Documents Tie Shadowy US Unit to Inmate Abuse Case – 2006-01-16 00:25:12
Europe ‘Complicit over CIA Jails’
What was shocking was the passivity with which we all, in Europe, have welcomed these things
— Dick Marty
SWITZERLAND (January 13, 2006) — Dick Marty accused the US of violating human rights and attacked European nations for their “shocking” passivity in the face of such violations.
He is due to give a preliminary report to the Council of Europe on 23 January.
The US has refused to confirm or deny the allegations over secret prisons. It has denied using or condoning torture.
Mr Marty was asked to lead the inquiry by the Council of Europe, the continent’s human rights watchdog, after the claims surfaced late last year.
Speaking to journalists in Switzerland, he said he was personally convinced the US had undertaken illegal activities in Europe in transporting and detaining prisoners.
However, he acknowledged he had yet to produce concrete proof and said he expected his inquiry to last another 12 months.
“The question is: was the CIA really working in Europe?” he said. “I believe we can say today, without a doubt, yes.”
Washington’s policy “respects neither human rights nor the Geneva Conventions”, he said.
He cited as evidence the case of Egyptian cleric and terror suspect Osama Mustafa Hassan, also known as Abu Omar, who was allegedly kidnapped by CIA agents from Milan in 2003 and flown to Egypt for interrogation.
Mr Marty also criticised European governments for failing to act when it seemed clear they knew about the US policy.
“It’s not possible to transport people from one place to another in such a manner without the secret services knowing about it,” he said.
“Europeans should be less hypocritical and not turn a blind eye. There are those who do the dirty work abroad but there are also those who know when they should close their eyes when that dirty work is being done,” [Marty stated].
Mr Marty said it was unfair to single out for criticism Romania and Poland, both named in media reports as possible sites for the centres. Both have denied involvement.
Governments across Europe had been “willingly silent”, he said, and it was now time for Europeans to decide whether they would continue to tolerate the illegal actions of the CIA.
The BBC’s Imogen Foulkes in Bern says Mr Marty’s comments come amid growing controversy within Switzerland over the leak of classified information from the Swiss intelligence service.
The documents appear to confirm the existence of secret CIA interrogation centres in several Eastern European countries, she says.
COUNCIL OF EUROPE
• Founded in 1949 and based in Strasbourg, France
• Forty-six members, 21 of them from Central and Eastern Europe
• Set up to defend human rights, parliamentary democracy and the rule of law
Acts as human rights watchdog for Europe
• Oversees the European Court of Human Rights
• Comprises a decision-making committee of ministers and 630-member parliamentary assembly
Documents Tie Shadowy US Unit to Inmate Abuse Case
Will Dunham / AlterNet
(January 12, 2006) — Newly released military documents show US Army investigators closed a probe into allegations an Iraqi detainee had been abused by a shadowy military task force after its members used fake names and asserted that key computer files had been lost.
The documents shed light on Task Force 6-26, a special operations unit, and confirmed the existence of a secret military “Special Access Program” associated with it, ACLU lawyer Amrit Singh said on Thursday.
The documents were released by the Army to the American Civil Liberties Union under court order through the Freedom of Information Act. They were the latest files to provide details of the numerous investigations carried out by the Army into allegations of detainee abuse in Iraq.
A June 2005 document by the US Army Criminal Investigation Command in Iraq described its investigation into suspected abuse of a detainee captured in January 2004 by Task Force 6-26 in Tikrit, deposed President Saddam Hussein’s hometown. His name was redacted, but he was mentioned as the son of a Saddam bodyguard.
The man was taken to Baghdad international airport, documents stated. The United States maintains a prison there for “high-value” detainees.
He told Army investigators that US personnel forced him one night to remove his clothes, walk into walls with a box over his head connected to a rope around his neck, punched him in the spinal area until he fainted, placed him in front of an air conditioner while cold water was poured on him, and kicked him in the stomach until he vomited, the documents stated.
Investigators could not find the personnel involved or the man’s medical files, and the case was closed, the files stated. A memo listed the suspected offenses as “aggravated assault, cruelty and maltreatment.”
“The only names identified by this investigation were determined to be fake names utilized by the capturing soldiers,” the memo stated. “6-26 also had a major computer malfunction which resulted in them losing 70 percent of their files; therefore they can’t find the cases we need to review.”
The memo said the investigation should not be reopened. “Hell, even if we reopened it we wouldn’t get anymore information than we already have,” the memo stated.
Singh said previous documents indicated Task Force 6-26 was linked to other instances of detainee abuse in Iraq.
“This document suggests that Task Force 6-26 was part of a larger, clandestine program that we think may have links with high-ranking officials, because obviously someone high up had the authority to put this program in place,” Singh said in a telephone interview.
Army spokesman Paul Boyce said the Army had taken allegations of detainee abuse “extremely seriously.”
“The Army has gone to great extent in travel, interviews, documentation and concern to make sure that each and every allegation was thoroughly reviewed, thoroughly examined and, when appropriate, acted upon either through nonjudicial or judicial punishment,” Boyce said.
A document stated Army investigators were not able to fully investigate suspects and witnesses because they were involved in the Special Access Program and due to the classified nature of their work.
The task force is stationed out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, the document said. The base houses the Army Special Operations Command.
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