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Council of Europe report says Britain signed-up to rendition and secret prisons

Issue No. 2055

Hassan Nasr was kidnapped 2003 by the CIA in Milan and rendered to Egypt where he was brutally tortured

Hassan Nasr was kidnapped 2003 by the CIA in Milan and rendered to Egypt where he was brutally tortured

The British-controlled Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia played a critical role in the development of the CIA’s secret “war on terror” prisons, a new report shows.

Intelligence from the Council of Europe confirms the existence of “rendition” flights, and identifies covert CIA detention centres in Diego Garcia, Poland and Romania.

The report’s author, Swiss MP Dick Marty, named Britain among 14 European countries that colluded in the operation of secret flights delivering people for torture.

Marty’s report includes testimonies from more than 30 serving and former members of intelligence services in the US and Europe. It establishes that within weeks of the 9/11 attacks, Nato signed an agreement that allowed the CIA’s civilian jets into member states’ airspace.

“We have sufficient grounds to declare that the highest state authorities were aware of the CIA’s illegal activities on their territories,” says Marty.

“What was previously just a set of allegations is now proven: large numbers of people have been abducted from various locations across the world and transferred to countries where they have been persecuted and where it is known that torture is common practice.”

The report also says there is “now enough evidence to state that secret detention facilities run by the CIA [existed] in Europe from 2003 to 2005, in particular in Poland and Romania”.

On the conditions of those held the report says, “Detainees went through months of solitary confinement and extreme sensory deprivation in cramped cells, shackled and handcuffed at all times.

“The sound most commonly heard in cells was a constant, low level hum of white noise from loudspeakers.

“The constant noise was punctuated by blasts of loud Western music – rock music, rap music and thumping beats, or distorted verses from the Koran, or irritating noises – thunder, planes taking off, cackling laughter, the screams of women and children.”

The day after the report was published British police announced the conclusion of their investigation into Britain’s role in extraordinary rendition.

The Association of Chief Police Officers said that “no evidence had been found to support the claims”.

Trial over rendition in Italy

The report coincides with the beginning of a trial in Italy of a group of intelligence agents over the extraordinary rendition programme.

All 26 of the US defendants, who are accused of kidnapping Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr from a Milan street in 2003, refused to appear before the court.

The US government has declared that none of the US agents will be extradited to Italy to face trial.

For the full report go to »

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Tue 12 Jun 2007, 19:56 BST
Issue No. 2055
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