Denmark assisted the CIA in its worldwide program to hold, interrogate and sometimes even torture suspected terrorists, a new report reveals.
The newly-released report from the Open Society Foundation said that in the years since the 9/11 attacks in New York City, Denmark has joined with more than 50 other nations worldwide to help the US carry out its policy of 'extraordinary rendition’, the practise of taking detainees to and from US custody without due process and sometimes handing them over to countries that practised torture.
The report 'Globalising Torture – CIA Secret Detention and Extraordinary Rendition' was authored by Amrit Singh, daughter of Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh. In it, it is revealed that Denmark assisted the CIA by allowing the use of its airspace and airports for flights associated with the CIA operations.
The revelations, however, don’t necessarily qualify as new. In October 2007, Politiken newspaper reported that a CIA rendition flight had received permission to cross Danish airspace on 25 October 2003. That plane is suspected to have been transporting Muhammad Bashmilah from Jordan to US custody at a secret location. The US held Bashmilah in undisclosed locations for over a year and a half.
Bashmilah has said that while he was in custody he endured prolonged beatings and threats of electric shock and the rape of his family members. He was released in March 2006. No formal charges of terrorism have ever been filed against him.
A working document accompanying a 2007 European Parliament report noted that flights associated with CIA extraordinary rendition operations had stopped in Copenhagen.
In a letter to a European Parliament committee, the Danish government reported more than 100 flights alleged to be involved in extraordinary renditions had passed through Danish airspace and stopped at Danish airports 45 times.
In 2008, prompted by a documentary film entitled 'The CIA’s Danish Connection' detailing various CIA extraordinary rendition flights through Danish airspace, parliament formed a working group to investigate rendition flights. The group's report concluded that it was unable to confirm or deny that extraordinary rendition flights had flown in Danish airspace, or the airspace of Greenland and the Faroe Islands.
In 2011, following the WikiLeaks release of cables that hinted at collusion between Denmark and the United States to undermine the 2008 investigation, the government announced that a second investigation would be conducted by the independent Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS). The DIIS findings, released in May 2012, ruled that the Danish government followed proper protocol regarding CIA prisoner flights over Greenlandic airspace. The investigation, however, was criticised on the grounds that it is limited to alleged extraordinary rendition flights over Greenland and to a review of the documents obtained in the course of the 2008 investigation. It also disappointed many in Greenland, who had called for a formal inquiry into the CIA flights.
The Open Society Foundation report found that 136 people went through the post-9/11 extraordinary rendition. The report can be found here.