CIA terror flights in Europe
Der Spiegel, Nov.28, 2005
Schweizerischer Luftraum, Flughäfen. Missbrauch
Eingereicht von Banga
Eingereicht im Nationalrat
Stand der Beratung Erledigt
Mit an Sicherheit grenzender Wahrscheinlichkeit ist nach heutigem
Kenntnisstand davon auszugehen, dass die USA, d. h. die CIA, eventuell
das FBI und andere Dienste, zivile Luftfahrzeuge für "renditions"
(zur Folterung nach Syrien, Ägypten, Jordanien, Marokko) und für
Entführungen von Terrorismusverdächtigen (zumindest drei Fälle
in Schweden und Italien bzw. Deutschland) verwendet haben und verwenden.
Nach den Genfer Konventionen und nach dem Uno Pakt II über die bürgerlichen
und politischen Rechte gilt nicht nur das Non-Refoulement-Prinzip, sondern
auch das absolute Folterverbot.
Dabei ist auch unser Land betroffen. Sowohl die dazu verwendete Boeing
737 (Business Jet) als auch eine Gulfstream überflogen nicht nur häufig
den schweizerischen Luftraum, sondern landeten auch mehrmals in Genf.
Die Boeing 737 ist registriert unter einer privaten Firma und hat ihre
Immatrikulation bereits mehrfach gewechselt. Auch die Gulfstream wechselt
laufend ihre Immatrikulation und gilt aktuell als Firmenflugzeug der Firma
Sikorsky. Beide Flugzeuge sind nicht "Standard" und weisen keinerlei Beschriftungen
auf. Hingegen besitzen sie spezielle Einstiegsleitern (Unabhängigkeit
von der Bodenorganisation) und besondere Antennen für Satcom.
1. Hat der Bundesrat Kenntnis von diesen Überflügen und Landungen
in der Schweiz und wie hat er reagiert?
2. Ist der Bundesrat bereit, bei verdächtigen Flugzeugen (sie
gelten nach der Landung auf dem Abstellplatz als exterritorial) die einzig
möglichen Kontrollen (Zoll und Bordbuch) lückenlos durchführen
3. Ist der Bundesrat bereit, die USA in unmissverständlicher Form
zur Einhaltung insbesondere der Genfer Konventionen anzuhalten?
Antwort des Bundesrates vom 23.09.2005
1. Der Bundesrat hat von diesen Flügen aus der Presse erfahren.
In der Zwischenzeit getroffene Abklärungen haben ergeben, dass die
in der Anfrage beschriebenen und in der Presse mit Immatrikulation genannten
Flugzeuge am 24. Dezember 2003 sowie am 25. Januar und am 15. April 2004
in Genf gelandet und anschliessend nach Washington weitergeflogen sind.
Die Bewegungen im Luftverkehr von und nach der Schweiz können bei
Vorliegen konkreter Hinweise auf staatsschutzrelevante Vorgänge vom
Dienst für Analyse und Prävention des Eidgenössischen Justiz-
und Polizeidepartementes überprüft oder bei Vorliegen von konkreten
strafrechtlichen Verdachtsmomenten von den zuständigen Strafverfolgungsbehörden
bearbeitet werden, doch handelt es sich dabei nicht um systematische Überprüfungen
aller Flugvorgänge. Dies ist auch nicht möglich, weil täglich
hunderte von Flügen von und nach der Schweiz zu verzeichnen sind.
Für die beiden erwähnten Flüge aus den Jahren 2003 und 2004
lagen zum Zeitpunkt der Landung in der Schweiz keine Verdachtsmomente vor,
die eine eingehendere Überprüfung hätten erforderlich erscheinen
Auch die nachträglichen Abklärungen ergaben keinerlei Hinweise,
dass die genannten Flüge in die Schweiz rechtswidrigen Zwecken gedient
hätten, namentlich dem unfreiwilligen Transport von Personen durch
die Schweiz oder der unfreiwilligen Verbringung von Personen aus der Schweiz.
2. In der Schweiz gelandete ausländische Luftfahrzeuge unterstehen
uneingeschränkt dem Schweizer Recht. Sie gelten nicht als exterritorial.
Die Zollgesetzgebung regelt abschliessend, welchen Kontrollen in der Schweiz
landende und ab der Schweiz abfliegende Luftfahrzeuge unterstehen. Sind
solche Kontrollen nach Zollrecht zwingend vorgeschrieben, werden sie entsprechend
auch lückenlos durchgeführt. Es handelt sich hierbei beispielsweise
um die Kontrolle des Ladungsmanifestes und, soweit Personen gewerbsmässig
befördert werden, des Reisendenverzeichnisses. Nach dem Auslad wird
das Luftfahrzeug zudem durch einen Zollbeamten besichtigt, wobei ihm auf
Verlangen sämtliche Räume, Schränke und Behältnisse
zu öffnen sind, die für die Vornahme der Besichtigung erforderlich
sind. Bei Verdachtsmomenten haben die Zollbehörden weiter jederzeit
die Möglichkeit, Kontrollen durchzuführen. Diese Verdachtsmomente
beschränken sich aber in der Regel auf die mögliche Verletzung
von Zollvorschriften. Technische Kontrollen an ausländischen Luftfahrzeugen
können gemäss den Vorgaben der europäischen Zivilluftfahrtorganisation
im Rahmen des Safety Assessment of Foreign Aircraft durch das Bazl durchgeführt
werden. Die Kontrollen hierbei beschränken sich aber auf rein technische
Aspekte wie z. B. Pilotenlizenzen, im Cockpit mitzuführende Dokumente,
die Sicherheitsausrüstung in Cockpit und Kabine sowie den allgemeinen
Zustand des Luftfahrzeuges.
3. Die Schweiz hat mehrmals sowohl auf multilateraler wie auch auf
bilateraler Ebene die grundlegende Bedeutung des Folterverbotes als zwingende
Bestimmung des Völkerrechtes in Erinnerung gerufen. Weiter haben Bundesrätin
Micheline Calmy-Rey und Staatssekretär Ambühl anlässlich
ihrer Besuche in Washington im Juni 2005 den amerikanischen Behörden
ein Memorandum übergeben, in welchem darauf hingewiesen wird, dass
die Überführung von Personen in Länder, in denen sie riskieren,
gefoltert zu werden, gegen das Folterverbot und das ebenfalls völkergewohnheitsrechtliche
Non-Refoulement-Prinzip verstösst. Nachdem in den Medien entsprechende
Berichte erschienen sind, hat das EDA die Botschaft der USA in Bern um
Klärung ersucht. Das EDA hat die Daten und die Immatrikulationen der
Botschaft übermittelt und festgehalten, dass, sollten sich diese Angaben
bestätigen, die Schweiz diese Praxis verurteilen und von den USA die
Einstellung dieser Flüge verlangen würde. Der Vertreter der USA
teilte mit, er werde die Anfrage weiterleiten und den Behörden in
Washington die Bedenken der Schweiz zur Kenntnis bringen. Die Schweiz wird
eine offizielle Antwort erhalten.
November 2, 2005
CIA Holds Terror Suspects in Secret Prisons
Debate Is Growing Within Agency About Legality and
of Overseas System Set Up After 9/11
By Dana Priest
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
Afghanistan, the largest CIA covert prison was code-named the Salt Pit,
at center left above. (Space Imaging Middle East)
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Washington Post is not publishing the names of the Eastern European
countries involved in the covert program, at the request of senior U.S.
officials. They argued that the disclosure might disrupt counterterrorism
efforts in those countries and elsewhere and could make them targets of
possible terrorist retaliation.
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.
Host countries have signed the U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other
Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, as has the United
States. Yet CIA interrogators in the overseas sites are permitted to use
the CIA's approved "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques," some of which are
prohibited by the U.N. convention and by U.S. military law. They include
tactics such as "waterboarding," in which a prisoner is made to believe
he or she is drowning.
Some detainees apprehended by the CIA and transferred to foreign intelligence
agencies have alleged after their release that they were tortured, although
it is unclear whether CIA personnel played a role in the alleged abuse.
Given the secrecy surrounding CIA detentions, such accusations have heightened
concerns among foreign governments and human rights groups about CIA detention
and interrogation practices.
The contours of the CIA's detention program have emerged in bits and
pieces over the past two years. Parliaments in Canada, Italy, France, Sweden
and the Netherlands have opened inquiries into alleged CIA operations that
secretly captured their citizens or legal residents and transferred them
to the agency's prisons.
More than 100 suspected terrorists have been sent by the CIA into the
covert system, according to current and former U.S. intelligence officials
and foreign sources. This figure, a rough estimate based on information
from sources who said their knowledge of the numbers was incomplete, does
not include prisoners picked up in Iraq.
The detainees break down roughly into two classes, the sources said.
About 30 are considered major terrorism suspects and have been held
under the highest level of secrecy at black sites financed by the CIA and
managed by agency personnel, including those in Eastern Europe and elsewhere,
according to current and former intelligence officers and two other U.S.
government officials. Two locations in this category -- in Thailand and
on the grounds of the military prison at Guantanamo Bay -- were closed
in 2003 and 2004, respectively.
A second tier -- which these sources believe includes more than 70 detainees
-- is a group considered less important, with less direct involvement in
terrorism and having limited intelligence value. These prisoners, some
of whom were originally taken to black sites, are delivered to intelligence
services in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Afghanistan and other countries, a
process sometimes known as "rendition." While the first-tier black sites
are run by CIA officers, the jails in these countries are operated by the
host nations, with CIA financial assistance and, sometimes, direction.
Morocco, Egypt and Jordan have said that they do not torture detainees,
although years of State Department human rights reports accuse all three
of chronic prisoner abuse.
The top 30 al Qaeda prisoners exist in complete isolation from the outside
world. Kept in dark, sometimes underground cells, they have no recognized
legal rights, and no one outside the CIA is allowed to talk with or even
see them, or to otherwise verify their well-being, said current and former
and U.S. and foreign government and intelligence officials.
Most of the facilities were built and are maintained with congressionally
appropriated funds, but the White House has refused to allow the CIA to
brief anyone except the House and Senate intelligence committees' chairmen
and vice chairmen on the program's generalities.
The Eastern European countries that the CIA has persuaded to hide al
Qaeda captives are democracies that have embraced the rule of law and individual
rights after decades of Soviet domination. Each has been trying to cleanse
its intelligence services of operatives who have worked on behalf of others
-- mainly Russia and organized crime.
Origins of the Black Sites
The idea of holding terrorists outside the U.S. legal system was not
under consideration before Sept. 11, 2001, not even for Osama bin Laden,
according to former government officials. The plan was to bring bin Laden
and his top associates into the U.S. justice system for trial or to send
them to foreign countries where they would be tried.
"The issue of detaining and interrogating people was never, ever discussed,"
said a former senior intelligence officer who worked in the CIA's Counterterrorist
Center, or CTC, during that period. "It was against the culture and they
believed information was best gleaned by other means."
On the day of the attacks, the CIA already had a list of what it called
High-Value Targets from the al Qaeda structure, and as the World Trade
Center and Pentagon attack plots were unraveled, more names were added
to the list. The question of what to do with these people surfaced quickly.
The CTC's chief of operations argued for creating hit teams of case
officers and CIA paramilitaries that would covertly infiltrate countries
in the Middle East, Africa and even Europe to assassinate people on the
list, one by one.
But many CIA officers believed that the al Qaeda leaders would be worth
keeping alive to interrogate about their network and other plots. Some
officers worried that the CIA would not be very adept at assassination.
"We'd probably shoot ourselves," another former senior CIA official
The agency set up prisons under its covert action authority. Under U.S.
law, only the president can authorize a covert action, by signing a document
called a presidential finding. Findings must not break U.S. law and are
reviewed and approved by CIA, Justice Department and White House legal
Six days after the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush signed a sweeping
finding that gave the CIA broad authorization to disrupt terrorist activity,
including permission to kill, capture and detain members of al Qaeda anywhere
in the world.
It could not be determined whether Bush approved a separate finding
for the black-sites program, but the consensus among current and former
intelligence and other government officials interviewed for this article
is that he did not have to.
Rather, they believe that the CIA general counsel's office acted within
the parameters of the Sept. 17 finding. The black-site program was approved
by a small circle of White House and Justice Department lawyers and officials,
according to several former and current U.S. government and intelligence
Deals With 2 Countries
Among the first steps was to figure out where the CIA could secretly
hold the captives. One early idea was to keep them on ships in international
waters, but that was discarded for security and logistics reasons.
CIA officers also searched for a setting like Alcatraz Island. They
considered the virtually unvisited islands in Lake Kariba in Zambia, which
were edged with craggy cliffs and covered in woods. But poor sanitary conditions
could easily lead to fatal diseases, they decided, and besides, they wondered,
could the Zambians be trusted with such a secret?
Still without a long-term solution, the CIA began sending suspects it
captured in the first month or so after Sept. 11 to its longtime partners,
the intelligence services of Egypt and Jordan.
A month later, the CIA found itself with hundreds of prisoners who were
captured on battlefields in Afghanistan. A short-term solution was improvised.
The agency shoved its highest-value prisoners into metal shipping containers
set up on a corner of the Bagram Air Base, which was surrounded with a
triple perimeter of concertina-wire fencing. Most prisoners were left in
the hands of the Northern Alliance, U.S.-supported opposition forces who
were fighting the Taliban.
"I remember asking: What are we going to do with these people?" said
a senior CIA officer. "I kept saying, where's the help? We've got to bring
in some help. We can't be jailers -- our job is to find Osama."
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.
The Salt Pit was protected by surveillance cameras and tough Afghan
guards, but the road leading to it was not safe to travel and the jail
was eventually moved inside Bagram Air Base. It has since been relocated
off the base.
By mid-2002, the CIA had worked out secret black-site deals with two
countries, including Thailand and one Eastern European nation, current
and former officials said. An estimated $100 million was tucked inside
the classified annex of the first supplemental Afghanistan appropriation.
Then the CIA captured its first big detainee, in March 28, 2002. Pakistani
forces took Abu Zubaida, al Qaeda's operations chief, into custody and
the CIA whisked him to the new black site in Thailand, which included underground
interrogation cells, said several former and current intelligence officials.
Six months later, Sept. 11 planner Ramzi Binalshibh was also captured in
Pakistan and flown to Thailand.
But after published reports revealed the existence of the site in June
2003, Thai officials insisted the CIA shut it down, and the two terrorists
were moved elsewhere, according to former government officials involved
in the matter. Work between the two countries on counterterrorism has been
lukewarm ever since.
In late 2002 or early 2003, the CIA brokered deals with other countries
to establish black-site prisons. One of these sites -- which sources said
they believed to be the CIA's biggest facility now -- became particularly
important when the agency realized it would have a growing number of prisoners
and a shrinking number of prisons.
Thailand was closed, and sometime in 2004 the CIA decided it had to
give up its small site at Guantanamo Bay. The CIA had planned to convert
that into a state-of-the-art facility, operated independently of the military.
The CIA pulled out when U.S. courts began to exercise greater control over
the military detainees, and agency officials feared judges would soon extend
the same type of supervision over their detainees.
In hindsight, say some former and current intelligence officials, the
CIA's problems were exacerbated by another decision made within the Counterterrorist
Center at Langley.
