January 31, 2006
"Gangsters and silence"
So sounds the title of the article by the Italian journalist Giulietto Chiesa which deals with the scandal of CIA flights in Europe and the inquiry the Swiss parliamentarian Dick Marty has been conducting since November 2005 and reported before the Council of Europe last week. In the inquiry Marty accused the United States of “gangster tactics” and the European governments of turning a blind eye to “CIA’s illegal anti-terror activities in Europe”. (see the text of the speech)
Italy is involved in the first place as an investigation is underway in Milan into the disappearance of an Egyptian cleric allegedly abducted by CIA agents. Other 11 cases are reported to have taken place and the Italian secret service is suspected of having known it. In the article on the left-leaning il manifesto the journalist argues that “the European intelligence agencies must have been aware of what was happening in their territories with the ‘extraordinary renditions’. Now we’ll see how they’ll cover it up and tamper with the evidence”. Chiesa goes on by adding that this is the way Europe is acting now: “slavish governments willing to support the international war on terror and, consequently, the violations of fundamental human rights”. George Bush is depicted as "an emperor ready to breach any international regulations and, together with Dick Cheney, to trample on the American laws and Constitution". But, the journalist concludes, “Europe is guilty of letting the American gangsters damage democracy and Western values as a whole”.
Marty’s interim report before the continent’s human rights watchdog was criticised by the British parliamentarians for its lack of unpublished and new evidence (The Independent). The 21st of February is the deadline by which the 46 countries belonging to the Council of Europe will have to reply to a series of questions on the matter. Then the opinion of the Venice Commission on the legality of secret detention centres and the transport of prisoners by other States through the European territory will follow. The Commission is an advisory body of the Council and is expected to adopt its opinion on 17-18 March 2006.
In the meantime, the European Parliament has launched its own investigation. Il manifesto in the same page of Chiesa’s article, runs an interview with Claudio Fava, the Italian member of the temporary commission which will delve into the matter. “We must start from what Marty found. The existence of CIA prisons is not under discussion, our task now is to discover where they were and whether the European governments were involved or not in the violations”.
Posted January 31, 2006 09:26 AM
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