Amnesty International lifts the lid on CIAs secret prisons.

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by KevinB, Mar 17, 2008.

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  1. Amnesty International lifts the lid on CIA's secret prisons. Shannon used by those perpetrating torture

    In a report published today (14/3/0 Amnesty International exposed the cruelty and illegality of the CIA programme of secret detentions and enforced disappearances – a program re-authorized by President Bush in June 2007. The report (Attached) is based on detailed research and exclusive interviews with Khaled al-Maqtari who was held without charge in secret CIA prisons for over two and a half years.

    In the report Khaled al Maqtari describes a regime of beatings, sleep deprivation, upside-down suspension, intimidation by dogs, induced hypothermia and other forms of torture. Although he was released in May 2007 Amnesty International believes that at least three dozen prisoners are still held in the secret prison network.

    Amnesty International Irish Section Executive Director Colm O'Gorman said: "For over two and a half years Khaled al-Maqtari was held in unknown locations and in complete isolation, without charge or trial or access to any form of due process. His statements include numerous allegations of torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

    "It is particularly shocking that Shannon Airport was used as a refuelling stop by the plane that took him from Baghdad, where he was initially arrested, to Kabul where he was incarcerated in a CIA ‘black site’ prison. There can no longer be any doubt that Shannon is being used by those involved in kidnapping and torture, dressed up as part of a war on terror.

    “Recent revelations that the US used British territory to transfer kidnapped prisoners despite assurances similar to those given to Ireland that our territory was not being used to commit such gross violations of international law should be of very grave concern to the Irish Government.

    “Ireland’s core values of respect for human rights and the dignity of the person is put at risk by our continued failure to ensure that we are not complicit in these crimes.”

    Khaled al-Maqtari was detained by US army soldiers in Fallujah, Iraq, in January 2004. He was transferred to the infamous Abu Ghraib prison as an unregistered "ghost detainee".

    While there he says he was subjected to repeated beatings, induced hypothermia and sleep deprivation by American and British interrogators. At one point he was suspended by his feet, with his arms still cuffed behind his back, and a pulley was used to lower him up and down while he was beaten by guards.

    After nine days of interrogation in Abu Ghraib, Khaled al-Maqtari was taken by plane to a secret CIA detention facility in Afghanistan, were he was held for a further three months. Flight records obtained by Amnesty International corroborated that a jet operated by a CIA front company left Baghdad International Airport nine days after his arrest, heading for Khwaja Rawash airport in Kabul.

    "This same jet, registered at the time as N379P, had left Shannon Airport on 20 January 2004 en route to Baghdad where it collected Mr al-Maqtari," Mr O'Gorman added.

    "In essence, Shannon was used as a refueling stop by the individuals who 'disappeared' Mr al-Maqtari to Kabul. It is clear that Ireland serves as a staging area for these kinds of operations, which constitute some of the worst kinds of human rights abuses. We are calling for the Irish government to live up to its obligations under international law and put in place a robust system of monitoring the use of Shannon by planes known, or suspected, to be part of the US government's renditions programme."

    While in Afghanistan Mr al-Maqtari says he was subjected to further torture and ill-treatment, including prolonged solitary confinement, beatings, the use of stress positions, sleep deprivation, exposure to extremes of hot and cold, prolonged shackling, sensory deprivation and disruption with bright lighting and loud music or sound effects constantly channeled into his cell.

    In late April 2004, Khaled al-Maqtari and a number of his fellow detainees were transferred to another CIA "black site", possibly in Eastern Europe. He was held there for a further 28 months, before being sent to Yemen where he was detained until May 2007.

    "At no point during his 32-month confinement was Khaled al-Maqtari told where he was or why. He did not have access to lawyers, relatives, the International Committee of the Red Cross or any person other than his interrogators and the personnel involved in his detention and transfer," said Anne FitzGerald Senior Advisor at Amnesty International, who interviewed Khaled al-Maqtari.

    Khaled al-Maqtari is now back in Yemen, living with the effects of prolonged psychological and physical torture. He has not received any reparation from US authorities, who have yet to acknowledge his detention.

