European governments have been condemned by the EU Parliament for any collusion with the CIA. This comes in a report on allegations that the US agency secretly detained terrorism suspects in Europe or transported them through it. Lawmakers singled out Spain, Romania, Poland and especially Italy for criticism, but went easier on Germany.
The MEPs endorsed a final but non-binding report by the Italian head of a committee investigation, Claudio Fava; 382 backed the onclusions, while 256 voted against them.
Slamming the United States’ CIA activity as fighting terrorism illegally, Fava raised the issue of reforms within Europe. He told EuroNews: “I believe not only in national reform of the secret services, but rather, the way cooperation is conceived between these services in Europe and between the Europeans and the Americans – in the fight against terrorism. Because if cooperation has to come in the form it has in these last years, it amounts to a sort of blank cheque. It allows the American secret services to choose the working methods and goals with no worries. That seems to me a non-starter because it’s contrary to national laws and international treaties and it’s inefficient.”
States were urged to provide information, and investigate if necessary.
The vote followed a debate in which Socialists, liberals, greens and leftists slammed what they called a “dirty war” waged with European complicity. Conservatives said a lot of anti-Americanism was in play.
Supporting the report, German Sylvia-Yvonne Kaufmann is with the European United Left.
After the vote, she said: “I do think this is an extremely important report. We have found grave and deep injuries to human rights in Europe, caused by the secret services. The European Parliament has always fought for human rights and is raising the banner now. We condemn this. It must not happen again.”
Washington acknowledges transferring suspects secretly to third countries, but denies torturing them or handing them to ones that did.
Briton Charles Tannock, of the European People’s Party, said the year-long exercise squandered funds. He said: “This whole committee of inquiry has been a waste of British and European tax-payers’ money. From the very beginning, it was duplicating the work of the inquiry made in the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe under Senator Dick Marty, of Switzerland. It’s produced nothing new, it’s full of accusations, very little in the way of proof. We’ve interviewed lots of people, travelled all over the world – probably costing the EU taxpayer over a million euros – and no real new evidence has been produced.”
The CIA’s annual budget is in the tens of billions range.
Polish Liberal Janusz Onyszkiewicz also voted against the report. He said: “After all the United States is our critical key ally in our common struggle against terrorism. So, obviously, we cannot disclose everything which is happening as a result of this struggle, and we must simply accept the fact that the functioning of secret services must to a certain degree be secret.”
The report’s author called the work: “…the rigorous analysis of five years of excesses and abuses…”
during which “many governments looked the other way.”
EU Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini said it was not for the European institutions to pass judgments and verdicts but to “ask that the truth be sought”.