CIA Holds Terror Suspects in Secret Prisons

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In summary: The CIA has been hiding and interrogating some of its most important al Qaeda captives at a Soviet-era compound in Eastern Europe, according to U.S. and foreign officials familiar with the arrangement.The secret facility is part of a covert prison system set up by the CIA nearly four years ago that at various times has included sites in eight countries, including Thailand, Afghanistan and several democracies in Eastern Europe, as well as a small center at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, according to current and former intelligence officials and diplomats from three continents.The hidden global internment network is a central element in the CIA's unconventional war on terrorism. It depends on the cooperation of foreign intelligence services, and on keeping even basic information about the
  • #1
Astronuc
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Debate Is Growing Within Agency About Legality and Morality of Overseas System Set Up After 9/11 (as well they should! No question. It's immoral! It's evil!)

By Dana Priest, Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 2, 2005

The CIA has been hiding and interrogating some of its most important al Qaeda captives at a Soviet-era compound in Eastern Europe, according to U.S. and foreign officials familiar with the arrangement.

The secret facility is part of a covert prison system set up by the CIA nearly four years ago that at various times has included sites in eight countries, including Thailand, Afghanistan and several democracies in Eastern Europe, as well as a small center at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, according to current and former intelligence officials and diplomats from three continents.

The hidden global internment network is a central element in the CIA's unconventional war on terrorism. It depends on the cooperation of foreign intelligence services, and on keeping even basic information about the system secret from the public, foreign officials and nearly all members of Congress charged with overseeing the CIA's covert actions.

The existence and locations of the facilities -- referred to as "black sites" in classified White House, CIA, Justice Department and congressional documents -- are known to only a handful of officials in the United States and, usually, only to the president and a few top intelligence officers in each host country.

The CIA and the White House, citing national security concerns and the value of the program, have dissuaded Congress from demanding that the agency answer questions in open testimony about the conditions under which captives are held. Virtually nothing is known about who is kept in the facilities, what interrogation methods are employed with them, or how decisions are made about whether they should be detained or for how long.
Unbelievable!
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/01/AR2005110101644.html?sub=AR
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  • #2
But Astronuc, we all know that the Constitution doesn't apply to foreigners, and that officials acting in the name of the U.S. government aren't bound by it when they're on foreign soil. :rolleyes:
 
  • #3
Tonight I watched an indepth TV report on events leading up to and what happened to Australian citizen David Hicks after the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan 'sold' him to US troops for $1000 (don't ask me - how can people be 'bought' and 'sold' like that in this day and age?). He is currently held at Gitmo and is, apparently, going to be 'tried' before a 'military tribunal' next month.

It was harrowing stuff - especially the way he was beaten and otherwise assaulted and the conditions under which this happened (he was specifically flown by helicopter off a US ship and taken to an undisclosed location where he was beaten for hours and otherwise assaulted). Here is a summary of the report: http://www.abc.net.au/tv/guide/abc2/200511/programs/NC0504H018D2112005T190000.htm. It really worries me that the Australian government does not seem to care whether or not he will have a fair trial, under what conditions whatever 'confessions' he has made were made, etc. If his father wasn't around trying to do whatever little he can to support him, no-one would even know about this young man who has already had four years of his life 'suspended'.

So what's happened to 'democratic rights to a fair trial' and the 'Geneva Convention' and all that? This is truly atrocious and unacceptable, even from the mildest liberal perspective.
 
  • #4
alexandra said:
Tonight I watched an indepth TV report on events leading up to and what happened to Australian citizen David Hicks after the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan 'sold' him to US troops for $1000 (don't ask me - how can people be 'bought' and 'sold' like that in this day and age?).

There was a point both in Afghanistan and Iraq when U.S. intellegence was giving monetary rewards to anyone who turned in a suspected Al Queda, or insergent member. No proof was needed and no questions were asked. This resulted in Pakistanis "selling" thousands of people who were merely refugees from the violence in Afghanistan.

http://www.refuseandresist.org/detentions/art.php?aid=2043
 
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  • #5
America also outsources prisoners for extreme interrogation ie torture. Egypt and Israel along with several other middle eastern countries are the most common destinations for the prisoners.
The program is called "extraordinary rendition".

