Wednesday

31st Aug 2016

West used information secured under torture, ex-diplomat says

  • The use of torture is contrary to UN law (Photo: European Commission)

A British former envoy to Uzbekistan has revealed that western secret services obtained intelligence secured under torture from foreign detainees, with MEPs criticising the EU anti-terror coordinator for spinelessness.

Speaking before the European Parliament's temporary committee on CIA activities in Europe on Thursday (20 April), Craig Murray said that UK intelligence had obtained information from detainees tortured by Uzbek security forces.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

He alerted British foreign minister, Jack Straw, of the methods used by Uzbek intelligence as far back as 2003.

"There is a plenty of evidence about torture carried out in Uzbekistan and I know that foreign minister Jack Straw officially approved using the information obtained through torture," Mr Murray said, citing a secret report from a meeting held on 3 March 2003.

The German secret service was also cooperating very closely with its Uzbek counterpart, he added, while Britain and the US had taken a policy decision to obtain intelligence under torture in other countries as well.

"I say this with great pain but with absolute certainty," the ex-ambassador stated.

EU's anti-terror czar unpopular

The EU's anti-terror coordinator, Gijs de Vries, also made an appearance before the committee on Thursday.

He said there is still no irrefutable evidence of EU government involvement in or knowledge of illegal CIA activities in or close to the EU, despite a steady stream of reports to the contrary from highly-respected NGOs and journalists.

His stance provoked frustration among members, with Spanish socialist MEP Maria Elena Valenciano Martinez-Orozco pressing Mr de Vries for more information.

"There are strong and many indications that extraordinary renditions have taken place," she said. "What is worse? That member states did not know or that they knew and did not tell?"

Mr de Vries also denied knowledge of any EU-US agreement to allow so-called extraordinary renditions - the alleged US practice of snatching terror suspects in Europe and flying them to secret CIA camps.

Mr de Vries said he could only remind EU member states as well as third countries - like the US - to respect international laws on human rights, while underlining the EU's lack of legal powers in this sphere.

EU institutions do not have the authority to demand intelligence about member state activities in the security, government or judicial areas.

The anti-terror coordinator failed to refer to any of the statements made voluntarily by member states on the subject.

His appearance before the committee was deemed "completely useless" by Italian socialist MEP Claudio Fava, while German liberal Alexander Nuno Alvaro ironically asked Mr de Vries to state his job description.

The parliament's committee is expected to unveil its findings in June.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EuridThe 2016 .eu Web Awards is a Chance to Make Dreams Come True so Vote Today !
  2. Nordic CouncilNordic-Baltic Co-operation Vital in Turbulent Times
  3. GoogleBrussels: Home of Beer, Fries, Chocolate and Google’s Policy Team - follow @GoogleBrussels
  4. HuaweiSeeds for the Future Programme to Bring Students to China for ICT Training
  5. EFASpain is Not a Democratic State. EFA Expresses Solidarity to A. Otegi and EH Bildu
  6. UNICEFBoko Haram Violence in Lake Chad Region Leaves Children Displaced and Trapped
  7. HuaweiMaking Cities Smarter and Safer
  8. GoogleHow Google Makes Connections More Secure For Users
  9. EGBAThe EU Court of Justice Applies Proportionality in Assessing Gambling Laws
  10. World VisionThe EU and Member States Must Not Use Overseas Aid for Promoting EU Interests
  11. Dialogue PlatformInterview: "There is a witch hunt against the Gulen Movement in Turkey"
  12. ACCAACCA Calls for ‘Future Looking’ Integrated Reporting Culture With IIRC and IAAER

Latest News

  1. Verheugen did not think VW cheating was morally possible
  2. Greece and EU to tackle labour market reform
  3. EU's €13bn tax decision angers Ireland, US, and Apple
  4. EU and US continue trade talks despite French criticism
  5. UK cannot have and eat EU cake
  6. Apple ordered to repay a record €13 billion to Ireland
  7. End in sight for EU-Poland dispute, says deputy PM
  8. Turkey pledges loyalty to EU and Nato