Friday, December 23, 2005
France confirm "civilian flight plans" for CIA flights
Two European human rights groups have lodged a lawsuit over alleged CIA prisoner flights at Le Bourget airport, just outside Paris, and Guipavas airport near the western city of Brest. The Foreign Ministry confirmed there were "civilian flight plans" for two of the flights. A lawyer, Patrick Baudouin said that the lawsuit had been lodged at a court near Le Bourget airport, in the Paris suburb of Bobigny.
See BBC report
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Irish sending bills to CIA in Central Africa
"The CIA is using Baldonnel for these rendition flights and the Department of Defence is sending bills for the fuel to CIA shadow companies at post office box numbers in Central Africa,"Mr Norris told the committee.
see Ireland online
Mr Ahern said : "Just to re-emphasise there have been no requests and no landings in any form since the autumn." See Archives
plus micheailin plus ordinary plus identity
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Now aware FO should have known about renditions
It had declared, "there is simply no truth in the claims that the United Kingdom has been involved in rendition."
However, although the Foreign Office had not known of the CIA rendition flights at the time, it was now aware that it should have known.
The well-placed source said the Foreign Office "totally accepts" that the United States used British airfields to transfer prisoners abroad for interrogation, and is "extremely worried" about the political consequences.
See UPI report plus nether
Michael Todd, chief constable of Greater Manchester, is expected to review evidence collected by human rights campaigners and interview senior police officers from 10 forces across the country.
The investigation will attempt to establish whether there is evidence to back claims that CIA flights used British airports as stopping-off points while carrying terror suspects to secret detention camps around the world.
See Independent report plus schoolboy
Monday, December 19, 2005
No more rendition evidence than the newspapers
UN human rights commissioner Louise Arbour, a former Canadian Supreme Court justice, declared that the global ban on torture was becoming a casualty of the US-led "war on terror".
She singled out the reported US policies of sending terror suspects to other countries and holding prisoners in secret detention.
US ambassador to the UN John Bolton declared that it was "inappropriate and illegitimate for an international civil servant to second-guess the conduct that we're engaged in [in] the war on terror, with nothing more as evidence than what she reads in the newspapers".
Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell declared: "There's a little bit of the movie Casablanca in this, where, you know, the inspector says 'I'm shocked, shocked that this kind of thing takes place'.
"Well, most of our European friends cannot be shocked that this kind of thing takes place... The fact that we have, over the years, had procedures in place that would deal with people who are responsible for terrorist activities, or suspected of terrorist activities, and so the thing that is called rendition is not something that is new or unknown to my European friends."
"Very often, maybe, Mr. Rumsfeld and Vice President Cheney would take decisions into the president that the rest of us weren't aware of. That did happen, on a number of occasions."
See again BBC plus outsourcing contact raps
Saturday, December 17, 2005
Crime allegation in Scotland must be substantiated
CIA flights have refuelled in Scotland hours after transferring detainees, Green MSPs have written to Strathclyde Police and the Northern Constabulary, using of Prestwick, Glasgow, Wick and Inverness airports. They have also written to Fife Constabulary regarding the reported use of RAF Leuchars airport.
At Holyrood, First Minister Jack McConnell told MSPs: "I must reiterate that for any allegation of a crime on Scottish soil to be substantiated and for any search warrant in particular to be issued, or even for a court to be approached for that, it is vital that the appropriate evidence is given."
See BBC, plus civil, Dens, Secret, and highland plus human plus Clemsi
Thursday, December 15, 2005
No suspicion of wrongdoing
On 16 November 2005, a CN-235 plane N196D landed at Reykjavík Airport at 13:57 on its way from Wick, Scotland, and departed at 8:00 the next morning. The call number is linked to the company Devon Holding & Leasing, a front company for the CIA.
MP Helgi Hjörvar, called on Minister of Justice Björn Bjarnason to investigate. Minister Bjarnason responded, in letter format:
"According to the basic rules in this country there cannot be a public investigation without witnesses or suspicion of wrongdoing."
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Moroccan denied connection with CIA detainees
-- The $8.4 million Pan Sahel Initiative (PSI), which provided counterterrorism training for the security forces of Mauritania, Mali, Niger and Chad during 2003-2004. As a follow-up, the United States started the Trans Sahara Counterterrorism Initiative (TSCTI) in 2005, which includes the four Sahel countries and adds Algeria, Senegal, Nigeria, Morocco, Tunisia and potentially Libya. Funding for TSCTI may reach $500 million over the next seven years.
The purpose of these programs is to improve the military and political capability of the African governments to meet the terrorist threat by providing training and equipment not only for counterterrorist units but also for "development assistance, expanded public diplomacy, and support for improved governance and human rights," Shinn said.
(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State.)
