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Claim of CIA ‘global spider’s web’

Paris, June 7 (Reuters): More than 20 states, mostly in Europe, colluded in a “global spider’s web” of secret CIA prisons and transfers of terrorism suspects, a European rights watchdog said in a report released today.

West and Central Asian nations played a role in the network run by the US Central Intelligence Agency 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,” Dick Marty, the council investigator said. “Other countries ignored them knowingly, or did not want to know,” he said in the 65-page report.

While the report admits it has “no formal evidence” of secret CIA detention centres, it said a number of states had clearly colluded with the system of CIA secret flights and secret transfers called renditions.

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.”

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

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

Marty said 10 cases involving 17 individuals had come to light. EU investigators said they believed 30 to 50 people had been handed over to countries where they might face torture by the US since the September 11, 2001, attacks.

While the suspects’ treatment “does not appear to reach the threshold for torture, it may well be considered as inhuman or degrading”, he said.

THE CHARGES

• Poland and Romania ran secret detention centres

• 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 the flights

• Sweden, Bosnia, Britain, the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia, Germany
and Turkey handed over suspects

• Islamabad, Cairo, Amman, Rabat, Kabul, Guantanamo Bay, Tashkent, Algiers and Baghdad served as detainee transfer/drop-off points

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