National authorities should also investigate illegal CIA flights

27 June 2006

National authorities should also investigate illegal CIA flights

National parliaments and governmental authorities must look into the question of national involvement in the CIA's world-wide transport network. The United States' overseas secret service has, it has been revealed in the recent report by the Council of Europe, long used this network to seize and imprison people illegally who are suspected of involvement in terrorist activities. The report from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) concluded that at least fourteen countries were involved in such seizures, by means of which people were taken without trial and transported across the globe, often to places notorious for their lack of respect for human rights, including Guantanamo.

According to the parliamentary assembly's rapporteur Dick Marty, a Swiss member of the Liberal group, it is certain that this illegal network exists and that European secret services have cooperated with it. PACE members easily supported their rapporteur's conclusions by the two-thirds majority needed before it becomes obligatory for the Council of Europe's forty-six member states to respond. Amongst other things, the resolution called upon member states to conduct their own enquiries into possible involvement in the CIA network. SP Senator Tiny Kox, a member of the Netherlands delegation and of PACE's United Left group, explained that "the assembly also supported a proposal from our group that this so-called 'rendition' transport between member states be absolutely forbidden, as should having illegal prisons, and that measures must be taken to prevent any repeat of such human rights abuses in the future."

The Strasbourg debate took place in the presence of EU Commissioner for Justice Franco Frattini. Mr Frattini complimented the Council of Europe on its effective approach and promised that, whenever possible, the two bodies would in the future cooperate in uncovering the truth. PACE Chair René van der Linden, a Dutch Christian Democrat, reminded the Commissioner that the investigation had not only been effective but that it had been inexpensive, especially when compared to certain other enquiries, such as that of the European Parliament. For its part, the European Parliament, in which the SP has two members, is planning shortly to invite NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer to answer questions concerning the alliance's possible involvement in the CIA's secret transport flights.

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