First, let's talk some more about the January report from the Council of Europe. This is the report characterized as being complete and showing "no evidence" of the secret CIA prisons:
On 5 December 2005 ABC reported, in turn, the existence of secret prisons in Poland and Romania that had apparently been closed following The Washington Post's revelations. According to ABC, eleven suspects detained in these centres were then transferred to CIA facilities in North Africa. They were allegedly submitted to the harshest interrogation techniques (so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques"). I would point out that the ABC article confirming the use of secret detention camps in Poland and Romania by the CIA was available on the Internet for only a very short time before being withdrawn. This strikes me as a telling indication of the pressure put on the media in this affair (in this particular case, the pressure was apparently brought to bear direct by the CIA).
7. It would seem from confidential contacts that the information revealed by The Washington Post, HRW and ABC came from different sources, probably all well-informed official sources. This is clearly a factor that adds to the credibility of the allegations, since the media concerned have not simply taken information from one another.
8. In an interview broadcast by the American channel ABC on 29 November 2005, the Director of the United States Central Intelligence Agency, Porter Goss, did not deny the existence of CIA secret prisons in various parts of the world where people suspected of terrorism were held. He did, however, categorically deny that the United States used torture, while refusing to pass judgment on certain interrogation techniques used by its services.
9. On 5 December 2005, Condoleezza Rice, the American Secretary of State, made a statement addressed to Europeans in which she did not, at any point, deny the existence of the alleged centres, or of the flights transporting detainees, but reaffirmed the need to resort to "extraordinary renditions" in the context of efforts to counter terrorism. The only thing that Ms Rice categorically denied was the use of torture.
(Emphasis supplied.) That's right, the Council of Europe investigator BELIEVED the Dana Priest article AND the ABC News report. The ABC Report said:
Two CIA secret prisons were operating in Eastern Europe until last month when they were shut down following Human Rights Watch reports of their existence in Poland and Romania.
Current and former CIA officers speaking to ABC News on the condition of confidentiality say the United States scrambled to get all the suspects off European soil before Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived there today. The officers say 11 top al Qaeda suspects have now been moved to a new CIA facility in the North African desert.
CIA officials asked ABC News not to name the specific countries where the prisons were located, citing security concerns.
The CIA declines to comment, but current and former intelligence officials tell ABC News that 11 top al Qaeda figures were all held at one point on a former Soviet air base in one Eastern European country. Several of them were later moved to a second Eastern European country.
. . . Rice today avoided directly answering the question of secret prisons in remarks made on her departure for Europe, where the issue of secret prisons and secret flights has caused a furor.
. . . The CIA has used a small fleet of private jets to move top al Qaeda suspects from Afghanistan and the Middle East to Eastern Europe, where Human Rights Watch has identified Poland and Romania as the countries that housed secret sites.
(Emphasis supplied.) And what of DeVries? What is his story? Well, besides having an obvious reason to whitewash, DeVries also has some conflicting stories. In December 2005, he said:
Gijs de Vries, EU anti-terrorism coordinator, speaking on 6 December said that the European Union was not mounting an investigation on the CIA jails issue as it did not have the power to do so. It would however, await the outcome of the investigation already launched by the Council of Europe and the US response to the letter written by Jack Straw on the subject.
(Emphasis supplied.) Yes, there is a guy wanting to get to the bottom of it. Later, his hand is forced, to testify before an EU committee, NOT to investigate:
TDIP Temporary Committee
Temporary Committee on the alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transportation
and illegal detention of prisoners
WORKING DOCUMENT on the TDIP Temporary Committee work programme Committee on the alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transportation and illegal detention of prisoners Rapporteur: Giovanni Claudio Fava
. . . All available documentation (e.g. exchange of letters, Council of Europe documents,
reports, articles, Eurocontrol/European Satellite Centre documents) will be available to all
Temporary Committee Members.
1. The Council of Europe should be invited to transmit to the Temporary Committee the following documents:
a. Answers to the information request sent by the General Secretary of theCouncil of Europe to its Member States, according to Article 52 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The deadline for those answers is 21 February 2006.
b. Information received on 23 January 2006 by the Satellite Centre in Torrejon and by Eurocontrol concerning the CIA identified planes in European airports.
c. Conclusions of the Venice Commission Report, to be handed over on 17 March 2006. A joint meeting with the Legal Affairs Committee of the Council of Europe could be envisaged, notably when it will receive the Venice Commission's report.
. . . 3. Invitations to personalities/institutions
Invitees should be selected regarding the added value of their contribution to the
Committee's work, with focus on asserting facts.
. . . Auditions programme
Auditions or encounters in Brussels or abroad
1. Council of Europe:
Dick Marty, Chairman of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, Council of Europe
2. European Union Institutions:
. . . Gjis de Vries, EU Coordinator for the Fight against Terrorism
. . . - Joint meeting with the Committee on Civil Liberties with a Public Hearing on Member States' Secret Services and their coordination at EU level. The following persons could be invited, amongst others:
o Gjis de Vries, EU Coordinator for the Fight against Terrorism . . .
And what did DeVries say about his investigation?
De Vries told the committee no EU-US agreement authorized secret renditions of terror suspects, that hundreds of CIA flights did not occur over Europe as reported by various media organizations, and that he has no news of European countries using intelligence obtained under torture.
"I am not privy to details of cooperation between national services, whether inside the EU or with third partners. That is under full control of national parliaments," de Vries said.
De Vries said EU governments would wait for the European Parliament and Council of Europe investigations to finish before responding to them.
(Emphasis supplied.) In short, he is Sargeant Schultz -- he knows nothing, has access to nothing and has talked to no one. What a ridiculous yarn. But that won't stop the Wingnuts.
Right Wing Fantasies: The Sting
Only a Right Wing fabulist could dream this up:
Rick Moran at Right Wing Nuthouse wonders if the story on CIA detention centers might not have been a sting operation to unmask leakers at Langley. The possibility comes up because on the same day that the CIA terminated Mary McCarthy for her communications to the press, the New York Times reports that European investigators cannot find any evidence that the detention centers ever existed.
. . . How do intel agencies find leakers and spies? They pass around carefully designed misinformation to selected individuals considered likely suspects, and see what winds up exposed as a result.
So the secret prison story was just an elaborate sting operation by Goss, crows the Right. Amazing. Now, according to the Right, the result of the Sting operation was this:
In addition to the international uproar caused by Priest's article, government officials have said it did significant damage to relationships between the U.S. and allied intelligence agencies. You likely recall that because of Priest's article, in December Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had to remind our European allies that the United State does not violate allies' sovereignty or break international law, and that Europeans that their governments are also fighting against terrorists who have bombed commuters in Madrid and London.
Pretty high price to pay for a sting operation to out a leaker don't you think? Shouldn't Goss be fired for such a stupid move if this fantasy were true?
What a mess AND a disgrace.
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