Europe Is Paranoid About the CIA

Secret CIA torture chambers found in Eastern Europe: The proof

The headlines across Europe have been screaming this same line throughout the last week.

Two things had happened that filled the anti-American media elite both at home and abroad with glee. The first was the leaking of a fax from the Egyptian foreign minister to an ambassador, which alleged the existence of a number of CIA transit camps in Eastern Europe. The second was an interim report by a Swiss senator on his work for the Council of Europe (another of the plethora of European bodies, this time bigger than the EU including Russia etc) on the existence of these centres.

The fax was sent in November and serendipitously leaked at just the right time to provide support for the senator’s conclusions — that is America is evil and is torturing people everywhere.

So what of the fax? The fax itself was leaked to the SonntagsBlick, a Swiss Sunday newspaper last week and was addressed in French from Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit to his ambassador in London.

In it, as is widely reported, the Egyptians claim up to 24 Afghan and Iraqi citizens had been held over in Romania where they were believed to have been interrogated. It goes on to claim that similar facilities exist in several other countries: "There are similar interrogation centres in Ukraine, Kosovo, Macedonia and in Bulgaria."

Notwithstanding that all those governments strenuously deny that they have hosted such facilities, please note that at no point does this leaked fax once claim that anything more severe than interrogation took place. The fax goes on to quote newspaper reports that Poland was also involved.

We are told that the information for the main claim comes from Egyptian security sources, which all well and good, but if so then surely one would expect the language to have been far stronger. If there was the slightest hint of evidence of torture this fax would have mentioned it. After all, Egypt is hardly a gung-ho supporter of the coalition activities in Iraq and elsewhere.

So what about Swiss Senator Marty and his report that came out on Thursday?

It seems that he is utterly convinced about the existence of CIA torture camps. "I believe we can say today, without a doubt, yes," he said, and this where we get those excitable headlines. What he said next, however, does not seem to have been reported so widely was that he admitted that he had no “concrete proof” that what he alleged had happened.

What he had was knowledge that the CIA had used planes that had landed in certain European countries, and that CIA-chartered flights had criss-crossed European skies. This he takes to mean that the allegations that first surfaced months ago in a Human Rights Watch report are substantiated. Shockingly he seems to think that the CIA operates on the European mainland.

Well there is a revelation. CIA does its job shocker!

So it transpires that he has no evidence — but will continue investigating for another year. When the countries accused of compliance with the United States complained to the Swiss foreign minister that they had had "a finger pointed at them" and called for evidence rather than allegation, Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey told them, "We do not have any."

However be that as it may, at least some in her ministry we very helpful to the anti-U.S. cause by leaking the fax in a preparatory mission before Dick Marty’s utterly unscientific, “Yeah they are guilty, but I have no evidence,” performance.