POSTED 26.2.20: Scottish Government to seek Westminster support in rendition investigation (Reprieve, link):
"In a reversal of its previous position, the Scottish Government now says it will seek the UK government’s support in obtaining the full US Senate torture report, in order to establish what role Scottish airports played in CIA rendition flights. So far, only the redacted 525 page Executive Summary of the 6,700 page report has been released.
A spokesperson for justice secretary Humza Yousaf confirmed the move following a letter from MSPs, published in the Scotsman. The cross party group wrote: “We are deeply concerned that without concerted action by the Scottish and Westminster governments, Police Scotland’s investigation will fail to get to the truth."
See: MSPs warn Sturgeon of ‘deep concern’ over police rendition investigation (The Scotsman, link)
POSTED 12.8.19: The Rendition Project: Researching the globalisation of rendition and secret detention (link):
"The Rendition Project is a collaborative research initiative run by Prof Ruth Blakeley at the University of Sheffield (and previously, the University of Kent) and Dr Sam Raphael at the University of Westminster. The Rendition Project is at the forefront of efforts to investigate and understand the use of rendition, secret detention and torture by the CIA and its allies in the "war on terror". Through this website users can access:
Our major report, CIA Torture Unredacted, published in July 2019, presents the combined findings from a four-year joint investigation by The Rendition Project and The Bureau of Investigative Journalism. It is, without doubt, the most detailed account of the CIA torture programme ever published. The report can be accessed for free on this site, and is supported by other material contained here."
POSTED 30.4.19: Rendition: UK spent £11m of public money fighting Libya rendition case (Guardian, link):
"Figures show vast sums spent resisting apology demands over rendition of Libyan dissidents. The government spent more than £11m of public funds resisting demands for an apology, compensation and prosecutions over MI6’s 2004 rendition of the Libyan dissident Abdel Hakim Belhaj and his wife, Fatima Boudchar.
The colossal sum involved has been revealed for the first time through a freedom of information request that exposes the vast amounts ministers and official were prepared to pay out at a time when legal aid has been severely restricted."
POSTED 1.4.19: UK-USA: Police investigating role of UK officers in torture of al-Qaida suspect (The Guardian, link):
"Metropolitan police detectives have launched an investigation into allegations that MI5 and MI6 officers involved in the interrogation under torture of an al-Qaida suspect committed serious criminal offences.
Scotland Yard has confirmed that a senior investigating officer, who is familiar with other rendition cases, has begun examining the role of UK intelligence officials during the questioning of Abu Zubaydah at CIA so-called ‘black sites’."
POSTED 18.3.19: REVEALED: British Army deployed interrogators to Abu Ghraib despite abuse concerns (Middle East Eye, link):
"Britain’s defence ministry covertly deployed a team of interrogators to Iraq’s notorious Abu Ghraib prison at the height of the scandal over the torture and humiliation of inmates, a parliamentary oversight body has found.
The operation remained hidden for years until documentary evidence was discovered during an investigation into Britain's involvement in the CIA's rendition programme and the mistreatment of detainees. "
POSTED 23.1.19: Survivors of the War on Terror by Ala Busir (link)
Portraits and stories of people imprisoned in Northen Ireland and in Guantanamo and other prisons during the so-called "war on terror".
"British intelligence agencies were involved in the torture and kidnap of terrorism suspects after 9/11, according to two reports by the parliamentary intelligence and security committee.
The reports published on Thursday amount to one of the most damning indictments of UK intelligence, revealing links to torture and rendition were much more widespread than previously reported.
While there was no evidence of officers directly carrying out physical mistreatment of detainees, the reports say the overseas agency MI6 and the domestic service MI5 were involved in hundreds of torture cases and scores of rendition cases."
POSTED 13.6.18: USA: Gitmo commanders make pitch for new prison with hospice-care wing for ex-CIA captives (Miami Herald, link):
"GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba - The U.S. military's mission at Guantánamo is shifting to permanent detention for al-Qaida and other war-on-terror detainees, commanders told reporters this week in a rare public pitch for Congress to fund a new $69 million, wheelchair-accessible prison — complete with a hospice-care cellblock — for the five accused 9/11 plotters and 10 other captives who were in some instances tortured in secret overseas CIA prisons.
"Picture in your mind elderly detainees, brothers taking care of one another. That is the humane way ahead," said prison spokeswoman Navy Cmdr. Anne Leanos.
Guantánamo detention center leaders said Tuesday that they are shifting their mission because President Donald Trump's January executive order canceled President Barack Obama's mandate to close the prison. During the Obama administration, the prison camp made few building improvements, "putting a Band-Aid" on structural problems, said prison operations commander Rear Adm. John Ring."
"Multiple human rights violations by authorities in Lithuania and Romania resulted from the countries’ involvement with the United States Central Intelligence Agency’s secret rendition of suspected terrorists."
POSTED 23.5.18: Gina Haspel Is Only The Start of the Conversation on CIA Torture (one small window, link):
"In 2002, as part of the CIA’s extraordinary rendition programme, agent Gina Haspel ran a secret CIA torture prison in Thailand; torture methods at the site included waterboarding, which she oversaw. In 2005, she ordered the destruction of tapes of prisoners being tortured. Rather than face prosecution for crimes against humanity, in February 2017 Donald Trump appointed her deputy director of the CIA.
At a confirmation hearing for her new position as CIA chief in May 2018, Haspel was unapologetic and evasive over questions by the US Senate on torture. Unsurprisingly, her appointment has been controversial. The media has tried to play down her torturer credentials by focusing on her role as the first female CIA director as being some sort of victory for women.
The CIA has a long, solid relationship with torture and human experimentation. Under its latest incarnation in the so-called “war on terror”, prosecutions have been few and far between. Haspel is not the only person to profit from CIA torture: in 2017, private contractor psychologist James Mitchell and a colleague managed to end a court case brought by survivors, through an out-of-court settlement, for their design of the torture programme. Mitchell and Bruce Jessen were paid over $80 million to design “enhanced interrogation techniques”. At the very same time, Mitchell was making even more money on the book tour circuit promoting his actions."
POSTED 18.5.18: US Senate confirms Haspel as CIA director despite links to torture programme (Middle East Eye, link):
"The US Senate confirmed Gina Haspel on Thursday to be director of the CIA, ending a bruising confirmation fight centred on her ties to the spy agency's past use of torture.
Haspel, who will be the first woman to lead the CIA, is a 33-year veteran at the agency and currently serving as its acting director. The tally was 54-45 in her favour in the 100-member chamber, where a simple majority was required for confirmation.
Haspel was approved in spite of stiff opposition stemming from her links to the CIA's use of harsh interrogation methods, including waterboarding, a type of simulated drowning widely considered to be torture, in the years after the 9/11 attacks.(...)mplemented as a matter of urgency."
POSTED 11.5.18: UK: British Government apologises to rendition victims
The British Government has today apologised to Abdul-Hakim Belhaj and Fatima Boudchar for the UK’s role in their 2004 abduction, torture, and rendition to Libya.
The apology, delivered today in Parliament by the Attorney General Jeremy Wright, comes in a letter from Prime Minister Theresa May to the family. It follows a mediation with the Government and a personal meeting between the Attorney General and the couple, in which they described their ordeal to him.
POSTED 13.4.18: UK-LIBYA: Belhaj case: UK ordered to hand over file on Libyan torture (MEE, link):
"The British government has been ordered to hand over a top secret Metropolitan Police file that recommended charges against a senior MI6 officer for his role in the alleged illegal rendition and torture of opponents of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
The High Court in London made the order on Thursday after lawyers for torture victims, including Libyan dissident Abdel Hakim Belhaj and his wife Fatima Boudchar, challenged a decision not to release a 400-page report which called for Sir Mark Allen of MI6 to be charged with misconduct in private office.
Government lawyers have been resisting its release in the ongoing legal claim by Belhaj and his wife who claim there were unlawfully “rendered” from Thailand to Libya in March 2004."
POSTED 4.4.18: MACEDONIA-USA: Macedonia apologises for role in CIA's secret rendition programme
The Macedonian government has expressed "sincere apologies and unreserved regrets" for its role in the abduction and torture of German citizen Khaled el-Masri as part of the CIA's "rendition" programme.
POSTED 9.6.17: USA: Congressional Republicans seek to obliterate record of CIA torture (World Socialist Web Site, link):
"It was reported last week that the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture is being “retrieved” from executive agencies in the Trump administration. Congressional Republicans have demanded the confiscation of all copies of the report in order to cover up and, if possible, erase entirely the record of the investigation into the agency’s torture program.
A heavily redacted executive summary of the report was released to the public in December of 2014, but the full 6,700-page “Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program” remains secret. Only a limited number of copies were made, which were distributed to a handful of federal executive agencies. Since 2015, when the US Senate passed into the hands of the Republican Party, the new committee Chairman Richard Burr has led efforts to suppress the report, declaring that the report should become a “footnote to history.”
In a statement released June 2, Burr declared, “I have directed my staff to retrieve copies of the congressional study that remain with the executive branch agencies and, as the committee does with all classified and compartmented information, will enact the necessary measures to protect the sensitive sources and methods contained within the report.”"
