US terror strategy illegal – expert

From The Scotsman

US policies in the war on terror are contravening international laws on human rights, a top European investigator says.

“The strategy in place today respects neither human rights nor the Geneva Conventions,” said Dick Marty, the head of a European investigation into alleged CIA prisons in Europe. “The current administration in Washington is trying to combat terrorism outside legal means, the rule of law.”

Marty, a Swiss politician leading the probe on behalf of the Council of Europe, said there was no question that the CIA was undertaking illegal activities in Europe in its transportation and detention of prisoners. “The question is: Was the CIA really working in Europe?” Marty said. “I believe we can say today, without a doubt, yes.”

The Council of Europe, based in Strasbourg, France, began its investigation after allegations surfaced in November that US agents interrogated key al Qaida suspects at clandestine prisons in Eastern Europe and transported some suspects to other countries via Europe.

New York-based Human Rights Watch identified Romania and Poland as possible sites of secret US-run detention facilities. Both countries have denied involvement. Marty said that European countries had “a fairly shocking attitude” toward US policies, and that attention should not be focused solely on Romania and Poland.

“All the indications are that this ‘extraordinary rendition’ was already known about,” Marty told a news conference in the Swiss town of Burgdorf, referring to the CIA programme of transferring terrorism suspects to third countries where some allegedly were subjected to torture.