Council of Europe approves anti-rendition resolution 4


CIA flights ‘must not reoccur’

From BBC Online

CIA flights have landed in European countries, Mr Marty says

Europe’s human rights body has called for steps to ensure terror suspects never again “disappear into thin air” from European soil.

The Council of Europe accused states of colluding with the CIA on secret flights transferring prisoners to third countries where they could be tortured.

It urged governments and parliaments in each state to hold their own inquiries.

The US admits renditions have taken place but denies that people sent overseas are subjected to torture.

“People should not be allowed to disappear into thin air, regardless of the crimes of which they accused,” said Council of Europe Secretary General Terry Davis.

“If we want to be safe we must be fair.

“The only effective measures against terrorism are those which stop more terrorists than they help to recruit.”


Investigation ‘duty’

Mr Davis said he would be making recommendations to the 46 member states later this year on how to introduce legal safeguards to prevent renditions or other human rights abuses by foreign security agencies.

Earlier this month, Swiss Senator Dick Marty published a report accusing 14 European countries of helping the CIA spin a “spider’s web” of disappearances, secret detentions and illegal flights.

The report, based on air traffic logs, satellite images and personal testimonies said there was evidence that Poland and Romania had allowed the CIA to set up secret detention centres on their territory.

Most countries have followed Poland and Romania in denying any wrongdoing. Critics have pointed out that the report provides circumstantial evidence rather than any hard proof.

But the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe approved on Tuesday a resolution based on the Marty report, which said it had been “demonstrated incontestably” that secret detentions and illegal flights took place.

It calls for:

– In-depth inquiries at a national level

– A review of the legal framework regulating the intelligence services

– A review of agreements with the US on the use of military infrastructure to ensure they comply with human rights norms

– Efforts to develop “a truly global strategy” against terrorism, with the US

Member states are obliged to respond.

‘Scalpel torture’

EU Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini, who took part in the debate, also said the flights were a “fact” which the member states had a duty to investigate.

Mr Davis said his own questioning of member states had revealed that no European country currently had adequate legal safeguards to prevent renditions occurring.

He said foreign security agencies were not subject to effective control, and that countries currently had no way of knowing whether aircraft in their airspace were being used for purposes compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

He also said there should be exceptions to state immunity in cases of serious abuses of human rights.

A video put together by human rights group Witness, including testimony from men who say they were tortured after being detained by the CIA, was shown on the sidelines of the session in Strasbourg.

Khalid El-Masri, a German citizen, recalls waking up in a prison in Kabul where he was told by an interrogator: “You are in a country with no laws… We can lock you up here for 20 years or bury you, no-one would know.”

Binyam Mohammed, an Ethiopian citizen arrested in Pakistan for travelling on a false passport, is still being held at Guantanamo Bay.

In the film, his brother reads from a diary entry which talks about Binyam Mohammed being systematically wounded with a scalpel.

Mr Marty’s inquiry will now be continued by a sub-committee of the Parliamentary Assembly.

A parallel inquiry by a European Parliament committee will also continue its work for at least another six months.


4 thoughts on “Council of Europe approves anti-rendition resolution

  • Richard II

    Here's an interesting development in Iraq. As it's not a suicide attack or a car bomb going off, or Blair declaring that the Iraqis are basking in democracy, the BBC hasn't reported it – well, at least I couldn't find an article about it.

    Oil Union Bank Accounts Frozen:

    Overview here:
    http://www.iraqanalysis.org/blog/2006/06/21/oil-u

    Article here:
    http://www.basraoilunion.org/2006/06/iraqi-govern

    You can also read the same article on U.S. Labor Against the War's Web site:
    http://www.uslaboragainstwar.org/article.php?id=1

