CIA ran secret prisons for detainees in Europe, says inquiry

by Stephen Grey
Friday June 8, 2007 The Guardian
The CIA operated secret prisons in Europe where terrorism suspects could be interrogated and were allegedly tortured, an official inquiry will conclude today.
Despite denials by their governments, senior Polish and Romanian security officials have confirmed to the Council of Europe that their countries were used to hold some of America’s most important prisoners captured after 9/11 in secret.
None of the prisoners had access to the Red Cross and many were subject to what George Bush has called the CIA’s “enhanced” interrogation, which critics have condemned as torture. Although suspicions about the secret CIA prisons have existed for more than a year, the council’s report, seen by the Guardian, appears to offer the first concrete evidence. It also details the prisons’ operations and the identities of some of the prisoners. Continue reading CIA ran secret prisons for detainees in Europe, says inquiry



“Ghost Plane”

OUT NOW in the US and Canada with St Martin’s Press (Order)

OUT NOW in the UK with Hurst and Co. (Order)

in Australia / New Zealand with Scribe Publications

and Germany with DVA

This book is the result of my research over the last three years into the CIA’s rendition programme. More information soon.

For more information on the book please go to

Twists and turns of 'rendition' scandal rivet Italy

By Stephen Grey and Elisabetta Povoledo International Herald Tribune, The New York Times
July 9, 2006 (Read the full text).

MILAN The veteran spy made a mistake worthy of an amateur.
On June 1, a senior Italian intelligence official placed a call from a public telephone booth to a fellow spy to discuss an investigation into the alleged kidnapping by the CIA of a radical Egyptian cleric in 2003.
The Italian spies were also under investigation, for complicity in the abduction of the imam, who was seized on a Milan street and sent to his native Egypt to be interrogated and imprisoned.
In a country where police officers and spies tap more than 100,000 phone lines each year, Gustavo Pignero, the former chief of military counterespionage at the Italian intelligence agency, apparently ignored the obvious – that investigators were listening in.

Italy Arrests 2 in Kidnapping of Imam in '03

Read full text

Published: July 6, 2006
MILAN, July 5 — Two officials with the Italian intelligence agency were arrested Wednesday in the kidnapping of a radical Egyptian cleric here in 2003. It was the first indication that Italian intelligence agents might have been directly involved in what prosecutors say was an American-led operation to detain and interrogate the imam.
Prosecutors also sought the arrest of three operatives of the Central Intelligence Agency and an employee of the American military airbase at Aviano, Italy. Last year, Italian prosecutors charged 22 other Americans, who were employed by or linked to the C.I.A., with involvement in the abduction of the cleric, Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr.
The government said it would “collaborate fully” with the investigation and expressed its “trust in the institutional loyalty” of the secret services. In the past, the government has denied any knowledge of or involvement in the kidnapping.

UK aided CIA with torture flights, says official report

Stephen Grey
Wednesday June 7, 2006The Guardian

An inquiry by Europe’s leading human rights watchdog will today name 14 countries which are involved in or complicit in the CIA’s programme of detaining terrorism suspects for transfer to countries where they may be tortured.
After a seven-month investigation, Dick Marty, chairman of the Council of Europe’s committee on legal affairs and human rights, will accuse Washington of adopting a legal approach which is “utterly alien to the European tradition” by organising the so-called extraordinary rendition of dozens of suspects.
In his report, which has been obtained by the Guardian in advance of its publication in Paris, Mr Marty accuses the UK of not only offering logistical support to the CIA operation but also providing information that was used during the torture of a terrorism suspect in Morocco.
Mr Marty, a Swiss senator and former state prosecutor, describes the involvement of the 14 European states as varying from providing staging points for CIA operations or stop-over airports for its jets, to exchanging information with the United States that has led to renditions or torture, to allowing the rendition of terrorist suspects from their soil. Continue reading UK aided CIA with torture flights, says official report

MI5 enabled UK pair's 'rendition'

(Watch Newsnight report)

