[News] Secret CIA Prisons Moved From Europe to North Africa
News at freedomarchives.org
Wed Dec 7 14:23:53 EST 2005
Secret CIA Prisons Moved From Europe to North Africa
Barbara Ferguson, Arab News
WASHINGTON, 7 December 2005
The United States held captured Al-Qaeda suspects
at two secret CIA prisons in eastern Europe until
last month when the facilities were shut down
after media reports of their existence, ABC News
reported Monday, citing current and former CIA agents.
Eleven Al-Qaeda prisoners who were held in
Eastern Europe were relocated to a CIA site
somewhere in North Africa, say reports, adding
that the US scrambled to get all of the suspects
off European soil before US Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice arrived in Europe yesterday.
Germany, Hungary, Italy, Morocco, Norway, Poland,
Portugal, Romania, Spain and Sweden have all been
used as prison transit camps. The US has
neither confirmed nor denied the existence of the
secret prisons, as reported by the Washington Post last month.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice defended
US treatment of terrorism suspects before leaving
for Europe, but would not respond to allegations
that the CIA has run secret prisons in Eastern
Europe. She insisted, however, that the US does not use torture.
The underlying question to all this remains: Why
was this information of secret CIA prisons and flights leaked?
Leaks usually happen for one of two reasons,
either there is a deliberate effort to manipulate
public opinion, so its done with the full
sanction of the government authorities, or there
is a fundamental policy disagreement on an issue,
and those who think that the policy is wrong leak
it, said Larry Johnson, a former CIA
intelligence officer and State Department Counter
Terrorism officer. Johnson, who spoke to Arab
News by telephone, said he believes the CIA
officers involved with the secret prisons fear
they may ultimately be held accountable for their actions.
Valerie Plames leak is an example of the first
kind; the CIA prison leak is an example of the
second. Clearly some of those involved in this
link are CIA officers who fear that they will
ultimately be blamed as the master minds and implementers of this policy.
The CIA does not set the policy. The president,
the secretary of defense, and the vice president
set the policy, said Johnson. The CIA
implements the policy, but when they carry out a
policy that runs afoul of international law, they feel vulnerable.
The problem is accountability, he said. Nobody
in the White House or the Department of Defense,
at a senior level, is being held responsible for these actions.
Johnson said their vulnerability is not without
reason: The lesson of Abu Ghraib is: Dont trust
these guys to stand by their men.
Recently the former commander of Abu Ghraib
Prison in Iraq, Brig Gen Janis Karpinski was
demoted. Nine junior US soldiers also have been
charged in connection with the abuse at the
prison in late 2003, and seven of them have
already been convicted. The verdict came at the
end of a hearing in Kaiserslautern, Germany.
Another top US commander at Abu Ghraib also was
recently reprimanded and fined $8,000. The US
Army found Col. Thomas Pappas guilty of two
counts of dereliction of duty, including that of
allowing dogs to be present during
interrogations. Col Pappas was in charge of
military intelligence at the prison near Baghdad.
Aside from the vulnerability of CIA officers,
Johnson said what is going on in prisons there is reprehensible.
Asked to comment on reports that the CIA prisons
in eastern Europe have been closed and moved to
North Africa, Johnson slammed the secret detainee prison policy.
Shifting these prisons to Africa is
reprehensible. It is incumbent upon the CIA
officers to determine through interrogation on
whether a person has knowledge or is a mere foot
soldier who got caught up in the battle. If we
start saying all things are justified, it would
be difficult for us to make the moral argument
that we are somehow different from the former
Soviet Union or Communist China.
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