    "We have just confirmed reports that the Iraqi regime has frozen all the bank accounts of the Iraqi oil workers' union, both abroad and within Iraq. Wave of anti-union activity by government. The Iraqi regime's decision comes in the wake of a series of anti-union measures, including the disbanding of the council of the lawyers' union, freezing the writers' union accounts and the September 2005 decree making all trade union activity illegal…This action follows in the footsteps of US administrator Paul Bremer. In 2004, Paul Bremer, the occupation's then pro-consul in Iraq, declared trade union activity in the state sector illegal…That decision re-enacted Saddam Hussain's 1987 decree banning workers' unions in the state sector by declaring them to be 'civil servants' rather than 'workers'. <a href="http://(http://www.basraoilunion.org/)” target=”_blank”>(http://www.basraoilunion.org/)

    In a speech by Hassan Jumaa Awad at the International Peace Conference <a href="http://(http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/issues/iraq/resist/2006/0111speech.htm),” target=”_blank”>(http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/issues/iraq/resist/2006/0111speech.htm), the president of the General Union of Oil Employees in Basra laid out the position of the union – a position the Iraqi people, apparently, agree with:

    "We condemn terrorist attacks against our people and stress the importance of respecting human rights…We support the honorable resistance that targets and strikes at foreign military forces and seeks to drive the occupiers out."

    First, this seems to be yet more evidence that America's ongoing attempts to shape Iraq's economy for the benefit of U.S. corporations is fueling attacks against the U.S. military. Second, maybe this is why the General Union of Oil Employees in Basra has had its assets frozen: Bush was handed a pretext by the president of the GUOE to classify the union as a terrorist organization: "We support the honorable resistance that targets and strikes at foreign military forces and seeks to drive the occupiers out."

    I'm just guessing. Apparently no one yet knows why the union's bank accounts have been frozen.

    In 2003/2004 Iraqi oil workers were earning a paltry $40 a month. They threatened to join the resistance if they weren't given a raise. America gave them an extra $5 a week.

    Last year, Iraqi oil workers went on strike:

    "Iraqi Oil Workers Hold 24-Hour Strike – Oil Exports Shut Down":
    http://www.uruknet.info/?s1=1&p=13827&s2=

    "The strike is…reflective of the wishes of the vast majority of Basra's residents – for a higher percentage of Southern Oil revenue to be ploughed back into Basra's local economy."

    Perhaps this is part of the reason why the people of Basra are so pissed off with the British.

    Here is a fact sheet about the General Union of Oil Employees in Basra:
    http://www.basraoilunion.org/2005/10/guoe-fact-sh

    Here's the position of the union on Privatisation:

    "The privatisation of the oil and industrial sectors is the objective of all in the Iraqi state/government. We will stand firm against this imperialist plan that would hand over Iraq's wealth to international capitalism such that the deprived Iraqi people would not benefit from it…we are taking this path for the sake of Iraq's glory even if it costs us our lives. Iraqis are capable of managing their companies and their investments by themselves"

    And here's its position on the previous regime:

    "GUOE executive committee members, including its President, were part of the active opposition against Saddam Hussein's dictatorship, and many were imprisoned by the regime. The union has an ongoing battle with Ba'ath loyalist managers, and publicly opposes their continued presence in positions of authority, in particular in the oil industry."

    In the days when Britain still had an empire, we exploited and extracted America's wealth. The Americans rebelled and kicked us out:
    http://www.reclaimdemocracy.org/corporate_account

    Why do Iraqis not have the same right?

    If an Iraqi opposes the way the U.S. military conducts itself, and opposes the economic occupation, but is for his country, and for his people, America brands him a terrorist.

    Everything is black and white with Bush and Blair.

    Are unions a bad thing for Iraq? Are they stoking the violence and hatred? Not according to an article in the Economist:
    http://www.economist.com/World/africa/displayStor

    "A free trade-union movement, argue members, would do much to help the country avoid the ethnic and sectarian disputes at grassroots level that threaten to escalate into civil war. Historically, both the members and leaders of Iraq's unions have cut across ethnic and religious lines."

  • Richard II

    The Iraqi government is making loud noises about national reconciliation.

    Labour unions can play a large role in this.