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/02/18/opinion/courtwatch/main674973.shtml

The ghost prison network stretches around the globe. The biggest American-run facilities are at the Bagram airbase, north of Kabul in Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay, where around 400 men are held, and in Iraq, where tens of thousands of detainees are held. Saddam Hussein and dozens of top Baath party officials are held in a prison at Baghdad airport.

However, Washington is relying heavily on allies. In Morocco, scores of detainees once held by the Americans are believed to be held at the al-Tamara interrogation centre sited in a forest five miles outside the capital, Rabat. Many of the detainees were originally captured by the Pakistani authorities, who passed them on to the Americans.

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,1237589,00.html
 
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  • #6
I've heard about this tons of times already, I thought everybody already knew and that the news media simply didn't care...
 
  • #7
edward said:
There was a point both in Afghanistan and Iraq when U.S. intellegence was giving monetary rewards to anyone who turned in a suspected Al Queda, or insergent member. No proof was needed and no questions were asked. This resulted in Pakistanis "selling" thousands of people who were merely refugees from the violence in Afghanistan.
http://www.refuseandresist.org/detentions/art.php?aid=2043

it blows my mind that people could be put through such an experience as the conditions of american hospitality because someone else wanted to make some money.
 
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  • #8
wasteofo2 said:
I've heard about this tons of times already, I thought everybody already knew and that the news media simply didn't care...
The media has not been doing their job to be sure.

The first concern is principles Americans value, and the example we set in the world. The second always is the opening of the door that could lead to abuses against American citizens themselves. Who says we do not need to fear the loud knock on our door in the middle of the night?
 
  • #9
European Union is looking into possible secret prisons used by US.
By WILLIAM J. KOLE (AP)
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051124/ap_on_re_eu/europe_s_dark_secret;_ylt=ArPXobZu8w5llXEM4rvr4U9w24cA;_ylu=X3oDMTBiMW04NW9mBHNlYwMlJVRPUCUl

MIHAIL KOGALNICEANU AIR BASE, Romania - In a weedy field on this wind-swept military base, Romanians in greasy combat fatigues tinker with unmanned drone aircraft near a ragged lineup of rusting MiG-29 fighter jets.

There's not an American in sight, but the sprawling Soviet-era facility has become a key focus of a European investigation into allegations the CIA operated secret prisons where suspected terrorists were interrogated.

Top Romanian leaders and the Pentagon vehemently deny that the Mihail Kogalniceanu base in the country's southeast ever hosted a covert detention center, and the Romanians insist the United States never used it as a transit point for al-Qaida captives.

But the compound, heavily used by American forces in 2001-2003 to transport troops and equipment to Afghanistan and Iraq, and scheduled to be handed over to the U.S. military early next year, is under increasing scrutiny!

Off course, this is just under investigation, and could simply be a baseless allegation.

However, it is interesting that the US government will have another base of operation within striking distance of Iran and other middle-eastern countries. It is also disturbing given the secrecy of the Bush administration.
 
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  • #10
Astronuc said:
European Union is looking into possible secret prisons used by US.
By WILLIAM J. KOLE (AP)
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051124/ap_on_re_eu/europe_s_dark_secret;_ylt=ArPXobZu8w5llXEM4rvr4U9w24cA;_ylu=X3oDMTBiMW04NW9mBHNlYwMlJVRPUCUl
Off course, this is just under investigation, and could simply be a baseless allegation.
However, it is interesting that the US government will have another base of operation within striking distance of Iran and other middle-eastern countries. It is also disturbing given the secrecy of the Bush administration.
It appears one of these camps is in Kosovo.
US camps in Kosovo

November 27, 2005
PARIS: The US military ran a Guantanamo Bay-type detention centre in Kosovo, a top Council of Europe official has said, as an investigation by the organisation into alleged CIA-run secret prisons gathered pace.

