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CIA flight scandal losing altitude
A new report from the Danish Institute of International Studies (DIIS) has dismissed the notion that the previous government had been double-dealing in the case of CIA prisoner flights over Danish and Greenlandic airspace.
The DIIS findings, which will be released tomorrow, indicate that the government followed proper protocol in the case and categorically rejected the notion that the government acted in a deceitful manner that betrayed national interests.
The issue stems from 2008 when allegations surfaced suggesting that the CIA were flying prisoners through Danish airspace.
At that time, the political parties that currently make up the government vehemently criticised the Anders Fogh Rasmussen-led Venstre-Konservative government over the supposed illegal flights and a DR documentary at the time about prisoner flights in Greenland forced the government to promise to probe the issue and question the American government.
But a brief by then-US ambassador James P Cain from 2008, which was leaked by WikiLeaks in 2011, indicated that the Danish government was not interested in investigating the allegations.
“Danish government officials have indicated, off the record, that they want the case to disappear as quickly and quietly as possible,” Cain’s brief specified.
But the new report has quashed any ill doings, saying that the accusations have no foundation whatsoever.
“The evaluation as a whole suggests that the handling by the Foreign Ministry in the case of the supposed CIA prisoner flights in Danish, Greenlandic and Faroe Island airspace was acceptable,” the report reads. “Furthermore, it is assessed that the obtained guarantee concerning future behaviour was a considerable result in foreign policy that can contribute to preventing illegal CIA flights in Denmark.”
But the report findings have not been able to subdue several voices who continue to maintain that the CIA flight scandal should be one of the topics investigated by the commission on the Danish role in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“I am very surprised that they can conclude this when we all can read the account from the American ambassador,” Frank Aaen of Enhedslisten told Politiken newspaper. “Now that we’ve seen the WikiLeaks documents, it is difficult to accept the report's conclusion that there is no proof of double-dealing.”
Amnesty International also called the findings flawed, as they are sourced only from written evidence and also because DIIS has been too limited in their mandate to thoroughly investigate the claims.
But the DIIS report suggests that the focus should instead be on what the US are legally able to do over Danish airspace and how comprehensive the US guarantee from 2008 really is.
It is not the first time that the American activities in Danish territory have led to political calamity.
In 1968, an American B-52 bomber carrying nuclear weapons crashed near Thule Air Base in Greenland. This became a massive scandal in Denmark as the Danish official policy at the time strictly forbade nuclear weapons on its territory.