Wednesday, 28 February 2007

More CIA secret prison controversy

Torture, missing people, innocents being kidnapped from their homes. This has the making of some kind of sadistic gangster plot, no? Not at all. This is the post-9/11 CIA, US government on 'war on terror' steroids. A new Human Rights Watch report confirms these actions in CIA secret prisions, which the United States has denied, confirmed, and then turned around and said they were closed and torture had never been used. Why does all the evidence state the contrary? Much of the focus has been on European countries suspected of collaborating with the US government over these prisons; even though they still are largely clueless. They have been condemned by the European Union parliament. However, much of the torture not done by the US is indirectly — or even directly — caused by it. Many alleged terrorists are sent to rogue states or countries like Saudi Arabia, where they face unimaginable torture. These are so-called ghost detainees, the 'worst of the worst' according to President Bush. So bad, it isn't a victory that the US has caught them?

The front page story of the Washington Post today was one needed for a long time. It looked at people held and tortured in these "black sites".

Jabour [a tortured al-Qaeda suspect] had spent two years in "black sites" -- a network of secret internment facilities the CIA operated around the world. His account of life in that system, which he described in three interviews with The Washington Post, offers an inside view of a clandestine world that held far more prisoners than the 14 men President Bush acknowledged and had transferred out of CIA custody in September.
Human Rights Watch has identified 38 people who may have been held by the CIA and remain unaccounted for. Intelligence officials told The Post that the number of detainees held in such facilities over nearly five years remains classified but is higher than 60. Their whereabouts have not been publicly disclosed.

"The practice of disappearing people -- keeping them in secret detention without any legal process -- is fundamentally illegal under international law," said Joanne Mariner, director of the terrorism program at Human Rights Watch in New York.

Is Bush lying about the secret CIA prisons — again? Even he is usually not this haphazard about 'war on terror' untruth. Back when the story broke (by a Post reporter, Condi Rice did a complete U-turn on the existence of the prisons: literally denying them one day and admitting the next.

Like GITMO, the US has ignored all calls for it to cease its human-rights-defying secret prison operations. Unlike GITMO, these operations are near totally secret; we barely know about them and there is absolutely no third party monitoring of them. Even the Red Cross is barred (even the Nazis dared not turn down the Red Cross from assisting the WWII POWs they captured, just a historical fact, not that the Bush administration are Nazis).

Do the prisons affect the sovereignty of the land they are in? After all, one big reason that the 'black sites' are not in US territory is that American law — some argue — does not apply if the CIA collaborates with another country, like Pakistan, not facing, or supposed to be facing, the same human rights standards as the United States.

Wikipedia has a decent article on the topic with external links if one wants to explore the 'black site' issue further.

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