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Suspicious movements by 31 aircraft -- Rapporteur
Strasbourg, 25.11.2005 – In an information memorandum published today, Dick Marty, the rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) who is investigating allegations about secret detention centres in Council of Europe member states, refers to suspicious movements by 31 aircraft allegedly belonging to entities with direct or indirect links to the CIA, and believed to have been used by the CIA to transport prisoners in the “war against terrorism”.
Council of Europe (PACE) statement plus peter
Both countries have denied any involvement and Marty said he believes no prisoners are now being held by the U.S. in Europe. The CIA declined to comment.
"To my knowledge, those detainees were moved about a month ago, maybe a little more," he told reporters after briefing the legal committee of the Council of Europe, a human rights watchdog, on his findings. "They were moved to North Africa."
Asked by The Associated Press on the sidelines of the meeting to which North African country detainees might have been moved, he said: "I would imagine that it would be Morocco — up to you to confirm it."
Moroccan government spokesman Nabil Benabdellah denied any connection to such prisons when reports of the transfers surfaced last week. "We have nothing to do with and we have no knowledge about this subject," he told the AP.
AP on Yahoo and growing plus scale plus esuhn
Saturday, December 10, 2005
Leaks by intelligence and special ops officers
The truth is that revelations about questionable practices and standards are being leaked, and "secrets" are being compromised by dozens of intelligence and special operations officers and officials who are motivated by their concern for the growing incompatibilities between the war on terrorism and American values.
Washington Post blog
Friday, December 09, 2005
CIA deliberately leaking to shut down prisons
Some in the CIA who are disgruntled with the Bush administration are deliberately leaking information in order to shut down certain programs.
Several longtime analysts of the CIA's operations said the agency needs to investigate how its own tactics permitted the prisoner-transfer flights to become so widely publicized.
"It's bad tradecraft. It's very bad tradecraft," John Pike, the executive director of a group that studies secret government operations, GlobalSecurity.org, said. "You just have to wonder what it is they thought they were doing."
The agency may also have misjudged the way the Internet allows journalists, human rights activists, and the hobbyists who spot planes at airports, to pool their information in a way that would have been impossible even a decade ago.
"Certainly, an operation of this kind is harder to do than it ever was in the past simply because you have so many people watching and communicating instantly around the globe," an intelligence analyst at the Federation of American Scientists, Steven Aftergood, said. He called the disclosures "a breach of operational security" and said he believes the CIA has already changed its procedures as a result.
Mr. Aftergood said the secrecy of the program may also have been doomed by the sharp increase in the frequency of renditions after September 11, 2001. "This is an ambitious program that crosses many geographical and political boundaries. As such, it's very difficult to keep secret indefinitely," the analyst said. He noted that some conservatives believe some in the CIA who are disgruntled with the Bush administration are deliberately leaking information in order to shut down certain programs. Mr. Aftergood said he did not believe that was the case with the renditions program.
See NY Sun plus earl plus alternate plus super plus human
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Behave like a successful big power
The Hague is demanding that the US complies at all times with the humanitarian rules of war. As laid down in the Geneva Conventions, these apply to the 'enemy combatants' held without charge at locations such as Guantanamo Bay, Bagram airbase close to the Afghan capital, Kabul, and - if certain reports are correct - various other places across the globe.
Dutch Foreign Minister Ben Bot has said that Washington is "testing the limits of international law," a comment which was certainly not intended as a compliment, referring to people held in connection with terrorism who currently find themselves in the 'twilight zone' of international law, without legal protection.
See Radio Nederlands
"The Europeans lack of realism is a big problem, but I'm also frustrated with the inability of the United States to behave like a successful big power," said John Kornblum, a former American ambassador to Germany and now director of the investment bank Lazard Frères in Germany.
He added that "the Europeans do have this propensity" to put the worst possible interpretation on American actions, "but unfortunately, we have given credibility to that sort of behavior."
See New York Times and surely Vleep
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Rice in Europe
White House spokesman Scott McClellan denied that Rice's comments represent a change in U.S. policy. The ban on cruel and degrading interrogation tactics by Americans at home or abroad ``is existing policy,'' McClellan told reporters in Washington.
David Luban, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center and a visiting professor at Stanford University Law School, said the Bush administration has believed the CAT clause isn't binding on the U.S. because ``Congress never implemented it.'' Luban, in a telephone interview, said the administration believes the Convention's prohibition on cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment ``doesn't apply outside of U.S. territory.''
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said today that U.S. personnel are prohibited from carrying out cruel treatment of detainees both in the U.S. and abroad.
Commenting on the United Nations Convention Against Torture, she said, ``as a matter of U.S. policy the United States' obligations under the CAT, which prohibits of course cruel and inhumane and degrading treatment, both obligations extend to U.S. personnel wherever they are, whether they are in the United States or outside of the United States.''