The CIA program's original scope was to hide and interrogate the two
dozen or so al Qaeda leaders believed to be directly responsible for the
Sept. 11 attacks, or who posed an imminent threat, or had knowledge of
the larger al Qaeda network. But as the volume of leads pouring into the
CTC from abroad increased, and the capacity of its paramilitary group to
seize suspects grew, the CIA began apprehending more people whose intelligence
value and links to terrorism were less certain, according to four current
and former officials.
The original standard for consigning suspects to the invisible universe
was lowered or ignored, they said. "They've got many, many more who don't
reach any threshold," one intelligence official said.
Several former and current intelligence officials, as well as several
other U.S. government officials with knowledge of the program, express
frustration that the White House and the leaders of the intelligence community
have not made it a priority to decide whether the secret internment program
should continue in its current form, or be replaced by some other approach.
Meanwhile, the debate over the wisdom of the program continues among
CIA officers, some of whom also argue that the secrecy surrounding the
program is not sustainable. "It's just a horrible burden," said the intelligence
Researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.
Report Warned C.I.A. on Tactics In Interrogation
November 9, 2005
WASHINGTON, Nov. 8 - A classified report issued last
year by the Central Intelligence Agency's inspector general warned that
interrogation procedures approved by the C.I.A. after the Sept. 11 attacks
might violate some provisions of the international Convention Against Torture,
current and former intelligence officials say.
The previously undisclosed findings from the report, which was completed
in the spring of 2004, reflected deep unease within the C.I.A. about the
interrogation procedures, the officials said. A list of 10 techniques authorized
early in 2002 for use against terror suspects included one known as waterboarding,
and went well beyond those authorized by the military for use on prisoners
The convention, which was drafted by the United Nations, bans torture,
which is defined as the infliction of "severe" physical or mental pain
or suffering, and prohibits lesser abuses that fall short of torture if
they are "cruel, inhuman or degrading." The United States is a signatory,
but with some reservations set when it was ratified by the Senate in 1994.
The report, by John L. Helgerson, the C.I.A.'s inspector general, did
not conclude that the techniques constituted torture, which is also prohibited
under American law, the officials said. But Mr. Helgerson did find, the
officials said, that the techniques appeared to constitute cruel, inhuman
and degrading treatment under the convention.
The agency said in a written statement in March that "all approved interrogation
techniques, both past and present, are lawful and do not constitute torture."
It reaffirmed that statement on Tuesday, but would not comment on any classified
report issued by Mr. Helgerson. The statement in March did not specifically
address techniques that could be labeled cruel, inhuman or degrading, and
which are not explicitly prohibited in American law.
The officials who described the report said it discussed particular
techniques used by the C.I.A. against particular prisoners, including about
three dozen terror suspects being held by the agency in secret locations
around the world. They said it referred in particular to the treatment
of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who is said to have organized the Sept. 11 attacks
and who has been detained in a secret location by the C.I.A. since he was
captured in March 2003. Mr. Mohammed is among those believed to have been
subjected to waterboarding, in which a prisoner is strapped to a board
and made to believe that he is drowning.
In his report, Mr. Helgerson also raised concern about whether the use
of the techniques could expose agency officers to legal liability, the
officials said. They said the report expressed skepticism about the Bush
administration view that any ban on cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment
under the treaty does not apply to C.I.A. interrogations because they take
place overseas on people who are not citizens of the United
The current and former intelligence officials who described Mr. Helgerson's
report include supporters and critics of his findings. None would agree
to be identified by name, and none would describe his conclusions in specific
detail. They said the report had included 10 recommendations for changes
in the agency's handling of terror suspects, but they would not say what
those recommendations were.
Porter J. Goss, the C.I.A. director, testified this year that eight
of the report's recommendations had been accepted, but did not describe
them. The inspector general is an independent official whose auditing role
at the agency was established by Congress, but whose reports to the agency's
director are not binding.
Some former intelligence officials said the inspector general's findings
had been vigorously disputed by the agency's general counsel. To date,
the Justice Department has brought charges against only one C.I.A. employee
in connection with prisoner abuse, and prosecutors have signaled that they
are unlikely to bring charges against C.I.A. officers in several other
cases involving the mishandling of prisoners in Iraq
But the current and former intelligence officials said Mr. Helgerson's
report had added to apprehensions within the agency about gray areas in
the rules surrounding interrogation procedures.
"The ambiguity in the law must cause nightmares for intelligence officers
who are engaged in aggressive interrogations of Al Qaeda suspects and other
terrorism suspects," said John Radsan, a former assistant general counsel
at the agency who left in 2004. Mr. Radsan, now an associate professor
at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, would not comment on Mr.
Congressional officials said the report had emerged as an unstated backdrop
in the debate now under way on Capitol Hill over whether the C.I.A. should
be subjected to the same strict rules on interrogation that the military
is required to follow. In opposing an amendment sponsored by Senator John
McCain, Republican of Arizona,
Mr. Goss and Vice President Dick
Cheney have argued that the C.I.A. should be granted an exemption allowing
it extra latitude, subject to presidential authorization, in interrogating
high-level terrorists abroad who might have knowledge about future attacks.
The issue of the agency's treatment of detainees arose shortly after
the attacks of Sept. 11, after C.I.A. officers became involved in interrogating
prisoners caught in Afghanistan, and the agency sought legal guidance on
how far its employees and contractors could go in interrogating terror
suspects, current and former intelligence officials said.
The list of 10 techniques, including feigned drowning, was secretly
drawn up in early 2002 by a team that included senior C.I.A. officials
who solicited recommendations from foreign governments and from agency
psychologists, the officials said. They said officials from the Justice
Department and the National Security Council, which is part of the White
House, were involved in the process.
Among the few known documents that address interrogation procedures
and that have been made public is an August 2002 legal opinion by the Justice
Department, which said that interrogation methods just short of those that
might cause pain comparable to "organ failure, impairment of bodily function
or even death" could be allowable without being considered torture. The
administration disavowed that classified legal opinion in the summer of
2004 after it was publicly disclosed.
A new opinion made public in December 2004 and, signed by James B. Comey,
then the deputy attorney general, explicitly rejected torture and adopted
more restrictive standards to define it. But a cryptic footnote to the
new document about the "treatment of detainees" referred to what the officials
said were other still-classified opinions. Officials have said that the
footnote meant that coercive techniques approved by the Justice Department
under the looser interpretation of the torture statutes were still lawful
even under the new, more restrictive standards.
It remains unclear whether all 10 of the so-called enhanced procedures
approved in early 2002 remain authorized for use by the C.I.A. In an unclassified
report this summer, the Senate Intelligence Committee referred briefly
to Mr. Helgerson's report and said that the agency had fully put in effect
only 5 of his 10 recommendations. But in testimony before Congress in February
Mr. Goss said that eight had.
Some former intelligence officials have said the C.I.A. imposed tighter
safeguards on its interrogation procedures after the abuses at Abu Ghraib
prison came to light in May 2004. That was about the same time Mr. Helgerson
completed his report.
The agency issued its earlier statement on the legality of approved
interrogation techniques after Mr. Goss, in testimony before Congress on
March 17, said that all interrogation techniques used "at this time" were
legal but declined, when asked, to make the same broad assertion about
practices used over the past few years.
On March 18, Jennifer Millerwise Dyck, the agency's director of public
affairs, said that "C.I.A. policies on interrogation have always followed
legal guidance from the Department of Justice."
28 November 2005
Could the CIA planes in Portugal and Europe be running
I know this sounds out there, but I can't shake the feeling they're
on a mission to saturate Europe with cocaine. One has to only remember
the war waged on Nicarauga and all the exposés which followed proving
the CIA was running drugs, not to mention supplying the gangs in South
Central Los Angeles with crack. Snakes!
When I first read about this, I felt my inner bs meter shoot up when
it was said they were making stopovers to transport terrorist suspects
to secret interrogation/torture centers in Eastern Europe and even Gitmo.
An airport in Porto? The hub is via Lisboa and south, Algarve, so Faro
would make sense. Those weren't the airports named. The base at Lajes has
been brought into it, The government in power is coughing and sputtering,
the left is demanding a major investigation.
Check any CIA factbook and a lot of other sources which all claim Portugal
is the gateway for drugs, especially coke from South America, Afghanistan
for heroin and Morocco for hashish. A big report came out recently which
revealed cocaine use is at an all time high in Spain and Britain, with
Portugal right in there. Portuguese publications have run articles about
the decline in heroin use and how the drug of choice now is cocaine and,
get this, the users in one article were 13 to 15 years old. This country
is awash in drugs and now there's a Columbian connection due to the cocaine.
Hey, the junkie rate declines, heroin isn't selling that well, but wow,
let's give 'em a taste of cocaine. It has to get here somehow and how better
to get it here from Colombia but by the CIA?
Back to those planes. I've been told by too many reputable people and
have also believed the CIA are the biggest drug lords on the planet. I
found an article from Columbia Tribune about how it was very unlikely the
secret prisons exist, which was mostly about the flights, but the part
I zeroed in on was at the end:
The Portuguese government said it was consulting with the U.S. government
after Diario de Noticias reported Friday that 34 planes that landed in
Portugal over the past three years were suspected of involvement in secret
Secret? Hmmm. When this first broke it was 3 planes and the year has
changed from 2003 to 2005. Another suspicion-raiser were reports of a huge
drug bust, the first on the 22nd of November, the others on the 26th or
27th, depending on where it was read. From Xinhuanet:
LISBON, Nov. 22 (Xinhuanet) --Portugal's Judicial Police (PJ) announced
on Tuesday that they seized 6.1 tons of cocaine and arrested seven suspects
during a raid on Monday.
Though it's a bit different the players seem to be the same. The first
bust report stated,
The cocaine came from Colombia. A Colombian and six Frenchmen were
arrested in the raid.
. The later bust as reported by UPI;
LISBON, Portugal, Nov. 26 (UPI) -- Portuguese police have seized more
than 7 tons of cocaine and arrested six people, including a Frenchman under
investigation in Spain for money laundering.
Both included either 5 to 6 Frencmen and one Colombian. If there were
really a second record bust in 6 days, that news would have had the headlines
screaming 13 Tons and what do you get? News. This hasn't been news as there
was no two and two to put together. Why? It doesn't make sense, and I feel
more confused than when I first began writing. I can't see this having
anything to do with the CIA planes, unless that other report about the
Spanish finding 2 tons of coke destined for the Netherlands plays a part.
Link. Hmm. The last report of a CIA plane landing there was a week ago
according to the Columbian Tribune.
Stop the GD presses. It sure pays to search in many different ways.
After finding the plane that landed in the Netherlands was from a CIA front,
"Path Corp" I searched that with CIA. I found a blog, xer-files that has
me whistling even though I have a mouthful of crackers. Woootwooot. The
first entry was about the Path plane. The entry before is what roped and
pulled me in:
November 24, 2005 -- LATE NEWS -- The Frequency Monitoring Centre in
the Netherlands is now reporting on yet another CIA prisoner aircraft transiting
Schipol East Airport in Amsterdam. The plane departed Schipol on November
18, 2005 enroute to Reykjavik, Iceland. The plane, a DeHavilland Dash 8-315B
(registration N505LL) flew to Amsterdam from Sabiha Gökçen
Airport in Istanbul, Turkey on November 16, 2005. The plane is registered
to Path Corporation, a CIA front company. (Path owns three other aircraft:
N120JM (Fairchild.SA227-AT), N212CP (Cessna/208B), and N221SG (Gates Learjet
Corp 35A). N505LL was photographed at Chandler Airport in Phoenix on May
18, 2005 and has been seen in Afghanistan on CIA covert missions.
Turkey? Afghanistan? Whoa. Where do the drugs come from? Where are
they consumed? What is Amsterdam known for? I don't feel quite as ridiculous
as when I first began this wondering if the CIA were transporting drugs,
not terrorists. I'm going to stand by this hunch, like I would my man.
The feeling is that strong. In the meantime, Portugal plays a major role,
even if the players are usually another nationality. I don't understand
why the borders and the waters aren't more patrolled, unless...oh yes,
they're still doing for the CIA what they've done since the revolution
30-some years ago. Whatever is asked.
Just think about it. Iraq is costing more than the US can afford. All
wars have been paid for with drug money, so what makes things different
now? The CIA has always been the top dog. What makes that different? Not
a damn thing. It will always be business as usual and nothing anyone can
come up with to prove what I'm sensing is true, will mean a thing. These
agencies all play the same game -- there're no separate teams, in spite
of what the news, Hollywood or the White House want you to believe.
There you have it. I feel better having written out what's been stuck
inside for over a week now. I could be totally wrong or totally right,
but will never know. Hell, they could be transporting both -- terrorist
suspects and drugs, a most sick and slick operation that only the CIA can
get away with. Snakes.
48/2005 - November 28, 2005
CIA FLIGHTS IN EUROPE
Hunt for Hercules N8183J
By Georg Mascolo, Hans-Jürgen Schlamp and Holger Stark
A bitter debate over torture has erupted in Europe. Washington is believed
to have used EU countries as transit points for moving terrorism suspects
to clandestine locations where they may have been tortured. The Council
of Europe and other organizations are now demanding answers -- from the
US and European countries who looked the other way.
Dick Marty, a liberal-minded Swiss citizen with a gray beard, glasses
and a high forehead, knows what it's like to face a powerful opponent.
As a prosecutor, he once successfully prosecuted the Mafia. His current
adversary is just as intimidating and perhaps even more secretive than
the Mafia. It's the United States Central Intelligence Agency, which, in
an effort to back the White House, has responded to the Sept. 11, 2001
attacks by kidnapping terrorism suspects and presumably abusing them in
secret prisons. Now the Council of Europe has hired Marty to find out which
European countries may have helped the US agents achieve their objectives.
Last Friday, the Swiss prosecutor made it clear that he has no compunctions
about picking a fight with the world's sole remaining superpower. A self-confident
Marty filed a request with the European Union's satellite center in Torrejón,
Spain for satellite photographs from the past three years. He hopes to
use the images to determine whether the alleged secret prisons did in fact
exist, in countries like Poland and Romania. He also contacted the European
aviation authority, Eurocontrol, asking for data on the flight movements
of 31 aircraft suspected of having served as CIA shuttles for the transport
of prisoners or abducted terrorism suspects.
Marty's mission touches on a hot-button issue -- and it's the first
serious attempt to investigate and expose an arbitrary system Washington
has allegedly used as one of its most effective weapons in combating terrorism.
The US agents have used torture-like methods that many experts believe
violate international law to extract statements from suspected members
of al-Qaida. Until now, Washington's European allies have consistently
looked the other way when it came to this notorious aspect of the worldwide
A regular CIA gulag appears to have been created in recent years, with
many prisoners kept in Morocco, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and various central
Asian nations, places where the CIA was given access to the prisoners at
all times. Alvaro Gil-Robles, Commissioner for Human Rights at the Council
of Europe, also claims to have seen a suspicious-looking prison camp at
Camp Bondsteel, an American base in Kosovo.
But the highest-ranking al-Qaida members are apparently kept moving
with a small group of CIA interrogation experts, like an invisible caravan,
from one of the so-called black sites to another. Outrage over claims that
some of these secret prisons may be located at former military bases in
Eastern Europe triggered the Council of Europe's investigation.
