Sunday

29th May 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."

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

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.

US promises to clarify reports on CIA prisons in Europe

Faced with mounting pressure from the EU, US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice promised on Tuesday to clarify reports that the CIA is running secret prisons in eastern Europe, while using EU airports to transport terror suspects.

France aims for EU minimum-tax deal in June

EU Commission vice-president Valdis Dombrovskis said on Tuesday that Poland's recovery plan could be approved within a week. This could also help unblock Warsaw's reluctance to agree to the tax deal.

MEPs boycott trip after Israeli snub

Last-minute Israeli blacklistings and red lines have prompted MEPs to call off an official trip, posing the question if Israel can belittle the EU Parliament with impunity.

EU states warn of looming food-price crisis

Prices of cereals, fertilisers, and oilseed have shot up drastically in several European markets due to Russia's war on Ukraine, prompting some member states to seek EU aid.

Opinion

When Reagan met Gorbachev — a history lesson for Putin

Neither Reagan nor Gorbachev achieved their goal at the famous Reykjavik summit of 1986. Despite that fact there are lessons that current leaders — particularly Vladimir Putin — could adopt from these two iconic leaders.

Opinion

Orbán's overtures to Moscow are distasteful and detrimental

Some Western European politicians are reviving the chimera of a negotiated settlement. None of this makes the current, half-hearted approach towards sanctioning Russia look better — nor does it shed any favourable light on the cravenness of Hungary's current government.

News in Brief

  1. Dutch journalists sue EU over banned Russia TV channels
  2. EU holding €23bn of Russian bank reserves
  3. Russia speeds up passport process in occupied Ukraine
  4. Palestinian civil society denounce Metsola's Israel visit
  5. Johnson refuses to resign after Downing Street parties report
  6. EU border police has over 2,000 agents deployed
  7. Dutch tax authorities to admit to institutional racism
  8. Rutte calls for EU pension and labour reforms

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic delegation visits Nordic Bridges in Canada
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersClear to proceed - green shipping corridors in the Nordic Region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers agree on international climate commitments
  4. UNESDA - SOFT DRINKS EUROPEEfficient waste collection schemes, closed-loop recycling and access to recycled content are crucial to transition to a circular economy in Europe
  5. UiPathNo digital future for the EU without Intelligent Automation? Online briefing Link

Latest News

  1. EU summit will be 'unwavering' on arms for Ukraine
  2. Orbán's new state of emergency under fire
  3. EU parliament prevaricates on barring Russian lobbyists
  4. Ukraine lawyer enlists EU watchdog against Russian oil
  5. Right of Reply: Hungarian government
  6. When Reagan met Gorbachev — a history lesson for Putin
  7. Orbán oil veto to deface EU summit on Ukraine
  8. France aims for EU minimum-tax deal in June

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us