And see: Trump buries Senate torture report: Reprieve comment (Reprieve US, link)
POSTED 8.6.17: USA-POLAND-GERMANY: US officials targeted in push for justice and accountability on rendition and torture
Reprieve US and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights are pursuing new legal cases seeking accountability and justice for torture carried out as part of the USA's "extraordinary rendition" programme.
POSTED 5.4.17: UK: MI6, rendition, and cover-ups of cover-ups: in some respects "Guantanámo is a marked improvement" on the British justice system
"It... came as a salutary surprise to watch recent proceedings in courtroom 72 at the Royal Courts of Justice, where the UK government applied, for the first time in a renditions case, for a secret hearing (euphemistically referred to as a Closed Material Proceeding or CMP) under the Justice and Security Act 2013. The British judge has just granted the government’s application for this CMP.
This is a case where – for more than a decade – ministers have been misled by MI6, and have in turn misled parliament and the people. It is a case of great significance. If such a cover-up were attempted in Guntown (a real place in north-eastern Mississippi) it would be laughed out of court. The US military would have no more success on the Guantánamo Naval Base.
Open justice has been a casualty in the post-9/11 world. Rights are being eroded at the margins, and those who care about British justice need to look around themselves."
See: Secrets and lies (The Law Society Gazette, link) by Clive Stafford-Smith.
And see: UK: High Court rules Blair-era rendition case can be heard in secret (Reprieve, link):
"The High Court has today ruled that a Blair-era renditions case should be heard in secret, following a request from the government under the controversial Justice and Security Act."
POSTED 5.3.17: UK: Illegal rendition cover up continues: Government seeks secret hearing for first time in victims’ case (Reprieve, link):
"The Government is asking the High Court to use secret proceedings in a case brought by victims of a UK-US rendition during the ‘War on Terror’. This is the first time such powers are set to be used in a rendition victims’ case, and it is being sought so the Government may avoid embarrassing revelations on how parliament and the public continue to be misled as to what happened.
At a hearing next Tuesday (7th), lawyers for the Government will argue that the case of two men who were rendered to Afghanistan in 2004 should be heard in secret.
The men, Amanatullah Ali and Yunus Rahmatullah, are challenging the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defence over the UK’s involvement in their rendition."
POSTED 20.2.17: UK Govt spends £¾ million on torture cover-up attempt (Reprieve, link):
"The British Government has spent £744,000 in its attempts to ensure a case involving the kidnap and torture of a Libyan dissident and his pregnant wife is never heard in court, documents obtained by Reprieve show – even though the victims have offered to drop the claim in return for an apology."
And see: MI6 chief’s role in abduction of Gaddafi foe Belhaj set to be revealed (The Guardian, link):
"Britain’s role in the seizure and alleged torture of a Libyan opponent of the former dictator Muammar Gaddafi looks set to be exposed after a court decision that will set alarm bells ringing in the intelligence services."
POSTED 9.1.17: SCOTLAND: RENDITION: Cops slammed over Scottish airports CIA torture flights probe as campaigners demand update (Daily Record, link):
"Police Scotland have been condemned for “incredible” delays in their probe into the use of Scots airports for CIA torture flights.
More than three years into their investigation, they have refused to reveal what progress has been made.
Campaigners say there is an urgent need to know what part Scotland played in rendition – where US prisoners were sent to be tortured overseas in the wake of 9/11 – ahead of Donald Trump’s presidency.
It is feared Trump, who has advocated “a lot worse than waterboarding”, may reinstate rendition in the US war on terror."
POSTED 7.11.16: USA-PAKISTAN: Saving Prisoner 650: Dr Aafia Siddiqui (one small window, link):
"Women and children are also prisoners of the US-led “war on terror”. In March 2003, Pakistani neuroscientist Dr Aafia Siddiqui and her three young children “disappeared” in Karachi, on their way to the airport to travel to the capital city Islamabad.
The Pakistani government said she had been arrested. She was not seen again until July 2008. It is widely believed that she had been “rendered” by the Pakistani authorities to the US military and was held by the US at its military prison in Bagram, Afghanistan, along with her children, where she was tortured. The US denies this.
Upon discovery, she was detained in Ghazni, Afghanistan. Conflicting stories exist as to what happened when the US military came to interview her on 18 July 2008; nonetheless she and possibly US military personnel were injured. She was hospitalised and shortly thereafter charged with attempted murder and assault of US nationals and military personnel.
She was taken to the US, and following a two-week trial in 2010 which she refused to take part in, considering it a sham, she was convicted of all the charges against her and sentenced to 86 years in prison. She is currently being held at the Federal Medical Center, Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas, a facility for female prisoners with special medical and mental health needs. An appeal was filed but Dr Siddiqui withdrew it in October 2014. Her family claims she was pressurised into dropping it.
...I recently put some questions to her older sister neurologist Dr Fowzia Siddiqui about the current situation."
POSTED 11.9.16: UK: Rendition victims challenge decision not to prosecute MI6 officer (The Guardian, link):
"Lawyers representing a Libyan husband and wife who were kidnapped and flown to one of Muammar Gaddafi’s prisons are seeking to overturn a decision that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute a former MI6 officer for his alleged role.
Mark Allen, the head of counter-terrorism at the agency at the time of the so-called rendition operations, had set out his role in a letter to the Gaddafi government that came to light during the 2011 Libyan revolution.
However the Crown Prosecution Service decided earlier this year that Allen – now Sir Mark – should face no criminal charges, a ruling that the victims said reflected poorly on British justice.
Lawyers for the couple are now seeking a judicial review of the CPS decision, which they have denounced as a “see no evil, hear no evil” ruling that has put the government and its intelligence agencies above the rule of law."
POSTED 31.8.16: USA: The Strategic Costs of Torture: How “Enhanced Interrogation” Hurt America (Foreign Affairs, link):
"Despite their disagreements, all these perspectives share one key assumption: that whether the torture was good or bad depends on whether or not it “worked”—that is, whether it produced lifesaving results. Leaving aside the very real human and legal consequences of torture, a truly comprehensive assessment would also explore the policy’s broader implications, including how it shaped the trajectory of the so-called war on terror, altered the relationship between the United States and its allies, and affected Washington’s pursuit of other key goals, such as the promotion of democracy and human rights abroad. To assess the overall effect of torture on U.S. national security, one should consider not only its supposed tactical benefits but also its strategic impact.
Our team of researchers at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School has begun the first such review, and we’ve found that Washington’s use of torture greatly damaged national security. It incited extremism in the Middle East, hindered cooperation with U.S. allies, exposed American officials to legal repercussions, undermined U.S. diplomacy, and offered a convenient justification for other governments to commit human rights abuses. The takeaway is clear: reinstating torture would be a costly mistake."
POSTED 22.8.16: UK: Government secrecy in renditions prosecution challenged (Reprieve, link):
"The UK government’s refusal to answer questions about political interference in a decision not to bring charges over British complicity in renditions has been challenged by international human rights group Reprieve.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced in June 2016 that it would not bring any charges in Operation Lydd, a police investigation into the UK Government’s role in the 2004 kidnap and rendition to torture of two families, including a pregnant woman and children aged 6 to 12.
This was despite finding that a senior British intelligence official was involved in the operation and had – to a limited extent – sought political approval for it. The CPS took two years to consider the original police investigation which produced a 28,000 page file.
Now Britain’s Information Commissioner will review the government’s refusal of a freedom of information request about possible political interference in the CPS investigation. Reprieve asked if the Cabinet Office contacted the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) about Operation Lydd. The Cabinet Office, which coordinates intelligence, refused to confirm or deny if it had discussed Operation Lydd with the CPS."
POSTED 5.8.16: UK: CPS upholds decision not to charge over MI6 role in Libyans' rendition - Families’ lawyers claim ‘stitch-up’ after failure to overturn decision not to bring charges over abduction of dissidents (Guardian, link):
"rosecutors have rejected an attempt to overturn their decision not to charge anyone over the involvement of the British intelligence agency MI6 in the kidnapping of two Libyan dissidents in a joint operation with the CIA.
Lawyers for the two families accused prosecutors of a “complete stitch-up” after failing to quash the decision not to bring any charges over the abduction of the dissidents and their families, including a pregnant woman and children."
POSTED 25.7.16: BELGIUM: Former Guantanamo prisoners convicted in "rather peculiar" case
"Two former Guantánamo prisoners were convicted in Belgium by the Brussels Criminal Court on Monday, July 18 2016, one on terrorism-related charges...
The case involved nine defendants, three of whom were charged with terrorism-related offences. One of the three was acquitted in full. [Abbar] Huwari was sentenced to 12 years in prison for running a terrorist group. One other person was sentenced for membership of a terrorist organization. Other sentences, including [Moussa] Zemmouri’s for conspiracy, related to the thwarted burglary only.
Huwari’s name only emerged when the case went to trial in June 2016; he became the main suspect. In a country where there is a constant threat of terrorism the case has surprisingly attracted little attention. From the few details made public, the case is rather peculiar."
