The War Profiteers - War Crimes, Kidnappings & Torture
May 14th, 2010 - Fake British Passports ‘Used by CIA’ in Terror Abductions - Claim
The Foreign Office is investigating claims that CIA operatives used fake British passports to carry out the extraordinary rendition of terror suspects in Europe.
By Robert Mendick
May 14, 2010
The allegations were made by a senior source close to a Spanish inquiry into the role of the US security services in the alleged abduction and torture of a terror suspect, who was taken on a secret flight to a military base in Afghanistan.
The Spanish authorities are considering issuing arrest warrants for 13 CIA agents over the rendition of Jaled el Masri, a Syrian-born suspect who was taken from Skopje, the capital of Macedonia, to Afghanistan where he was allegedly tortured.
The agents had flown there via Palma in Majorca where the operatives are alleged to have stayed in a luxury hotel. It is claimed they used fake passports under assumed names.
One source in the Spanish prosecutor’s office told the respected news agency EFE that passports used were fake British ones. The source was quoted by the agency as saying that the CIA crew used “British passports on Spanish soil”. The source added that the agents - 11 men and two women - were not on a “tourist visit”.
The claim - if substantiated - will cause a huge diplomatic row. Britain reacted with fury when it emerged that Israeli agents from Mossad had used fake British passports to carry out the assassination of a senior Hamas official in Dubai in January.
A Foreign office spokesman said last night: “We have just been made aware of the claim that British passports may have been misused. We have not yet seen the evidence for this claim. As soon as we do so, we will of course look into it. We attach great importance to the integrity of British passports.”
The British-based human rights group Reprieve has carried out its own investigations into the US policy of extraordinary rendition and will be asked to give evidence as part of the Spanish inquiry.
Reprieve believes the same plane - a Boeing 737 - was used in the extraordinary rendition of Binyam Mohamed, 31, a British resident, who was held in Guantanamo Bay between 2004 and 2009. He was arrested in Pakistan in 2002, flown to Morocco on a secret flight, where he was tortured, then taken to Afghanistan and finally to Guantanamo. He was eventually released last year, almost seven years after his initial arrest.
The Spanish investigation could seriously embarrass US authorities. The request for arrest warrants to be issued was sent by Vicente Gonzalez Mota, a state prosecutor, to Judge Ismael Moreno, who is probing claims that Spanish soil was used by the CIA as a base for rest and recreation between rendition flights.
When in Majorca, the CIA team is accused of having stayed at a luxury hotel before flying out again to pick up suspects.
The CIA team were aboard an alleged counter-terrorism rendition flight which landed at Majorca airport in January 2004. Reprieve named 13 people, eleven men and two women crewing the Boeing 737, as “CIA agents”.
In his formal request for international arrest warrants to be issued, the prosecutor states: “We are not aware that they [the CIA] had any authorisation on the part of the Spanish authorities to operate in our national territory under an assumed identity and in the exercise of official missions.”
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