Europe is 'happy hunting ground' for foreign spies, says watchdog

Europe is a "happy hunting ground" for foreign security services, the continent's leading human rights watchdog concluded yesterday, as it called for new legal safeguards against secret rendition of terror suspects.

Drawing on formal responses to questions to 46 member countries, the Council of Europe's secretary general, Terry Davies, criticised Europeans for their subservience to US intelligence. Governments should co-operate on counter-terrorism with the US as "equal partners" and not in "the role of the proverbial three brass monkeys".

The responses to a questionnaire from Mr Davies revealed little new evidence of covert CIA interrogation centres and "black flights". But they highlighted the freedom with which third-country intelligence agencies may be operating in Europe. Though domestic services are subject to scrutiny, this does not apply to organisations such as the CIA.

Mr Davies said: "It would appear that most of Europe is a happy hunting ground for foreign security services. Hardly any country, with the exception of Hungary, has any legal provisions to ensure an effective oversight over the activities of foreign security services."

Italy, Poland, Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina had not provided information on cases of alleged CIA transfer of terror suspects already in the public domain. Slovakia and Croatia failed to provide complete answers on transport while shortcomings were identified in the replies of Bulgaria, Ukraine and Greece.

The British government said that "no UK public official or other person acting in an official capacity" was involved in renditions. It said that police are investigating allegations made by Liberty, a non-governmental organisation, but that Foreign Office officials found no evidence of detainees being rendered through the UK or its Overseas territories since 11 September, 2001.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Belong: Volunteer Mentor for Offenders

This is a volunteer role with paid expenses : Belong: Seeking volunteers who c...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Manager

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Marketing Manager is ...

Recruitment Genius: Receptionists - Prestige Brand

£6 - £7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: One of the South East's leading Motor Re...

Recruitment Genius: Admin Assistant

£12000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An admin assistant is required ...

Day In a Page

Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests