Germany uses torture to get intelligence: claim
20 April 2006, BRUSSELS - European Union lawmakers on Thursday slammed the bloc's counter-terrorism chief Gijs De Vries for providing what they described as "totally useless and senseless" information on alleged CIA detention camps and flights across Europe.
20 April 2006
BRUSSELS - European Union lawmakers on Thursday slammed the bloc's counter-terrorism chief Gijs De Vries for providing what they described as "totally useless and senseless" information on alleged CIA detention camps and flights across Europe.
The parliament's committee investigating the charges against the CIA also heard evidence from Britain's former envoy to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, who said western secret services, including Germany's, were obtaining intelligence under torture from foreign detainees in Uzbekistan.
Members of the EU assembly questioned De Vries statement to the committee that he had no proof European governments had aided the US in transporting terrorist suspects to other countries for interrogation.
Italian Socialist MEP Claudio Fava said De Vries had provided "evasive and inadequate" information especially after Murray statement on the British government's "ambiguous role" in using information obtained through torture of alleged terrorists in Uzbekistan.
De Vries' claim also runs counter to a Council of Europe statement last week that European governments had violated the European human rights convention by helping the US to transport terror suspects to other countries for questioning.
The 46-nation Council of Europe is independent of the EU and is conducting its own investigation into allegations against the CIA.
Other members of parliament asked the EU anti-terror chief if he had reliable sources of information or was merely obtaining information from the internet.
Meanwhile, De Vries insisted that the EU had not obtained information through use of torture. But he admitted that there was "mutually beneficial cooperation between secret services of EU member states and of the CIA," saying this was essential in the fight against terrorism.
Former British envoy to Uzbekistan Murray said the US and Britain "share 100 per cent of their intelligence...and they have taken a policy decision that they will use intelligence which was obtained under torture in other countries."
He said he had seen classified documents from the British government confirming this political decision.
"If they had not taken that decision to use torture, then the programme of rendition wouldn't have made any sense as this is its foundation," he said.
Murray said he had been working as a British diplomat for 21 years before being removed from office after he started to question London about its alleged methods for obtaining secret information in Uzbekistan.
"All the intelligence obtained there is false as people were forced to sign confessions under torture," the former ambassador said.
"Uzbekistan is a real police state of the Stalinist kind, a structured dictatorship with up to 12,000 political detainees, almost all of them political opponents," he added.
British Foreign Minister Jack Straw, however, in March 2004 decided to continue receiving intelligence obtained under torture as this was seen as a means to fight terrorism, Murray said.
"Nobody ever denied that our intelligence was obtained under torture, ... they told me that this was not violating the United Nations Convention against torture as we didn't do it and we didn't instigate it," he told the Parliament.
Such practices being used in the war against terrorism are ignoring and abusing the rights of Muslims, Murray warned, adding: "We're just doing a coach horse for the US...It will not help us win the war, it's just stoking up more fury."
"I fear that we [Britain] have now turned away from international law and from upholding human rights," he underlined.
Murray said he had also information that the German secret service was still cooperating very closely with its Uzbek counterpart, thereby obtaining intelligence which was gotten under torture.
Foreign ambassadors to Uzbekistan, including the German envoy, knew about this but saw no advantage in blocking the US, Murray told MEPs.
Next week, a delegation of parliamentarians will travel to Macedonia to query senior government officials about what they knew about alleged CIA secret jails and clandestine flights in their country.
The parliamentary committee investigating the CIA charges was set up in January. It is working in tandem with an inquiry by the Council of Europe and intends to present its first findings by the end of June. However, the committee has no power to sanction European governments.
Subject: German news