Last week, even as the revelation of Mary McCarthy’s firing was leaked to the press, another story hit the news — a European Union investigator named Gijs de Vries reported he had “not turned up any proof of secret renditions of terror suspects on EU territory.”
Guess again. From today’s Guardian by Richard Norton-Taylor:
The CIA has operated more than 1,000 secret flights over EU territory in the past five years, some to transfer terror suspects in a practice known as “extraordinary rendition”, an investigation by the European parliament said yesterday.
The figure is significantly higher than previously thought. EU parliamentarians who conducted the investigation concluded that incidents when terror suspects were handed over to US agents did not appear to be isolated. They said the suspects were often transported around Europe on the same planes by agents whose names repeatedly came up in their investigation.
They accused the CIA of kidnapping terror suspects and said those responsible for monitoring air safety regulations revealed unusual flight paths to and from European airports. The report’s author, Italian MEP Claudio Fava, suggested some EU governments knew about the flights. …
… His report, the first interim report by EU parliamentarians on rendition, obtained data from Eurocontrol, the European air safety agency, and gathered information during three months of hearings and more than 50 hours of testimony by individuals who said they were kidnapped and tortured by American agents, as well as EU officials and human rights groups.
Righties will dismiss this because Fava is a member of the EU Parliament’s socialist group. However, data is data.
Data showed that CIA planes made numerous secret stopovers on European territory, violating an international air treaty that requires airlines to declare the route and stopovers for planes with a police mission, he said. “The routes for some of these flights seem to be quite suspect. … They are rather strange routes for flights to take. It is hard to imagine … those stopovers were simply for providing fuel.”…
… The Bush administration has admitted to secret rendition flights but says it does not condone torture.
The EU Parliament is still investigating the secret prisons.