STRASBOURG, France (Reuters) - European governments have built a “wall of silence” surrounding their complicity with a CIA program that included holding terrorist suspects in secret jails, a Swiss investigator said on Wednesday.
But Dick Marty said he was certain the truth about alleged CIA abuses, including kidnappings and secret transfers of detainees, would emerge before long in the United States itself.
“State secrecy is unacceptable when there are violations of human rights,” Marty told the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe, the continent’s leading human rights forum.
“We came up against a wall of silence on the part of European governments,” he added in a debate on a June 8 report in which he accused Poland and Romania of allowing the Central Intelligence Agency to host secret prisons on their soil.
Both countries strongly deny the charges, and their parliamentarians lined up to attack Marty in the debate.
“It is a far-fetched conspiracy theory spiced up with a generous helping of anti-Americanism,” said Polish senator Urszula Gacek, describing the report as a “piece of fiction”.
Romanian socialist Vasile Ungureanu said it was “like a film scenario”.
The assembly later approved the report by 124 votes to 37, with eight abstentions. Marty told a news conference he would not conduct any further reports on CIA secret prisons and flights, and it was now up to governments and parliaments to perform their “duty of truth”.
While accusing Italy of trying to block a trial of CIA agents and Germany of hiding behind state secrecy, Marty said the United States was a healthy democracy where the real facts would sooner or later emerge.
“I’m sure that in the United States the truth dynamic is very strongly at work. I think it may take a month, two months, a year, I don’t know, but soon, I’m absolutely convinced, we will know the whole truth,” he said.
“I’m sure they will perform their duty of truth. It would be sad if that wasn’t done in Europe.”
Marty based his report on interviews with more than 30 European and U.S. intelligence officials but Poland and Romania dismissed his conclusions because none of his sources were named.
He defended the use of anonymous witnesses, saying his sources needed to be protected because they would face charges of high treason in their countries if their identity were revealed.
President George W. Bush acknowledged last September that the CIA had held top al Qaeda suspects in secret overseas detention centers but did not say in which countries.
He said Washington had obtained vital intelligence from interrogating them. The United States denies torturing prisoners or handing them to states that practice torture.