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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.

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The CIA and the White House, citing national security concerns and the value of the program, have dissuaded Congress from demanding that the agency answer questions in open testimony about the conditions under which captives are held. Virtually nothing is known about who is kept in the facilities, what interrogation methods are employed with them, or how decisions are made about whether they should be detained or for how long.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Grisly reports
Then came grisly reports, in the winter of 2001, that prisoners kept by allied Afghan generals in cargo containers had died of asphyxiation. The CIA asked Congress for, and was quickly granted, tens of millions of dollars to establish a larger, long-term system in Afghanistan, parts of which would be used for CIA prisoners.

The largest CIA prison in Afghanistan was code-named the Salt Pit. It was also the CIA's substation and was first housed in an old brick factory outside Kabul. In November 2002, an inexperienced CIA case officer allegedly ordered guards to strip naked an uncooperative young detainee, chain him to the concrete floor and leave him there overnight without blankets. He froze to death, according to four U.S. government officials. The CIA officer has not been charged in the death.

This is outrageous IMO!


http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9890829/page/2/
 

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America used to be about UNIVERSAL rights. But this sort of thing makes us hypocrites and undercuts whatever efforts we are expending to promote democracy in other places. It's all about hegemony now and we will do whatever we need to do, including having double and triple standards.
 

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The Times of London is reporting that Poland and Romania appear to be the Eastern European countries:

"The Washington Post said one of the sites was a Soviet-era compound in Eastern Europe, but agreed not to identify the country involved.

"Hungary, Slovakia and Bulgaria rushed to issue denials of their involvement.

"But Frantisek Bublan, the Czech Interior Minister, said last night that the US had approached his Government a month ago about holding suspects on Czech territory, but Prague had refused.

"Human rights groups point at Poland and Romania as two eastern European countries that have taken in America's "ghost detainees". They also claimed that the US was running out of countries willing to host its terror suspects.

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"Tom Malinowski, the director of Human Rights Watch, told The Times that his investigators had tracked CIA aircraft transferring detainees from Afghanistan to airfields in Eastern Europe that are closed to the public and press, including two in Poland and Romania."

More here:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article...855381,00.html
 

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CIA secret prison claims to be probed by EU commission

"The European Commission said today it will investigate reports that the CIA set up secret jails in eastern Europe to interrogate al-Qaida captives.

"Separately, Europe's top human rights organisation, the Strasbourg, France-based Council of Europe, said it too would try to see whether the claims were true.

"The governments of the European Union's 25 members nations will be informally questioned about the allegations, EU spokesman Friso Roscam Abbing said in response to a question by a reporter at an EU briefing."

From:
http://breakingnews.iol.ie/news/stor...38&p=y6y337944
 

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Red Cross seeks access to CIA prisons

"The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) called on Thursday for access to all foreign terrorism suspects held by the United States after a report of a covert CIA prison system for al Qaeda captives.

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"We are concerned at the fate of an unknown number of people captured as part of the so-called global war on terror and held at undisclosed places of detention," Antonella Notari, chief ICRC spokeswoman, told Reuters in response to a question.

"Access to detainees is an important humanitarian priority for the ICRC and a logical continuation of our current work in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay," she added."

From:
http://today.reuters.com/news/newsAr...archived=False
 

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Bit of an update, given Condi's trip to Europe....

Sources Tell ABC News Top Al Qaeda Figures Held in Secret CIA Prisons

"Two CIA secret prisons were operating in Eastern Europe until last month when they were shut down following Human Rights Watch reports of their existence in Poland and Romania.

"Current and former CIA officers speaking to ABC News on the condition of confidentiality say the United States scrambled to get all the suspects off European soil before Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived there today. The officers say 11 top al Qaeda suspects have now been moved to a new CIA facility in the North African desert.

"CIA officials asked ABC News not to name the specific countries where the prisons were located, citing security concerns.

"The CIA declines to comment, but current and former intelligence officials tell ABC News that 11 top al Qaeda figures were all held at one point on a former Soviet air base in one Eastern European country. Several of them were later moved to a second Eastern European country."

More here:
http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/print?id=1375123
 

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Swiss Investigator Details CIA Findings

"A Swiss investigator probing claims of secret CIA prisons in Europe said his committee has evidence that supports allegations that prisoners were transferred between countries and temporarily held "without any judicial involvement."

"Legal proceedings in progress in certain countries seemed to indicate that individuals had been abducted and transferred to other countries without respect for any legal standards," lawmaker Dick Marty said in a written report summarizing his investigations so far.

"Marty told a news conference he believed the United States was no longer holding prisoners clandestinely in Europe and he believed they were moved to North Africa in early November, when reports about secret U.S. prisons first emerged in The Washington Post. He did not provide any other details.

"He presented his findings in Paris to a committee of the 46-nation Council of Europe, a human rights watchdog."

More here:
http://abcnews.go.com/International/print?id=1401318
 

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Senate Is Set to Require Details on Secret Prisons

"The Senate is poised to approve a measure that would require the Bush administration to provide Congress with its most specific and extensive accounting about the secret prison system established by the Central Intelligence Agency to house terrorism suspects.

"The measure includes amendments that would require the director of national intelligence to provide regular, detailed updates about secret detention facilities maintained by the United States overseas, and to account for the treatment and condition of each prisoner. The facilities, established after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, are thought to hold two dozen to three dozen terrorism suspects, including Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who is said to be the mastermind of the attacks.

"An agreement reached Wednesday between Democrats and Republicans called for the measure to be approved by unanimous consent, but it was unclear on Wednesday night when a final vote might occur."

More here:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/15/po...gewanted=print
 

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EU lawmakers to set up CIA prisons inquiry

"The European Parliament decided on Thursday to investigate allegations that the CIA used European states to transport and detain terrorism suspects illegally.

"The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency is alleged to be operating secret jails in Romania and Poland and covertly flying prisoners through airports in Italy, Germany and Romania.

"U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said the United States respects the sovereignty of European countries in its fight against terrorism, but she would not confirm or deny specific reports of CIA secret prisons in Europe.

"The European Parliament is serious and determined about getting at the truth regarding extraordinary renditions through an investigating committee," British Liberal Democrat Baroness Sarah Ludford told Reuters.

"She said that "if necessary" the assembly would also launch the European Union's sanctions process against member states "which have gravely breached human rights".

More here:
http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/news...ITY-EU-CIA.xml
 
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