The evidence-free allegations against the US and UK by a Swiss investigator have failed to impress (my emphasis).
An investigator for Europe’s leading human rights watchdog accused America yesterday of “gangster tactics” in its war on terrorism, notably the illegal transfer of terrorist suspects to countries likely to torture them.
He presented colleagues with an interim report dominated by newspaper cuttings and buttressed with evidence from an Italian inquiry into the alleged 2003 kidnapping by the CIA of a radical Egyptian cleric, Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, in Milan.
That “Italian inquiry” is the unsubstantiated allegations of the Italian judge who thinks it takes 22 CIA agents to send one Egyptian home.
He accused Britain of particular complicity on the basis of a leaked secret memo from Sir Michael Wood, the chief legal adviser to the Foreign Office. In the 2003 memo Sir Michael asserted that there was no legal barrier to using foreign intelligence obtained under torture.
What has this to do with kidnapping? If someone gave the Swiss government information, extracted under whatever they consider to be torture, of a plot to blow up their Cuckoo clock industry, would they ignore it? I don’t think so.
Not surprisingly, the investigator’s presentation bombed:
Several British members of the assembly, which gathers MPs from 46 countries, criticised Mr Marty’s report.
Michael Hancock, a Liberal Democrat, said it needed to have “more substance. . . many of the issues are clouded in myth and a desire to kick America.”
Denis MacShane, the former Europe minister, said the report had “more holes than a Swiss cheese”.
The Council of Europe, which is independent of the European Union, was set up in 1949 as a guardian of human rights in Europe.
The Council of Europe would be better employed investigating why Europe facilitated the atrocities in Bosnia.