See: Former Guantánamo Prisoners Convicted in Belgium (one small window, link)
Last week the European Court of Human Rights held confidential hearings on two cases concerning the CIA's rendition programme, Al Nashiri v Romana and Abu Zubaydah v Lithuania. Both men are currently imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay. An ECHR news item said: "Both cases concern the alleged “rendition” of the applicants, suspected of terrorist acts, to CIA secret detention sites, where, according to their submissions, illegal interrogation methods amounting to torture were used."
Vilnius Regional Court has issued its final rejection of REDRESS’ application for victim status for Mustafa al-Hawsawi in a pre-trial criminal investigation into CIA secret prisons (also known as black sites) in Lithuania. This status would have allowed Mr. al-Hawsawi to participate in the ongoing investigation, including to request access to pre-trial investigation material and to make requests to expand the investigation’s scope.
POSTED 30.6.16: Lawyer: CIA gave Romania millions to host secret prisons (New Europe, link):
"The CIA paid Romania “millions of dollars” to host secret prisons, a rights lawyer said Wednesday as the European Court of Human Rights heard accusations that Romania allowed the agency to torture terrorism suspects in a secret renditions program under President George W. Bush.
Amrit Singh told the court on the opening day of the case that CIA prisons were in Romania from 2003-2005 with the government’s “acquiescence and connivance,” something authorities have denied.
Romanian government representative Catrinel Brumar countered that it takes more than “hints and speculation to establish the state’s responsibilities.” She said an investigation was ongoing.
The court said it would rule in a few months on whether Romania knowingly allowed CIA secret prisons where torture occurred, and whether it failed to prevent the torture of Singh’s client."
POSTED: 28.4.16: USA: An Opening for Justice for CIA Torture (HRW, link):
"The United States government just opened the door a crack to justice for the torture of scores of men in CIA custody under its infamous detention and interrogation program. For the first time, the Justice Department didn’t effectively block a lawsuit by detainees held and tortured by the CIA by invoking, as it had done in previous similar lawsuits, the “state secrets privilege.”
The privilege requires a court to give great deference to a government claim that litigating a case would risk revealing state secrets that would jeopardize national security...."
POSTED: 12.4.16: PORTUGAL- USA RENDITION: Ex-CIA agent loses extradition appeal in Portugal (New Europe, link):
"Portugal’s supreme court has rejected a former CIA operative’s appeal against extradition to Italy to serve a six-year sentence for her part in an “extraordinary rendition” programme.
Sabrina De Sousa’s only remaining recourse to avoid being sent to Italy would be to appeal to Portugal’s Constitutional Court, arguing her extradition order is unconstitutional. De Sousa was among 26 Americans convicted in absentia in the case, which also implicated Italy’s secret services and has proven embarrassing to successive Italian governments.
De Sousa, who was working in Italy under diplomatic cover, faces prison for her role in the 2003 kidnapping in Milan of Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, a terror suspect who was under surveillance by Italian law enforcement at the time."
POSTED: 29.2.16: Council of Europe: Parliamentary Assembly: As ten-year torture inquiry ends, Council of Europe states give final responses on CIA ‘secret prisons’ (link):
"Pedro Agramunt, the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), has welcomed a third and final round of responses from the governments of Council of Europe member States to questions on their possible involvement in illegal CIA detentions in Europe or “rendition flights” through European airspace in the years after the 9/11 terrorist attack.
Seven states – Austria, Denmark, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and the UK – provided additional information to the inquiry, prior to its closure earlier this month by Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland, information which is made public today. The inquiry was begun in 2005 by Mr Jagland’s predecessor, using powers under the European Convention on Human Rights, which explicitly prohibits torture."
Timeline: the Council of Europe's investigation into CIA secret prisons in Europe (link) and Third round of responses (Pdf) also: 2nd round responses by country (link) and 1st round responses (link)
POSTED: 24.2.16: European Court of Human Rights: The CIA’s abduction and extrajudicial transfer to Egypt of the imam Abu Omar infringed the applicants’ rights under the Convention (Press release, 23.2.16, pdf):
"In today’s Chamber judgment1 in the case of Nasr and Ghali v. Italy (application no. 44883/09) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:– with regard to Mr Nasr
- violation of Article 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights,
- a violation of Article 5 (right to liberty and security) of the European Convention,
- a violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) and a violation of Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) read in conjunction with Articles 3, 5 and 8
– with regard to Ms Ghali:
- violation of Article 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment),
- violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) and
- violation of Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) read in conjunction with Articles 3 and 8
The case concerned an instance of extrajudicial transfer (or “extraordinary rendition”), namely the abduction by CIA agents, with the cooperation of Italian officials, of the Egyptian imam Abu Omar, who had been granted political asylum in Italy, and his subsequent transfer to Egypt, where he was held in secret for several months."
See: Judgment (pdf)
POSTED: 24.12.15 Italy grants ex-CIA spies partial pardon (The Local.it, link):
"Italy's President Sergio Mattarella on Wednesday reduced the sentences of two former CIA agents, including a station chief, over the kidnapping and extraordinary rendition of an Egyptian imam in 2003.... The CIA's former station chief in Milan, Bob Seldon Lady, was convicted in absentia along with 22 other agents in 2009 by Italian authorities, over the kidnapping of Osama Mustafa Hassan Nasr, better known as Abu Omar. The cleric was taken to the Aviano US air base in northeast Italy, flown to a US base in Germany, and on to Cairo, where he says he was tortured."
POSTED: 3.9.15: Legal case demands details about how CIA used windowless warehouse in Lithuania as secret prison (BIJ, link): "Now, lawyers for Mustafa al-Hawsawi – one of five men facing a military trial in Guantánamo Bay for allegedly planning the 9/11 attacks – have filed a case with Lithuanian prosecutors to demand more clarity about what went on in the site."
POSTED 20.7.15: NSA Helped CIA Outmanoeuvre Europe on Torture (Wikileaks, link) and see:NSA Intercepts German Foreign Minister Steinmeier After Meeting US Secretary of State Rice Over CIA Renditions (link) also Document-1 (pdf): "Steinmeier described the mood during his talks with U.S. officials as very good, but feared that the most difficult part was still ahead. He seemed relieved that he had not received any definitive response from the U.S. Secretary of State regarding press
reports of CIA flights through Germany to secret prisons in eastern Europe allegedly used for interrogating terrorism suspects." And: CIA & Torture *pdf)
POSTED 1.6.15: ECHR: Italy : Court set for CIA terror abduction human rights complaint (CoE, link):
The European Court’s chamber hearing in case Nasr and Ghali v. Italy (no. 44883/09) will take place on 23 June.
"The application concerns a case of “extraordinary rendition”, that is to say the abduction by CIA agents, with the cooperation of Italian nationals, of an Egyptian imam (Abu Omar), who holds refugee status, and his transfer to Egypt, followed by his secret detention there for several months. The applicants, Osama Mustafa Hassn Nasr, alias Abu Omar, and Nabila Ghali, are a married couple. They are both Egyptian nationals who were born in 1963 and currently live in Alexandria (Egypt)."
POSTED 19.5.15: The Bureau of Investigative Journalists and the Rendition Project map: The 119 CIA Detainees (link): "The Bureau of Investigative Journalism and the Rendition Project compiled this information from the US Senate intelligence committee's summary report on CIA detention and torture, from documents relating to military detention in Bagram and Guantanamo Bay, and from media and NGO reports."
POSTED: 18.2.15: European court confirms Poland's complicity in CIA rendition (euobserver, link) and see:Poland’s complicity in CIA torture programme confirmed as European Court rejects Warsaw’s appeal (BIJ, link)
POSTED 19.1.15: The US Senate reveals the truth on renditions and torture, now it’s Europe’s turn (ASFJ, link) by Armando Spataro is the Prosecutor of the Republic in Turin, an expert in internal and international terrorism.
POSTED: 18.1.15: CIA IN EU: New evidence shows CIA held prisoners in Lithuania (Reprieve, link): "New analysis and previously unpublished documents released by legal charity Reprieve show that the CIA held prisoners in Lithuania in 2005 and 2006, contrary to official denials." See: Reprieve Briefing (pdf) and Dossier (pdf)
POSTED: 15.9.14: UK-RENDITION:: Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC): Further Inquiry into the role of the UK Government and Security and Intelligence Agencies in relation to detainee treatment and rendition: Call for Evidence (pdf) See also: Sir Peter Gibson: Report of the Detainee Inquiry (19 December, pdf)
POSTED 29.8.14: USA: RENDITION: Ten CIA rendition victims urge Obama to name them in Senate torture report (Reprieve, link): "Ten victims of CIA rendition and torture have signed an open letter to President Obama asking him to declassify the upcoming Senate report into the program. Two of the signatories – Abdel-Hakim Belhadj and Sami al-Saadi – were rendered with their entire families, including a pregnant woman and four children between the ages of six and twelve."