    So what is America and its allies in the Iraqi government trying to do? They are trying to smash the nascent trade union movement.

    Iraqi children are selling their bodies to survive. This is good news for the West, because the worst thing foreign – and particularly U.S. and British – corporations could face is having to hand Iraq's wealth to the masses.

    Contrary to U.S. propaganda, Iraqis are quite capable of running things themselves.

    "Iraq's other resistance":
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,14

    Extracts:

    "The occupation forces and their allies in the Iraqi government see things differently. Plans are now afoot for sweeping changes to Iraq's oil sector, to give western oil majors access to its reserves for the first time since 1972.

    "In August 2003 oil workers' unions organised a strike that stopped all production in southern Iraq for two days. The resulting bargaining power has been impressive, with the unions – which later merged to become the GUOE – successfully pushing for foreign workers to be replaced by Iraqis; the role of US companies in the reconstruction to be reduced; and wages to be raised to liveable levels.

    "And the GUOE is uncompromising in its views on oil privatisation. As one oil worker told me, he and his colleagues have rebuilt their industry after its destruction in three wars, and in the face of extreme adversity. As a result they have a deep sense of ownership, which they will not willingly relinquish."

    No wonder the General Union of Oil Employees (GUOE) must be smashed.

    National reconciliation? The Iraqi government is talking out of its backside!

  • Richard II

    Bit of background information for anyone who's interested:

    Fact sheet about the GUOE here:
    http://www.corporatewatch.org/download.php?id=26

    Articles:

    "Fuelling Resistance":
    http://vitw.org/archives/928

    "Oil in Iraq":
    http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/oil/irqindx….

    U.S. Labor Against the War have this to say concerning the freezing of GUOE's assets:

    "USLAW asks unions, labor councils, state federations and labor and other social justice activists across the U.S. to protest the Iraqi regime's interference with and harassment of the GUOE and other unions that are fighting to defend the rights of Iraqi workers in their workplaces and the interests of Iraq's working people in society.

    "Demand that the GUOE bank accounts be unfrozen, that Saddam Hussein's Law 150 be repealed and that labor rights be immediately recognized and fully respected in Iraq in accordance with internationally accepted ILO standards.

    Send your protests to:

    Jalal Talabani, President

    Nouri al-Maliki, Prime Minister

    Mahmoud Al-Mashhadani, Parliament Speaker

    Jawad Bulani, Minister of the Interior

    c/o Embassy of the Republic of Iraq

    1801 P St. NW

    Washington, D.C. 20036 or

    Fax: (202) 462-5066 or [email protected]

    With copies to:

    Dr. Condoleezza Rice, Secretary

    U.S. State Department

    2201 C Street NW Washington, DC 20520

    Fax: 202-647-5733

    Kindly provide USLAW with a copy which we will pass on to the GUOE in Iraq.

    U.S. LABOR AGAINST THE WAR. 1718 M Street, NW, PMB 153, Washington, DC 20036. <a href="http://www.uslaboragainstwar.org;” target=”_blank”>www.uslaboragainstwar.org; [email protected].

  • Richard II

    Forgot to give a summary of what the GUOE stands for (Note: the GUOE is now known as the Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions):

    "The Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions (IFOU) is an anti-occupation, anti-privatisation and politically independent federation of Iraqi oil workers, who are fighting to resist both the corporations and the US/UK occupation forces. It is a non-sectarian federation that aims to unite all oil workers in Iraq, and has also worked to expel oil company bosses who were supporters of Saddam Hussein.

    "Members of the IFOU face harassment, intimidation, and threats of death on a daily basis, and support from other groups, such as UK activist groups, is critical if independent trade unionism in Iraq is to survive."

    Their website: <a href="http://www.basraoilunion.org” target=”_blank”>www.basraoilunion.org

    You can sign up to the Naftana email alert list here (Naftana – Arabic for 'our oil' – is the UK support committee for the IFOU):
    http://lists.riseup.net/www/info/naftana

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