Turning a blind eye to human rights violations?
In the past, the Europeans turned a blind eye to the Americans' human
rights violations. After all, Islamist terror was considered more dangerous
and, more importantly, was being committed by a common enemy. But now European
politicians have had enough.
Marty secretly hopes for trans-Atlantic cooperation, and he may well
get it. A heated debate has broken out in the United States over whether
the West's leading power can resort to torture when it believes its national
security is under threat. The Bush administration's draconian methods have
met with sharp resistance in the US Senate. US President George W. Bush,
for his part, has threatened to veto an amendment that would require the
CIA -- like any other US government agency -- to use only methods allowed
under international law to extract information from its prisoners. Vice
President Dick Cheney's vehement efforts to obstruct the amendment even
prompted former CIA Director Stansfield Turner to angrily label Cheney
a "vice president for torture."
Another amendment the US Congress recently approved would give the US
government 60 days to present a detailed report on the secret CIA prisons,
or black sites. Specifically, Congress wants information on both the locations
of these sites and all the interrogation methods allegedly used there.
In other words, it appears that the US Congress and Swiss prosecutor Marty
are both urgently seeking the same information.
The Council of Europe's investigator already submitted a discreet request
to the office of Democratic Senator John Kerry, who proposed the amendment,
asking for information on the outcome of the report. Meanwhile, however,
Marty can at least look forward to receiving informal help. In light of
the heated debate over torture in Washington, the prospects of keeping
the highly confidential report under wraps are slim.
The White House is increasingly coming under fire, especially in light
of the difficulties Bush is having in convincing his fellow Americans that
he is, in fact, winning the global war against terrorism. Indeed, every
attempt on the part of the administration to suppress the revolt in the
Senate against White House-sanctioned interrogation practices has so far
The US does not engage in torture, but rather "unique and innovative"
methods of prisoner interrogation, explains CIA Director Porter Goss. But
what these methods entail has since become public knowledge. Under the
policy, blows to the face and the abdomen are allowed, as is the apparently
routine practice of forcing prisoners to stand for 40-hour periods in ice-cold
cells while periodically spraying them with cold water. In an especially
repugnant practice known as waterboarding, the prisoner is made to believe
that he is drowning. "We must never simply fight evil with evil," says
Republican Senator John McCain, himself a torture victim during the Vietnam
War. "It will kill us."
European governments in the hot seat
The investigations in Europe are also acquiring a new sense of urgency,
prompted by an official investigation request filed by the Council of Europe,
which arrived in European capitals last Tuesday and has made officials
nervous in several member states, including Germany. In a questionnaire
accompanying the request, Terry Davis, the Secretary General of the Council
of Europe, asks for information on the "activities of foreign services"
on German soil and demands an investigation into the possible abduction
of suspected al-Qaida activists. The request also includes questions about
prisoner "transport by air."
The German government will have some explaining to do, especially when
it comes to charges that the German authorities turned a blind eye to the
Americans having used their military base in Frankfurt am Main, which was
just closed in October, Berlin's Schönefeld Airport and the US military
base in Ramstein essentially as European transfer stations for their secret
British journalist Stephen Grey, who claims to have a list of the flight
movements of CIA aircraft, says he has discovered 210 suspicious flights
in England alone. In January 2003, the Austrian air force even sent up
two fighter jets to check on a suspicious Hercules flying under registration
number N8183J. An investigation later revealed that the plane had taken
off from the Rhine-Main Airbase in Frankfurt and was operated by Tepper
Aviation, which is considered a CIA front company.
The German government has long been unofficially aware of such episodes.
But it too has no knowledge of what or who was actually being transported
on the aircraft. Nevertheless, Berlin has yet to follow the lead of the
Danish government, which insisted that the Pentagon discontinue flights
in Danish airspace that are "incompatible with international conventions."
The Council of Europe also wants to know how the German government intends
to ensure that such activities on the part of "foreign agencies" are monitored
in the future -- and "to what extent domestic law provides for a suitable
response to such violations of the law," especially when they relate to
the "curtailment of liberty by foreign agencies."
In short, the Council of Europe wants to know what European governments
intend to do about CIA agents being allowed to fly their prisoners across
Europe with impunity. The Germans won't be the only ones with some explaining
to do by Feb. 21, the deadline for all member states to return the questionnaire.
The truth is that hardly any US ally in Europe has sufficiently met its
obligation to comply with the requirements of the European Convention on
Human Rights, which prohibits any form of torture.
In Germany, there is at least one documented case of the CIA abducting
Khaled el-Masri, from the southern city of Neu-Ulm. The story of Masri,
who was abducted in Macedonia in late 2003 and flown to Afghanistan in
January 2004, is one of the first cases to expose the secret CIA program.
Masri, who has had a German passport for the past decade, was interrogated
for months in a prison in Afghanistan, where he was likely tortured and,
after no evidence was found to incriminate him, was secretly flown back
to Europe in late May 2004. The case has drawn the attention of both the
German and the Spanish authorities, because the aircraft used to transport
Masri, a Boeing 737 with registration number N313P, was owned by a company
with ties to the CIA and made a stop on the Spanish island of Mallorca.
The German government must have known about the allegations by no later
than June 2004, when Masri's attorney, Manfred Gnjidic wrote to then Foreign
Minister Joschka Fischer and the Federal Chancellery. The authorities reacted
as they often do in embarrassing situations, using behind-the-scenes diplomacy
in an attempt to make the problem go away.
At first, agents with Germany's Federal Intelligence Service (BND),
sent a discreet inquiry to their US counterparts with whom they normally
enjoy a close working relationship. The reply was succinct: it was a mistake,
the kind that happens now and then.
Then, in Feb. 2005, then Interior Minister Otto Schily flew to Washington
and met with CIA Director Goss. Schily demanded an explanation and an assurance
that the abductions would cease. But this time Schily, otherwise known
for his good relationship with the Bush administration, came away more
or less empty-handed.
In a similar case, the Italian Justice Ministry has attempted to exert
pressure on its own judiciary. Justice Minister Roberto Castelli publicly
chastised a Milan public prosecutor who caused trouble for Castelli by
filing an extradition request for 22 CIA agents. Prosecutor Armando Spataro
said that in February 2003 the US agents kidnapped Imam Abu Omar in broad
daylight in Milan, placed him on a Lear jet operated by CIA airline Tepper
Aviation, and sent him to Egypt via the US airbase in Ramstein, Germany.
If Castelli sends the extradition request to Washington, the move will
anger the Bush administration. But if he refuses, he'll irritate many Italians.
To avert either outcome, Castelli first plans to meticulously examine the
prosecutor's petition for signs of "leftist anti-Americanism."
Two Eastern European countries are coming under even more pressure than
Germany or Italy: Poland and Romania, both countries that apparently served
as temporary destinations for the CIA's secret al-Qaida transports. Insiders
in Washington claim that the two countries also contained secret black
The issue is especially worrisome to the Romanians. If investigator
Marty, currently making inquiries in Bucharest, finds evidence of the existence
of a secret US prison, the country's planned accession to the EU in 2007
could be in jeopardy. But all other Europeans who, despite not having actively
supported the prisoner transports, looked the other way for too long will
hardly be able to avoid coming clean. "If it becomes apparent that flying
torture chambers are circling over Europe," threatens Martin Schulz, Social
Democratic group leader in the European Parliament, "there will be no getting
around an official inquiry."
Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan
Correction Appended: A correction has been made to this text.
Through a translation error, SPIEGEL Online incorrectly stated that Khaled
el-Masri was abducted by the CIA in the German city of Neu-Ulm. In fact,
he was abducted in Macedonia.
- Fragestunde. Frage
Eingereicht von Teuscher
Eingereicht im Nationalrat
Stand der Beratung Erledigt
1. Hat eine Schweizer Behörde, und wenn ja, welche, über
Landung von geheimen CIA-Flugzeugen in der Schweiz Bescheid gewusst?
2. Da die Flüge angeblich geheim sind, wie hat das EDA davon erfahren?
3. Was wird das EDA unternehmen, wenn die USA weiterhin die Auskunft
über die Flüge verweigern?
Bulletin - die Wortprotokolle
- Fragestunde. Frage
Geheime CIA-Flüge. Sofortige Aufklärung
Eingereicht von Teuscher
Eingereicht im Nationalrat
Stand der Beratung Erledigt
1. Wofür hat die Schweiz Geheimdienste, wenn der Bundesrat nicht
durch diese, sondern über die Presse von den geheimen CIA-Flügen
2. Seit wann weiss der Geheimdienst DAP von diesen Flügen?
3. Zieht der Bundesrat Sanktionen gegen die USA in Betracht, wenn er
keine Antwort auf seine Anfrage zu den CIA-Flügen von den USA bekommt?
Bulletin - die Wortprotokolle
Mutmassliche Rechtsverletzungen durch die CIA.
Ermittlungen der Schweiz
Eingereicht von Banga
Eingereicht im Nationalrat
Stand der Beratung Erledigt
Im Anschluss an meine Anfrage 05.1093 ersuche ich den Bundesrat um
die Beantwortung folgender Fragen:
- Sind die drei CIA-Jets mit den Nummern N379 (später N8068V und
N44982), N313P (später N4476S) und N85VM (später N227SV) zwischen
dem 11. September 2001 bis Ende 2002 in der Schweiz gelandet oder haben
sie die Schweiz überflogen? Wenn ja, wann?
- Haben andere in der internationalen Presse als CIA-Flugzeuge enttarnte
Maschinen vom September 2001 bis heute Überflüge oder Landungen
in der Schweiz getätigt? (Die wichtigsten Registraturen könnten
- Hat er von den USA Passagier- und Crewlisten für jeden nachweislichen
Überflug und für jede nachweisliche Landung von CIA-Maschinen
in der Schweiz verlangt? Wenn nein, ist er bereit, dies zu tun?
- Hat er oder eine andere Behörde überprüft, ob sich
zu den Zeitpunkten, an denen die genannten CIA-Flugzeuge auf Schweizer
Flughäfen standen, von Italien international gesuchte oder andere
CIA-Agenten unter den Gästen von örtlichen Hotels befanden? Wenn
nein, ist er bereit, diese Überprüfung machen zu lassen?
- Hat er überprüft, warum sich der von Italien wegen Entführung
gesuchte CIA-Agent Robert Sheldon Lady sowie mindestens zwei weitere Kommandomitglieder
nach der Entführung des Imams Abu Omar zwei Mal in Zürich aufhielten?
Wenn ja, was ergaben diese Überprüfungen? Wenn nein, ist er bereit,
dies auf geeignetem Weg zu überprüfen?
- Hat er überprüft, ob eine der beiden Maschinen, mit denen
Abu Omar via Ramstein nach Kairo verschleppt wurde, den Schweizer Luftraum
benützte? Wenn ja, was ergab diese Überprüfung? Wenn nein,
ist er bereit, diese Überprüfung vorzunehmen?
Antwort des Bundesrates vom 10.03.2006
- Gemäss den Ermittlungen flog der Jet mit der Nummer N379P (später
N8068V und N44982) zwischen 2001 und 2002 zehnmal über die Schweiz.
Der Jet mit der Nummer N313P (später N4476S) durchquerte den Schweizer
Luftraum am 24. November 2002 und am 1. Dezember 2002. Der Jet mit der
Nummer N85VM (später N227SV) flog am 8. November 2002, am 12. November
2002 und am 22. November 2002 über die Schweiz.
- Neben den in der Interpellation erwähnten Jets haben auch andere
Flugzeuge das Schweizer Hoheitsgebiet in der Zeit von September 2001 bis
heute überflogen. Zwischen dem 24. Dezember 2003 und dem 25. Januar
2004 gab es vier Landungen in Genf Cointrin. Der Bundesrat verfügt
jedoch weder im Falle der obenerwähnten Jets, noch im Falle der übrigen
Flugzeuge über Beweise, dass es sich um CIA-Flüge handelte, die
für den illegalen Gefangenentransport benutzt worden wären.
- Artikel 3 Buchstabe c des Übereinkommens über die internationale
Zivilluftfahrt, dem die Schweiz beigetreten ist, besagt, dass "ein Staatsluftfahrzeug
eines Vertragsstaates das Hoheitsgebiet eines anderen Staates nur überfliegen
oder dort landen darf, wenn es eine Bewilligung durch besondere Vereinbarung
erhalten hat". Gemäss Artikel 5 des Übereinkommens haben alle
im Nichtlinienflugverkehr eingesetzten Luftfahrzeuge der Vertragsstaaten
das Recht, in das Hoheitsgebiet eines anderen Vertragsstaates einzufliegen,
es ohne Landung zu überfliegen und nichtgewerbliche Landungen durchzuführen,
ohne vorher eine Genehmigung einholen zu müssen. In allen oben erwähnten
Fällen handelte es sich um nichtgewerbliche Flüge. Gemäss
Völkerrecht muss die Identität der Passagiere bei solchen Flügen
nicht bekannt gegeben werden. In der Praxis wäre eine Überprüfung
ihrer Identität kaum möglich. Bis jetzt gibt es keine Beweise
für CIA-Operationen auf Schweizer Hoheitsgebiet oder im schweizerischen
Luftraum, bei denen die Grundsätze des Völkerrechtes oder des
Schweizer Rechtes verletzt worden wären. Trotzdem hat der Bundesrat
die amerikanischen Behörden um weitere Informationen zu diesen Landungen
in Genf Cointrin gebeten, sobald er davon erfahren hatte, d. h. im Juni
Die angeblichen Aufenthalte der von Italien wegen Entführung gesuchten
CIA-Agenten in Schweizer Hotels sind Gegenstand von Ermittlungen der Bundesanwaltschaft.
Den erfolgten Nachforschungen zufolge soll ein von Aviano gestartetes
Flugzeug auf dem Weg nach Ramstein am 17. Februar 2003 über die Schweiz
geflogen sein. Ob Abu Omar an Bord war, entzieht sich der Kenntnis des
Bundesrates. Die amerikanischen Behörden wurden um Erläuterungen
gebeten, und die Bundesanwaltschaft hat Ermittlungen eingeleitet.
Keine Sonderbehandlung für die USA
Eingereicht von Müller
Eingereicht im Nationalrat
Stand der Beratung Im Plenum noch nicht behandelt
Der Bundesrat wird aufgefordert, folgende Massnahmen zu beschliessen:
1. Die USA werden deutlich für ihr völkerrrechtswidriges
2. Die Administration der USA muss sich vor dem Gerichtshof im Haag
3. Die Schweiz stellt per sofort sämtliche polizeiliche und militärische
Zusammenarbeit ein und untersagt jeglichen Waffenhandel.
4. Die Schweiz führt eine lückenlose Untersuchung über
amerikanische Souveränitätsverletzungen in der Schweiz durch.
5. Die Schweiz untersagt ab sofort jegliche Überflüge und
Landungen von Flugzeugen, welche sich nicht den internationalen Normen
unterstellen. Sie akzeptiert keine "unbekannten Frachten" mehr.
6. Die Schweiz macht eine USA-unabhängige Analyse über die
Sicherheit in der Schweiz und schlägt geeignete Präventionsmassnahmen
vor. Diese werden insbesondere mit ihren Nachbarländern abgestimmt.