POSTED: 3.8.14: USA: CIA-TORTURE: Obama admits CIA 'tortured some folks' but stands by Brennan over spying: President says US ‘crossed a line’ after 9/11 attacks - Obama supports CIA director under fire over Senate report (Guardian, link)
POSTED 29.7.14: CoE: CIA RENDITION: The Council of Europe's investigation into illegal transfers and secret detentions in Europe: a chronology (pdf)
POSTED 24.7.14: CIA-POLAND: European Court of Human Rights: Secret rendition and detention by the CIA in Poland of two men suspected of terrorist acts (Press release, pdf):
"The cases Al Nashiri v. Poland (application no. 28761/11) and Husayn (Abu Zubaydah) v. Poland (no. 7511/13) concerned allegations of torture, ill-treatment and secret detention of two men suspected of terrorist acts. The applicants allege that they were held at a CIA “black site” in Poland. In today’s Chamber judgments, which are not final, the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously: in both cases, that Poland had failed to comply with its obligation under Article 38 of the European Convention on Human Rights (obligation to furnish all necessary facilities for the effective conduct of an investigation);
in both cases, that there had been:
- a violation of Article 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment) of the Convention, in both its substantive and procedural aspects;
- a violation of Article 5 (right to liberty and security);
- a violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life);
- a violation of Article 13 (right to an effective remedy); and,
- a violation of Article 6 § 1 (right to a fair trial).
See: Judgments: Nashiri (pdf) and Husayn (pdf) Also: CIA ran secret torture jail in Poland, rules EU Court of Human Rights (euractiv, link)
POSTED: 10.7.14: UK: CIA-RENDITION: Files on UK role in CIA rendition accidentally destroyed, says minister - Rights groups say claim that records of Diego Garcia flights are missing due to water damage 'smacks of cover-up' (Guardian, link): "The British government's problems with missing files deepened dramatically when the Foreign Office claimed documents on the UK's role in the CIA's global abduction operation had been destroyed accidentally when they became soaked with water."
POSTED: 13-4-14: UPDATED: USA-CIA-UK: UK urged to admit that CIA used island as secret 'black site' prison - Human rights group representing Gaddafi opponent rendered to Libya via Diego Garcia says Britain must 'come clean' over role (The Observer, link) Revealed: Senate report contains new details on CIA black sites (aljazeera, link): "The Senate report, according to Al Jazeera’s sources, says that the CIA detained some high-value suspects on Diego Garcia, an Indian Ocean island controlled by the United Kingdom and leased to the United States. The classified CIA documents say the black site arrangement at Diego Garcia was made with the “full cooperation” of the British government. That would confirm long-standing claims by human rights investigators and journalists, whose allegations - based on flight logs and unnamed government sources - have routinely been denied by the CIA." And see: Document (pdf)
POSTED: 7-4-14: UK-CIA: TORTURE: Tony Blair 'knew all about CIA secret kidnap programme’ - Former British PM was 'fully briefed' on CIA's interrogation programme after Sept 11 attacks (The Daily Telegraph, link):
" Tony Blair knew in detail about the CIA’s secret kidnap and interrogation programme after the September 11 attacks and was kept informed “every step of the way” by MI6, a security source has told The Telegraph. Mr Blair, the then prime minister, and Jack Straw, his foreign secretary, were fully briefed on CIA activities and were shown now infamous Bush administration legal opinions that declared “enhanced interrogation” techniques such as waterboarding and stress positions to be legal, the source said."
See also: NGO Letter calling for independent inquiry (pdf)
POSTED 27-1-14: POLAND-CIA: The hidden history of the CIA’s prison in Poland (Washington Post, link):
"On a cold day in early 2003, two senior CIA officers arrived at the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw to pick up a pair of large cardboard boxes. Inside were bundles of cash totaling $15 million that had been flown from Germany via diplomatic pouch.
The men put the boxes in a van and weaved through the Polish capital until coming to the headquarters of Polish intelligence. They were met by Col. &SHY;Andrzej Derlatka, deputy chief of the intelligence service, and two of his associates.
The Americans and Poles then sealed an agreement that over the previous weeks had allowed the CIA the use of a secret prison — a remote villa in the Polish lake district — to interrogate al-Qaeda suspects."
POSTED 1-11-13: EU-CIA: Poland asks court to hear CIA jails case in private (Reuters, link): "Poland's government has asked the European Court of Human Rights to exclude the media and the public from a court hearing on whether Poland hosted a secret CIA prison on its territory. The request for a private hearing was criticised by a Polish human rights group, which accuses the state of trying to conceal its involvement in the CIA's "extraordinary rendition" programme behind a veil of secrecy." See: Application no. 28761/11 Abd Al Rahim Hussayn Muhammad AL NASHIRI against Poland lodged on 6 May 2011 STATEMENT OF FACTS (pdf) and Application no. 7511/13 Zayn Al-Abidin Muhammad HUSAYN (ABU ZUBAYDAH) against Poland lodged on 28 January 2013 STATEMENT OF FACTS (pdf)
POSTED 13-10-13: EU-CIA: European Parliament: Press release: US-led CIA rendition and secret detention programmes: impunity must end (pdf): "The climate of impunity surrounding EU member states' complicity in the CIA's secret "rendition" and detention programmes has allowed violations of fundamental rights to continue unchecked, as revealed by mass surveillance programmes run by the US and some EU member states, said the European Parliament on Thursday. MEPs want Parliament's right to investigate such violations in the EU to be reinforced, and again urge EU institutions and member states to investigate the CIA operations in depth.
MEPs are "highly disappointed" by the Commission’s refusal to respond in substance to the recommendations made by Parliament in its September 2012 resolution on the follow-up to the work of its Temporary Committee on the CIA's alleged use of European countries for the transportation and illegal detention of prisoners. These recommendations are reiterated in this year's resolution. For example, MEPs again urge the Commission to investigate whether EU rules were breached by collaboration with the CIA programme."
and Resolution, adopted 10 October 2013: Alleged transportation and illegal detention of prisoners in European countries by the CIA (link)
POSTED 13-9-13: ITALY-CIA-RENDITION: Ex-CIA chief seeks Italy pardon for Egypt rendition (BBC News, link) and Full text of Robert Seldon Lady's letter (pdf)
POSTED 5-9-13: ITALY: CIA: US allowed Italian kidnap prosecution to shield higher-ups, ex-CIA officer says (McCatchly, link)
Posted 19-7-13: EU-CIA: Ex-CIA Milan chief held in Panama over cleric abduction (BBC News, link) : "A former CIA station chief convicted by an Italian court of kidnapping a terror suspect has been detained in Panama, Italian officials say. Robert Seldon Lady was sentenced to nine years in jail for his involvement in the abduction of the man, an Egyptian cleric, in Milan in 2003. The cleric, known as Abu Omar, was allegedly flown to Egypt and tortured. Lady was convicted in absentia with 22 other Americans for their role in his "extraordinary rendition" and CIA official held in Panama over Italian snatch case (link)
Posted 5-2-13: USA: CIA rendition: more than a quarter of countries 'offered covert support' (Guardian, link): "The full extent of the CIA's extraordinary rendition programme has been laid bare with the publication of a report showing there is evidence that more than a quarter of the world's governments covertly offered support." See also: Globalizing Torture: CIA Secret Detention and Extraordinary Rendition and Full report (pdf)
Posted 12.11.12: UN 'may use torture evidence to impose sanctions on terror suspects' - United Nations' special rapporteur on counter-terrorism questions integrity of security council's enforcement regime (Guardian, link)
Posted 22.10.12: UK intelligence officers knew of CIA's rendition plans within days of 9/11 - Meeting at British embassy in US raises questions about repeated denials by MI5 and MI6 of connivance in torture (Guardian, link)
Posted 20.9.12: EU-CIA: Italy upholds rendition convictions for 23 Americans - Ruling is world's first judicial review of CIA practice of abducting terror suspects and transferring them to third countries (Guardian, link)
Posted 26.7.12: CIA-POLAND: European Court Seeks Answers from Poland on CIA “Black Site” Case: "The European Court of Human Rights has told Poland to provide it with information about a secret detention site that operated on its territory in 2002 and 2003, in response to an application filed by the Open Society Justice Initiative on behalf of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi national now facing capital charges before a U.S. military commission at Guantanamo Bay. The court’s detailed enquiries include seeking any “agreement on setting up and running a secret CIA prison on Polish territory” and other documentation" Full-text of ECHR judgment (pdf)
Posted 10.7.12: EU-CIA: European Parliament: CIA flights: EU states must investigate secret detention sites in Europe (Press rlease, pdf), Working Document (pdf) and Draft Report (pdf)
Posted 3.5.12: EU-CIA: European Parliament: Draft Report on alleged transportation and illegal detention of prisoners in European countries by the CIA: follow-up of the European Parliament TDIP Committee report (pdf) to be considered by the LIBE Committee on 8 May: "Considers that Member States have so far not properly fulfilled their positive obligation under international law to investigate serious human rights violations connected with the CIA programme and afford full redress to victims; Believes that the failure of Member States to assume their responsibility to conduct inquiries that are fully compatible with their international obligations undermines mutual trust in fundamental rights protection, and thus becomes the responsibility of the EU as a whole." and Working Document: on Alleged Transportation & illegal detention of prisoners in European countries by the CIA: follow up of the EP TDIP Committee report (pdf)
Posted 15.2.12: UK: How secret renditions shed light on MI6's licence to kill and torture - Little-known clause lets secretary of state authorise UK's spies to commit crimes abroad (Guardian, link) See Section 7 of the Intelligence Services Act 1994 (link)
Posted 14.2.12: CIA in Greenland: story about a polar whodunit (cafebabel, link): "What’s aboard the CIA aeroplanes that have been illegally flying over Greenland since 2001? That is what the Greenland government wants the Danish authorities to tell them. They, however, seem oddly reluctant to answer."
