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Old 12-04-2005, 07:59 AM
SeC SeC is offline
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Default US on defensive as reports of 'secret torture flights' pile up

US on defensive as reports of 'secret torture flights' pile up

Friday December 2, 3:17 AM , AFP

The United States was facing mounting embarrassment as allegations continued to emerge of a shadowy network of both secret prison camps and CIA "torture flights" carrying undeclared detainees through European and other countries.

In the latest such report the British newspaper The Guardian said Thursday it had seen navigation logs showing that more than 300 flights operated by the US Central Intelligence Agency had passed through European airports, as part of a network that could be involved in the clandestine detention and possible torture of terrorism suspects.

The claims have emerged since November 2, when the Washington Post newspaper reported that "black site" prisons were, or had been, located in eight countries including Thailand, Afghanistan and "several democracies in Eastern Europe" since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

The paper also said that the CIA had used planes to send more than 100 suspects to the hidden global internment network, not including prisoners picked up from Iraq.

Its report did not name the European countries involved, but Poland, a European Union member, has denied being one of them, as has Romania.

There have been widespread reports that the alleged network could involve both the transport and torture of undeclared detainees.

The EU has meanwhile threatened sanctions against any of its member states found to have been operating such prisons, or allowing their territory to be used for the transport of the phantom detainees.

The United States on Wednesday promised a timely and forthright reply to the EU concerns.

In Thursday's report the Guardian said flight logs its reporters had seen showed that CIA planes visited Germany 96 times and Britain 80 times, though when charter flights were added this figure rose to more than 200. France was only visited twice and Austria not at all, the newspaper said.

The logs also showed regular trips to eastern Europe, including 15 stops in the Czech capital Prague.

"Only one visit is recorded to the Szymany airbase in north-east Poland, which has been identified as the alleged site of a secret CIA jail," The paper added.

Among other reports relating to alleged secret flights through European countries:

- The Danish transport ministry said in September that it had recorded at least 20 illegal overflights by CIA planes since 2001.

- The Hungarian government said last month that two CIA craft had landed at Budapest airport in the past two years.

- Iceland said it was not satisfied with Washington's response to allegations that CIA planes had landed on its territory at least 67 times since 2001.

- Portuguese Foreign Minister Diogo Freitas do Amaral said he would report to parliament on December 13 on reports of illicit CIA flights passing through the country, including three incidents last March.

- Polish Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz said his government would be looking into reports that US planes had both flown over and landed in his country on secret missions that could be linked to transports of undeclared terrorism suspects.

Planes allegedly operated by the CIA have also been spotted at airports in Finland, Germany, Italy, Romania, Spain and Sweden as well as Morocco.



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