Michigan Senator Carl Levin, the top Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, said Rice's comments represent an ``almost a total reversal'' of the Bush administration's policy on detainee treatment. ``It means you get to the cruel and inhumane'' definition of torture, `not just our definition'' in existing U.S. law, Levin said in an interview today.See Financial Times
See the blogs
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Suspects moved to new CIA facility in North Africa
CIA secret prisons were operating in Eastern Europe until last month when they were shut down following reports of their existence in Poland and Romania.
Current and former CIA officers say the United States scrambled to get all the suspects off European soil before Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived there. The officers say 11 top al Qaeda suspects have now been moved to a new CIA facility in the North African desert.
See ABC TV report
Monday, December 05, 2005
Carried out renditions for decades with allies OK
U. S. Secretary of State Rice, speaking at Andrews Air Force Base, said the United States had carried out renditions for decades in cooperation with allies.
"Renditions take terrorists out of action, and save lives," Rice said, referring to the covert transfer of detainees to foreign states for interrogation. "Such renditions are permissible under international law," she added.
Rice said the United States respected the sovereignty of allies, abided by the law and did not allow torture. In addition, she said allies' intelligence agencies have worked with the United States to extract information from detainees.
STEPHEN HADLEY, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: We respect the sovereignty of the countries with which we deal. And we do not move people around the world so that they can be tortured.
Friday, December 02, 2005
Will respond to Straw in due course -- White House
And Secretary Rice has indicated that she will be responding to the letter from Foreign Secretary Straw in due course.
We are glad to talk about these issues. There are sometimes difficult issues you have to address when it comes to a war like this, because we face a different kind of enemy, an enemy that abides by no laws, that abides by no treaties, and an enemy that wears no uniform, and an enemy that seeks to kill innocent men, women and children throughout the civilized world. We're all engaged in the global war on terrorism. We all have a responsibility to take the fight to the terrorists and defeat them and prevent attacks from happening...
But we also have a responsibility to respect the laws and the values and the treaty obligations that we have agreed to.
Opportune, direct response on CIA -- US to EU
French airports, too, have received "Guantanamo Express" flights. The first identified flight dates back to 31 March 2002. The flight plan shows that Learjet N221SG took off at 1336 hours from Keflavik, Iceland, bound for Brest-Guipavas, from where it apparently set off again for Turkey. Its point of departure was St John's, Newfoundland.
Canadian security authorities are also investigating this Learjet's comings and goings. This stopover on the coast of Brittany was probably necessitated by the limited range of this twin-engine 6/8 seater, which cannot fly between Guantanamo and Turkey non-stop. The Guipavas airport authorities have found a record of this flight; they told Le Figaro that, according to information given by the crew, they were the only ones on board that day. After Brest, the aircraft set off for Rome for another stopover.
Another flight by an aircraft known to have been used by the CIA occurred 20 July 2005: Gulfstream III, with the serial number N50BH, landed at Paris Le Bourget airport at 1922 hours, from Oslo Gardemoein, according to the Norwegian daily, Ny Tid. At the Paris airport, US government aircraft are generally received by Aeroservices, which is located near the Air and Space Museum, but it is likely that this jet was received by a service company based in a more discreet area.
Questioned by the EU, the United States promised Wednesday [2 December] evening to issue an "opportune" and "direct" response to Europe.
Story from France,
Secretary Rice would answer a formal query from the European Union on the reports, but said the top US envoy would also make it "quite clear that as far as Americans are concerned, they have not infringed any international human rights laws in relation to this."
"As a theoretical legal matter, I understand the practice of renditions is one that is recognized by the international system," Spokesman Sean McCormack said.
Story from Germany
All of these questions concerning these allegations of overflights and secret detainee sites for those who may have engaged or intended to engage in terrorist activities all take place within the context of fighting a war against terrorism. As I said yesterday, this is a different kind of war. This is a war in which countries -- European, American and others around the world -- employ all their aspects of national power in order to fight a shadowy enemy, an enemy that doesn't recognize any rules, doesn't recognize any laws, doesn't recognize any regulations. Their sole intent is to try to kill innocent civilians in an attempt to undermine our way of life.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Can trust US to clear up illegal flights -- Merkel
Jack Straw, the British foreign secretary, said he has written to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice seeking "clarification" about the secret flights and alleged prisons while Angela Merkel, the new German chancellor, raised the issue in her first major foreign policy speech."I believe we can trust ... that the American government is taking European concerns seriously and in the near future will clear up the recent reports on apparent CIA prisons and illegal flights," Merkel said.
The issue has careered around Europe. In Munich, prosecutors have opened an investigation into the abduction of a German citizen who says the C.I.A. flew him from Macedonia to Afghanistan early in 2004. There he was interrogated for five months before being released, he said.
A Macedonian official said the German, Khaled Masri, had left Macedonia of his own accord. But others are skeptical.
"What choice do you have when you are the size of Macedonia?" said Saso Ordanoski, a leading political commentator and editor of the weekly political magazine Forum. "Can you say no?"
See Ian Fisher story
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