[News] CIA 'has secret terror jails'

Anti-Imperialist News News at freedomarchives.org
Thu Nov 3 13:53:33 EST 2005

CIA 'has secret terror jails'

Thursday 03 November 2005 3:59 PM GMT

The CIA is holding some of its most important suspect al-Qaida captives in 
a network of secret prisons including one at a Soviet-era facility in 
Eastern Europe, the Washington Post has reported.

According to the paper the locations of the facilities "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."

The facilities are referred to as "black sites" in classified White House, 
CIA, Justice Department and congressional documents, the Post said.

The report did not disclose the names of the Eastern European countries 
involved in the programme, at the request of senior US officials. Officials 
believed disclosure might disrupt counterterrorism efforts in those 
countries and elsewhere.

The secret facilities are part of a covert prison system set up by the CIA 
after the September 11 attacks, that at various times has included sites in 
eight countries, including Thailand, Afghanistan and several democracies in 
Eastern Europe, the Post reported.

Another small center operated at the Guantanamo Bay prison complex in Cuba, 
according to current and former intelligence officials and diplomats from 
three continents, the paper said.

Prisoner information

Virtually nothing is known about who is kept in the facilities or what 
interrogation methods are used.

But the revelations of widespread prisoner abuse in Afghanistan and Iraq by 
the US 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.

The CIA has sent more than 100 suspects to the hidden global internment 
network, the Post said, indicating that the number was a rough estimate and 
did not include prisoners picked up from Iraq.

Considerable concern lingers about the legality, morality and practicality 
of holding even unrepentant terrorists in such isolation and secrecy.

"We never sat down, as far as I know, and came up with a grand strategy," 
the paper quoted one former senior intelligence officer who is familiar 
with the programme 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?'"

Security concerns

Citing national security concerns the CIA and the White House have 
dissuaded Congress from demanding that the agency answer questions in open 
testimony about the conditions under which captives are held.

US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, speaking on CNN on Wednesday, was 
evasive when asked about the report.

"I'm not going to confirm or deny on this show the existence of this 
programme. We normally do not talk about intelligence activities," Gonzales 

In a comment from the White House, spokesman Scott McClellan said, "I'm not 
going to get into specific intelligence activities. I will say that the 
president's most important responsibility is to protect the American people."

But former president Jimmy Carter denounced what he said was "a profound 
and radical change in the basic policies or moral values of our country" in 
reaction to the report.

"This is just one indication of what has been done under this 
administration to change the policies that have persisted all the way 
through our history," said Carter, who championed human rights during his 
1977-81 presidency.

Eastern Europe denial

The existence of secret CIA detention centres has long been claimed. 
Amnesty International denounced the "archipelago" of prisons in June as a 
"gulag of our times".

But the report that former Eastern European countries were among the 
locations is new.

Czech Interior Minister Frantisek Bublan was quoted by the on-line news 
outlet Aktualne.cz as saying that the Czech Republic recently turned down a 
US request to set up a detention centre on its territory.

"The negotiations took place around a month ago," he was quoted as saying. 
The Americans "made an effort to install some of the sort here, but they 
did not succeed."

Separately, Hungary's intelligence chief, Andras Toth, told AFP that 
Budapest had not been approached.

"The mere suggestion of this is absurd," Toth said, adding "I know of no 
such request" from US officials.

Russia's FSB security service, the main KGB-successor agency that leads the 
country's battle against militant violence, denied any such facilities on 
its territory, as did the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry.

"There is no detention centre of that nature in Slovakia," ministry 
spokesman Richard Fides told the news agency CTK.

Vladimir Simko, spokesman for Slovakia's intelligence service SIS, told CTK 
that even if Slovakia did collaborate with the CIA, he could not tell the 

In Sofia, the foreign ministry spokesman Dimitar Tsanchev denied there were 
any such American bases in Bulgaria. "Bulgaria has never had CIA bases or 
bases for foreign detainees linked to al-Qaida," he said.

In Thailand, which was named along with Afghanistan as the location of 
"black site" facilities in the Washington Post report, government spokesman 
Surapong Suebwonglee said there was "no fact in the unfounded claims" 
carried by the paper.


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