    Amnesty International is demanding an end to the secret detention programme and for those responsible for torture and other abuses to be made accountable. Those currently detained should be acknowledged and charged with recognizable criminal offences or released.

    The Irish Government must play its part by putting in place a system to monitor flights through Shannon and a regime of inspections to ensure that Ireland is not being used to facilitate kidnapping and torture.

    Background note

    At the end of February the British government admitted that on two occasions rendition flights had landed in British territory. This followed repeated assurances to the contrary from the United States similar to the ones received by the Irish government. Following this revelation the Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern confirmed to Leinster House on 11 March that Ireland had sought further assurances from the US Ambassador that no prisoners were being transferred through Shannon Airport.
  2. As a US taxpayer and as someone with some concern about the environment I am OUTRAGED!!!

    What can they be thinking of? All of us know that the price of jet fuel is high and keeps getting higher. Hasn't anyone at the CIA ever looked at a map? Why make Shannon a refueling stop between Iraq and Pakistan FFS. It makes no sense at all. It is my guess that it was a trick by CIA black ops staff to get a chance to make a pass through the excellent single malt section of Shannon duty free.

    How much are these junkets costing the taxpayer. What is this doing to the CIA's carbon footprint. Have they no shame!!!
  3. Well, John McCain thinks they are not doing such a good job. He wants to replace them with a more...'flexible and responsive' organisation...whatever that means.
  4. I'm sure that if Uncle Sam had not obtained results, it would have stopped.

    Big boys games, big boys rules.
  5. Have to disagree, mate. If US government, or ours, uses such means, how are we different than our enemies - is only a matter of degrees - and if that is the case, what kind of system are we fighting for? And, on the pragmatic side, has been shown torture doesn't work.

    Was it not Benjamin Franklin who said, those who give up freedom for security deserve neither?
  6. Hope they carried out a proper H & S assessment before they did this - guards could now have all kinds of back and RSI-related problems.
  7. As much as I dislike Amnesty International this action of theirs justifys AI existence (to a point).
  8. Thats why I wondered if it works - I've presumed that the US are getting results which is why they do so.

    I've been wondering about the use of harsh methods to obtain information - but please note that this is entirely academic as I'm bound by the LOAC.

    I reduced it ad absurdam, to the following trite-sounding example; if a detainee with an extremely low pain threshold was *known* to have information about an imminent outrage; would it be justifiable to give him a Chinese burn if it produced information that saved lives?

    Now I freely admit that its an extreme simplification, but the premise holds.
  9. Don't have the link now, but from an article I posted previously, people in the military themselves said in most cases torture didn't work. The one being tortured would say anything to get it to stop. So the value of the info was not good.
  10. Thousands of years of experience suggests torture doesn't work. I strongly suspect a few people have been getting their rocks off administering diet torture - the Stanford Prison Experiment springs to mind - and now certain people in the hierarchy are having to justify it in order to keep themselves from facing legal action and negative media coverage. I doubt they want, or could even survive another Abu Ghraib, and that was hardly about gaining int.
    They've been haemorrhaging JAGs leaving in response to the treatment of detainees and have been publicly criticised by retired high ranking JAGs. I think their actions have more credibility than the weak arguments of a CIA director trying to keep his arrse out of prison.

    Does it hold? Go back to the basics of CAC/RTI: try to hold out for 24 hours, by then any information you have will be out of date, plans will have changed. By the time these detainees have been captured, processed, transfered to wherever and re-processed, 24 hours has long passed. Couple with that the techniques they're known to be using are not all that speedy, and the whole point of Terry's and Al Qaeda's structure is that no one knows anything.
    Guantanamo guards have been diagnosed with PTSD, you don't get that from watching Terry getting a Chinese burn.
  11. Of course Khaled al Maqtari can alleged what he likes, that's not quite the same thing as proof. And one does have to wonder what a Yemeni was doing in Fallujah in 2004? AQ anyone?
  12. Ironic. In the 1970s Amnesty International working on behalf of various irish terrorist organisations was funded in the main by the USA. Now the Irish 'wing' of Amnesty International are attacking their former patrons. Bet they wont see any members of the CIA attending 'tribunals' at Strasbourg!