on Senate’s CIA report: “We tortured some folks” – watch video
What You Need to Know About New CIA Torture Report
The US Senate Intelligence Committee is expected to release a long-anticipated 500-page summary of the report on post-9/11 torture practices used by the CIA, on Tuesday, December 9. The White House fears that the “potentially explosive” report could trigger violence against US citizens overseas.
Sputnik – 12/09/14
MOSCOW, December 9 (Sputnik), Ekaterina Blinova — The US Senate Intelligence Committee is expected to release a long-anticipated 500-page summary of the report on post-9/11 torture practices used by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), on Tuesday, December 9.
“Two years ago, the Senate Intelligence Committee completed its investigation into the detention and torture of detainees in CIA custody during the Bush administration. The report has been the subject of lengthy negotiations, conflicts and even legal threats between the committee and the CIA, and it has sparked intense partisan battles within the committee itself,” writes Dafna Linzer, Managing Editor of MSNBC.com, in her article “5 things to look for in the Senate’s torture report.”
The comprehensive report dubbed “CIA Torture Report” contains a 6300-page description of CIA interrogation techniques used against detainees including waterboarding, prolonged sleep deprivation, use of stress positions, mock executions, threats against children, use of power drills and etc. These methods have been qualified by human rights groups as inhuman torture practices.
As the CIA has expressed deep concerns regarding releasing the full document, the committee and the White House decided to publicize a redacted 500-page version. However, the White House fears that the “potentially explosive” report could trigger violence against the US citizens overseas. It led “the Obama administration to raise security precautions at US embassies worldwide,” the ABC News reports.
After the tragedy of 9/11, the CIA began a program to capture al-Qaeda members and detain them at secret prisons, also known as “black sites.” At these sites, the CIA operatives carried out interrogation techniques against prisoners, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks and his counterpart Ramzi bin al-Shibh, in order to learn more about al-Qaeda.
Only in 2006 did US President Bush publicly acknowledged the existence of the CIA secret prison network. Remarkably, prominent members of the Bush administration, particularly former Vice President Dick Cheney and former CIA Director Michael Hayden, insisted repeatedly that “torture works.” Dafna Linzer cites Cheney as saying that the waterboarding “produced phenomenal results for us.”
The report, however, proves the opposite, according to an official familiar with the document. It should be noted that in April 2012, the committee published a press release, which claimed that the “enhanced interrogation techniques” had not provided any valuable information leading to the finding of bin Laden, the infamous al-Qaeda leader. “The enhanced interrogation techniques produced zero actionable intelligence,” the committee has found.
“The report is likely to blame CIA leaders for false portrayals of the value of the interrogations or for keeping details from congressional leaders and even the White House. Expect every named former CIA official to deny it. And expect to never know the truth,” writes Dafna Linzer and adds: “And don’t look for good guys – there aren’t any in this report.”