Four CIA flights 'passed through Belgium'
14 June 2006, BRUSSELS — Four secret CIA flights passed through Belgium between 2002 and 2006, Italian MEP Giovanni Claudio Fava claimed on Tuesday in Strasbourg.
14 June 2006
BRUSSELS — Four secret CIA flights passed through Belgium between 2002 and 2006, Italian MEP Giovanni Claudio Fava claimed on Tuesday in Strasbourg.
The Italian Socialist is a member of a temporary European Parliament commission investigating the activities of the US intelligence service in Europe.
He has gathered data in recent months over the use of European airspace and airports and claims that between December 2001 and the spring of 2006, some 1,080 flights have been conducted by the CIA in European airspace.
Fava's inventory indicates further that the Belgian airports of Deurne (Antwerp) and Brussels International received four CIA flights between July 2002 and February 2006.
But the spokesman for Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt denied the claims. "There is not one element that indicates the four suspicious flights that passed through Belgium were CIA flights," spokesman Didier Seeuws.
He said the four suspicious flights were all investigated and that there was no evidence to suggest they were CIA flights. Data from the Council for Intelligence and Safety also discounts claims that rendition flights passed through Belgium.
The first flight goes back to 16 July 2002 when a Gulfstream III plane with a registration number of N829MG flew from the US city of Albany to Deurne. It departed the next day for the East Midlands in the UK, flying from there onto Nuremberg.
It landed three days later again at Deurne on 20 July. The plane departed the same day for Amsterdam, from where it again flew to the US.
Three months later, in October 2002, the same plane flew Maher Arar, a Canadian national of Syrian origin. Departing from the US, it flew to Amman via Rome.
From the Jordanian capital, Arar was taken by road to Syria where he was held captive for a year and tortured.
The third alleged CIA landing in Belgium took place at Zaventem Airport on 5 December 2004, when a Gulfstream V with registration number N1HC landed at Brussels International.
The plane had flown from Philadelphia and departed from Brussels the next day, flying to Tulsa in the US.
The same plane landed at Brussels International airport again on 8 February 2006. It flew from New York via Rotterdam to Brussels. It departed again on 9 February, flying via Rotterdam and Amsterdam to Zurich.
The European Parliament's commission approved Fava's report by 25 votes to 14 with seven abstentions on Monday night, news agency Belga reported.
The text — which will be presented to the full Parliament in July — claims that US authorities are directly responsible for the kidnapping and detention of a number of suspected terrorists on European territory.
The commission also claims that the US used secret flights to transport terrorist suspects to countries where torture is tolerated.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news