It’s all over the press in most European countries today: the Council of Europe has released its report about the so called ‘Rendition Flights’ – basically illegal transport of terror suspects. Plenty of countries have been involved with it – even Sweden is among the accused – see this from The Local for details of that, and this from the Guardian details of the UK reaction. The BBC has a useful summary of the allegations here.
But what do we make of all of this? First of all, it’s the Council of Europe writing the report – not really an organisation known for putting its neck on the line. Second, the Swiss senator, Dick Marty, seems to be a very unassuming kind of guy – is there reason to not believe him? In Prime Minister’s Questions today in Westminster, Blair just blithely stated that the report contained nothing new, and that the UK had previously stated its position. Polish PM Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz just stated that “These accusations are slanderous… They are not based on any facts.” But his government is quite vile and repuslive at the best of times.
I feel I am just left bewildered by all of this. Is it after all much of a surprise that covert operations are flights are going on in Europe? It does not actually surprise me that much. I do not have that much trust over what the UK security services do, so does it make much odds that the USA are doing it on European soil? In comparison to the wider problems – like the (lack of)legality of going to war in Iraq – these flights seem to be of low importance in comparison.
It would be so good to hope that Europe’s politicians would be seen to take Dick Marty’s report seriously, and get to grips with their relationships with the USA on this and other issues relating to combating terrorism. However I somehow feel that Marty is too much of a small fish, the Council of Europe is not sufficiently strong, and Europe’s heads of state will do what they can to tough this one out. I so wish it would be different, but I don’t have much hope.