No secret CIA flights landed in Belgium
6 December 2005
BRUSSELS — No secret CIA flights have landed at Belgian airports in the past five years, Transport Minister Renaat Landuyt said on Tuesday.
The Belgian government decided two weeks ago to investigate whether CIA flights carrying terrorist suspects had landed in Belgium.
Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht told MPs last Thursday that no flights carried out by the American intelligence agency had landed at Belgian military airbases.
The aviation inspectorate’s investigations into flights at civilian airports had not been completed at the time, newspaper ‘Het Gazet van Antwerpen’ reported.
However, Minister Landuyt said on Tuesday that based on the now completed investigation, no CIA flights had landed in Belgium in the past five years.
He also said the US government had never lodged a request for the CIA to use Belgian airports.
The confirmation comes amid allegations the CIA has established secret prison camps in Poland and Romania.
It has also been reported that regular CIA flights carrying detained terrorist suspects pass through European airspace.
More than 400 flights have reportedly passed through Germany. In total, human rights group Amnesty International has said six planes used by the CIA have made 800 flights in EU airspace.
Dutch public broadcaster NOS reported on Tuesday that the CIA also regularly uses airports in the Netherlands.
One such plane is said to have landed at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam two weeks ago. A further six CIA flights are believed to have passed through the Netherlands, flying between Rotterdam Airport and Iceland.
Currently on a diplomatic visit to Europe, US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice has admitted that terror suspects are flown abroad for interrogation, but denied they were tortured.
She said suspects were moved by plane under a process known as rendition and that this was “a lawful weapon”.
She refused to respond to claims the CIA has secret prisons abroad where suspects are interrogated without reference to international law.
The allegations have caused uproar and the EU has written to Washington demanding answers.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Belgian news