Wednesday, November 02, 2005

We do have a secret CIA prison system, say anonymous officials

From the Washington Post

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.

If these allegations are true, the question is no longer, "is America operating a Gulag prison system", but rather, "is America's Gulag as bad as Soviet Russia's was?" Regardless of the answer, the fact that this question even need be asked is an embarassment, and makes a mockery of the rule of law for which America is supposed to stand.

Meanwhile, the U.S. is arguing with the U.N. that its okay for America to violate human rights treaties we've signed on to so long as we do it outside of the country.

1 comment:

John Lombard said...

You probably haven't heard because it's not international news, but Australia has a small archipelago of detention facilities in South Asia for housing people who try to come here illegally. Yes, this is true -- if they set foot on Australian soil the government has to follow its obligations under refugee conventions, so they grab them on the way and lock them up on Manus island and Nauru. It's been heartbreaking for activists but we seem to be in an age where people just don't care.

They call it "The Pacific Solution".

How did this come about? Well, in the 90s our gov adopted a policy of mandatory detention for people who came her without a valid visa. No matter what, lock them up until they can show they should be granted a visa (or get deported). Then in 1998 a lunatic far-right party called One Nation won a staggering percentage of the vote in the Queensland state elections. The Liberal party, governing in coalition with the Country party, was forced to adopt even more hardline policies to win back the xenophobe vote -- so, now they detain them before they even land on Australian soil.

The height of lunacy for this policy was when the Howard government excised several islands from Australia because immigrants were about to land on them. Yes, our government actually cut back our country's territory to protect us from immigrants.