Posted: 12.1.12: UK:TORTURE: Police to investigate MI6 over rendition and torture of Libyans - Criminal inquiry announced as DPP says there is not enough evidence to prosecute agents over Pakistan and Afghanistan allegations (Guardian, link)
Posted 12.12.11: CIA-ROMANIA: CIA 'secret prison' found in Romania - media reports (BBC News, link): "Former CIA operatives said the building was used to interrogate terrorism suspects, including Khaled Sheikh Mohammed.... The CIA operated a secret prison in the Romanian capital Bucharest where terrorism suspects were interrogated, an investigation by the Associated Press and German media has found."
Posted 30 November 2011: GERMANY: UN Committee concerned at failure to investigate rendition and secret detention and the rendition of Khaled El-Masri: Committee against Torture: fifth periodic report of Germany: concluding observations (pdf) On 25 November, the UN Committee against Torture issued its concluding observations on the compliance of Germany with the international obligations under the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The Committee expressed concern at the lack of implementation of the recommendations of the 2009 Parliamentary Inquiry on extraordinary renditions and secret detention complicity. The Committee also expressed at the failure to investigate and provide a remedy for the rendition of Khaled El-Masri. See also: Denmark: Review of US rendition flights over Greenland “toothless (AI, press statement, link) and Finland must further investigate USA rendition flights (AI statement, link)
28 October 2011: Lithuania faces legal action over prisons set up for CIA rendition programme - Lawyers acting for detained militant Abu Zubaydah have begun proceedings in the European court of human rights (Guardian, link)
2 October 2011: Amnesty International: Unlock the truth in Lithuania: Investigate Secret Prisons Now (pdf):
"In the continuing absence o f any meaningful accountability in the USA, and increasingly disturbing signs that the same may happen in other European countries, the Lithuanian government should re-open its criminal investigation into both its own involvement in these operations, and that of the USA and its agents on Lithuanian territory, and conduct an independent, impartial, thorough and ef fective investigation that will serve as a model for accountability across the region."
1 September 2011: How US firms profited from torture flightsCourt documents illustrate how US contracted out secret rendition transportation to a network of private companies
US agents operated illegally in Sweden (Radio Sweden, link): "US undercover agents carried out surveillance of suspected terrorists in Sweden, without the authorisation of Swedish authorities, the daily Svenska Dagbladet reports."
15 May 2011: UK: Torture inquiry will 'not cover US rendition' - Campaigners condemn decision not to include 'murky' issue of detainee transfers in investigation as 'only doing half the job'(Independent on Sunday, link): "An inquiry into Britain's involvement in torture during the "war on terror" will not investigate whether UK forces handed over suspects to be transported to other countries for interrogation by the Americans – despite David Cameron's assurance that it would probe all aspects of the controversy. The head of the Detainee Inquiry ordered by Mr Cameron has confirmed that he will not consider the issue of detainees transferred between forces fighting in Iraq and elsewhere, which has been identified by many critics as one of the murkiest elements of the "extraordinary rendition" saga."" See also: The Detainee Inquiry (Foreign and Commonwealth Office, link); and Joint Submission the Detainee Inquiry by eight NGOs (pdf), which notes that: "Every effort must be made to seek and secure information regarding torture violations, including from other states and despite their unwillingness to cooperate"
12 May 2011: POLAND-USA: Poland faces torture charges: - Poland accused of complicity in torture by US intelligence operatives of Saudi national (European Voice, link)
Renditions: Italy/Morocco: Britel released from prison following pardon: On 18 April 2011, Abou Elkassim Britel's wife Khadija Anna Lucia Pighizzini broke the long-awaited news that her husband, an "extraordinary rendition" victim who had Italian citizenship and was kidnapped in Pakistan in March 2002, was released from Kenitra prison on 14 April following a pardon granted by the King of Morocco, hopefully putting an end to the family's ordeal.
For further news about the Britel case
Previous Statewatch coverage:
- Italy: Documents sent to European Parliament committee allege other renditions and details of Abu Omar cover-up and the Britel rendition
- The "Longhi file" - collection of documents on the Britel case
- English translation of letter to Italian authorities from Britel in prison (January 2007)
- US/Italy: Boeing subsidiary to face lawsuit for servicing CIA rendition flights
- Renditions: Italy / Morocco: Italian authorities drag their feet in Britel case
- Italy/Morocco: Renditions: Italian and European MPs set to request pardon for Abou Elkassim Britel
- Italy: Renditions: Britel announces hunger strike
European Parliament: More follow-up needed to secret rendition pracitces says report (Press release, pdf): "A landmark investigation by the European Parliament in 2007 on the use of European airspace for secret CIA rendition flights has not been properly followed up. That's the finding of Amnesty International report by Julia Hall and a related report by former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Manfred Nowak. A workshop on human rights on Tuesday (25 January) debated what had been learned from the original report by ex- MEP Claudio Fava."
Italy prevents trial of intelligence agents over Abu Omar rendition (AI, link)
WikiLeaks cables: Turkey let US use airbase for rendition flights -Turkey allowed use of Incirlik airbase as refuelling stop, US embassy cable reveals, after Turkish denials of involvement (Guardian, links) and Document
Wikileaks: US pressured Spain over CIA rendition and Guantánamo tortureLeaked cables show Spanish officials and prosecutors shared information about investigations into US human rights abuses (Guardian., link)
Leaked Cables Cast Light on Bungled CIA Kidnapping (Inter Press Service, link): "the documents reveal that U.S. officials, including the U.S. ambassador, William R. Timken Jr., sharply warned Germany in 2007 not to enforce arrest warrants for Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officers involved in a bungled operation in which an innocent German citizen with the same name as a suspected militant was mistakenly kidnapped and held for months in Afghanistan."
POLAND: CIA detainee gets victim status
Warsaw Appellate Prosecutor granted victim status to Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi alleged terror suspect. This enables his claim to demonstrate that he was mistreated by the CIA. Al-Nashiri says he was transported by "Guantanamo taxi" to Poland in December 2002 where he was to be held in a secret CIA site in northeast Poland. Representing al-Nashiri, Polish law office Pietrzak & Sidor in Warsaw demanded last September investigation in the case of possible abuse of power by Polish public officials in connection with the secret activities of the CIA and prosecution of persons responsible for al-Nashiri's transfer and detention in Poland. Source: Terror suspect gets victim status in Polish probe (AP,link)
POLAND: Former Polish leaders could face charges over CIA prisons (euobserver, link) "Polish prosecutors are considering bringing charges of war crimes against the country's former prime minister and former president over allegations of secret CIA prisons."
Poland: Fresh evidence regarding CIA rendition flights: Warsaw-based Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (HFHR) provided fresh evidence of cooperation between the Polish Government and the CIA on renditions
EU: Amnesty International: Dangerous deals: Europe's reliance on "diplomatic assurances" against torture (link)
European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR): CIA 'EXTRAORDINARY RENDITION' FLIGHTS, TORTURE AND ACCOUNTABILITY: A EUROPEAN APPROACH (link)
EU-CIA: MEPs and AI reiterate call for action on CIA secret flights and renditions (pdf): "Amnesty International and MEPs Sarah Ludford (ALDE, UK), Ana Gomes (SD, PT), Raul Romeva (Greens, ES), Willy Meyer (GUE, ES) today called on European institutions and EU Member States to take further action after recent developments involving Europe’s role in the CIA rendition and secret prison programme."
