Secret CIA Prisons Abroad

The CIA’s Secret Prisons
Uh, yeah. One was bad enough. Is this is a good idea?

[quote]CIA Holds Terror Suspects in Secret Prisons
Debate Is Growing Within Agency About Legality and Morality of Overseas System Set Up After 9/11

By Dana Priest
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 2, 2005; A01

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.
[…]
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.

But the revelations of widespread prisoner abuse in Afghanistan and Iraq by the U.S. military – which operates under published rules and transparent oversight of Congress – have increased concern among lawmakers, foreign governments and human rights groups about the opaque CIA system. Those concerns escalated last month, when Vice President Cheney and CIA Director Porter J. Goss asked Congress to exempt CIA employees from legislation already endorsed by 90 senators that would bar cruel and degrading treatment of any prisoner in U.S. custody.
[…]
The secret detention system was conceived in the chaotic and anxious first months after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, when the working assumption was that a second strike was imminent.

Since then, the arrangement has been increasingly debated within the CIA, where considerable concern lingers about the legality, morality and practicality of holding even unrepentant terrorists in such isolation and secrecy, perhaps for the duration of their lives. Mid-level and senior CIA officers began arguing two years ago that the system was unsustainable and diverted the agency from its unique espionage mission.

“We never sat down, as far as I know, and came up with a grand strategy,” said one former senior intelligence officer who is familiar with the program but not the location of the prisons. "Everything was very reactive. That’s how you get to a situation where you pick people up, send them into a netherworld and don’t say, ‘What are we going to do with them afterwards?’ "

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.[/quote]

You know, I’m “conflicted” on this issue. One one hand I dislike the idea of these prisions and lack of oversight. On the other hand, allowing “Miss Manners” to deal with terrorists wouldn’t be very effective.

It is a politically and legally expiendient reality.
And also, nothing new. Its been done by the USA and other countries for many years. However previously, it was possible to maintain a semblance to secrecy.

[color=blue]Our illustrious vice president, Dick “the Impaler” Cheney, former boss of Libby the Leaker, is leading the way to defeat or deflect McCain’s amendment prohibiting the use of torture by the U.S. It’s no small irony that these secret prisons are located on soil still under a Stalinist legal system or recently emerged from decades of Stalinism. Birds of a feather.

The sixth signee below, you’ll note, was the first administrator of post-war Iraq with presumably some insight into the full goings-on there.[/color]

Oct 3, 2005
"Dear Senator McCain:

We strongly support your proposed amendments to the Defense Department Authorization bill concerning detainee policy, including requiring all interrogations of detainees in DOD custody to conform to the U.S. Army

spook -
Nice letter. Blue is a cute color, emphasizes nicely.

Can you be a bit more specific as to why you think this letter is relevant to this thread. The letter is a ‘post-action’ thrust by a group of retired military field grades who don’t/didn’t like President Bush. And a couple of Clinton* cronies for added effect. No denying the history - just putting some perspective into the matter. And Abu Ghraib is not the topic of this thread.

[quote=“TainanCowboy”]spook -
Nice letter. Blue is a cute color, emphasizes nicely.

Can you be a bit more specific as to why you think this letter is relevant to this thread. The letter is a ‘post-action’ thrust by a group of retired military field grades who don’t/didn’t like President Bush. And a couple of Clinton* cronies for added effect. No denying the history - just putting some perspective into the matter. And Abu Ghraib is not the topic of this thread.[/quote]

Quite simply, the Bush Administration has established these secret detention facilities in countries with a high tolerance for human rights abuses so it can practice its policies of “torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.”

If U.S. government personnel anywhere are prohibited from doing these things by law, these facilities will no longer have any reason for existing.

[quote=“spook”][quote=“TainanCowboy”]spook -
Nice letter. Blue is a cute color, emphasizes nicely.

Can you be a bit more specific as to why you think this letter is relevant to this thread. The letter is a ‘post-action’ thrust by a group of retired military field grades who don’t/didn’t like President Bush. And a couple of Clinton* cronies for added effect. No denying the history - just putting some perspective into the matter. And Abu Ghraib is not the topic of this thread.[/quote]

Quite simply, the Bush Administration has established these secret detention facilities in countries with a high tolerance for human rights abuses so it can practice its policies of “torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.”

If U.S. government personnel anywhere are prohibited from doing these things by law, these facilities will no longer have any reason for existing.[/quote]
Agree. The letter to Sen McCain is germane as it is 1) on the topic of U.S. policy on detention and war-related information extraction from enemies, and 2) current. It is much broader than Abu Ghraib.

TC, are you really so cynical as to think that this list of distinguished people signed onto such a letter to Sen McCain only due to their political affiliation or dislike for Pres Bush? As a rule, military officers don’t sign a lot of petitions, especially flag officers. In this case, even if they are rapid liberals, they are definitely in support of an issue that the U.S. has supported for many, many years, and they are providing an important reminder of that fact.

A few interesting questions:

  1. To what degree would agencies like the CIA be subject to this Army Manual? I’d think not at all.

  2. What governing document exists that requires all agencies of the U.S. federal government, including the CIA, to adhere to the same limitations as imposed on the military?

  3. Other than the psychology of whistleblowing, I wonder what stopped any number of military personnel or other federal employees from refusing what were clearly illegal orders with regard to torturing prisoners? Just as military personnel are charged with carrying out orders, they are equally charged with refusing illegal orders.

  4. Sen McCain is a former officer POW, a Republican, and a distinguished congressman respected by many on both sides. If he doesn’t know what he’s talking about here and doesn’t deserve the trust of the American people on this issue, who does?

This Republican v. Democrat and vice versa stuff is always tedious. More recently absurd. Such an energy waster and distraction. Some things are just no-brainers.

