< /head > Colorado Coalition for Human Rights: CIA and Secret Terror Prisons

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

CIA and Secret Terror Prisons

A long but interesting article from the Washington Post about the CIA and secret prisons. The full article can be found by clicking here, but here are a few excerpts from the article:

While the Defense Department has produced volumes of public reports and testimony about its detention practices and rules after the abuse scandals at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison and at Guantanamo Bay, the CIA has not even acknowledged the existence of its black sites. To do so, say officials familiar with the program, could open the U.S. government to legal challenges, particularly in foreign courts, and increase the risk of political condemnation at home and abroad....Although the CIA will not acknowledge details of its system, intelligence officials defend the agency's approach, arguing that the successful defense of the country requires that the agency be empowered to hold and interrogate suspected terrorists for as long as necessary and without restrictions imposed by the U.S. legal system or even by the military tribunals established for prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay....It is illegal for the government to hold prisoners in such isolation in secret prisons in the United States, which is why the CIA placed them overseas, according to several former and current intelligence officials and other U.S. government officials. Legal experts and intelligence officials said that the CIA's internment practices also would be considered illegal under the laws of several host countries, where detainees have rights to have a lawyer or to mount a defense against allegations of wrongdoing.
Host countries have signed the U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, as has the United States. Yet CIA interrogators in the overseas sites are permitted to use the CIA's approved "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques," some of which are prohibited by the U.N. convention and by U.S. military law. They include tactics such as "waterboarding," in which a prisoner is made to believe he or she is drowning. Some detainees apprehended by the CIA and transferred to foreign intelligence agencies have alleged after their release that they were tortured, although it is unclear whether CIA personnel played a role in the alleged abuse. Given the secrecy surrounding CIA detentions, such accusations have heightened concerns among foreign governments and human rights groups about CIA detention and interrogation practices.
The contours of the CIA's detention program have emerged in bits and pieces over the past two years. Parliaments in Canada, Italy, France, Sweden and the Netherlands have opened inquiries into alleged CIA operations that secretly captured their citizens or legal residents and transferred them to the agency's prisons.
More than 100 suspected terrorists have been sent by the CIA into the covert system, according to current and former U.S. intelligence officials and foreign sources. This figure, a rough estimate based on information from sources who said their knowledge of the numbers was incomplete, does not include prisoners picked up in Iraq.

This is an important piece of news, especially after the Senate recently voted to define and limit interrogation techniques, with President Bush threatening to veto the bill and Vice President Cheney attempting to exempt the CIA from the legislation. How this nation carries itself abroad and the image it projects reflects on the actions and involvment of its citizens. To think that the world's leading democracy would put up with torture and the same techniques used by its "enemies" is disheartening, lets hope Congress and the American people stand up to the administration and end this practice.

Update 11/04/05: EU, rights group to probe reports of secret CIA jails

---Tom Hayes


Blogger Wolfgang P. May said...

Apart from the obvious humanitarian considerations, information obtained through torture is unreliable: When I served as Intelligence Operations Officer of the 4th US Armored Division in Germany, our professional interrogators told me that they try to develop a rapport with the detainee.

This takes a few days, but the intel from that is usually very good. Torture is used only by pathetic, despicable amateurs.

For inside info into the world of pofessional interrogators, read "Talking with Victor Charlie: by Tourison.

9:59 AM  

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