Human rights commissioner Alvaro Gil-Robles said he had been "shocked" by conditions at the barbed wire-rimmed centre inside a US military base, which he witnessed in 2002.

The camp resembled "a smaller version of Guantanamo", he told France's Le Monde newspaper, referring to the US centre in Cuba where hundreds of terror suspects remain detained without trial.

Gil-Robles had been in Kosovo in 2002 to investigate reports of extrajudicial arrests by NATO-led peacekeepers.
http://www.sundaytelegraph.news.com.au/story/0,9353,17374301-28779,00.html
 
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  • #11
Jack Straw is currently under pressure to provide a yay or nay about whether UK airports are being used by CIA planes as stop-off points to rendition prisoners. He has apparently sought the advise of Condy Rice as to whether this is indeed what the planes are being used for (like a CIA plane lands in the UK and the cabinet doesn't know why).

Rice has a wonderful habit of speaking frankly with the UK so many she'll own up.

It would be interesting to know what will happen if Straw confirms the allegation, since it is prohibited by British law. Sure, they will claim as they are now that they had no knowledge guv I just work here, but then surely they'll have to stop the CIA landing there.

How will the US react to that? A piddling little island telling them where they can and can't land their planes?!? I don't see it happening myself.

An earlier post stated that this policy was introduced 4 years ago, but the New Statesman article (the first I saw on renditioning, and few have followed) about a year ago said this goes way back to Clinton. Nonetheless, the number of renditionees jumped from a few hundred to several thousand under Bush, according to the article. I'll see if I can find it on-line.
 
  • #12
Shannon airport in Ireland is the more likely pit stop. Most of the U.S. traffic heading for the gulf passes through there.
 
  • #13
Art said:
Shannon airport in Ireland is the more likely pit stop. Most of the U.S. traffic heading for the gulf passes through there.
Ah, so they have a back-up stop-off. Unless Ireland also kick up a fuss.
 
  • #14
El Hombre Invisible said:
Ah, so they have a back-up stop-off. Unless Ireland also kick up a fuss.
The Irish people did but the government ignored them. U.S. investment plays a huge part in the Irish economy.
 
  • #15
I don't get what the problem is here. Shall we NOT interrogate terror suspects? Should we turn every terror suspect situation into a public fiasco like the OJ Simpson trial? Get real.
 
  • #16
deckart said:
I don't get what the problem is here. Shall we NOT interrogate terror suspects? Should we turn every terror suspect situation into a public fiasco like the OJ Simpson trial? Get real.
The European countries & their citizens in particular have quite a problem in digesting any sort of involvement in "Guantanamo-like" actions of the US.
 
  • #17
deckart said:
I don't get what the problem is here. Shall we NOT interrogate terror suspects? Should we turn every terror suspect situation into a public fiasco like the OJ Simpson trial? Get real.
Are you willing to be tortured because someone names you as a terrorist, although I image you are not a terrorist?

It is one thing to be questioned as part of an investigation, it is quite another thing to be tortured, particularly when one is innocent. The vast majority of suspects have been released without charge, which presumably means they were not involved in terrorism, nor did they have knowledge of terrorists or their activities.

Some people have been identified as terrorists or suspects because someone named them in exchange for money or other consideration. It has been a good way for some to get even with another.

I firmly believe, the presumed 'innocent until proven guilty' applies to all persons, not just US citizens.
 
  • #18
Astronuc said:
Are you willing to be tortured because someone names you as a terrorist, although I image you are not a terrorist?
It is one thing to be questioned as part of an investigation, it is quite another thing to be tortured, particularly when one is innocent. The vast majority of suspects have been released without charge, which presumably means they were not involved in terrorism, nor did they have knowledge of terrorists or their activities.
Some people have been identified as terrorists or suspects because someone named them in exchange for money or other consideration. It has been a good way for some to get even with another.
I firmly believe, the presumed 'innocent until proven guilty' applies to all persons, not just US citizens.

