Today’s Must Read

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February 14, 2007 7:53 a.m.
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It’s looking grim for CIA operations in Europe. The European Parliament has just concluded a year-long inquiry into European complicity with U.S. renditions — the extra-legal abduction and transfer of terrorism subjects. Ever since Dana Priest of the Washington Post reported the presence of CIA “black sites” — off-the-books detention facilities — in two EU countries, it’s been a source of furious controversy.

Today’s report apparently doesn’t give definitive proof that European countries colluded in the maintenance of secret prisons, but it does single out specific countries for complicity in renditions, and also alleges over 1,000 “undeclared flights” by CIA aircraft over European airspace, which is meant to suggest transfers of detainees to Guantanamo Bay or Afghanistan:

BRITAIN — Telegrams from the MI5 security service to an unspecified foreign government suggest the abduction of British residents Bisher Al-Rawi and Jamil El-Banna (to Afghanistan and Guantanamo) was facilitated by partly erroneous information it had supplied. Al-Rawi and El-Banna ended up in Guantanamo.

ITALY — A carabinieri marshal and certain officials from the Italian military security and intelligence services played an active role in the abduction of Egyptian cleric Abu Omar, kidnapped by the CIA from a Milan street.

GERMANY — The German Federal Criminal Police provided details of the whereabouts of Mohammed Zammar to the FBI, which facilitated the kidnapping of the German citizen, who was then detained by U.S. agents and tortured in Morocco and Syria.

How the CIA used European airspace:

At least 1,245 undeclared flights operated by the CIA flew into European airspace or stopped over at European airfields after Sept. 11, 2001. While it has not been proven detainees were on board, the European Parliament says many of the planes were routinely used for transporting terror suspects from Afghanistan to Guantanamo, or to and from other secret detention centers.

We’ll post the report as soon as we have it. It’s sure to cause significant transatlantic tension.

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