7. Die Schweiz bemüht sich um Uno-Reformen, welche es ermöglichen,
ein Regulativ zu erstellen, das alle Länder möglichst gleichberechtigt
Die USA geben vor, weltweit der Vorreiter für die Demokratie
und Menschenrechte zu sein. In Wirklichkeit mehren sich die Verletzungen
des Völkerrechtes und der Menschenrechte. Die Liste ist lang: offene
(Iran, Afghanistan) und verdeckte Kriegführung (Venezuela, Kuba) gegen
mehrere Länder ohne Uno-Legitimation; Verletzung international festgelegter
Menschenrechte (Folter in Guantanamo und anderen Ländern, Folter in
von den USA kontrollierten Gefängnissen), Verletzung der Aufsichtspflicht
als internationale Truppe z. B. in Kosovo (Vertreibung von Hunderttausenden
Roma) zusammen mit anderen vor Ort stationierten Truppen. Die bisherigen
Ermittlungen in der CIA-Affäre von Dick Marty untermauern zusätzlich,
mit welchen völker- und menschenrechtswidrigen Methoden die USA umgehen.
Jedes andere Land würde im vergleichbaren Fall mehrfach gerügt
und sanktioniert werden. Die USA kommen mit kritischen Bemerkungen davon
("man müsste Massnahmen prüfen").
Vor diesem Hintergrund muss nun die Schweiz ihre beiden Rollen überprüfen,
wie sie gegenüber den USA und der Weltöffentlichkeit auftritt.
Zum einen ist sie Depositärstaat der Menschenrechtskonventionen. Damit
soll sie nicht bloss Staaten mit Menschenrechtsverletzungen konfrontieren,
welche keine Gegenmassnahmen ergreifen können (Kuba z. B.), sondern
gemäss den genauen, internationalen Vereinbarungen über Menschenrechtsverletzungen
Mass nehmen und alle rügen, welche diese Rechte systematisch verletzen.
Zum anderen ist die Schweiz auch ein souveränes Land, welches die
Wahl hat, mit wem sie wie kooperieren will. Es steht ihr dabei sehr schlecht
an, wenn sie weiterhin mit einem Land Waffenkäufe und -verkäufe
betreibt, das gemäss eigenen Angaben Krieg führt. Es ziemt sich
nicht, mit einem solchen Land Freihandelsabkommen abzuschliessen.
Stellungnahme des Bundesrates vom 10.03.2006
1. Die Schweiz hat die USA wiederholt auf hoher politischer Ebene
auf ihre Verpflichtungen unter dem Völkerrecht und insbesondere unter
dem humanitären Völkerrecht hingewiesen. In einem Memorandum,
das Staatssekretär Michael Ambühl am 14. Juni 2005 dem US-State
Department sowie Bundesrätin Micheline Calmy-Rey am 27. Juni 2005
der US-Aussenministerin Condoleezza Rice übergeben haben, drückte
die Schweiz ihre Besorgnis aus über den Status der Häftlinge
in Guantanamo sowie die Praxis der sogenannten "Extraordinary renditions"
und erinnerte an die Einhaltung der erwähnten völkerrechtlichen
Normen. Im Zusammenhang mit den angeblichen CIA-Flügen verlangte das
EDA von den USA seit Ende Juli 2005 wiederholt Auskunft. Am 8. Dezember
2005 übermittelte die US-Botschaft im Auftrag des State Departments
die Erklärung von Staatssekretärin Condoleezza Rice, wonach "the
United States has not transported anyone, and will not transport anyone,
to a country when we believe he will be tortured". Am 30. Januar 2006 haben
die USA gegenüber der Schweiz erklärt, dass sie den schweizerischen
Luftraum oder schweizerische Flughäfen nicht für illegale Gefangenentransporte
benutzt haben und die Souveränität der Schweiz auch in Zukunft
Es liegen den Schweizer Behörden keine Beweise vor, dass der Schweizer
Luftraum oder Schweizer Flughäfen von der CIA für illegale Tätigkeiten
benutzt wurden (vgl. Punkt 4).
2. Der Internationale Strafgerichtshof in Den Haag ist für die
individuelle Strafverfolgung zuständig. Das bedeutet, dass nur Individuen,
nicht aber Staaten vorgeladen werden dürfen. Zudem sind die USA nicht
Mitglied des Internationalen Strafgerichtshofes. Streitigkeiten zwischen
Uno-Mitgliedstaaten können vom Internationalen Gerichtshof geregelt
werden, dessen Sitz sich ebenfalls in Den Haag befindet. Ein Fall kann
aber nur mit Zustimmung der betroffenen Staaten vor den Gerichtshof gebracht
werden. Es ist deshalb unmöglich, vor einem der beiden Gerichtshöfe
in Den Haag ein Verfahren gegen die USA anzustrengen. Der Bundesrat erachtet
ein solches Vorgehen auch nicht als opportun.
3. Bei einer Einstellung der Ein- und Ausfuhr von Kriegsmaterial mit
den USA wären sicherheitspolitische Konsequenzen in Rechnung zu stellen.
Die USA sind für die Schweiz ein bedeutender Lieferant von Kriegsmaterial
und tragen damit wesentlich zu der in Artikel 1 des Kriegsmaterialgesetzes
postulierten schweizerischen Versorgungssicherheit bei. Die wirtschaftlichen
Nachteile einer Einstellung der Lieferungen von Kriegsmaterial an die USA
würden zudem weit über die Rüstungsindustrie hinausreichen.
4. Die Bundesanwaltschaft hat Ermittlungen wegen Verdachtes auf verbotene
Handlungen für einen fremden Staat (Art. 271 StGB) eröffnet.
5. Der Überflug über schweizerischem Territorium unterliegt
der Respektierung des internationalen Rechtes, der schweizerischen Souveränität
und der Rechtsordnung der Schweiz. Die Schweiz und die USA sind Vertragsstaaten
des Chicago-Übereinkommens über die internationale Zivilluftfahrt,
welches Privatflugzeuge berechtigt, in das Hoheitsgebiet des anderen Vertragsstaates
einzufliegen, es zu überfliegen und nichtgewerbliche Landungen durchzuführen,
ohne eine Genehmigung einholen zu müssen. Das Bazl beteiligt sich
seit dem Jahre 2000 am Safa-Programm (Safety Assessment of Foreign Aircraft)
der Europäischen Zivilluftfahrtkonferenz (ECAC), welches auch polizeiliche
und zollrechtliche Kontrollen von gelandeten Flugzeugen zulässt. Diese
können allerdings nur bei begründetem Verdacht erfolgen und liegen
in der polizeilichen Befugnis der Kantone des entsprechenden Flughafens.
Bei den zur Frage stehenden Landungen in der Schweiz lagen keine Verdachtsmomente
vor, die damals eine Kontrolle begründet hätten.
Ausländische Militär- und andere ausländische Staatsluftfahrzeuge
dürfen nur mit einer vom Bazl erteilten Bewilligung (diplomatic clearance)
auf schweizerischem Hoheitsgebiet landen bzw. dieses überfliegen.
Die Schweiz hält in den entsprechenden Jahresbewilligungen neu fest,
dass die Benutzung des schweizerischen Luftraumes für Flüge,
die im Widerspruch zu den Regeln des Völkerrechtes stehen, nicht gestattet
ist. Aufgrund der amerikanischen Zusicherungen vom 30. Januar 2006 (vgl.
Punkt 1) erneuerte die Schweiz am 31. Januar 2006 die Jahresbewilligung
zur Benützung des schweizerischen Luftraumes gemäss geltendem
Recht und in voller Einhaltung des Völkerrechtes.
6. Die Schweiz führt Sicherheitsanalysen und die daraus abgeleiteten
Präventionsmassnahmen bereits regelmässig durch und stimmt diese
im erforderlichen Ausmass international ab.
7. Die Uno beruht gemäss ihrer Charta "auf dem Grundsatz der souveränen
Gleichheit aller ihrer Mitglieder". Gleichzeitig überträgt sie
insbesondere den ständigen Mitgliedern des Sicherheitsrates besondere
Kompetenzen, Pflichten und Aufgaben. Der Bundesrat befürwortet im
Rahmen der Uno-Reformen eine Erweiterung des Sicherheitsrates, die eine
bessere Vertretung der Entwicklungsländer ermöglicht und nicht
nur zum einseitigen Vorteil der Grossstaaten und zum Nachteil der übrigen
Länder erfolgt. Zudem setzt sich die Schweiz aktiv für die Erhöhung
der Transparenz und die Weiterentwicklung der Arbeitsmethoden des Sicherheitsrates
ein, damit sich alle Uno-Mitgliedstaaten in diesem Gremium besser beteiligen
Erklärung des Bundesrates vom 10.03.2006
Der Bundesrat beantragt die Ablehnung der Motion.
Mitunterzeichnende Frösch Therese - Garbani Valérie
- Graf Maya - Huguenin Marianne - John-Calame Francine - Lang Josef - Leuenberger
Ueli - Menétrey-Savary Anne-Catherine - Rechsteiner Rudolf - Recordon
Luc - Rossini Stéphane - Roth-Bernasconi Maria - Salvi Pierre -
Savary Géraldine - Vanek Pierre - Vischer Daniel - Zisyadis Josef
15 janvier 2006
«Nous restons persévérants
face aux Etats-Unis»
PRISONS DE LA CIA
Micheline Calmy-Rey rompt le silence du Conseil fédéral
après l’affaire du fax
CALMY-REY Pour la cheffe du Département fédéral des
affaires étrangères, la Suisse n’a pas à avoir honte
face à la question des prisons secrètes de la CIA: «Elle
fait partie des pays les plus persévérants pour obtenir des
informations sur d’éventuels transferts extrajudiciaires de prisonniers.»
BERNE Les Américains torturent-ils jusque dans des prisons de la
CIA en Europe, et tout cela en se servant de l’espace aérien suisse?
La révélation d’un fax intercepté par les services
secrets suisses a mis le Conseil fédéral sous pression. La
ministre des Affaires étrangères se jette à l’eau
Très franchement, avez-vous eu entre les mains le fameux fax
égyptien intercepté par les services secrets suisses et dont
les informations sur l’existence de prisons secrètes de la CIA en
Europe de l’Est ont fait l’objet d’une fuite dans la presse?
– Non, j’ai découvert une transcription de ce fax dans la presse
dominicale. Mais je n’avais pas vu le fax ni le document classé
secret. Selon la procédure fixée dans une ordonnance du Conseil
fédéral, trois de mes services avaient reçu une note
résumant des informations de ce fax, sans que la source soit mentionnée.
Ces informations ne différaient guère de celles contenues
dans un article du Washington Post et dans un rapport de l’organisation
Human Rights Watch.
– Le fax ne vous a-t-il donc rien appris?
– La note transmise à mes services n’a rien apporté de
fondamentalement neuf, et l’indiscrétion n’a rien changé
à notre politique étrangère dans ce domaine: les transferts
extrajudiciaires sont contraires au droit international public, les personnes
accusées doivent bénéficier d’une protection juridique,
et les interrogatoires sous torture sont strictement interdits.
– Vous sortez pourtant d’une semaine où le Conseil fédéral
n’a cessé d’être critiqué pour son silence voire sa
«servilité» à l’égard des Etats-Unis,
les prisons secrètes de la CIA et les soupçons de torture...
– Ces critiques m’étonnent, car la Suisse est intervenue très
tôt déjà. Elle fait partie des pays les plus persévérants
pour obtenir des informations sur d’éventuels transferts extrajudiciaires
de prisonniers. Dès fin juin 2005, j’avais transmis un mémorandum
à mon homologue américaine, Mme Condoleezza Rice, exprimant
notre position et nos préoccupations à cet égard.
–Quelles réponses avez-vous obtenues jusqu’ici?
– Nous n’avons été traités ni mieux ni moins bien
que les autres pays européens. Le 8 décembre dernier,Mme
Rice, lors de son passage en Europe, nous a fait transmettre copie de ses
déclarations – en substance, les Etats-Unis n’ont pas transporté
et ne transporteront quiconque vers un pays pratiquant la torture.
– Allez-vous en rester là, sachant que la présence de
prisons secrètes en Europe, la pratique de la torture et le survol
de la Suisse d’avions de la CIA avec des prisonniers privés de tout
droit se précisent de jour en jour?
– Nous restons persévérants face aux Etats-Unis et nous
continuons de leur demander des éclaircissements. Je précise
que nos démarches concernent 74 survols de la Suisse et 4 atterrissages
d’avions américains dont nous voulons savoir s’ils ont servi à
des transferts illégaux de prisonniers. Nous n’avons, en revanche,
pas à demander formellement de comptes aux Etats-Unis sur ce qui
se serait passé dans les autres pays européens.
– Ces autres pays, dont la Roumanie, sont mentionnés dans le
fameux fax. Se sont-ils plaints?
– De manière générale, les pays concernés
par ces informations ont réagi avec une certaine amertume. Ils ne
sont pas heureux d’être ainsi montrés du doigt. Et maintenant
ils nous demandent des preuves. A l’heure actuelle, nous n’en avons pas.
Mais nous sommes d’accord de partager les informations en notre possession.
– Et, avec les Etats-Unis, où en sont nos relations: Joseph
Deiss a fait savoir cette semaine que les pourparlers en vue d’un accord
commercial de libre-échange ne sont nullement perturbés alors
que vous avez laissé entendre le contraire?
– La fuite n’améliore pas l’atmosphère, mais il ne faut
pas surévaluer son effet. Surtout, le problème posé
par d’éventuels transferts extrajudiciaires et l’accord de libre-échange
sont deux dossiers distincts.
– Faut-il comprendre que vous ne sacrifierez pas la défense
des droits humains sur l’autel de nos intérêts commerciaux?
– La défense des droits humains est un des piliers de notre
politique étrangère et participe aussi de la défense
de nos intérêts. Nous avons clairement des divergences d’interprétation
avec les Etats-Unis sur le fait qu’il ne peut y avoir de trou juridique
dans la défense des droits humains en cas de guerre ou dans un autre
contexte. Mais ces divergences clairement exprimées n’empêchent
pas d’entretenir des relations bilatérales constructives dans les
domaines politiques, économiques ou autres.
– Le conseiller aux Etats Dick Marty, qui enquête sur les prisons
de la CIA pour le Conseil de l’Europe, se plaint dumanque de collaboration
de la Suisse. Allez-vous l’aider?
– Si nos informations intéressent M.Marty, nous lui répondrons
bien sûr dans toute la mesure du possible. Nous avons, par ailleurs,
reçu une demande d’information du secrétaire général
du Conseil de l’Europe, à laquelle nous aurons répondu d’ici
à la fin de janvier.
Les services secrets suisses ont tout faux
Maurice Botbol dirige depuis 1980 Intelligence Online, le site le plus
pointu sur les services de renseignements. Il ne raconte pas d’exploits
à la James Bond; sa spécialité est de donner avant
tout le monde le nom du nouveau patron du General Intelligence Department
jordanien ou de révéler l’existence de Sprint, un nouveau
logiciel d’analyse de renseignements. «A ma connaissance, c’est la
première fois qu’un service secret est contraint de reconnaître
qu’il est à l’écoute des pays étrangers.