I'm not totally against your idealogy but just how do we go about getting information from people that could save innocent lives? Unfortunately torture is necessary. Politically incorrect but necessary. You really don't want to know what happens behind closed doors in an effort to keep civilization civil and terrorism from happening. And, unfortunately, innocent people are going to get caught up in it. I would not blame the CIA or similar organizations as much as I would blame the terrorists that make this kind of process necessary.

A loose analogy might be that innocent people are also given life sentences in courts of law for crimes they didn't commit. Shall we quit prosecuting anyone that says "I didn't do it" because of the remote chance that they are telling the truth? The process sucks but it's the best one we have.
 
  • #19
deckart said:
I'm not totally against your idealogy but just how do we go about getting information from people that could save innocent lives? Unfortunately torture is necessary. Politically incorrect but necessary. You really don't want to know what happens behind closed doors in an effort to keep civilization civil and terrorism from happening. And, unfortunately, innocent people are going to get caught up in it. I would not blame the CIA or similar organizations as much as I would blame the terrorists that make this kind of process necessary.

Necessary? I would hardly imagine it an effective way to gather information. Innocent people crack under torture, inevitably leading to false confessions just because they wanted to end the pain. Even if they were terrorists, they would probably have been trained to be resistant against torture.

Place yourself in some of these peoples' shoes, would you want to be tortured for the sake of national security, even if you were innocent? And if you were innocent, whose lives would be saved?
 
  • #20
The secret CIA prisons did not just magically appear overnight.
I have a gut feeling that these same prisons and torture tactics were used to obtain much of the information on Iraq's WMD which later turned out to be untrue.

The worst is that the rest of the world no longer sees the USA as being the "good guys". And as we have also seen ourselves as bing of high moral character, we have lost a quality that we have cherished for over one hundred years.
 
  • #21
deckart said:
I'm not totally against your idealogy but just how do we go about getting information from people that could save innocent lives? Unfortunately torture is necessary. Politically incorrect but necessary. You really don't want to know what happens behind closed doors in an effort to keep civilization civil and terrorism from happening. And, unfortunately, innocent people are going to get caught up in it. I would not blame the CIA or similar organizations as much as I would blame the terrorists that make this kind of process necessary.
A loose analogy might be that innocent people are also given life sentences in courts of law for crimes they didn't commit. Shall we quit prosecuting anyone that says "I didn't do it" because of the remote chance that they are telling the truth? The process sucks but it's the best one we have.
But with this sort of rationale what is the difference between the CIA and a terrorist organization ... if no one has any 'rules' there are no means to differentiate between the good and the bad guys, if both are knowingly willing to hurt innocents & dismiss human rights whenever it is convenient?
 
  • #22
Firstly, I fail to see how anyone can ensorse physical torture as an interrogation technique, that is: where the detainee is subjected to pain to the degree where it would be expected they confess crimes or disclose information just to stop the pain. It is blatently obvious that an innocent person would give into these techniques just as much as a guilty person, since the technique depends entirely on the detainee prioritising their immediate situation (excrutiating pain) above any consequences of their statements (true or not).

Secondly, it is illegal. Both the US and the UK are prohibited from deporting a person to any country other than that of their origin, and both are prohibited from deporting a person to country where they are expected to be tortured.

Thirdly, if you endorse such techniques that are employed by American and British agencies, you are endorsing them for use by other nations as well. You can't argue that it is valid for us to rendition, say, Arabic Americans to Syria for torture, then bemoan a foreign nation doing the same to American and British troops or employees and their families in Iraq, Afghanistan, wherever. If you think the technique is good, it is good for all.
 
  • #23
PerennialII said:
The European countries & their citizens in particular have quite a problem in digesting any sort of involvement in "Guantanamo-like" actions of the US.

If you just remove the " of the US" part, I think you're accurate. The current situation in the UK and how it has been received by other members of the EU clearly demonstrates that European countries and citizens have as much, if not more, of an issue with European involvement.

