Tuesday

6th Dec 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. European Jewish CongressEJC President Breathes Sigh of Relief Over Result of Austrian Presidential Election
  2. CESICongress Re-elects Klaus Heeger & Romain Wolff as Secretary General & President
  3. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAustrian Association for Betting and Gambling Joins EGBA
  4. ACCAWomen of Europe Awards: Celebrating the Women who are Building Europe
  5. European Heart NetworkWhat About our Kids? Protect Children From Unhealthy Food and Drink Marketing
  6. ECR GroupRestoring Trust and Confidence in the European Parliament
  7. UNICEFChild Rights Agencies Call on EU to put Refugee and Migrant Children First
  8. MIRAIA New Vision on Clean Tech: Balancing Energy Efficiency, Climate Change and Costs
  9. World VisionChildren Cannot Wait! 7 Priority Actions to Protect all Refugee and Migrant Children
  10. ANCI LazioRegio-Mob Project Delivers Analysis of Transport and Mobility in Rome
  11. SDG Watch EuropeCivil Society Disappointed by the Commission's Plans for Sustainable Development Goals
  12. PLATO15 Fully-Funded PhD Positions Open – The Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU (PLATO)

Latest News

  1. Russia pipeline is security 'threat', US diplomat says
  2. Brexit deal must be done by October 2018, says EU negotiator
  3. Rising to the challenge of 'European Angst'
  4. Polish firm sues EU Commission over Gazprom privileges
  5. ID and police checks await all who enter and leave the EU
  6. Italy's Renzi to stay on to pass budget
  7. Dutch anti-Ukraine vote spawns 'app democracy' party
  8. EU agrees on debt measures for Greece