C’est assez invraisemblable, car les espions ne respectent rien,sauf
leurs sources», constate Maurice Botbol. En d’autres termes, si les
services secrets ont l’habitude d’organiser des fuites, ils s’arrangent
pour que la presse ignore tout de la façon dont le document a été
obtenu. Il aurait été beaucoup plus judicieux de fournir
à SonntagsBlick une copie du fax égyptien original rédigé
en arabe. Autre faute impardonnable: les fax diplomatiques sont normalement
La Suisse montre qu’elle est capable de casser les codes utilisés
par Le Caire. «Or, dans ce métier, il ne faut surtout pas
montrer ses muscles. Au contraire, il faut faire croire aux pays étrangers
que leurs systèmes de sécurité sont sans faille pour
pouvoir les écouter facilement», s’amuse le directeur d’Intelligence
Un membre d’un service secret étranger en poste à Berne
se souvient qu’un ministre de la Défense s’était autrefois
vanté que son pays pouvait écouter les Iraniens. «Résultat:
Téhéran a changé tous ses systèmes de cryptage.
L’Iran a utilisé du matériel beaucoup plus sophistiqué,
et nous avons mis six ans avant de pouvoir de nouveau déchiffrer
leurs messages», raconte l’espion européen. Les services secrets
du monde entier seraient donc en train de maudire la Suisse.
Enfin, les spécialistes des services s’étonnent que l’on
ait choisi parmi des milliers d’interceptions un fax égyptien.
«Le Caire n’a guère la réputation d’être
pointue en matière d’espionnage. Sa principale préoccupation
se limite au «flicage» de ses opposants à Londres»,
ironise un membre des services secrets. Un fax sur les prisons de la CIA
émanant du Ministère des affaires étrangères
allemand, français ou britannique aurait été autrement
plus crédible. Bref, Berne a tout faux dans ce dossier.
31. Januar 2006
ERKLÄRUNG DER GESCHÄFTSPRÜFUNGSDELEGATION
Die Schweiz und ihr Luftraum:
Benutzung für aussergerichtliche Gefangenentransporte
Veröffentlichung eines geheim klassifizierten
A. Gegenstand der Kontrolltätigkeit der Geschäftsprüfungsdelegation
Im Verlaufe des Jahres 2005 haben schweizerische
und ausländische Medien sowie Menschenrechtsorganisationen verschiedentlich
Behauptungen über mutmassliche Aktivitäten zur Terrorismusbekämpfung
der amerikanischen Nachrichtendienste in Europa aufgestellt. Gemäss
diesen Quellen hätten mehrere CIA-Flugzeuge das europäische Territorium
und/oder den europäischen Luftraum für illegale Gefangenentransporte
benutzt. In gewissen europäischen Ländern hätten sich geheime
Gefängnisse der CIA befunden oder befänden sich sogar heute noch
Diese Behauptungen führten zu mehreren parlamentarischen
Vorstössen (Frage Banga 05.1093,
Frage Günter 05.5232
und Fragen Teuscher 05.5244
Der Bundesrat beantwortete sie am 23. September, am 5. Dezember und am
12. Dezember 2005. Die Beantwortung weiterer parlamentarischer Vorstösse
ist noch ausstehend (Motion Müller Geri 05.3842,
Motion Zisyadis 05.3819,
Interpellation Lang 05.3744,
Fragen Banga 05.1181und
7 June 2006, 13:10 GMT
Rendition and the rights of the individual
By Paul Reynolds, World Affairs Correspondent
The outrage evident in the Council of Europe report on the secret CIA
rendition programme emerges from a clash between the methods used by the
United States to break up al-Qaeda networks and the sensitivities of human
rights mechanisms introduced into post-war Europe and designed not to permit
the unhindered use of government power.
The report's author, Swiss Senator Dick Marty, following up his earlier
draft findings, identified what he felt was the difference between the
responses to terrorism by Europe and the US:
"While the states of the Old World have dealt with these threats primarily
by means of existing institutions and legal systems, the United States
appears to have made a fundamentally different choice: considering that
neither conventional judicial instruments nor those established under the
framework of the laws of war could effectively counter the new forms of
international terrorism, it decided to develop new legal concepts. "This
legal approach is utterly alien to the European tradition and sensibility,
and is clearly contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights and
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights."
It is important to stress here that the argument is not about the origins
of the human rights mechanisms, the inspiration for which came as much
from the US as from Europe. It is about their application today.
The American decision to engage in counterterrorism beyond the reach
of national or international law arose from a desire - a need as Washington
saw the matter - to avoid the restrictions of the US law and constitution,
which protect individual rights. It therefore built not only Guantanamo
Bay, but a series of "black sites", or secret prisons around the world.
In these black sites, senior al-Qaeda suspects were held and interrogated,
sometimes by so-called "enhanced" methods.
For the Bush administration, authority for this came from a congressional
resolution passed on 14 September 2001. Under this resolution "the President
is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those
nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed,
or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001... in
order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the
United States by such nations, organizations or persons."
Specific authority for the CIA to act as it saw best against al-Qaeda
was then given by President Bush in a "presidential finding" on 17 September
It was therefore perhaps inevitable that one day, there would be a clash
between the operational requirements of the CIA and the legal concerns
of European human rights organisations, led by the Council of Europe, which
administers the European Convention on Human Rights. This clash is but
one element of the wider legal struggle that has seen efforts to get rights
for the Guantanamo Bay prisoners and pressure on the US to abide by a strict
interpretation of the international convention against torture.
The US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has stated that her country
does not engage in torture or hand over prisoners to those who do.
Poland and Romania
The most serious charge Mr Marty makes in his report is against Poland
and Romania, both of which he all but accuses of having allowed the CIA
to run black sites. These suspected secret prisons were in fact exposed
by the Washington Post in an article in November 2005.
Poland and Romania were not named in that article - the reference was to
"several democracies in Eastern Europe" - at the request of the White House,
but they were soon revealed. It is believed that the sites were rapidly
closed and the prisoners transferred, perhaps to somewhere in North Africa.
Mr Marty has now collated flight data from rendition flights and has
pointed a finger of suspicion at both countries, which continue to deny
they did anything wrong. In this, he goes beyond his earlier, preliminary
Other intriguing circumstantial information has come from Muhammad Bashmila,
a former secret prisoner now free in Yemen. In a rare interview with the
BBC Newsnight programme, he spoke of being transferred from Afghanistan
to a secret prison where it was cold, where the food appeared European
and where evening prayers were held at the late hour of 2045. Somewhere
in Eastern Europe is suspected.
Balance of liberties
It is argued, by the British government among others, that the phenomenon
of Islamic terrorism is so grave that there has to be a reconsideration
of the balance of liberties. Previously, according to this view, the individual
had to be protected against governments. But now the individual ability
to wage war on societies is so great that individuals have to be restricted.
Mr Marty does not accept this. In his report, he states: "The compilation
of so-called "black lists" of individuals and companies suspected of maintaining
connections with organisations considered terrorist and the application
of the associated sanctions clearly breach every principle of the fundamental
right to a fair trial: no specific charges, no right to be heard, no right
of appeal, no established procedure for removing one's name from the list."
But he also quotes within his report a defence from Dan Fried, the US
Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs: "We are attempting to
keep our people safe; we are attempting to fight dangerous terrorist groups
who are active and who mean what they say about destroying us. We are trying
to do so in a way consistent with our values and our international legal
obligations. "Doing all of those things in practice is not easy, partly
- as we've discovered as we've gotten into it - the struggle we are in
does not fit neatly either into the criminal legal framework, or neatly
into the law of war framework."
September 5, 2006 [emphasis added]
Strategy for Combating Terrorism
[see also: CIA Program
of Secret Prisons Abroad Confirmed by U.S. President;
Links with "Rogue
States": US Treasury leans on Western banks, The Observer]
Today, The President Released His Updated National
Strategy For Combating Terrorism (NSCT), Which Outlines The
United States Government Strategy To Protect And Defend American Interests
At Home And Abroad From Terrorism. ...
Over The Short Term
The Advance Of Freedom And
Human Dignity Through Democracy Is The Long-Term Solution To The Transnational
Terrorism Of Today. To create the space and time for that long-term solution
to take root, there are four steps we are taking in the short term. We
Attacks By Terrorist Networks. Working with partners across the globe,
we are using a range of tools at home and abroad to take the fight to the
terrorists, deny them entry to the United States, hinder their movement
across international boundaries, and establish protective measures to further
reduce our vulnerability to attack.
WMD To Rogue States And Terrorist Allies Who Seek To Use Them. Weapons
of mass destruction in the hands of terrorists is one of the gravest threats
we face. We have taken aggressive efforts to deny terrorists access to
WMD-related materials, equipment, and expertise, and we are enhancing these
activities through an integrated effort at all levels of government and
with the private sector and our foreign partners to stay ahead of this
dynamic and evolving threat.
Terrorists The Support And Sanctuary Of Rogue States. We
make no distinction between those who commit acts of terror and those who
support and harbor terrorists. We are working to disrupt the flow of resources
from states to terrorists while simultaneously end state sponsorship of
Terrorists Control Of Any Area They Would Use As A Base And Launching Pad
For Terror. We are working to prevent terrorists from exploiting ungoverned
and under-governed areas as physical safehavens. These
efforts also extend to non-physical or virtual safehavens, such as those
existing within legal, cyber, and financial systems.
safehavens. Financial systems are used by terrorist organizations
as a fiscal sanctuary in which to store and transfer the funds that support
their survival and operations. Terrorist organizations use a variety of
financial systems, including formal banking, wire transfers, debit and
other stored value cards, online value storage and value transfer systems,
the informal hawala system, and cash couriers. Terrorist organizations
may be able to take advantage of such financial systems either as the result
of willful complicity by financial institutions or as the result of poor
oversight and monitoring practices. Domestically, we have hardened our
financial systems against terrorist abuse by promulgating effective regulations,
requiring financial institutions to report suspicious transactions, and
building effective public/private partnerships. We
will continue to work with foreign partners to ensure they develop and
implement similar regulations, requirements, and partnerships with their
financial institutions. We also will continue to use the domestic and
international designation and targeted sanctions
regimes provided by, among other mechanisms, Executive Order
13224, USA PATRIOT Act Section 311, and United Nations Security Council
Resolution 1267 and subsequent resolutions.
These tools identify and isolate those actors who form part of terrorist
networks or facilitate their activities.
September 6, 2006 The East Room
CIA Program of Secret Prisons
Abroad Confirmed by U.S. President - fact
Discusses Creation of Military Commissions to Try Suspected Terrorists
President's Remarks [emphasis added]
1:45 P.M. EDT
[see also National Strategy for Combating Terrorism]
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thanks for the warm welcome. Welcome to the
White House. Mr. Vice President, Secretary Rice, Attorney General Gonzales,
Ambassador Negroponte, General Hayden, members of the United States Congress,
families who lost loved ones in the terrorist attacks on our nation, and
my fellow citizens: Thanks for coming.
On the morning of September the 11th, 2001, our nation awoke to
a nightmare attack. Nineteen men, armed with box cutters, took control
of airplanes and turned them into missiles. They used them to kill nearly
3,000 innocent people. We watched the Twin Towers collapse before our eyes
-- and it became instantly clear that we'd entered a new world, and a dangerous
The attacks of September the 11th horrified our nation. And amid the
grief came new fears and urgent questions: Who had attacked us? What did
they want? And what else were they planning? Americans saw the destruction
the terrorists had caused in New York, and Washington, and Pennsylvania,
and they wondered if there were other terrorist cells in our midst poised
to strike; they wondered if there was a second wave of attacks still to
With the Twin Towers and the Pentagon still smoldering, our country
on edge, and a stream of intelligence coming in about potential new attacks,
my administration faced immediate challenges: We had to respond to the
attack on our country. We had to wage an unprecedented war against an enemy
unlike any we had fought before. We had to find the terrorists hiding in
America and across the world, before they were able to strike our country
again. So in the early days and weeks after 9/11, I directed our government's
senior national security officials to do everything in their power, within
our laws, to prevent another attack.
Nearly five years have passed since these -- those initial days of shock
and sadness -- and we are thankful that the terrorists have not succeeded
in launching another attack on our soil. This is not for the lack of desire
or determination on the part of the enemy. As the recently foiled plot
in London shows, the terrorists are still active, and they're still trying
to strike America, and they're still trying to kill our people. One reason
the terrorists have not succeeded is because of the hard work of thousands
of dedicated men and women in our government, who have toiled day and night,
along with our allies, to stop the enemy from carrying out their plans.
And we are grateful for these hardworking citizens of ours.
Another reason the terrorists have not succeeded is because our government
has changed its policies -- and given our military, intelligence, and law
enforcement personnel the tools they need to fight this enemy and protect
our people and preserve our freedoms.
The terrorists who declared war on America represent no nation,
they defend no territory, and they wear no uniform. They do not mass armies
on borders, or flotillas of warships on the high seas. They operate in
the shadows of society; they send small teams of operatives to infiltrate
free nations; they live quietly among their victims; they conspire in secret,
and then they strike without warning. In this new war, the most important
source of information on where the terrorists are hiding and what they
are planning is the terrorists, themselves. Captured terrorists have unique
knowledge about how terrorist networks operate. They have knowledge of
where their operatives are deployed, and knowledge about what plots are
underway. This intelligence -- this is intelligence that cannot be found
any other place. And our security depends on getting this kind of information.
To win the war on terror, we must be able to detain, question, and, when
appropriate, prosecute terrorists captured here in America, and on the
battlefields around the world.
After the 9/11 attacks, our coalition launched operations across the
world to remove terrorist safe havens, and capture or kill terrorist operatives
and leaders. Working with our allies, we've captured and detained thousands
of terrorists and enemy fighters in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and other fronts
of this war on terror. These enemy -- these are enemy
combatants, who were waging war on our nation. We have a right under the
laws of war, and we have an obligation to the American people, to detain
these enemies and stop them from rejoining the battle.
Most of the enemy combatants we capture are held in Afghanistan or in
Iraq, where they're questioned by our military personnel. Many are released
after questioning, or turned over to local authorities -- if we determine
that they do not pose a continuing threat and no longer have significant
intelligence value. Others remain in American custody near the battlefield,
to ensure that they don't return to the fight.
In some cases, we determine that individuals we have captured pose a
significant threat, or may have intelligence that we and our allies need
to have to prevent new attacks. Many are al Qaeda operatives or Taliban
fighters trying to conceal their identities, and they withhold information
that could save American lives. In these cases, it has been necessary to
move these individuals to an environment where they can be held secretly
[sic], questioned by experts, and -- when appropriate -- prosecuted for
Some of these individuals are taken to the United States Naval
Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. It's important for Americans and others across
the world to understand the kind of people held at Guantanamo. These aren't
common criminals, or bystanders accidentally swept up on the battlefield
-- we have in place a rigorous process to ensure those held at Guantanamo
Bay belong at Guantanamo. Those held at Guantanamo include suspected bomb
makers, terrorist trainers, recruiters and facilitators, and potential
suicide bombers. They are in our custody so they cannot murder our people.
One detainee held at Guantanamo told a questioner questioning him -- he
said this: "I'll never forget your face. I will kill you, your brothers,
your mother, and sisters."
