4th Jul 2022

CIA continues to use EU airports to carry terror suspects

The US intelligence branch CIA is still using European airports for stop-overs on flights carrying terrorist suspects, a German daily has reported.

Handelsblatt on Thursday (24 November) quoted a high-ranked CIA source as saying: "The CIA planes have made stop-overs in several European countries, including Germany. Nothing has changed that."

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The report suggests that European airports are still facilitating the transport of suspected terrorists by the CIA to the Guantanamo Bay camp, or possibly to alleged secret prisons somewhere in eastern Europe.

The Washington Post reported earlier this month on the existence of such secret prisons, with leading NGO Human Rights Watch subsequently earmarking EU member state Poland and candidate state Romania as likely locations for the camps.

CIA planes, some of them known to be implicated in the practice of "rendition" (the extra-judicial seizure of terror suspects), have recently been reported to have landed at airports across Europe, including Poland, Romania, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, the Netherlands, Spain, Germany and Malta.

Most reports referred to 2002 or 2003, but a CIA plane was also reported to have stood at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport only last week, and Hungary has admitted a CIA plane landed in Budapest this October, according to Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza.

The CIA uses a number of cover-up firms to carry out the flights, Handelsblatt writes.

The CIA source told the daily that the fact that the practice had now been discovered was being perceived by CIA employees as a "very painful" experience.

A US government official added that Washingon will soon issue a "position" on the matter, after it received a number of statements of concern.

EU member states this week sent a joint letter to the US government, asking for clarification about the alleged existence of CIA interrogation camps on EU territory.

In the CIA camps, al Qaeda prisoners are allegedly held in complete isolation from the outside world and have no recognised legal rights while subjected to controversial interrogation methods.

Meanwhile, Dutch foreign minister Bernard Bot said before the Dutch parliament that if the reports on the alleged existence of CIA prisons in Europe were to be found true, this would have "consequences" for Dutch participation in military operations in Afghanistan.

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