I guess it must seem like European people have issue with the US over such things, but this is simply because the US is found out to be involved in such operations more often, perhaps because your ethical and moral standards are different to ours so you're just more honest about it. But it's not because it's the US that is involved in these operations that causes such outrage - it's that it happens at all.
 
  • #24
El Hombre Invisible said:
If you just remove the " of the US" part, I think you're accurate. The current situation in the UK and how it has been received by other members of the EU clearly demonstrates that European countries and citizens have as much, if not more, of an issue with European involvement.
I guess it must seem like European people have issue with the US over such things, but this is simply because the US is found out to be involved in such operations more often, perhaps because your ethical and moral standards are different to ours so you're just more honest about it. But it's not because it's the US that is involved in these operations that causes such outrage - it's that it happens at all.

Very much so ... in general no matter who is doing 'it'.
 
  • #25
Astronuc said:
Debate Is Growing Within Agency About Legality and Morality of Overseas System Set Up After 9/11 (as well they should! No question. It's immoral! It's evil!)
By Dana Priest, Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 2, 2005
Unbelievable!
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/01/AR2005110101644.html?sub=AR
registration required

The CIA is evil, and its tactics are evil, but this isn't as bad as the things we don't know about them. Many people believe that the CIA assanitated Kennedy, which is evil, but why did they do it? To cover up the side of themselves that Kennedy was planning on introducing to the public, or simply because Kennedy was going to dismantle the CIA? Was the cia founded by Nazis?: http://zyx.org/DEATHSQUAD.htm

I know, Trumen implimented the CIA, but I don't trust that guy anyway, he was a 33 degree freemason. It's just my opinion of him i know, but I know from other sources that some of the first people running the CIA had ties with the nazis, such as George Prescott Bush.

" It should be noted here that the two Dulles brothers, partners in the corporate law firm Sullivan & Cromwell, had acted for many Nazi enterprises during & after this period, including I. G. Farben, developer of the nerve gas,... A. W. Dulles became CIA Deputy Director for Plans [‘51]; Deputy Director of Central Intelligence [‘51 - ‘53]; & Director of CIA [‘53 -’61])." : http://www.georgewalkerbush.net/bushfamilyhistory.htm

http://bushwatch.org/family.htm
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article3255.htm
http://www.conspiracyplanet.com/channel.cfm?channelid=44&contentid=1556&page=2
 
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  • #26
Torture does work. Just listening to our soldiers give accounts of being tortured in Vietnam until they gave up anything they knew. I don't have links because I simply watched interviews on the History channel. Granted, if you are innocent, you will make up information to stop the pain. So making sure that you have the right suspects is crucial. Is it humane? No. Is it practical? I would have to concede a Yes under the current circumstances.

But no one has giving me an answer to my question. How else do we get the information from these people that will save innocent people (masses of people) from being murdered? If you guys don't start giving up some reasonable answers, I'll have to start a new thread with this as a topic. If there are better solutions, then we need to explore them. But until then we have to stick to what has worked since before civilization, unfortunately.
 
  • #27
deckart said:
Torture does work. Just listening to our soldiers give accounts of being tortured in Vietnam until they gave up anything they knew. I don't have links because I simply watched interviews on the History channel. Granted, if you are innocent, you will make up information to stop the pain. So making sure that you have the right suspects is crucial. Is it humane? No. Is it practical? I would have to concede a Yes under the current circumstances.
But no one has giving me an answer to my question. How else do we get the information from these people that will save innocent people (masses of people) from being murdered? If you guys don't start giving up some reasonable answers, I'll have to start a new thread with this as a topic. If there are better solutions, then we need to explore them. But until then we have to stick to what has worked since before civilization, unfortunately.
You answered your own question. Since you do not know whether a tortured detainee is telling the truth or giving you what you want to hear to make the torture stop, the information you gain is of little or no worth.

And I assume you would be happy with enemies of your country torturing your kids for information they don't have?
 