In addition to the terrorists held at Guantanamo,
a small number of suspected terrorist leaders and operatives captured during
the war have been held and questioned outside the United States, in a separate
program operated by the Central Intelligence Agency. This group
includes individuals believed to be the key architects of the September
the 11th attacks, and attacks on the USS Cole, an operative involved in
the bombings of our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and individuals involved
in other attacks that have taken the lives of innocent civilians across
the world. These are dangerous men with unparalleled knowledge about terrorist
networks and their plans for new attacks. The security of our nation and
the lives of our citizens depend on our ability to learn what these terrorists
Many specifics of this program, including where
these detainees have been held and the details of their confinement, cannot
be divulged. Doing so would provide our enemies with information
they could use to take retribution against our allies and harm our country.
I can say that questioning the detainees in this program has given us information
that has saved innocent lives by helping us stop new attacks -- here in
the United States and across the world. Today, I'm going to share with
you some of the examples provided by our intelligence community of how
this program has saved lives; why it remains vital to the security of the
United States, and our friends and allies; and why it deserves the support
of the United States Congress and the American people.
Within months of September the 11th, 2001, we captured a man known as
Abu Zubaydah. We believe that Zubaydah was a senior terrorist leader and
a trusted associate of Osama bin Laden. Our intelligence community believes
he had run a terrorist camp in Afghanistan where some of the 9/11 hijackers
trained, and that he helped smuggle al Qaeda leaders out of Afghanistan
after coalition forces arrived to liberate that country. Zubaydah was severely
wounded during the firefight that brought him into custody -- and he survived
only because of the medical care arranged by the CIA.
After he recovered, Zubaydah was defiant and evasive. He declared his
hatred of America. During questioning, he at first disclosed what he thought
was nominal information -- and then stopped all cooperation. Well, in fact,
the "nominal" information he gave us turned out to be quite important.
For example, Zubaydah disclosed Khalid Sheikh Mohammed -- or KSM -- was
the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks, and used the alias "Muktar." This
was a vital piece of the puzzle that helped our intelligence community
pursue KSM. Abu Zubaydah also provided information that helped stop a terrorist
attack being planned for inside the United States -- an attack about which
we had no previous information. Zubaydah told us that al Qaeda operatives
were planning to launch an attack in the U.S., and provided physical descriptions
of the operatives and information on their general location. Based on the
information he provided, the operatives were detained -- one while traveling
to the United States.
We knew that Zubaydah had more information that could save innocent
lives, but he stopped talking. As his questioning proceeded, it became
clear that he had received training on how to resist interrogation. And
so the CIA used an alternative set of procedures. These procedures were
designed to be safe, to comply with our laws, our Constitution, and our
treaty obligations. The Department of Justice reviewed the authorized methods
extensively and determined them to be lawful. I cannot describe the specific
methods used -- I think you understand why -- if I did, it would help the
terrorists learn how to resist questioning, and to keep information from
us that we need to prevent new attacks on our country. But I can say the
procedures were tough, and they were safe, and lawful, and necessary.
Zubaydah was questioned using these procedures, and soon he began to
provide information on key al Qaeda operatives, including information that
helped us find and capture more of those responsible for the attacks on
September the 11th. For example, Zubaydah identified one of KSM's accomplices
in the 9/11 attacks -- a terrorist named Ramzi bin al Shibh. The information
Zubaydah provided helped lead to the capture of bin al Shibh. And together
these two terrorists provided information that helped in the planning and
execution of the operation that captured Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
Once in our custody, KSM was questioned by the CIA using these procedures,
and he soon provided information that helped us stop another planned attack
on the United States. During questioning, KSM told us about another al
Qaeda operative he knew was in CIA custody -- a terrorist named Majid Khan.
KSM revealed that Khan had been told to deliver $50,000 to individuals
working for a suspected terrorist leader named Hambali, the leader of al
Qaeda's Southeast Asian affiliate known as "J-I". CIA officers confronted
Khan with this information. Khan confirmed that the money had been delivered
to an operative named Zubair, and provided both a physical description
and contact number for this operative.
Based on that information, Zubair was captured in June of 2003, and
he soon provided information that helped lead to the capture of Hambali.
After Hambali's arrest, KSM was questioned again. He identified Hambali's
brother as the leader of a "J-I" cell, and Hambali's conduit for communications
with al Qaeda. Hambali's brother was soon captured in Pakistan, and, in
turn, led us to a cell of 17 Southeast Asian "J-I" operatives. When confronted
with the news that his terror cell had been broken up, Hambali admitted
that the operatives were being groomed at KSM's request for attacks inside
the United States -- probably [sic] using airplanes.
During questioning, KSM also provided many details of other plots to
kill innocent Americans. For example, he described the design of planned
attacks on buildings inside the United States, and how operatives were
directed to carry them out. He told us the operatives had been instructed
to ensure that the explosives went off at a point that was high enough
to prevent the people trapped above from escaping out the windows.
KSM also provided vital information on al Qaeda's efforts to obtain
biological weapons. During questioning, KSM admitted that he had met three
individuals involved in al Qaeda's efforts to produce anthrax, a deadly
biological agent -- and he identified one of the individuals as a terrorist
named Yazid. KSM apparently believed we already had this information, because
Yazid had been captured and taken into foreign custody before KSM's arrest.
In fact, we did not know about Yazid's role in al Qaeda's anthrax program.
Information from Yazid then helped lead to the capture of his two principal
assistants in the anthrax program. Without the information provided by
KSM and Yazid, we might not have uncovered this al Qaeda biological weapons
program, or stopped this al Qaeda cell from developing anthrax for attacks
against the United States.
These are some of the plots that have been stopped because of the information
of this vital program. Terrorists held in CIA custody have also provided
information that helped stop a planned strike on U.S. Marines at Camp Lemonier
in Djibouti -- they were going to use an explosive laden water tanker.
They helped stop a planned attack on the U.S. consulate in Karachi using
car bombs and motorcycle bombs, and they helped stop a plot to hijack passenger
planes and fly them into Heathrow or the Canary Wharf in London.
We're getting vital information necessary to do our jobs, and that's
to protect the American people and our allies.
Information from the terrorists in this program has helped us to identify
individuals that al Qaeda deemed suitable for Western operations, many
of whom we had never heard about before. They include terrorists who were
set to case targets inside the United States, including financial buildings
in major cities on the East Coast. Information from terrorists in CIA custody
has played a role in the capture or questioning of nearly every senior
al Qaeda member or associate detained by the U.S. and its allies since
this program began. By providing everything from initial leads to photo
identifications, to precise locations of where terrorists were hiding,
this program has helped us to take potential mass murderers off the streets
before they were able to kill.
This program has also played a critical role in helping us understand
the enemy we face in this war. Terrorists in this program have painted
a picture of al Qaeda's structure and financing, and communications and
logistics. They identified al Qaeda's travel routes and safe havens, and
explained how al Qaeda's senior leadership communicates with its operatives
in places like Iraq. They provided information that allows us -- that has
allowed us to make sense of documents and computer records that we have
seized in terrorist raids. They've identified voices in recordings of intercepted
calls, and helped us understand the meaning of potentially critical terrorist
The information we get from these detainees is corroborated by intelligence,
and we've received -- that we've received from other sources -- and together
this intelligence has helped us connect the dots and stop attacks before
they occur. Information from the terrorists questioned in this program
helped unravel plots and terrorist cells in Europe and in other places.
It's helped our allies protect their people from deadly enemies. This
program has been, and remains, one of the most vital tools in our war against
the terrorists. It is invaluable to America and to our allies.
Were it not for this program, our intelligence community believes that
al Qaeda and its allies would have succeeded in launching another attack
against the American homeland. By giving us information about terrorist
plans we could not get anywhere else, this program has saved innocent lives.
This program has been subject to multiple legal reviews by the Department
of Justice and CIA lawyers; they've determined it complied with our laws.
This program has received strict oversight by the CIA's Inspector General.
A small number of key leaders from both political parties on Capitol Hill
were briefed about this program. All those involved in the questioning
of the terrorists are carefully chosen and they're screened from a pool
of experienced CIA officers. Those selected to conduct the most sensitive
questioning had to complete more than 250 additional hours of specialized
training before they are allowed to have contact with a captured terrorist.
I want to be absolutely clear with our people, and the world: The
United States does not torture. It's against our laws, and it's against
our values. I have not authorized it -- and I will not authorize it.
Last year, my administration worked with Senator John McCain, and I signed
into law the Detainee Treatment Act, which established the legal standard
for treatment of detainees wherever they are held. I support this act.
And as we implement this law, our government will continue to use every
lawful method to obtain intelligence that can protect innocent people,
and stop another attack like the one we experienced on September the 11th,
The CIA program has detained only a limited number of terrorists at
any given time -- and once we've determined that the terrorists held by
the CIA have little or no additional intelligence value, many of them have
been returned to their home countries for prosecution or detention by their
governments. Others have been accused of terrible crimes against the American
people, and we have a duty to bring those responsible for these crimes
to justice. So we intend to prosecute these men, as appropriate, for their
Soon after the war on terror began, I authorized a system of military
commissions to try foreign terrorists accused of war crimes. Military commissions
have been used by Presidents from George Washington to Franklin Roosevelt
to prosecute war criminals, because the rules for trying enemy combatants
in a time of conflict must be different from those for trying common criminals
or members of our own military. One of the first suspected terrorists to
be put on trial by military commission was one of Osama bin Laden's bodyguards
-- a man named Hamdan. His lawyers challenged the legality of the military
commission system. It took more than two years for this case to make its
way through the courts. The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
Circuit upheld the military commissions we had designed, but this past
June, the Supreme Court overturned that decision. The Supreme Court determined
that military commissions are an appropriate venue for trying terrorists,
but ruled that military commissions needed to be explicitly authorized
by the United States Congress.
So today, I'm sending Congress legislation to specifically authorize
the creation of military commissions to try terrorists for war crimes.
My administration has been working with members of both parties in the
House and Senate on this legislation. We put forward a bill that ensures
these commissions are established in a way that protects our national security,
and ensures a full and fair trial for those accused. The procedures in
the bill I am sending to Congress today reflect the reality that we are
a nation at war, and that it's essential for us to use all reliable evidence
to bring these people to justice.
We're now approaching the five-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks
-- and the families of those murdered that day have waited patiently for
justice. Some of the families are with us today -- they should have to
wait no longer. So I'm announcing today that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu
Zubaydah, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, and 11 other terrorists in CIA custody have
been transferred to the United States Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay. (Applause.)
They are being held in the custody of the Department of Defense. As soon
as Congress acts to authorize the military commissions I have proposed,
the men our intelligence officials believe orchestrated the deaths of nearly
3,000 Americans on September the 11th, 2001, can face justice. (Applause.)
We'll also seek to prosecute those believed to be responsible for the
attack on the USS Cole, and an operative believed to be involved in the
bombings of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. With these prosecutions,
we will send a clear message to those who kill Americans: No longer --
how long it takes, we will find you and we will bring you to justice. (Applause.)
These men will be held in a high-security facility at Guantanamo. The
International Committee of the Red Cross is being advised of their detention,
and will have the opportunity to meet with them. Those charged with crimes
will be given access to attorneys who will help them prepare their defense
-- and they will be presumed innocent. While at Guantanamo, they will have
access to the same food, clothing, medical care, and opportunities for
worship as other detainees. They will be questioned subject to the new
Army Field Manual, which the Department of Defense is issuing today.
And they will continue to be treated with the humanity that they denied
As we move forward with the prosecutions, we will continue to urge nations
across the world to take back their nationals at Guantanamo who will not
be prosecuted by our military commissions. America has no interest in being
the world's jailer. But one of the reasons we have not been able to close
Guantanamo is that many countries have refused to take back their nationals
held at the facility. Other countries have not provided adequate assurances
that their nationals will not be mistreated -- or they will not return
to the battlefield, as more than a dozen people released from Guantanamo
already have. We will continue working to transfer individuals held at
Guantanamo, and ask other countries to work with us in this process. And
we will move toward the day when we can eventually close the detention
facility at Guantanamo Bay.
I know Americans have heard conflicting information about Guantanamo.
Let me give you some facts. Of the thousands of terrorists captured across
the world, only about 770 have ever been sent to Guantanamo. Of these,
about 315 have been returned to other countries so far -- and about 455
remain in our custody. They are provided the same quality of medical care
as the American service members who guard them. The International Committee
of the Red Cross has the opportunity to meet privately with all who are
held there. The facility has been visited by government officials from
more than 30 countries, and delegations from international organizations,
as well. After the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
came to visit, one of its delegation members called Guantanamo "a model
prison" where people are treated better than in prisons in his own country.
Our troops can take great pride in the work they do at Guantanamo Bay --
and so can the American people.
As we prosecute suspected terrorist leaders and operatives who have
now been transferred to Guantanamo, we'll continue searching for those
who have stepped forward to take their places. This nation is going to
stay on the offense to protect the American people. We will continue to
bring the world's most dangerous terrorists to justice -- and we will continue
working to collect the vital intelligence we need to protect our country.
current transfers mean that there are now no terrorists in the CIA program.
But as more high-ranking terrorists are captured, the need to obtain intelligence
from them will remain critical -- and having a CIA program for questioning
terrorists will continue to be crucial to getting life-saving information.
Some may ask: Why are you acknowledging this
program now? There are two reasons why I'm making these limited
disclosures today. First, we have largely completed our questioning of
the men -- and to start the process for bringing them to trial, we must
bring them into the open. Second, the Supreme Court's recent decision has
impaired our ability to prosecute terrorists through military commissions,
and has put in question the future of the CIA program. In its ruling on
military commissions, the Court determined that a provision of the Geneva
Conventions known as "Common Article Three" applies to our war with al
Qaeda. This article includes provisions that prohibit "outrages upon personal
dignity" and "humiliating and degrading treatment." The problem is that
these and other provisions of Common Article Three are vague and undefined,
and each could be interpreted in different ways by American or foreign
judges. And some believe our military and intelligence personnel involved
in capturing and questioning terrorists could now be at risk of prosecution
under the War Crimes Act -- simply for doing their jobs in a thorough and
This is unacceptable. Our military and intelligence personnel go face
to face with the world's most dangerous men every day. They have risked
their lives to capture some of the most brutal terrorists on Earth. And
they have worked day and night to find out what the terrorists know so
we can stop new attacks. America owes our brave men and women some things
in return. We owe them their thanks for saving lives and keeping America
safe. And we owe them clear rules, so they can continue to do their jobs
and protect our people.
So today, I'm asking Congress to pass legislation that will clarify
the rules for our personnel fighting the war on terror. First, I'm asking
Congress to list the specific, recognizable offenses that would be considered
crimes under the War Crimes Act -- so our personnel can know clearly what
is prohibited in the handling of terrorist enemies. Second, I'm asking
that Congress make explicit that by following the standards of the Detainee
Treatment Act our personnel are fulfilling America's obligations under
Common Article Three of the Geneva Conventions. Third, I'm asking that
Congress make it clear that captured terrorists cannot use the Geneva Conventions
as a basis to sue our personnel in courts -- in U.S. courts. The men and
women who protect us should not have to fear lawsuits filed by terrorists
because they're doing their jobs.
