The Guardian 7 December, 2005
CIA’s more than
300 secret flights in Europe
LONDON: The CIA has made more than 300 secret flights in Europe to transfer terrorism suspects to illegal prisons in Eastern Europe. To that end, CIA fleeted aircraft used British airports on 80 occasions and German ones on around 100, without counting charter flights.
The information is based on the flight registers of the Federal Aviation Administration and the aeronautics industry.
Some 26 CIA aircraft landed and took off from various European airports to kidnap or transport alleged terrorists to clandestine prisons.
The scandal broke after The Washington Post disclosed the secret CIA flights and the transfer of terrorist suspects to torture centres in Eastern Europe and other countries.
From September 2001, the CIA utilised British territory for those operations and the most used airport was Glasgow in Scotland, with 75 landings.
Although the British Foreign Office denies that it has authorised those activities, sources from the Ministry of Defence admitted that they were registered, but that they decided to ignore them.
The detainees are clandestinely transported to prisons in other states, including the US base in Guantánamo, on Cuban territory occupied by the United States from the early 20th century.
Similar situations have been registered in Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and Norway.
Liberty, Britain’s civil liberties defence association, asked for clarification from the government and police on the implication of British territory in the scandal.
Liberty recalled that in Britain complicity with torture is illegal and gave a 14-day period for a response on that implication, threatening to bring the case before the justice system.
Previously, the European Union and the Council of Europe wrote letters on the subject asking the United States for clarification and the latter has appointed a committee to undertake the relevant investigations.