Palma was being used as CIA “staging point”

By Jane Barrett

MADRID
SPAIN yesterday agreed to hand a judge intelligence documents about secret CIA flights that transported terrorism suspects to third countries where investigators say they may have faced torture or abuse.

The documents, which include details of flights that stopped off in Majorca and Tenerife, will be handed to High Court Judge Ismael Moreno who is investigating whether suspects flown via Spain were held illegally or were tortured.

The government said it would ask the judge to use the papers only for the investigation and treat the data with “maximum protection”, suggesting the information will not be made public.

Last month, Moreno ordered the CNI intelligence agency to release any documents it had on the so-called “rendition” flights by the United States, dozens of which stopped over in Majorca. “The government has approved the declassification of all the documents requested by the courts,” Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega told reporters.

Spain has said it has no evidence that international law was broken on its soil but that it may have been used as a “stopover on the way to commit crime in other territories.” The rendition cases have sparked a series of political rows and potential trials in Europe.
European Parliament investigators say up to 50 people were moved across Europe on their way to jails in third countries.
Germany has issued arrest warrants for 13 suspects in the abduction of a German national of Lebanese descent, Khaled el-Masri, who says he was kidnapped and tortured by the CIA.

In Italy, a judge is deciding whether there is enough evidence to try 26 Americans, most believed to be CIA agents, and six Italians for their role in a 2003 kidnapping of Muslim cleric Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, known as Abu Omar.

Washington has acknowledged the secret transfers of terrorism suspects to third countries but denies torturing them or handing them to countries that did.

Last year, Council of Europe investigator Dick Marty said Spain might have acted in “collusion, active or passive,” with secret detentions and unlawful inter-state transfers.

Marty said that Palma was one of eight “staging points” for launching secret transfers.
Members of the so-called “rendition” teams are beleived to have stayed in five star hotels along the Paseo Maritimo and enjoyed rounds of golf at nearby clubs in between missions.

One flight he said flew via the island to pick up Masri in Macedonia and take him to Kabul.

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