CIA RENDITION: Polish authorities deny allegations of FOIA campaigners: Poland's Ministry for Foreign Affairs denied statement of the Warsaw-based Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and the Open Society Justice Initiative providing fresh evidence of cooperation between the Polish Government and the CIA on Renditions). The Foreign Office spokesman described evidences presented by FOIA campaigners as 'speculations' and called for 'restraint' until the confidential investigation conducted by the National Prosecution Office was closed. The investigation was launched in August 2008 and, as a prosecutor in charge of the investigation pointed out, 'it should not be expected to draw quickly near the end'. Since 2006 Polish government officials have consequently claimed that the allegations of their involvement in the secret CIA rendition programme were unfounded. This time such a tough stance is hardly reliable given that proves of at least six CIA rendition flights which landed in Poland in 2003 have come from official flight records made available by the Polish Air Navigation Services Agency (PANSA). Documents: Polish Air Navigation Services Agency (PANSA) flight logs; HFHR/OSJI Explanation of Rendition Flight Records released by the Polish Air Navigation Services Agency
UK-USA: Binyam Mohamed torture appeal lost by UK government (BBC News, link): "Binyam Mohamed has been involved in a lengthy legal battle The foreign secretary has lost an Appeal Court bid to stop the disclosure of secret information relating to the alleged torture of a UK resident." and British Government attempts to change Court of Appeals judgment after losing Binyam Mohamed secrecy case (Reprieve, link): "In an extraordinary and disturbing development in the Binyam Mohamed case, it emerged that the British Government’s barrister wrote a note to one of the Court of Appeal judges in an attempt to manipulate the draft judgment." Full text of court judgment (pdf) and Full text of censored paragraphs (pdf)
ITALY-CIA: Judge: Italian spies likely knew of CIA kidnap (link)
GERMANY-CIA: Extraordinary Rendition Plot: CIA Had Secret Plan to Kidnap German-Syrian Suspect in Hamburg (Spiegel Online, link) and Germany will probe CIA murder and rendition plots on its soil (New Europe, link)
Lithuania hosted secret CIA prisons (BBC News, link), Lithuania: Discovery of CIA prisons should prompt further investigation (Amnesty International, link) and Panel: Lithuanian security approved CIA prisons (AP, link)
European Parliament: Question to the Council and the European Commission from the ALDE (Liberal group): New developments on CIA extraordinary renditions programme and secret prisons on EU soil (pdf)
LITHUANIA: Secret CIA prison revealed in Lithuania (euobserver, link) and Lithuania investigates facility that may have been CIA 'black site' (Washington Post, link)
CIA-ITALY: Rendition trial ends with Milan CIA chief given eight years (Guardian, link) Italian court convicts Robert Lady and 23 others in absentia - First prosecution for US abduction of suspects to torture states and EXCLUSIVE: Convicted CIA Spy Says "We Broke the Law" (ABC News, link)
No Justice for Canadian Rendition Victim Maher Arar: Court Refuses to Hold US Officials Accountable for Complicity in Torture Abroad (link) See Statewatch's Observatory: The use of European countries by the CIA for the transport and illegal detention of prisoners and Documents
CIA-FLIGHTS-SHANNON: Shannonwatch website (link)
1 November 2009: UK-USA-CIA: Jet named in torture flight report is met by SAS at British airport (Mail Online, link): "A US plane that featured in a European Parliament report into the 'extraordinary rendition' of terror suspects was met by two SAS helicopters in a secret operation at one of Britain's biggest airports. The Gulfstream jet landed at Birmingham International Airport on Friday, October 2, having flown in from an undisclosed location, and was seen by a member of staff being met minutes later by the Special Forces regiment aircraft. Records show that the jet is owned by a subsidiary of L-3 Communications, a multi-billion-dollar defence corporation based in New York, whose clients include several American government departments, among them the Department of Homeland Security."
ITALY-CIA: Italy seeks jail for US spies in rendition trial (Reuters, link): "An Italian prosecutor called on Wednesday for 26 Americans, all but one believed to be members of the CIA, to be jailed for between 10 and 13 years each for the kidnapping of a terrorism suspect in 2003. Public Prosecutor Armando Spataro also asked a Milan court to sentence four Italians, including the former head of Italy's Sismi secret service, to up to 13 years in prison for the abduction of Muslim cleric Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr."
Portugal/CIA flights: In-depth report: Investigation "buries" Portuguese role in Guantánamo flights: On 6 July 2009, Socialist party MEP Ana Gomes criticised the investigation into flights to Guantánamo and rendition flights that passed through Portugal, in response to the case being shelved on 29 May 2009 because "no unlawful practices of a criminal nature" were carried out in the "national territory". Gomes claimed that the investigation appeared to have the "political objective of burying the issue of Portugal's role in the CIA flights" and filed a complaint requesting that judicial investigations continue and new verifications which had "inexplicably" not yet taken place be conducted into the CIA flights to Guantánamo.
UK: Report by the parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights: Allegations of UK Complicity in Torture (140 pages, pdf):
"Complicity in torture is a direct breach of the UK’s international human rights obligations. In our view, complicity in torture exists where a state:
- asks a foreign intelligence service known to use torture to detain and question an individual
- provides information to a foreign intelligence service known to use torture, enabling that intelligence service to apprehend an individual
- gives questions to a foreign intelligence service to put to a detainee who has been, is being or is likely to be tortured
- sends interrogators to question a detainee who is known to have been tortured by those detaining and interrogating him
- has intelligence personnel present at an interview with a detainee in a place where he is being, or might have been tortured
- systematically receives information known or thought likely to have been obtained from detainees subjected to torture."
See: MPs and peers call for inquiry into torture (Guardian, link)
UK-TORTURE: How UK's torture policy was traced back up political ladder• MI5 officer's testimony led to police investigation - Report shows Blair knew of interrogation guidelines (Guardian, link) and Tony Blair knew of secret policy on terror interrogationsLetter reveals former PM was aware of guidance to UK agents (link). See too: Breaking the rules on tortureThe details of the government's post-9/11 torture policy are shocking. A full investigation must be carried out (Guardian, link) by Clive Stafford Smith, Reprieve. Backround: Intelligence and Security Committee: The Handling of Detainees by UK Intelligence Personnel in Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay and Iraq (2005, pdf)
SWEDEN-CIA FLIGHTS: Sweden spied on CIA 'terror flights': report (The Local, link)
POLAND-CIA: New Evidence of Torture Prison in Poland (Spiegel Online, link) and Uncovering the Veil Over 'CIA Prison' (Interpress, link) "An official investigation shows that it is more and more likely that a CIA prison existed in Poland at the height of the "war on terror"."
USA: Government Cannot Claim State Secrets To Deny Torture Victims Day In Court (ACLU, link) NEW YORK – A federal appeals court today ruled that a landmark American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit against Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen DataPlan Inc. for its role in the Bush administration's unlawful extraordinary rendition program can go forward.
CIA-USA: CIA torture exemption 'illegal' (BBC News, link): "US President Barack Obama's decision not to prosecute CIA agents who used torture tactics is a violation of international law, a UN expert says. The UN special rapporteur on torture, Manfred Nowak, says the US is bound under the UN Convention against Torture to prosecute those who engage in it." Abuse of Power: The Bush Administration's Secret Legal Memos (link to ACLU), Obama exempts CIA 'torture' staff (BBC News, link) and ACLU statement
CIA: RENDITION: After repeated denials: Polish media uncover evidence of CIA prison (euobserver, link): "Journalists from Polish TV station TVP and daily newspaper Rzeczpospolita say they have obtained new evidence that Poland ran a secret CIA prison used for extra-judicial extradition of terrorism suspects."
ITALY-CIA: Judges deal blow to CIA 'kidnap' trial (Guardian, link, 12.3.09): "A trial in which 25 CIA agents are accused of kidnapping a terrorism suspect ran into serious difficulties last night when Italy's constitutional court upheld key objections raised by the Italian government."
EP-CIA: 19 February: European Parliament plenary session: Extraordinary rendtiion: EU Member States also responsible say MEPs (Press release, pdf): Resolution adopted with minor amendments by 334 votes in favour, 247 against and 86 abstentions. Resolution tabled by the ALDE (Liberal group), PSE (Socialist group) Verts (Green group and GUE (United Left): On the Alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transport and illegal detention of prisoners (pdf)
UK-CIA: MI5 fed questions to CIA for interrogation (Guardian, link) and Letter from Attorney-General to Chair of Joint Human Rights Committee (pdf). See also: Whitehall devised torture policy for terror detainees - MI5 interrogations in Pakistan agreed by lawyers and government (Guardian, link)
EP-CIA: Resolution tabled by the ALDE (Liberal group): On the Alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transport and illegal detention of prisoners (pdf)
10 December 2008: Renditions/Italy: Interpretation of "state secret" leads to suspension of Abu Omar trial
4 December 2008: Renditions/Spain: Damning evidence surfaces of Aznar government collusion in Guantánamo flights
European Parliament-CIA: Question to the Commission by the ALDE group (Liberal) (pdf)
USA: American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU): Documents Reveal U.S. Knowingly Transfers Detainees To Countries That Torture (link) The documents obtained by the ACLU and Columbia Law School Human Rights Clinic (link)
"Today the Court of Appeal delivered its judgment confirming that Mohamed Raissi was falsely imprisoned by officers of the Metropolitan Police when they arrested and detained him at Paddington Green Police Station on 21 September 2001.
Mohamed Raissi is the brother of Lotfi Raissi who was wrongly accused of training the 9/11 hijackers. The Court of Appeal confirmed in February this year that Lotfi was “completely exonerated” in a strongly worded judgement that was critical of the part played by the Crown Prosecution Service and the Metropolitan Police in the failed attempt to extradite him."
PORTUGAL-CIA FLIGHTS: Jornal de Notícias, Portugal, 9.10.08. Secret CIA flights: Along with other European countries, Portugal granted fly-over rights in the past for CIA planes carrying presumed Islamic terrorists. Portuguese Foreign Minister Luís Amado explained yesterday that if Portugal's government has not made a statement on the matter, it was to avoid prejudicing EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso, who was Portuguese prime minister at the time. Jornal de Notícias critices this position: "Luís Amado is entirely right, Barroso should be spared inconvenience. He is an important man in the EU, and we are always proud when one of our emigrants is successful. ... As citizens, however, we have the right to know whether our government was aware at least of this one flight between Guantánamo and Cairo with a stop-over at the Portuguese military base [on the Azores Islands]. ... We have the right to know if the government authorised these flights or not, and if so under what conditions." See also: REPRIEVE submission to Portuguese Inquiry into rendition, 2 April 2008 (pdf)
SWEDEN: Ahmed Agiza "rendered" by US agents from Sweden - although still in prison in Egypt - to get compensation. Ahmed Agiza, one of the two Egyptians who was "rendered" from Bromma airport by US agents, with the assistance by the Swedish secret service (security police) to Egypt, and there tortured and sentenced to 25 years (later changed to 15 years) prison, is to get approximately 330,000 euro in damages from the Swedish state. He is still in prison, and had demanded 35.000.000 Swedish crowns (about 4.000.000 euro) in damages, but now the Chancellor of Justice has come to an agreement with his lawyer to accept 330.000 euro.