Eight UK residents are thought to be held at Guantanamo BayTelegrams sent by the British security service led to the “extraordinary rendition” of two UK residents now in Guantanamo Bay, BBC News has learned.
Flight details sent to US authorities allowed Bisher al-Rawi and Jamil al-Banna to be arrested in Gambia.
The UK government has always said it opposes “extraordinary rendition” – secret flights taking terror suspects for interrogation in other countries.
The Foreign Office denies requesting the men’s detention.
Mr al-Rawi and Mr al-Banna were arrested at Gatwick airport in November 2002, BBC2’s Newsnight has learned.
British intelligence then sent US authorities a telegram saying one of them had been carrying an object that could have been used as part of an improvised explosive device.
The men were later released after MI5 found the device to be an innocent battery charger – but this time the US authorities were not informed. Continue reading MI5 enabled UK pair's 'rendition'

Spain Looks Into C.I.A.'s Handling of Detainees

November 14, 2005, New York Times

(Read full text)

LONDON, Nov. 11 – On the Spanish island of Majorca, the police quietly opened a criminal investigation in March after a local newspaper reported a series of visits to the island’s international airport by planes known to regularly operate for the Central Intelligence Agency. Now, it has emerged that an investigative judge in Palma has ordered the police inquiry to be sent to Spain’s national court, to consider whether the C.I.A. was routing planes carrying terrorism suspects through Majorca as part of its so-called rendition program. Under that system, the United States has bypassed normal extradition procedures to secretly transfer at least 100 suspects to third countries where, according to allegations by human rights groups and former detainees themselves, some of the suspects have been tortured. The program is the focus of a number of European investigations. Spain is the third country in Europe to open a judicial inquiry into potential criminal offenses committed by C.I.A. operatives related to renditions. The other two are Germany and Italy. Last week, related investigations were started by the European Union and the Council of Europe to look into reports of secret C.I.A. jails for terrorism suspects in Eastern Europe.

Suspect's tale of travel and torture

Alleged bomb plotter claims two and a half years of interrogation under US and UK supervision in ‘ghost prisons’ abroad

Stephen Grey and Ian Cobain
Tuesday August 2, 2005
The Guardian

A former London schoolboy accused of being a dedicated al-Qaida terrorist has given the first full account of the interrogation and alleged torture endured by so-called ghost detainees held at secret prisons around the world.

For two and a half years US authorities moved Benyam Mohammed around a series of prisons in Pakistan, Morocco and Afghanistan, before he was sent to Guantánamo Bay in September last year.

Mohammed, 26, who grew up in Notting Hill in west London, is alleged to be a key figure in terrorist plots intended to cause far greater loss of life than the suicide bombers of 7/7. One allegation, which he denies, is of planning to detonate a “dirty bomb” in a US city; another is that he and an accomplice planned to collapse a number of apartment blocks by renting ground-floor flats to seal, fill with gas from cooking appliances, and blow up with timed detonators.

In an statement given to his newly appointed lawyer, Mohammed has given an account of how he was tortured for more than two years after being questioned by US and British officials who he believes were from the FBI and MI6. As well as being beaten and subjected to loud music for long periods, he claims his genitals were sliced with scalpels. Continue reading Suspect's tale of travel and torture

C.I.A. Expanding Terror Battle Under Guise of Charter Flights

By Scott Shane, Stephen Grey and Margot Williams
c. The New York Times

Tuesday 31 May 2005

Smithfield, NC – The airplanes of Aero Contractors Ltd. take off from Johnston County Airport here, then disappear over the scrub pines and fields of tobacco and sweet potatoes. Nothing about the sleepy Southern setting hints of foreign intrigue. Nothing gives away the fact that Aero’s pilots are the discreet bus drivers of the battle against terrorism, routinely sent on secret missions to Baghdad, Cairo, Tashkent and Kabul.

When the Central Intelligence Agency wants to grab a suspected member of Al Qaeda overseas and deliver him to interrogators in another country, an Aero Contractors plane often does the job. If agency experts need to fly overseas in a hurry after the capture of a prized prisoner, a plane will depart Johnston County and stop at Dulles Airport outside Washington to pick up the C.I.A. team on the way.
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(Full text of original NYT article….
mirrors include.. )