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'Spider's Web' of Secret CIA Prisons
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More than 20 states, mostly in Europe, colluded in a "global spider's web" of secret CIA prisons and transfers of terrorism suspects, a Swiss investigator said in a report released Wednesday.

Middle Eastern and Central Asian nations played a role in the network run by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and European governments were aware or participated in the operation, the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe said.

"It is now clear although we are still far from having established the whole truth that authorities in several European countries actively participated with the CIA in these unlawful activities," Council of Europe investigator Dick Marty said.

"Other countries ignored them knowingly, or did not want to know," he said in the conclusions of the 65-page report released on the body's website.

While the report admits it has "no formal evidence" of secret CIA detention centers, it said a number of states had clearly colluded with the system of CIA secret flights and secret transfers known as renditions.

Among the charges:

Poland and Romania ran secret detention centers.

Germany, Turkey, Spain, Cyprus and Azerbaijan were "staging points" for flights involving the unlawful transfer of detainees.

Ireland, Britain, Portugal, Greece and Italy were "stopovers" for flights involving the unlawful transfer of detainees.

Sweden, Bosnia, Britain, the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia, Germany and Turkey handed over suspects.
Cairo, Amman, Islamabad, Rabat, Kabul, Guantanamo Bay, Tashkent, Algiers and Baghdad served as detainee transfer/drop-off points.
Polish Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz said the report was false but many other governments have greeted the report with silence. "These accusations are slanderous ... They are not based on any facts and that is all I know and all I have to say," Marcinkiewicz told reporters in parliament.

Despite the lack of "smoking gun" evidence, Marty said there were "a number of coherent and converging elements (that) indicated that secret detention centers have indeed existed and unlawful inter-state transfers have taken place in Europe".

Flight data provided in January and February from Euro-control helped uncover the web of flights, detention centers and stop-off points used in the US-devised system.

Marty said 10 cases involving 17 individuals had come to light but many of the Council of Europe's 46 member states had been reluctant to provide information. More cases could follow.

EU investigators said last month they believed 30 to 50 people had been handed over to countries where they might face torture by the United States since the September 11, 2001, attacks.

(China Daily June 8, 2006)


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