The decision to allow the rendition was taken by Anna Lindh (at the time Minister for Foreign Affairs, later assassinated) and Thomas Bodstram (Minister of Justice) and led to Sweden being criticised by the UN Committee against torture (pdf). The head of the Security Service (SS) at the time, Klaes Bergenstrand (who was involved in the Leander case, where he together with Hans Corell produced statements that later forced the Government to give a public apology and Leander appr 45.000 € in tax free damages) died a couple of years ago. Background: 1. Sweden: Expulsions carried out by US agents, men tortured in Egypt; 2. Full-transcript of "The broken promise", TV4, Monday 17 May 2004: Transcript (pdf); 3. Ambassador's report: Report (in Swedish, 1.32 MB) which includes the following: TV4:s translation of Embassy report 1, classified part on Page 2: 23 January 2002
UK: MI5 criticised for role in case of torture, rendition and secrecy (Guardian, link)
UK-USA-RENDITION: Reprieve Press Release: As New Evidence Emerges that ‘War on Terror’ Prisoners were Held on Diego Garcia, Reprieve Demands Immediate Action from the British Government (pdf)
USA: RENDITION-TORTURE-US ASSURANCES: Report from the UK House of Commons foreign Affairs Committee: Human Rights Annual Report 2007 (pdf). It includes the following Conclusions:
"We conclude that, given the clear differences in definition, the UK can no longer rely on US assurances that it does not use torture, and we recommend that the
Government does not rely on such assurances in the future."
"We conclude that it is extremely important that the veracity of allegations that the Government has “outsourced” interrogation techniques involving the torture of British nationals by Pakistani author authorities should be ities investigated."
"We conclude that the Government has a moral and legal obligation to ensure that flights that enter UK airspace or land at UK airports are not pa part of the “rendition
rt circuit”, even if they do not have a detainee on board during the time they are in UK territory. We recommend that the Government should immediately raise questions about such flights with the US authorities in order to ascertain the full scale of the rendition problem, and inform the Committee of the replies it rece receives in its response ives to this Report."
Council of Europe: New book: CIA above the law? Secret detentions and unlawful inter-state transfers of detainees in Europe (300 pages, link to ordering page, hard-copy 23 euro, pdf 8 euro)
MASRI-UN-MACEDONIA: The UN Committee against Torture (CAT) and the Human Rights Committee (HRC) have advised the Macedonia government to undertake a new and thorough investigation into the abduction and ill-treatment of Mr Khaled El-Masri when held by CIA agents in secret detention:
EU countries obstructing investigations into CIA renditions, report says (euobserver, link) "The "most important" of the CIA's secret detention prisons, or 'black sites', in the years immediately following the 11 September attacks was situated in Szymany, some 160km north of Warsaw, according to officers with the US intelligence service. In a weekend article in the New York Times newspaper, unnamed CIA officers tell of one of the presumed dozens of sites, hitherto vehemently denied by the Polish government as having been located within the country."
"The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), Berlin, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI), both based in New York, met today in Berlin with lawyers from Germany, Macedonia and the United Kingdom to discuss the latest developments in the CIA rendition case of German citizen Khaled El Masri.
ECCHR filed today a lawsuit against the German Government at the Berlin administration court for its failure to demand the extradition of 13 CIA agents suspected of having illegally “rendered” Mr. El Masri from Macedonia to a US prison in Kabul, Afghanistan."
EU capitals ignore Brussels' questions about rendition flights (euobserver, link)
USA-UK: Homeland Security's Chertoff, Britain's Interior Minister Discuss Travel Security Issues (US Mission in the EU, link) Mr Chertoff was asked about reported US demands that it will require passenger details for all flights from the EU over-flying the USA. His response is interesting in the context of the difficulties faced by the European Parliament and the Council of Europe requesting information from EU governments on over-flying CIA flights: "Under the Chicago Convention, which I think goes back almost 50 years, anybody who wants to come into the airspace of a country has to submit to the rules and regulations of the country whose airspace they're entering, whether it’s to land or to overfly. We generally require, and will require, under a program called Secure Flight: name, passport number, and maybe one or two other items of information from the manifest of anybody who is going to overfly the United States – and that’s pursuant to this international arrangement.
UK-RENDITION FLIGHTS: Reprieve report: Enforced disappearance, illegal interstate transfer and other human rights abuses involving the UK Overseas Territories (pdf) UK apology over rendition flights (BBC, link) "David Miliband has admitted two US "extraordinary rendition" flights landed on UK territory in 2002. In a statement to MPs the foreign secretary said in both cases, US planes stopped on the UK dependent territory of Diego Garcia to refuel."
RENDITIONS- Background: Portugal: Over 700 prisoners flown to Guantánamo through Portuguese airspace
REPRIEVE: The “Journey of death” - Over 700 prisoners illegally rendered to Guantanamo with the help of Portugal (pdf) "Reprieve can now conclusively show that the Portuguese territory and airspace has been used to transfer over 700 prisoners to torture and illegal imprisonment in Guantanamo Bay."
Interview with the Wife of Abou Elkassim Britel (Cageprisoners, link)
23 January 2008: CoE-TERRORIST LISTS: PACE demands review of UN and EU blacklisting procedures for terrorist suspects, which ‘violate human rights’ (press release, link). See below for Marty report and recommendations.US-CIA: Detention sites (press release) Full-text of report (link, pdf)
11 December 2007: CIA RENDITION-IRISH HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION report: "Extraordinary rendition" inspection and monitoring regime must be established as a matter of urgency: Diplomatic assurances not enough says Irish Human Rights Commission (Press release, 11 December 2007, pdf). The full text of the IHRC Report (20 MB, link)
"The report concludes that diplomatic assurances received from the US Government are not sufficient for Ireland to satisfy its human rights obligations with regard to the issue of ‘extraordinary rendition’ flights passing through Irish territory.
The Commission recommends that an effective inspection regime be put in place to ensure that no foreign aircraft which might be suspected of involvement in the illegal practice of ‘extraordinary rendition’ may land and refuel in Ireland. An effective inspection regime will ensure that no prisoners are transited through the State en route to a situation of torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."
COUNCIL OF EUROPE: Procedures for blacklisting individuals suspected of terrorist links are unworthy of the UN Security Council and EU (12 November 2007, full-text of report, pdf) says PACE. The Legal Affairs Committee of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), which today approved a report by Dick Marty (Switzerland, ALDE). These procedures, which are "unworthy" of the UN and EU, must urgently be overhauled to make them fairer. Earlier report by Marty: UN Security Council black lists (March 2007, pdf)
Claims of secret CIA jail for terror suspects on British island to be investigated - Legal charity urges action on Diego Garcia claims · Prisoners may have been held in ships off coast (Guardian, link)
Council of Europe's Anti-Torture Committee denounces secret detention: "Strasbourg, 14.09.2007 - In its 17th General Report published today, the CPT denounces secret detention, an illegal practice that has been resorted to in particular in the context of the fight against terrorism. Secret detention amounts in itself to ill-treatment and – due to the removal of fundamental safeguards which it entails - inevitably heightens the risk of resort to other forms of ill-treatment. Responding to reports that certain secret detention facilities were located in European countries, the CPT invites anyone who is in possession of information concerning such facilities to bring it to the attention of the Committee.
The CPT also comments on the related issue of extra-judicial transfers from one country to another, so-called "renditions". The Committee is particularly concerned by the practice of rendition for the purposes of detention and interrogation outside the normal criminal justice system. "Operations of this kind inevitably involve a risk of ill-treatment for the person concerned that no 'assurances' can ever fully remove; it follows that the authorities of Parties (to the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture) should never offer assistance in the context of such operations". (CoE, press release)
August 2007: SCOTLAND-RENDITION: Report from Reprieve: Scottish involvement in extraordinary rendition (pdf)
Dick Marty submission to the US Supreme Court where he presents argumnet concerning the kidnapping of German citizen Khaled El-Masri by the CIA: Marty submission (pdf)
European Parliament inquiry (TDIP) on the alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transport and illegal detention of prisoners - documents and reports - and follow-up
25 July 2007: UK-USA RENDITION: Damning report from the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee: UK agencies and Rendition (pdf) Committee press release (pdf) Government's response to the report (pdf)
- in the case of Bisher al-Rawi and Jamil el-Banna where UK agencies provided evidence to the USA with the caveat "speicifcally prohibiting any action being taken - this was disregarded by the USA and Bisher al-Rawi and Jamil el-Banna triggered their arrest and "Rendition to Detention". Moreover, the Security Service failed to tell Ministers about their relationship with Bisher al-Rawi and that it: "took *** years, and a court case, to bring it to their attention"
- the SIS (MI6) and Security Service (MI5) were "slow" to appreciate the "change in US rendition policy": "the Agencies should have detected the emerging pattern of renditions sooner and used greater caution in working with the U.S. at an earlier stage."