The need for this legislation is urgent. We need to ensure that those
questioning terrorists can continue to do everything within the limits
of the law to get information that can save American lives. My administration
will continue to work with the Congress to get this legislation enacted
-- but time is of the essence. Congress is in session just for a few more
weeks, and passing this legislation ought to be the top priority. (Applause.)
As we work with Congress to pass a good bill, we will also consult with
congressional leaders on how to ensure that the CIA program goes forward
in a way that follows the law, that meets the national security needs of
our country, and protects the brave men and women we ask to obtain information
that will save innocent lives. For the sake of our security, Congress needs
to act, and update our laws to meet the threats of this new era. And I
know they will.
We're engaged in a global struggle -- and the entire civilized world
has a stake in its outcome. America is a nation of law. And as I work with
Congress to strengthen and clarify our laws here at home, I will continue
to work with members of the international community who have been our partners
in this struggle. I've spoken with leaders of foreign governments, and
worked with them to address their concerns about Guantanamo and our detention
policies. I'll continue to work with the international community to construct
a common foundation to defend our nations and protect our freedoms.
Free nations have faced new enemies and adjusted to new threats before
-- and we have prevailed. Like the struggles of the last century, today's
war on terror is, above all, a struggle for freedom and liberty. The adversaries
are different, but the stakes in this war are the same: We're fighting
for our way of life, and our ability to live in freedom. We're fighting
for the cause of humanity, against those who seek to impose the darkness
of tyranny and terror upon the entire world. And we're fighting for a peaceful
future for our children and our grandchildren.
May God bless you all. (Applause.) END 2:22 P.M. EDT
Sheet: Bringing Terrorists to Justice
Today, The President Announced That Khalid Sheikh Mohammed ("KSM"),
Abu Zubaydah, Ramzi Bin Al Shibh, And 11 Other Terrorists In CIA Custody
Have Been Transferred To The Custody Of The Department Of Defense, At The
U.S. Naval Base At Guantanamo Bay. More information on the individuals
transferred to Guantanamo is available at http://www.odni.gov/announcements/content/DetaineeBiographies.pdf.
These Men Have Provided Valuable Information That Has Saved Innocent
Lives In The United States And Around The World. In
addition to terrorists held at Guantanamo, a small number of suspected
terrorist leaders and operatives captured during the war have been held
and questioned outside the U.S., in a separate program operated by the
CIA. The detainees recently transferred to the U.S. Naval
Base at Guantanamo Bay were previously held and questioned by the CIA.
The CIA program focused on a number of suspected terrorist leaders and
operatives – dangerous men with unparalleled knowledge about terrorist
networks and plans for new attacks.
The CIA Program Has Been, And Remains, One
Of The Most Vital Tools In Our War Against The Terrorists.
Questioning of detainees in the program has given us information that has
saved innocent lives by helping us to stop new attacks in America and abroad.
Information From Detainees Questioned In This Program Has Helped Unravel
Plots And Terrorist Cells. According To Our Intelligence Community, The
Program Has Produced Information That Has Saved Lives. Some Examples
Include The Following:
Abu Zubaydah Told Us That Al Qaida Operatives Were
Planning To Launch An Attack Inside The United States. Based on information
he provided, the operatives were detained, one while traveling to the U.S.
Zubaydah also disclosed that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed ("KSM") was the mastermind
behind the September 11 attacks.
Information Provided By Zubaydah Also Helped Lead To The Capture Of
Ramzi Bin Al Shibh, One Of KSM's Accomplices In 9/11. Together, these
two terrorists provided information that helped in the planning and execution
of the operation that captured KSM.
KSM Provided Information That Led Us To The Capture
Of A Terrorist Operative Named Zubair, Who Provided Information That Helped
Lead To The Capture Of Hambali – The Leader Of Al Qaida's Southeast Asian
Affiliate Known As JI (Jamal Islamia). After Hambali's arrest, KSM
was questioned again, and he identified Hambali's brother as the leader
of a JI cell, and Hambali's conduit for communications with al Qaida.
Hambali's brother was soon captured, and he in turn led us to a cell of
17 Southeast Asian JI operatives. When confronted with the news that
his terror cell had been broken up, Hambali admitted that the operatives
were being groomed at KSM's request for attacks inside the U.S., possibly
KSM Also Told Us Many Details Of Other Plots To
Kill Innocent Americans And Provided Vital Information On Al Qaida's Efforts
To Obtain Biological Weapons For Terrorist Attacks. He described
the design of planned attacks on buildings inside the U.S. and how operatives
were directed to carry them out. He told us the operatives had been
instructed to ensure the explosions went off at a point that was high enough
to prevent the people trapped above from escaping out of the windows.
Suspected Terrorists In The CIA Program Have Provided
Everything From Initial Leads To Photo Identifications To Precise Locations
Of Where Terrorists Were Hiding – Helping Us Take Potential Mass Murderers
Off The Streets Before They Were Able To Kill Or Kill Again. Detainees
in this program have helped us identify individuals that al Qaida deemed
suitable for Western operations, including terrorists sent to case targets
inside the U.S. Detainees in this program have identified al Qaida
travel routes and safe havens, and explained how al Qaida's senior leadership
communicates with its operatives in Iraq. They have identified voices
in recordings of intercepted calls and helped us understand the meaning
of potentially critical terrorist communications.
Legislation Authorizing The Creation Of Military Commissions To Try
These Suspected Terrorists For War Crimes
Today, The President Sent Legislation To Congress To Specifically Authorize
The Creation Of Military Commissions To Try These Suspected Terrorists
For War Crimes. The Bill ensures that these commissions are established
in a way that protects our national security and ensures a full and fair
trial for the accused. As soon as Congress acts to authorize the
military commissions the President proposed, the men our intelligence officials
believe orchestrated the deaths of nearly 3,000 Americans on September
11, 2001, can face justice. We will also seek to prosecute those
believed to be responsible for the attack on the USS Cole – and an operative
believed to be involved in the bombings of the American embassies in Kenya
The Legislation Also Includes Vital Provisions To Preserve Our Ability
To Question Key Terrorist Leaders And Operatives. We will continue
to hunt down terrorist leaders and operatives. And as more high-ranking
terrorists are captured, the CIA program will be crucial to obtaining the
life-saving information they can provide.
The Supreme Court's Recent Determination That Common Article Three (CA3)
Of The Geneva Conventions Applies To The War With Al Qaida Put In Question
The Future Of The CIA Program. CA3 prohibits "outrages upon personal
dignity" and "humiliating and degrading treatment." These and other
provisions are vague and undefined and could be interpreted in different
ways by American and foreign judges.
We Owe Our Military And Intelligence Personnel Involved In Capturing
And Questioning Terrorists Clear Rules So They Can Continue To Do Their
Jobs And Protect Our People. We are asking Congress to pass legislation
that will clarify the rules for our personnel fighting the war on terror.
We need to ensure that those questioning the terrorists can continue to
do everything within the limits of the law to get information that can
save American lives.
Passing This Legislation Is A Top Priority, And We Will Work With Congress
To Act Quickly To Strengthen And Clarify Our Laws To Meet The Threats Of
A New Era. We will ensure that the CIA program
goes forward in a way that follows the law, meets the national security
needs of our country, and protects the brave men and women we ask to obtain
information that will save innocent lives.
False Flag Interrogations
Convention, Additional Protocol I of 1977
Art 37. Prohibition of Perfidy
(reflecting the standing
obligations incurred also
by the United States under the
Hague Land War Convention
23 &, 24 of its Regulations of 29 July 1899)
It is prohibited to kill, injure or capture an adversary by resort to perfidy.
inviting the confidence of an adversary to lead him to believe
he is entitled to, or is obliged to accord, protection
the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict,
intent to betray that confidence, shall constitute perfidy.
following acts are examples of perfidy:
the feigning of an intent to negotiate under a flag of truce or of a surrender;
the feigning of an incapacitation by wounds or sickness;
the feigning of civilian, non-combatant status; and
the feigning of protected status by the use of signs,
or uniforms of the United Nations or
neutral or other States not Parties to the conflict.
Ruses of war are not prohibited. Such ruses are acts which are intended
mislead an adversary or to induce him to act recklessly
which infringe no rule of international law applicable in armed conflict
which are not perfidious because they do not invite the confidence
an adversary with respect to protection under that law.
following are examples of such ruses:
use of camouflage, decoys, mock operations and misinformation.
U.S. Army 6
On September 6, 2006, STEPHEN A. CAMBONE, Under Secretary of Defense
for Intelligence, has "approved FM 2-22.3 in accordance with DOD Directive
3115.09, DOD Intelligence Interrogations, Detainee Debriefings, and Tactical
Questioning." (see: FM
2-22.3 (FM 34-52), p.381: http://www.army.mil/references/FM2-22.3.pdf)
Issued by the Headquarters of the Department of the U.S. Army,
and distributed to the Regular Army, Army National Guard, and the
Reserve, Field Manual FM 2-22.3 (FM 34-52) "HUMAN
INTELLIGENCE COLLECTOR OPERATIONS", specifies in Chapter 8 "Approach
Techniques and Termination Strategies" (emphasis added):
"Two approaches, Mutt and Jeff and False Flag,
require approval by the first O-6 in the interrogator’s chain of command."
Flag. (Interrogation) The goal of this technique is to convince
the detainee that individuals from a country other than the United States
are interrogating him, and trick the detainee
into cooperating with US forces. For example, using an interrogator
who speaks with a particular accent, making the
detainee believe that he is actually talking to representatives from a
different country, such as a country that is friendly to the detainee’s
country or organization. The False
Flag approach may be effectively orchestrated with the Fear
Down approach and the Pride and Ego Up.
Oversight Considerations: The interrogation chain of command must coordinate
an interrogation plan that uses the False Flag
approach with the legal representative and the 2X, and receive approval
from the first O-6 in the interrogator’s chain of command for each specific
use of the False Flag approach.
use of the False Flag approach must
complement the overall interrogation strategy and other approach techniques
listed in the interrogation plan.
a HUMINT collector intends to pose as a national of a third-party country,
that country must be identified in the interrogation plan.
• No implied
or explicit threats that non-cooperation will result in harsh interrogation
by non-US entities.
collectors will not pose or portray themselves as any person prohibited
by this manual, paragraphs 8-10 and 8-11 (for example, an ICRC representative
[see below])." (p.156/7)
"8-10. Building rapport is an integral part of the approach phase. The
establishment of rapport begins when the HUMINT collector first encounters
the source. Depending on the situation, the HUMINT collector may introduce
himself to the source. In debriefing and liaison operations, this will
normally be the collector’s true name and affiliation. In elicitation,
the requirement and type of introduction depends on the operation. In interrogation
operations, the HUMINT collector normally will not introduce himself unless
he is laying the groundwork for an approach. If he does introduce himself,
normally he will adopt a duty position and rank supportive of the approach
strategy selected during the planning and preparation phase. The HUMINT
collector must select a rank and duty position that is believable based
on the HUMINT collector’s age, appearance, and experience. A
HUMINT collector may, according to international law, use ruses of war
to build rapport with interrogation sources, and this may include posing
or “passing himself off” as someone other than a military interrogator.
However, the collector must not pose as—
A doctor, medic, or any other type of medical personnel.
Any member of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) or its
affiliates. Such a ruse is a violation of US treaty obligations.
A chaplain or clergyman.
A member of the US Congress.
8-11. The HUMINT collector should seek advice from his SJA concerning representing
himself as holding any other sensitive position." (p.142)
Tribune published online September
[text in cornered brackets were added in the IHT issue of September
acknowledges CIA prisons exist
By Brian Knowlton
WASHINGTON President George
W. Bush acknowledged Wednesday that 14 of the most notorious terrorism
suspects had been held and interrogated in secret CIA camps, but said that
they had been moved to the Guantánamo Bay detention center to face
eventual trial, with the legal protections provided by the Geneva conventions.
Bush said that the International Committee of the Red Cross would be
allowed to meet with the men at the U.S. base in Guantánamo, on
the Cuban coast. "Those charged with crimes will be given access to attorneys,
who will help them prepare their defense, and they will be presumed innocent,"
Bush was speaking five days before the fifth anniversary of the Sept.
11, 2001, attacks, to an audience that included some victims' family members.
In a series of recent speeches, he has sharpened his public focus on national
security, raising its profile ahead of important congressional elections
Bush said that the transfer of the 14 - including some of the chief
architects of the Sept. 11 assaults on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon
- had emptied the secret CIA camps where the men had been held. But he
also made clear that the administration would work to clarify legal questions,
so that they could be used again. "Having a CIA program for questioning
terrorists will continue to be crucial to getting lifesaving information,"
he said. Tribunals of a few detainees had begun earlier, but they were
halted amid legal uncertainty.
[The transfer of 14 high-value detainees would empty, but not close,
secret CIA camps in Europe, the Middle
East and Asia where these men have been held, said U.S. officials quoted
by The Associated Press.]
Bush's statement was the first official acknowledgment of the camps.
Revelation of their existence last year by The Washington Post had created
tensions with complicit governments that, publicly, had denied their existence.
The president said simply that "a small number of terrorist suspects"
had been held and questioned outside the United States in a "special program"
by the Central Intelligence Agency. "This group includes individuals believed
to be key architects of the Sept. 11 attacks and attacks on the USS Cole"
in Yemen in 2000, as well as on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in
1998. "These are dangerous men with unparalleled knowledge about terror
networks and their plans of new attacks," Bush said. "The security of our
nation and the lives of our citizens depend on our ability to learn what
these terrorists know."
The CIA camps were believed to be in East Europe,
the Middle East and Asia, and to have accommodated anywhere from scores
of people to 1,000 or more at some point. Renewing his caution against
complacency, Bush said: "The most important source of information on where
terrorists are hiding, and what they are planning, is the terrorists themselves.
Captured terrorists have unique knowledge about how terror networks operate."
Bush said that he could not divulge the camps' location or any other
details, to avoid retribution against U.S. allies. "I can say that innocent
lives have been saved, here in the United States and across the world,"
he said. He added that interrogation techniques used had been "tough, and
they were safe, and lawful and necessary."
Also Wednesday, in a decisive retreat from practices made infamous by
the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, the U.S. Army explicitly banned several
interrogation techniques and required all members of the military to observe,
"at a minimum," the code set out in the Geneva conventions to protect suspects.
It appeared that in making its surprise announcements, the administration
hoped to blunt its critics' arguments while bolstering its own case that
high-value detainees cannot be tried exactly as ordinary prisoners of war
would be. Bush has been pressing Congress for legislation that would, for
example, allow sensitive evidence to be kept from defendants.
Bush's Democratic opponent in the 2004 election, Senator John Kerry
of Massachusetts, offered backhanded praise. "Today the administration
finally recognized that the protections of the Geneva convention should
be applied to prisoners in order to restore our moral authority and best
protect American troops," he said. For five years, Kerry added, "this administration
abused our Constitution, violated our laws and most importantly failed
to make America safe."
For more than a year, the administration had been reworking its widely
criticized policies on the treatment of suspects. But its move to embrace
standards long urged on the United States by many other countries and an
array of human rights groups, and to accept a larger level of transparency
in doing so, came as something of a surprise.
