AP Interview: Investigator on secret CIA activities to focus on secret flights | VailDaily.com

AP Interview: Investigator on secret CIA activities to focus on secret flights

STRASBOURG, France – The CIA conducted illegal activities when it detained and transported terrorist suspects in Europe, according to a report to be released Tuesday by the head of a European investigation into alleged CIA secret prisons.The investigator, Dick Marty, told The Associated Press that his interim report will focus on reported cases of the U.S. sending suspected terrorists to countries where they would be likely to face torture.It will include an Egyptian cleric allegedly kidnapped from Italy in 2003 by CIA agents and a German captured in Macedonia and taken to Afghanistan in an apparent case of mistaken identity.The report will not contain new evidence on the location of alleged detention centers in Europe, Marty said.Marty, a Swiss senator, is investigating on behalf of the Council of Europe, the continent’s top human rights watchdog, which launched the probe after allegations surfaced in November that U.S. agents interrogated key al-Qaida suspects at clandestine prisons in eastern Europe and transported some suspects to other countries passing through Europe.New York-based Human Rights Watch identified Romania and Poland as possible sites of secret U.S.-run detention facilities. Both countries have denied involvement. Clandestine detention centers would violate European human rights treaties.A Council of Europe official urged national authorities and EU bodies to cooperate more with investigators, saying the probe was not meant to punish countries for violating the treaties but rather to “name and shame” possible offenders.”I would like to see some parliaments (stand up to) the governments,” said Rene van der Linden, chairman of the Council’s parliamentary assembly, an advisory body comprising several hundred national parliamentarians.Van der Linden said the investigators still have not obtained log books archived by the Brussels-based air safety organization Eurocontrol so they can determine flight patterns of several dozen suspected CIA planes. Experts say flight logs could help to determine whether the CIA secretly transported prisoners to Europe.The 46-nation Council also has asked European governments to provide all information they have on possible secret detention centers on their territory by Feb. 21. Many governments have not yet responded, and some claim they have not even received the request.Van der Linden said he hoped the probe could be wrapped up by March, but Marty said he may need more time for his investigation.”It takes time to find justice, but I am optimistic,” Marty said.Last week, Italy’s justice minister formally asked the United States to allow Italian prosecutors to question 22 purported CIA operatives they accuse of kidnapping the Egyptian cleric, Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, in 2003 from a Milan street.Nasr, believed to belong to an Islamic terror group, was seized on Feb. 17, 2003. Prosecutors claim the cleric, who is also known as Abu Omar, was taken by the CIA to a joint U.S.-Italian air base, flown to Germany and then to Egypt, where he says he was tortured.The operation was believed to be part of the CIA’s “extraordinary rendition” program in which terrorism suspects are transferred to third countries where some allegedly are subjected to torture.”In the Abu Omar case is a crystal clear case of extraordinary rendition,” said Marty. “Italian investigators built a net around him, and the Americans destroyed it all.”Prosecutors say the cleric’s abduction was a violation of Italian sovereignty and hindered Italian terrorism investigations.Vail, Colorado

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