No cynicism involved. This letter came about during the run-up to President Bushs’ re-election. It was almost entirely politically motivated.

for the most part there has been an unspoken rule for conduct among military officers - You do not express public views in direct opposition to the CIC. Especially in times of war. Sadly, this began to change during the Clinton* years, although most bit their lips and suffered his regieme in silence. The opponents of President Bush decided to not follow this established example. And by the way - McCain is not an ally of President Bush, ut thats another can o’ worms.

[quote]This Republican v. Democrat and vice versa stuff is always tedious. More recently absurd. Such an energy waster and distraction. Some things are just no-brainers.[/quote] Its much more than this. And not so easily brushed aside with a wave of the hand.

Anyway, as I mentioned, the topic of the OP is nothing new. Its been done under both parties in times of national distress. Expediency and all that. Fact of life I’m afraid.
And if it saves one American life or stps one bomb from being exploded in a market in another country - More power to it.

Note the date of the letter: last month. It was published to show support for the current McCain amendment.

The McCain amendment would prohibit all government agencies including the CIA from practicing “torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” anywhere. Currently US law only prohibits their practice on US soil. Before the Bush Administration decided otherwise, it was thought that the U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, to which the US is a signatory, effectively prohibited US government agencies from employing these practices against any person anywhere but the Bush Administration is ignoring this treaty in regards to people it suspects of terrorism or supporting terrorism.

[quote=“spook”]
The McCain amendment would prohibit all government agencies including the CIA from practicing “torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” anywhere. Currently US law only prohibits their practice on US soil. Before the Bush Administration decided otherwise, it was thought that the U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, to which the US is a signatory, effectively prohibited US government agencies from employing these practices against any person anywhere but the Bush Administration is ignoring this treaty in regards to people it suspects of terrorism or supporting terrorism.[/quote]

What? No more panties on their heads?

Lt. General Claudia Kennedy (ret.)
USA
Virginia

General John Shalikashvili (ret.)
Fmr. Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
USA
Washington

Major General Melvyn Montano (ret.)
Army National Guard
New Mexico

General Joseph Hoar (ret.)
USMC
Florida

Vice Admiral Lee F. Gunn (ret.)
USN
California

Google cache - Kerry-Edwards supporters

Now, back to OP topic.

One has to be careful how one treat ones “POW” whether they are technically called that or not.

Treat them badly and you have a chilling effect on peoples willingness to be captured. One must also worry about what happends about ones own troops when the inevitably get captured. Saying that certain classes of conbatants don’t get the G convention can lead others to treat your combatants the same way - even if yours are “legit”.

You are also dealing with hard people - hard methods don’t always work. One of the more effective teams in Vietnam used “nicer” methods and collected a good number of disgruntled VC with valuable information.

What the Bush administration did when setting its rules for interrogation is that they ignored the legal advice from many military lawyers.

The McCain amendment is central to this issue:

"The Bush administration’s policies for holding and detaining suspected terrorists came under sharp scrutiny and criticism yesterday after disclosure that the CIA had set up covert prisons in several Eastern European democracies and other countries. . . .

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. . . .

House Democrats said they plan to introduce a motion as early as today to endorse language in the defense spending package written by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), which would bar cruel and inhuman treatment of prisoners in U.S. custody, including those in CIA hands. The motion would instruct House conferees to accept McCain’s precise measure.
Washington Post

[color=blue]Claiming that this is merely anti-Bushism and nothing more is contradicted by the facts:[/color]

“McCain’s amendment was endorsed last month by the Senate, 90 to 9, over the objections of the White House, which said it would restrict the president’s ability to protect the country. The House Democrats said they already have 15 GOP supporters for their motion, and Republicans have told the White House they expect it to pass, an Appropriations Committee spokesman said.”

I’m going to reserve judgement on this one until they come out with something more as to what actually is taking place in these facilities. A radio report I heard had someone saying these were mostly people known to be higher up in Al-Quaeda. I don’t remember who was being interviewed as I just caught a short clip. Anyway, how about we wait and see who and what were in these places before the blame game starts.

–oh woops, I must have forgot I was on an internet forum for a second there

". . . Senior military lawyers want these standards, as do some Defense and State Department officials outside the inner circle. They say the abuse and torture of prisoners has reduced America’s standing with its allies and taken away its moral high ground with the rest of the world. They also know that it endangers any American soldiers who are captured.

The rigid ideologues blocking this reform say the Geneva Conventions banning inhumane treatment are too vague. Which part of no murder, torture, mutilation, cruelty or humiliation do they not understand? The restrictions are a problem only if you want to do such abhorrent things and pretend they are legal. That is why the Bush administration tossed out the rules after 9/11."

NY Times

spook has just volunteered to let the prisoners bunk out in his livingroom for the duration. Toasted ham and cheese sandwiches, ice cold beer and 24 hour porn on cable…uh-oh!!!

:roflmao:

[quote=“Comrade Stalin”]spook has just volunteered to let the prisoners bunk out in his livingroom for the duration. Toasted ham and cheese sandwiches, ice cold beer and 24 hour porn on cable…uh-oh!!!

:roflmao:[/quote]

(The punches are getting so wild now there’s no longer need to even duck. Okay, I’ll play along:)

But the human pyramids and photos of you holding your favorite prisoner on a leash are on Comrade Stalin.

[quote=“spook”]
But the human pyramids and photos of you holding your favorite prisoner on a leash are on Comrade Stalin.[/quote]

Sounds like a wild frat party at USC.

That kind of ‘frat party’ will get you 5 to 10.

[quote=“spook”]

That kind of ‘frat party’ will get you 5 to 10.[/quote]

Too few women and not enough beer for my taste. But your mileage may vary.