More Evidence of Secret U.S. Crimes and Torture

June 11, 2006

On June 7, a 67-page report issued by The Council of Europe, one of the continent's oldest human rights organizations, revealed more evidence of the U.S. program of torture and "rendition."

Rendition refers to the illegal seizure and transfer by the CIA of "terrorist suspects" to detention in third countries, and the report stated "It is now clear...that authorities in several European countries actively participated with the CIA in these unlawful activities."

The investigation, led by Swiss senator Dick Marty, was based on flight logs provided by the European Union's air traffic agency, witness statements gathered from people who said they had been abducted by U.S. intelligence agents, and judicial and parliamentary inquiries in various countries.

The authors state that 14 European nations assisted in the kidnapping of at least 17 individuals who had been abducted by U.S. agents and secretly transferred to detention centers around the world. Some of the prisoners said they were transferred to the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and others to secret facilities in countries including Egypt and Jordan. Some said they were physically abused and tortured. A similar investigation by the European Parliament has said data show there have been more than 1,000 clandestine CIA flights stopping on European territory since September 2001.

The countries listed in the report -- Britain, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Bosnia, Macedonia, Turkey, Spain, Cyprus, Ireland, Greece, Portugal, Romania and Poland — were accused of being complicit in "unlawful interstate transfers" of people. Sweden and Bosnia had already acknowledged some involvement in these crimes.

On the same day the report was published, the Director of Amnesty International's U.S. chapter, Larry Cox, issued a statement saying "Amnesty International applauds today's Council of Europe report that makes clear that the United States has woven a renditions 'spider web' outside the rule of law that includes, 'disappearances,' arbitrary detentions, illegal transfers, and torture or other ill-treatment."