Political storm grows over CIA planes

Swedish political leaders have expressed outrage over reports that aircraft used by the CIA touched down at several of the country's airports.

In an interview with Swedish news agency TT, Lars Ohly, head of the Left Party, called on the government to clarify if it knew about the practice.

Prime Minister Göran Persson must explain “Sweden is so obviously involved with the CIA at the same time as the CIA is conducting business that all of official Sweden has distanced itself from,” Ohly added, referring to Sweden’s criticism of US treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, in Cuba.

Ohly’s comments followed a TT report on Monday that at least two suspected CIA planes have landed at Swedish airports over the past three years and that one of them was used at Guantanamo, probably for transporting prisoners.

Similar reports have emerged from neighboring Norway, Denmark, Iceland and the Baltic states.

On Tuesday, the Spanish government announced it had launched an investigation into reports the CIA used one of its airports to transfer suspected Islamic extremists around the world.

“Swedish air space should not be open to the ‘Abu Ghraib commando’,” Green Party deputy Gustav Fridolin said, referring to the Iraqi prison where US soldiers tortured and abused prisoners.

“Sweden should not be part of the Guantanamo system,” he added.

Swedish intelligence service Säpo said on Tuesday that it had no knowledge of CIA planes landing in the country.

The Prime Minister refused to comment except to say he was looking into the matter.

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