Thursday, December 15, 2005

Torture Flights and the Campaign Against Renditions and Torture

Thursday 15th December.

11.30 am

I have had requests from several people to form an umbrella group concerning Extraordinary Renditions.

Today such a group has been formed.

Campaign Against Renditions and Torture or CART for short.

The first group is Ayrshire based and I hope that other parts of Scotland will set up local groups.

More information concerning CART will be posted here on Dens Den.



Update on Guantanamo Marchers.

The marchers have now completed their 5 day, 50 mile march and are waiting for permission to enter the base. They are at the gates which are 9 miles from the detention camps. They pray and fast while they wait.

So far they have received no word at all in response to their requests to visit the detainees.

They have asked for people to e mail the camp. pao@usnbgtmo.navy.mil

You can learn more about their progress at the website for Witness Against Torture.

6.30pm.

I have received an e mail from John Purvis, one of our European MP's inresponse to an e mail I sent him back in October.

It was worth waiting for.

He replied...

Dear Ms Morton

You may be interested to know that today the European Parliament voted on a resolution to set up a temporary committee to investigate the "presumed use of European countries by the CIA for the transportation and illegal detention of prisoners" (see attached document). Temporary committees’ powers, composition and term of office are defined at the same time as the decision to set them up is taken, and they can last no longer than twelve months, except where Parliament extends that term on its expiry. You can follow the work of this committee once it is set up on the European Parliament's Committee website: http://www.europarl.eu.int/activities/expert/committees.do?language=EN

Yours sincerely

Judith Crawford
Parliamentary Assistant

The attached document is as follows

JOINT MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION

pursuant to Rule 103(4) of the Rules of Procedure,

on presumed use of European countries by the CIA for the transportation and illegal detention of prisoners

European Parliament resolution on presumed use of European countries by the CIA for the transportation and illegal detention of prisoners

The European Parliament,

having regard to Article 6 and 7 of the EU Treaty,

having regard to Articles 2, 3, 5 and 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights,

having regard to Articles 1, 4, 19, 47 and 48 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

having regard to Articles 2, 3 and 11 of the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment,

having regard to written questions E-2203 and E-2204/05, tabled by Martine Roure, Giovanni Claudio Fava and Wolfgang Kreissl-Dörfler (PSE) on 9 June 2005 to the Commission and to the Council, on cases of ‘extraordinary renditions’ in the territory of the European Union,

having regard to the EU-US Transatlantic Dialogue and in particular to the EU-US summit of 20 June 2005 and the resulting EU-US declarations on the fight against terrorism and on democracy, freedom and human rights,

having regards to the provisions of the EU-USA agreement on judicial cooperation and extradition,

having regard to Rule 103(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas international terrorism poses one of the greatest threats to society within the EU and to those values,

B. whereas on 2 November 2005 the Washington Post alleged that the CIA had been holding and interrogating terrorist suspects at secret facilities in Eastern Europe as part of a global covert transport, prison and interrogation system known as ‘extraordinary rendition',

C. whereas cooperation in the field of intelligence remains a competence of the Member States and their bilateral and multilateral relations,

D. worried that in the context of the fight against international terrorism that has been conducted since 9/11, fundamental European and international rights have apparently been violated,

E. whereas allegedly these and other terrorist suspects are in US or foreign custody as ‘ghost detainees’, meaning that they may have been kidnapped and are detained incommunicado without any legal rights or access to counsel or the Red Cross/Red Crescent,

F. whereas such detainees may be subject to cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or torture,

G. whereas judicial, parliamentary or official inquiries have been launched in several Member States to investigate the alleged role of the CIA in the abduction and subsequent transport and illegal detention of these ‘ghost detainees’,

H. whereas such inquiries, as well as press disclosures and reports by NGOs such as Human Rights Watch have indicated codes and references of the aircraft and airport facilities allegedly used by the CIA for the transport of suspects subject to extraordinary rendition,

I. whereas any aid or assistance to agents of another State in conduct amounting to secret deprivation of liberty and torture, including aid or assistance in the transportation by aircraft and use of airport facilities, is also a violation of Articles 3 and 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights,

J. whereas on 21 November 2005 the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe set up an inquiry into these allegations under Article 52 of the ECHR, asking the 45 governments that are parties to the ECHR to provide answers by 21 February 2006,

K. whereas the matter has legal, moral and security implications for the conduct of the fight against terror that the European Union has pledged to fight and win,

L. whereas the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has appointed a rapporteur, Dick Marty, to lead this inquiry,

M. whereas it is of the utmost importance to carry out a full investigation into any allegation of US breaches of human rights and the rule of law and the complicity of European governments, given the very serious implications for the respect of fundamental rights in the European Union,

1. Reaffirms its determination in the fight against terrorism but stresses that this fight cannot be won by sacrificing the very principles that terrorism seeks to destroy, notably that the protection of fundamental rights must never be compromised;

2. Expresses the belief that the fight against terrorism must be fought by legal means and that this new kind of war must be won while respecting international law and with a responsible attitude on the part of governments and public opinion alike;

3. Strongly condemns any use of torture, including cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment;

4. Recalls that Article 6 of the EU Treaty obliges the Union and Member States to respect fundamental rights as guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights and as they result from the Member States’ common constitutional traditions, and that international obligations as well as those common principles forbid the use of torture;