  • #28
El Hombre Invisible said:
You answered your own question. Since you do not know whether a tortured detainee is telling the truth or giving you what you want to hear to make the torture stop, the information you gain is of little or no worth.
And I assume you would be happy with enemies of your country torturing your kids for information they don't have?

That is simply not reality. The CIA doesn't have the resources to run a torture factory. They have to be selective and specific with the candidates for interrogation. We don't know their techniques but I imagine it's only used if they believe there is information being withheld.

Back to the question, what are the options?
 
  • #29
deckart said:
That is simply not reality. The CIA doesn't have the resources to run a torture factory.
Which is precisely why they outsource the torturing to these black sites.
 
  • #30
El Hombre Invisible said:
Which is precisely why they outsource the torturing to these black sites.

Are you implying that it is the desire of the CIA to run and/or fund torture factories?
 
  • #31
deckart said:
Are you implying that it is the desire of the CIA to run and/or fund torture factories?
No, the opposite - renditioning is about the CIA not running or funding torture factories. The establishments already exist. The people running them are, apparently, willing and able to do the CIA's work for them. Thus the CIA do not need to run or fund them. (Although there is the question of why these countries are willing to assist in this capacity. The answer could be darker still.)
 
  • #32
deckart said:
...Is it humane? No. ...
This suffices. If you want to give organizations like the CIA such power and believe they can't reach results otherwise not much to say ( - except strongly disagree). I argue it would say quite a bit about their competence and the ethical standards (&state) of a society where such conduct is acceptable (if anything goes - then anything goes).
 
  • #33
deckart said:
Torture does work... So making sure that you have the right suspects is crucial. Is it humane? No. Is it practical? I would have to concede a Yes under the current circumstances.
But no one has giving me an answer to my question. How else do we get the information from these people that will save innocent people (masses of people) from being murdered? If you guys don't start giving up some reasonable answers, I'll have to start a new thread with this as a topic. If there are better solutions, then we need to explore them. But until then we have to stick to what has worked since before civilization, unfortunately.
I think you may be asking the wrong question, deckart: "How else do we get the information from these people that will save innocent lives?" does not, in my opinion, address the root causes of the problem. Terrorism will continue as long as its causes are not addressed, and these causes run deep and are systemic. Torturing people to obtain information is a sort of 'band aid' solution to a fatal wound, in my opinion; one has to change social structures and provide people with reasons to live and a hope for a meaningful future - in my opinion, that's the only thing that would stop terrorism.

By the way, condoning torture (no matter for what reason) is anything but 'civilised' (in my opinion). Truly civilised people would not condone any form of torture - I don't see how such uncivilised means can result in civilised ends.
 
  • #34
alexandra said:
I think you may be asking the wrong question, deckart: "How else do we get the information from these people that will save innocent lives?" does not, in my opinion, address the root causes of the problem. Terrorism will continue as long as its causes are not addressed, and these causes run deep and are systemic. Torturing people to obtain information is a sort of 'band aid' solution to a fatal wound, in my opinion; one has to change social structures and provide people with reasons to live and a hope for a meaningful future - in my opinion, that's the only thing that would stop terrorism.
By the way, condoning torture (no matter for what reason) is anything but 'civilised' (in my opinion). Truly civilised people would not condone any form of torture - I don't see how such uncivilised means can result in civilised ends.

Give me a civilized solution to getting information from a terrorist individual who is withholding information that would prevent the murder of thousands of innocent lives. Anybody?
 
  • #35
deckart said:
Give me a civilized solution to getting information from a terrorist individual who is withholding information that would prevent the murder of thousands of innocent lives. Anybody?
... aren't you simplifying this a 'bit' too extensively, are you arguing that torturing terrorists is some sort of a necessity in order to gain information? Without it information gathering will lead to a definite dead end? Criminals are interrogated everyday with good results, how can you assume that torture somehow leads without a doubt to a better outcome, in increase of reliable and useful information?
 

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