- "in fighting international terrorism it is clear that the U.S. will take whatever action it deems is necessary, within U.S. law, to protect its national security.
Although the U.S. may take note of UK protests and concerns, it does not appear materially to affect their strategy"
- the Committee had difficulties in a number of areas getting information: GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters, which runs - with NSA - a global communications surveillance system) passed intelligence to the US National Security Agency (NSA) which could have passed it to the CIA. The Committee simply had to accept that the GCHQ-NSA agreement that this required "explicit permission" actually worked. Similarly "General Aviation Reports" on flight plans "appears to be systematically flawed" so complete data on flights was not available.
- the Committee recommends that despite "caveats and assurances" any future requests which could lead to rendition should be referred to Ministers for approval.
Council of Europe: Clandestine CIA operations authorised through NATO including those in Poland and Romania: Secret detentions and illegal transfers of detainees involving Council of Europe member states: Second report (link to press release). Secret detentions and illegal transfers of detainees involving CoE members: second report by Dick Marty (full-text, pdf) and - Disguised CIA flights to Poland (link to graph); - The "secure zone" for CIA transfers and secret detentions in Romania (link); - Flight logs related to the secret "homeward rendition" of Khaled El-Masri in May 2004 (pdf); - The investigation into secret detentions in Europe: a chronology (link)
US-DISAPPEARED-DETAINEES: Leading Human Rights Groups Name 39 CIA “Disappeared” Detainees & Three Groups File Lawsuit Seeking Information about “Ghost” Detention (press release) Briefing: Off the record: US responsibility for enforced disappearances in the "war on terror", full-text with names (pdf)
In the most comprehensive accounting to date, six leading human rights organisations today published a briefing paper revealing the names and details of 39 people who are believed to have been held in secret US custody and whose current whereabouts remain unknown.
The list - drafted by Amnesty International, Cageprisoners, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at New York University School of Law, Human Rights Watch, and Reprieve - provides new names of missing detainees, new information about those known to be disappeared, and names relatives of suspects who were themselves detained in secret prisons, including children as young as seven.
US: Firm to be sued over 'torture flights' (Guardian, link)
Poland: UN Committee against torture - report on Poland (pdf)
EP-USA-CIA: Press release from the European Parliament on the delegation to the USA (pdf)
15.4.07: Renditions: Italy / Morocco: Italian authorities drag their feet in Britel case
ITALY-CIA-RENDITION: Americans and Italians are indicted in CIA kidnapping case (International Herald Tribune, link) MILAN, Italy: An Italian judge on Friday indicted 26 Americans and five Italians for what will be the first criminal trial over the CIA's extraordinary rendition program. The judge set a trial date for June 8. Prosecutors allege that five Italian intelligence officials worked with the Americans - almost all CIA agents - to abduct terror suspect Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr from a Milan street on Feb. 17, 2003.
UPDATE: EP: The European Parliament has adopted (14 February 2007) a highly critical report on CIA renditions and detentions and on the activities of a number of EU governments including the UK, Austria, Italy, Poland and Portugal. The report: "gives detailed evidence of investigations of illegal rendition or CIA flight cases involving Germany, Sweden, Spain, Ireland, Greece, Cyprus, Denmark, Turkey, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Bosnia and Romania." Full-text of the European Parliament Resolution adopted on 14 February 2007 on CIA rendition and detention (pdf) Press release on the CIA rendition debate and amendments agreed (pdf). Excellent summary in Working Document no 9 of the key evidence (eg: cases and flights) gathered on Italy, UK, Germany, Sweden, Austria, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Macedonia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Romania and Poland to back up the Resolution above: Evidence gathered on key EU states - CIA rendition and detention (pdf) This should be read in conjunction with: Working Document no 7 (extraordinary renditions) and Working Document no 8: Companies working for the CIA and stop-overs in the EU. Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor, comments: "The European Parliament's committee of inquiry has done a great public service in gathering evidence to show not just the extent of CIA renditions through and abductions in the EU but also the collusion - by "turning a blind eye" - of EU governments. This have been achieved with little or no help from the other EU institutions (European Commission and the Council of the European Union)."
USA, UK, Germany, Spain and Italy have refused to sign up to the UN Convention on banning disappearences and secret detention. Fifty-seven countries joined at the treaty signing in Paris on 6 February 2007. The Covention was adopted by the general assembly on 20 December 2006 and becomes operational when a minimum of 20 states have ratified it. The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons and Enforced Disappearance places an "absolute ban" on on secret detentions, provides for tracing the whereabouts of the "disappeared" and for the right of reparation. France led the initiative for the Convention and its officials estimated that 51,000 people have been disappeared by governments in over 90 countires since 1980. International Convention for the Rptection of All Persons and Enforced Disappearance - full-text (pdf) UN press release (pdf) US refuses to sign UN ban on renditions and secret detention (World Socialist Website, link)
Italy: Renditions: Abu Omar freed in Egypt: Rendition victim Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, aka Abu Omar, was released on 11 February 2007 from Tora high security prison in the outskirts of Cairo. He was kidnapped on 17 February 2003 in Milan, in a case that has resulted in arrest warrants being issued against 13 CIA officers and charges being brought against Nicolò Pollari, the head of the Italian military secret service (SISMI), and other high-level SISMI officials. Abu Omar's Egyptian lawyer noted that the depression that he had experienced in prison had led to three suicide attempts, and his wife, Nabila, expressed her happiness while noting that "He is happy but tired… the prison and torture have deeply marked him. They have changed him". (Repubblica, 12.2.2007).
GERMANY-CIA RENDITION: A German court in Munich has issued arrest warrants for 13 CIA agents involved in the kidnapping and rendition of Khaled al-Masri who was abducted in 2003 in Macedonia, flown to a secret prison in Afghanistan and tortured: Speigel Online (link) and BBC News (link).
ITALY-CIA: Italian judge issues arrest warrants for 13 CIA agents involved in the kidnapping and rendition of Abu Omar to Egypt where he was tortured: Abu Omar: Evidence as presented to the courts (pdf, 210 pages) See also Statewatch's Observatory on CIA renditions and detention (documents) and CIA team wanted over Milan 'kidnap' (Guardian, link)
European Parliament inquiry into CIA rendition and detention: Inquiry report as adopted by the Committee on Civil Liberties (pdf). The report now goes to the plenary session. Press release on committee report
January 2007: EU-CIA-RENDITION: Deep in Le Carré country, the remote Polish airport at heart of CIA flights row - Former director tells how planes were met by vehicles from nearby military base(Guardian, link) Confirmation that Szymany airport was used extensively for CIA rendition flights.
Sweden: UN Human Rights Committee finds that Sweden broke the international prohibition against torture. The case concerned the rendition of two Egyptians from Sweden 2001 by undercover US and Egyptian agents. The UN Committee also states that the treatment of the two men on Swedish soil (Bromma Airport in Sweden) in connection with the rendition was a breach of the ban on torture and inhuman treatment: Full text of: UN Human Rights Committee Decision, 6 November 2006
Latest documents added include:
Correspondence between the Irish Human Rights Commission and the Irish government (4 documents): Documents submitted - full-text
Two substantive working documents of inquiry: On extraordinary rendition (Working documents no 7, including details of cases considered) and On the companies linked to the CIA, aircraft used by the CIA and the European countries in which CIA aircraft have made stopovers (Working document no 8, 64 pages) See for full background and documentation: Statewatch's Observatory on CIA rendition
The "de longhi" file on the Britel case (37 documents plus 2 notes) Explanatory analysis: Italy: Documents sent to European Parliament committee on renditions allege other renditions and details of Abu Omar cover-up and the Britel rendition
EU-CIA-Inquiry: Former Guantanamo detainee meets MEPs investigating CIA renditions (European Parliament press release). "When Murat Kurnaz - a German resident of Turkish origin - travelled to Pakistan in late 2001 to "find himself and deepen his faith", he told MEPs on Wednesday, he was arrested by the Pakistani police. "They caught me and sold me to the Americans for 3,000 or 5,000 dollars," he said. Mr Kurnaz was transferred to a prison in Afghanistan and later flown to Guantanamo, where he remained until August this year when he was released without charge.
CIA-Rendition: European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) “Extraordinary rendition - a European Perspective" speech by Olivier Dutheillet de Lamothe (Substitute member, France) (Cardozo School of Law, 25 September 2006 - "Bauer Lecture")
Italy: Documents sent to European Parliament committee on renditions allege other renditions and details of Abu Omar cover-up and the Britel rendition
Portugal: Evidence of illegal CIA rendition flights surfacing
Portugal: Renditions continue: Algerian prisoner abducted and deported
Italy: Renditions: Judge notifies defendants of the state of play in investigations into Abu Omar rendition: High-level SISMI and CIA officials involved
Documents submitted - full-text - 222 to date
Interim report: Text report as adopted by the Committee of inquiry: Interim report
Reports from Council of Europe and NGOs - Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Redress, Cagedprisoners
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