5. Recalls that Article 7 of the EU Treaty foresees the possibility for the EU, in the event of a serious and persistent violation of fundamental rights by a Member State or of the risk thereof, to suspend certain rights, including the right to vote in Council, as recently restated by Commission Vice-President Frattini;

6. Expresses its deep concern at the allegations concerning the role of the CIA in the illegal kidnapping, transportation, secret detention and torture of terrorist suspects, as well as at the alleged presence of CIA secret detention sites inside the territory of the European Union and candidate countries;

7. Stresses that full transparency and mutual respect for basic principles of legislation is essential for a further strengthening of EU-US relations and cooperation in the fight against terrorism;

8. Welcomes the Council of Europe’s investigation into the allegations and urges all Member States promptly to give any relevant information in relation to this;

9. Calls on the Council and Commission to clarify the press reports concerning an agreement of 2003 between the European Union and the United States giving the US access to ‘special’ transit facilities;

10. Calls on all the governments concerned to make every effort to investigate the allegations made so far and to provide all necessary information to the Commission and the Council of Europe;

11. Believes that in parallel with, and learning from, the inquiry of the PACE rapporteur Dick Marty, the European Parliament must conduct its own parliamentary inquiry, which should at a minimum be conducted through a Temporary Committee set up under Article 175 of its Rules of Procedure, and drawing on the expertise of its network of fundamental rights experts, with a view to examining inter alia:

(a) whether the CIA has been involved in ‘extraordinary rendition’ of ‘ghost detainees’ detained incommunicado without any legal rights or access to counsel, subjected to cruel treatment or torture, and transported within the territory of the European Union, including through flights and detention at secret sites;

(b) whether such a practice could be considered legal in the territory of the European Union according to Article 6 of the EU Treaty, Articles 2, 3, 5 and 6 of the ECHR, and the EU‑US agreement on extradition and judicial cooperation in criminal matters;

(c) whether EU citizens or legal residents were among those involved in ‘extraordinary rendition’ operations, illegal detention or torture in the framework of alleged covert CIA operations in the territory of the EU;

(d) whether Member States, public officials or persons acting in an official capacity were involved or complicit in the acknowledged or unacknowledged illegal deprivation of liberty of individuals, including rendition, transfer, detention or torture, whether by action or omission;

12. Is committed to opening the procedure under Article 7 of the Treaty on the European Union if investigations confirm the allegations that any Member State has given assistance, whether by act or omission, to agents acting on behalf of other governments in conducting such practices;

13. Calls on the 16-17 December 2005 European Council to discuss these issues and demands that the current UK Presidency and future Austrian Presidency, together with European Parliament President Josep Borrell, urgently establish the necessary contacts with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the US Congress, national parliaments and the Council of Europe;

14. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Governments and Parliaments of the Member States and applicant countries, the Council of Europe and both houses of the US Congress.


Things are moving. I am sure that persistent public and media pressure is responsible.

I am not saying that there aren't politicians who do care, who want answers and more importantly, want an end to the use of illegal kidnappings and the torture of detainees, but in Scotland, the existing arrangement between Holyrood and Westminster appear to effectively gag the Labour politicians in particular.


I am pleased to say that there are many in the Scottish Parliament who do object quite openly.

Chris Ballance of the Green Party tabled a motion and Carol and myself wrote to the MSP's urging them to sign. Many of them did.
Carolyn Leckie of the Scottish Socialist Party has now raised another motion.

S2M-3709 Carolyn Leckie: Stop the "Torture Flights"—That the Parliament expresses extreme concern following the publication of autopsy reports, obtained under freedom of information legislation, of detainees held overseas who have died in the custody of the US Government which show that, of 44 autopsies of detainees, 21 of the deaths were homicides, 8 of which appear to have resulted from abusive techniques used on detainees, information which can be obtained at http://action.aclu.org/torturefoia/released/102405/; believes that the admission of Condoleeza Rice about the practice of "rendition" and the latest information that Glasgow and Prestwick airports are the airports most often used for refuelling these alleged "torture flights" means that Scottish airspace and land has been used to facilitate the practice of torture and human rights abuses; believes that, given the widespread awareness of this information, the Westminster Government, Scottish Executive and Scottish police forces cannot claim to have no knowledge of this practice and have an unequivocal responsibility to bring into custody anyone who lands these planes in Scotland or who assists these flights in full knowledge of their purpose; notes that the former Law Lord and judge, Lord Steyn, has said that UK ministers may be guilty of war crimes if they are aware of the flights; believes that the Executive should issue a statement about its intentions in relation to its criminal justice and human rights responsibilities and indicate what it is doing to stop Scottish airspace and Scottish facilities being used for the purposes of facilitating torture and human rights abuses, and further believes that any workers at Scottish airports who refuse to co-operate with these flights and any citizens who take action to prevent these flights, or to bring perpetrators to justice, are upholding international law and should be commended for doing so.

Supported by: Frances Curran, Campbell Martin, Ms Rosemary Byrne*, Chris Ballance*


Only 4 MSP's have signed it so far.

I guess it's back to the letter writing. Please join me.

8.45pm

The BBC has reported the Bush may have agreed to ban torture and degrading treatment of foreign terror suspects.









2 Comments:

Blogger Gary said...

CIA refuels in Scotland

Leuchars

1:58 pm  
Blogger Denise said...

Thanks for that post Gary.

What a good site you have.

I hope people visit.

These flights seem to go just about anywhere they want.

It's hard to believe that none of the governments have had any knowledge.

But I suppose it is possible that each countries security services didn't tell them all the details.

5:12 pm  

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