Amnesty International urges Europe to come clean in CIA terror cooperation

Amnesty International logo (image from www.amnesty.org)
European governments are being urged by Amnesty to spill the beans over their alleged cooperation in terror operations with the CIA. The human rights organization wants the guilty to be brought to justice and the practice to stop.

Amnesty is adamant that had it not been for various European governments, the US would have been unable to detain so many people, often without trial, for so many years. These calls come after a US Senate report published in December seemed to implicate a number of European nations in implementing terror programs.

Reuters / Robert Galbraith

“The Senate report makes it abundantly clear that foreign governments were essential to the ‘success’ of the CIA operations and evidence that has been mounting for nearly a decade points to key European allies,” said Julia Hall, Amnesty International’s expert on counter-terrorism and human rights, on the organization’s website.

Amnesty International says its research shows Poland, Romania and Lithuania allowed secret CIA detention sites on their soil, while UK agents were involved in torture. The human rights group says practices such as waterboarding, sexual assault and mock executions were some of the torture processes detainees suffered.

"Governments can no longer rely on unsubstantiated 'national security' grounds and claims of state secrecy to hide the truth about their roles in the torture and disappearance of people," Hall added.

The London based organization is urging those countries in question conduct effective and thorough investigations, and should look to reform their laws and policies to ensure that such practices aren’t repeated in the future. They also want all those who took part in these illegal proceedings to face criminal charges.

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“The USA’s staggering departure from the rule of law after the 11 September 2001 attacks provides a cautionary tale for all governments grappling with such violent crimes. Dispensing with human rights and civil liberties is morally and legally wrong, it alienates certain communities, and it sends a dangerous signal to other governments inclined to violate people’s rights under the cover of ‘national security’,” Hall said.

AFP Photo / Chantal Valery

The UK has come in for some of the harshest criticism, with Amnesty saying Britain was arguably the most important ally in the CIA’s global counter-terrorism operations. A parliamentary investigation into allegations that the UK helped the US in its terror operations is due to be completed by the end of 2015. However, Amnesty International says this report isn’t independent as the government has “absolute discretion to withhold information based on national security considerations.”

READ MORE: UK complicit? US Senate report reveals CIA torture and deception of Congress

A report published in April stated that former British PM Tony Blair was fully informed “every step of the way” about details of the CIA’s secret interrogation program.

“The politicians took a very active interest indeed. They wanted to know everything. The Americans passed over the legal opinions saying that this was now 'legal,’ and our politicians were aware of what was going on at the highest possible level,” a source said, speaking to the Daily Telegraph.

“The politicians knew in detail about everything – the torture and the rendition. They could have said [to M16] 'stop it, do not get involved’, but at no time did they,” the source added, appearing to contradict numerous previous statements made by UK officials.

READ MORE: Hush money: CIA paid Poland to host its secret prisons and detainees

On December 10, in the wake of the Senate report being released, Poland’s former President Aleksander Kwasniewski (in office 1995–2005), confirmed that Poland agreed to CIA “black sites,” but didn’t authorize the torture of prisoners. This was the first time a Polish leader admitted the country had secret CIA detention centers.