Bush said that the 14 detainees included Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and
Ramzi Binalshibh, two of the principal planners of the assault on the World
Trade Center and the Pentagon. They also included Abu Zubaydah, a Palestinian
who was once a key aide to Osama bin Laden, the leader of Al Qaeda. The
Indonesian-born militant Hambali was also on a list provided by the White
House; he is the suspected mastermind of the 2002 bombings in Bali in which
more than 200 people, many of them Australian tourists, died.
All the 14 detainees will be granted Geneva protections. At a time uncertain,
they will face what surely will be an extraordinary round of legal proceedings.
One U.S. Navy official in Guantánamo told reporters that military
tribunals there, delayed for months by uncertainty, could begin early next
A new U.S. Army
manual released Wednesday, which had been withheld for more than a
year amid criticism of the Defense Department's treatment of prisoners,
explicitly bans eight interrogation techniques: forced nudity or sexual
acts, use of hoods or duct tape; beatings; electric shock; the simulated
drowning known as "waterboarding," heat or temperature distress; withholding
food or water; mock executions; and the use of dogs for intimidation, but
not for maintaining security.
Several of those, including the use of dogs, hoods and sexual humiliation,
were documented in scores of photos taken by U.S. personnel at Abu Ghraib
prison near Baghdad, generating widespread outrage, the prosecution of
some military personnel involved, and an intense re-examination of official
interrogation rules and how they are policed.
A few new techniques would be allowed for terrorism suspects : a so-
called good-cop-bad-cop technique of pairing a hostile interrogator with
another who is seemingly sympathetic, and a "false flag" technique in which
interrogators pretend to represent a foreign government. In addition, detainees
could be held separately from other prisoners to prevent them sharing information.
The revised manual applies to anyone in Defense Department custody,
which now includes those high-level prisoners transferred by the CIA to
Guantánamo. The intelligence agency has been accused of prisoner
mistreatment in Afghanistan and Iraq linked to a network of secret prisons
around the world used for detention and interrogation.
A U.S. Army directive
released Wednesday states that it is Defense Department policy that "all
detainees shall be treated humanely and in accordance with U.S law, the
law of war and applicable U.S. policy." "All persons subject to this directive
shall observe the requirements of the law of war, and shall apply, without
regard to a detainee's legal status, at a minimum the standards articulated
in Common Article 3 to the Geneva conventions of 1949," it adds. That article
requires humane treatment of people detained during an armed conflict.
It forbids "cruel treatment and torture" and "outrages upon personal dignity,
in particular humiliating and degrading treatment."
[Bush again warned that the fight was far from over. "As the recently
foiled plot in London shows, the terrorists are still active, and they're
still trying to kill our people," Bush said, speaking before an audience
at the White House that included survivors of Sept.11 victims. "The most
important source of information on where terrorists are hiding, and what
they are planning," Bush said, "is the terrorists themselves. Captured
terrorists have unique knowledge about how terror networks operate."]
September 7, 2006 1:00PM
President Moves 14 Held in Secret to Guantánamo
By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG
WASHINGTON, Sept. 6 President
Bush said Wednesday that 14 high-profile terror suspects held secretly
until now by the Central Intelligence Agency including the man accused
of masterminding the Sept. 11 attacks had been transferred to the detention
center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to face military tribunals if Congress
The suspects include Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, thought to be the Sept.
11 mastermind, and other close associates of Osama bin Laden. Mr. Bush
said he had decided to bring them into the open after years in which the
C.I.A. held them without charges in undisclosed sites abroad, in a program
the White House had not previously acknowledged.
The announcement, in the East Room of the White House, was the first
time the president had discussed the secret C.I.A. program, and he made
clear that he had fully authorized it. Mr. Bush defended the treatment
the suspects had received but would not say where the so-called high-value
terrorist detainees had been held or what techniques had been used to extract
information from them.
The transfer of the high-level suspects to Guantánamo Bay effectively
suspended the extraordinary program, in which the intelligence agency became
the jailer and interrogator of suspects counterterrorism officials considered
the worlds most wanted Islamic extremists.
The government says the 14 terror suspects include some of the most
senior members of Al Qaeda captured by the United States since 2001, including
those responsible for the bombing of the destroyer Cole in 2000 in Yemen
and the 1998 attacks on American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Most
of the detainees have been interviewed extensively and are believed to
have little remaining intelligence value.
With the transfer of the suspects to Guantánamo, which is run
by the Defense Department, the International Committee of the Red Cross
will monitor their treatment, Mr. Bush said. He used the East Room appearance
to urge Congress to authorize new military commissions to put terror suspects
on trial, replacing rules established by the administration but struck
down in June by the Supreme Court.
As soon as Congress acts to authorize the military commissions I have
proposed, the men our intelligence officials believe orchestrated the deaths
of nearly 3,000 Americans on Sept. 11, 2001, can face justice, Mr. Bush
said, to an audience that included family members of the victims. He added,
To start the process for bringing them to trial, we must bring them out
into the open.
To that end, the president sent Congress legislation proposing new rules
for the commissions and detailing specific standards for the humane treatment
of detainees. Yet the proposal hews closely to the old commission model,
and it retains several provisions the court found troublesome, including
language that permits defendants to be excluded from their own trials.
At the same time, the Pentagon released a new
Army Field Manual that lays out permissible interrogation techniques
and specifically bans eight methods that have come up in abuse cases. Among
the techniques banned is water-boarding, in which a wet rag is forced down
a bound prisoners throat to cause gagging; intelligence officials have
said Mr. Mohammed was subjected to that treatment while in C.I.A. custody.
Although the C.I.A. has faced criticism over the use of harsh techniques,
one senior intelligence official said detainees had not been mistreated.
They were given dental and vision care as well as the Koran, prayer rugs
and clocks to schedule prayers, the official said. They were also given
reading material, DVDs and access to exercise equipment.
Administration officials said the timing of Mr. Bushs decision to bring
the terror suspects to trial was driven not by politics but by the need
to respond to the Supreme Courts decision and the fact that the suspects
were no longer regarded as sources of valuable intelligence.
On Capitol Hill, some Republicans reacted warily. But even those who
criticized the proposal said it was imperative for Congress to pass legislation
setting up tribunals soon.
I do not believe it is necessary to have a trial where the accused cannot
see the evidence against them, said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican
of South Carolina, a former military prosecutor who has played a central
role in the debate. But Mr. Graham said he believed his differences with
the White House can be overcome.
Mr. Bushs speech was the third in a series he is delivering on the war
on terror in the days before the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks,
and it carried potential political benefits for a White House that is intent
on maintaining Republican control of Congress this November.
The address helped put a face on the enemy, reminding Americans that
while Osama bin Laden to whom Mr. Bush referred repeatedly in a speech
on Tuesday is still at large, many terrorists have been captured. Five
years after the attacks, Mr. Bush gave the families of Sept. 11 victims
something to cheer about, and those in the audience did, as he announced
he wanted to put the suspects on trial.
By moving the high-profile suspects to Guantánamo just two months
before the midterm elections, the administration is putting intense pressure
on lawmakers to act before adjourning to campaign. If Democrats try to
thwart legislation to try senior members of Al Qaeda, they will risk being
labeled weak on national security, a label they can ill afford in an election
that may turn on the question of which party is better suited to keep Americans
This is certainly a logical and very sound step both substantively and
politically, said David Rivkin, who served in the White House counsels
office under the first President Bush and is sympathetic to this administrations
approach. Its reminding the country and the world of the folks we are fighting
against. Nobody can say these are just pitiful foot soldiers; these are
pretty senior guys.
The C.I.A. program, though officially a secret, has been the subject
of numerous news reports in recent months. By speaking publicly about it
for the first time, Mr. Bush hopes to build support for it on Capitol Hill,
and in the public.
The White House released biographies of the 14 suspects and details
of the accusations against them. They include such well-known Qaeda operatives
as Abu Zubaydah, who the administration said was trying to organize a terrorist
attack in Israel at the time of his capture, and Ramzi bin al-Shibh, who
the authorities say helped facilitate the Sept. 11 attacks.
Despite the new information, human rights organizations were critical
of Mr. Bushs announcement.
Its wonderful that at last the United States has acknowledged that these
detention sites exist, said Larry Cox, executive director of Amnesty International
U.S.A. But Mr. Cox described the program as a form of torture, and said
the United States should suspend it.
In his speech, Mr. Bush fiercely resisted that characterization. I want
to be absolutely clear with our people, and the world, he said. The United
States does not torture. Its against our laws, and its against our values.
I have not authorized it and I will not authorize it.
A senior intelligence official said there had been fewer than 100 detainees
in the C.I.A. program since its inception shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Beyond the 14, the remainder have either been turned over to the Defense
Department as so-called unlawful enemy combatants, returned to their countries
of origin or sent to nations that have legal proceedings against them.
The official described the C.I.A. detainees as the governments single
largest source of insight into Al Qaeda, saying they accounted for 50 percent
of everything the authorities had learned about the terrorist network.
But, he said, Some of these people have been held for a considerable period
of time, and their intelligence value has aged off.
Mr. Bush said the C.I.A. would not relinquish its capability to detain
and question terrorism suspects, and the senior intelligence official said
the administration intended that the program would continue. But agency
officials who feared employees might be subject to lawsuits or criminal
prosecution welcomed the hand-off of the detainees and the prospect that
the C.I.A.s role would be limited in future cases.
I am confident that this will be greeted with relief by agency employees,
said Jeffrey H. Smith, a former general counsel for the C.I.A. Many of
them were uncomfortable with their role as jailers.
Military justice experts say that if Congress passes the legislation,
trials of some terror suspects at Guantánamo could begin relatively
quickly, in three to four months. But the trials of the 14 high-value suspects,
who are held in a special high-security facility separate from other detainees,
might not begin for at least a year, because the government would have
to build its case .
One expert who has been critical of the administrations plan, Eugene
R. Fidell, predicted that the proposal would attract a lawsuit.
Going the way they have done this is in fact quite unfair to the very
families of 9/11 victims who President Bush had at his meeting today, Mr.
Fidell said, because those people need closure and in fact what hes done
is guarantee further protracted delay because of the inevitable litigation.
On Capitol Hill, Democrats were also critical. Representative Jane Harman
of California, the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee,
said Mr. Bush should have disclosed the program years ago and called his
speech the opening salvo in the fall campaign.
8 September 2006
Tell us where the prisons are, says Europe after Bush's
ALEXANDER HIGGINS IN GENEVA
EUROPEAN leaders have demanded to know the exact location of the secret
prisons used by the CIA to interrogate terror suspects in what critics
said was a system tacitly approving torture.
Dick Marty, the Swiss senator who led a Council of Europe investigation,
called the admission by George Bush of the existence of the secret detention
centres "just one piece of the truth".
The Red Cross yesterday welcomed the transfer of high-level terror suspects
to the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and said it planned
to check on them "very soon", but reiterated its desire to visit all detainees
in the US war on terror, wherever they may be held.
Critics said the US president's acknowledgment of the CIA programme
and justification of tough interrogation measures vindicated the worst
fears that Washington had gone too far in the pursuit of terror suspects.
Mr Bush seemed to be trying to justify "impunity legislation" that would
allow the CIA to continue to operate the centres and use "alternative techniques"
of interrogation, said Robert Freer, of Amnesty International. He noted
Mr Bush did not rule out cruel, degrading and inhuman prisoner treatment
even if he proclaimed, "The United States does not torture." The president
said the CIA's "procedures were designed to be safe, to comply with our
laws, our constitution and our treaty obligations. The department of justice
reviewed the authorised methods extensively, and determined them to be
Kenneth Roth, the executive director of New York-based Human Rights
Watch, said there remained the possibility of the CIA using practices which
are deemed as torture under international law, such as mock drownings.
Europe's Mr Marty said: "I have always been certain that these prisons
existed, so I am not surprised." Mr Marty said earlier this year that 14
European nations - spanning from Dublin to Berlin to Bucharest - colluded
with US intelligence in a "spider's web" of human rights abuses to help
the CIA spirit terror suspects to illegal detention facilities. His claims
triggered a wave of angry denials, including those from the US. Mr Marty
said he thought the timing of Mr Bush's admission "probably has to do with
the fact that the elections are coming up in the United States".
Graham Watson MEP, the British leader of the Liberal Democrats in the
European Parliament, said the revelation by Mr Bush would "bring a new
interest and momentum" to the work of the parliament's separate investigation.
Mr Bush got strong backing from Australia, a staunch supporter of his
invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and long detentions without trial of
terrorist suspects, though much of the global response was critical of
Mr Bush's "limited disclosures" to justify the secret prisons.
Muslim politicians and activists decried the secret prison programme
and the types of interrogation techniques used on detainees. Asma Jehangir,
a senior member of Pakistan's Human Rights Commission, demanded Washington
end the programme immediately and apologise for ever bringing it into existence.
"They have to admit that what they did was wrong," said Mr Jehangir.
Service 15-09-2006 - 12:09
for EU states to reveal their involvement
CIA secret prisons
Following President Bush’s acknowledgement that the CIA has operated
secret prisons for terrorism suspects, MEPs in the temporary committee
investigating claims of such illegal activity in Europe called on Thursday
for European governments to reveal their involvement. They also heard from
Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos and representatives of
three more alleged victims of extraordinary rendition.
"I am very pleased that Bush made this statement, which proves that
we were right to set up this committee", said committee chair Carlos Coelho
(EPP-ED, PT). "He explained to the world his decision to transfer
detainees to Guantanamo, where they will face a court and be protected
by the Geneva Convention, which is a step in the right direction."
Previously, there had been suspicions but not proof, said Jas Gawronski
(EPP-ED, IT) but now President Bush himself had provided proof. "But don't
try to link the usefulness of this committee to his acknowledgement (...)
Bush didn't apologise, he just stated the facts and said he will keep the
secret prisons open if new terrorists are caught.” The US President may
have been influenced by forthcoming elections, but “in any case I appreciate
that US has the guts to correct its own errors".
Rapporteur Claudio Fava (PES, IT) said "I am not glad about the statements,
I am rather shocked he could lie for so long previously! (...) Since Bush
spoke last week we have seen complete silence from the Commission and Council.
Maybe we don't have the legal means to act but we can raise our voice and
"Bush is admitting a criminal practice, and we have confirmed that such
practice has lead to the radicalisation of terrorism," said Giusto Catania
(GUE, IT). "The definitive silence of EU countries following his statement
has only one explanation: that they were not surprised at all."
Sophie In 't Veld (ALDE, NL) said “I propose we ask Member States to
send a written declaration on what they know about secret prisons and transfers,"
and, if they had any information obtained through torture in those camps,
"how do they feel about it?". She and Raul Romeva (Greens/EFA, ES) proposed
applying article 7 of the EU treaty, which provides for sanctions when
there is a serious and persistent breach of human rights by a Member State,
to any country which is shown to have hosted a secret prison or helped
with US renditions.
Moratinos: government not aware of any illegal CIA activity in Spain
Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, the first minister
to give evidence to the committee, said CIA activities in Spain had not
broken the law: "I can categorically state that - subject to what might
be revealed during investigations - the Spanish government is not aware
of any illegal activities or existence of detention centres", he said and
stressed: "Our government has not authorised any violation of the law".
He extended his assurance to the Spanish CNI, saying that "no Spanish intelligence
service has been involved directly or indirectly with the US on this matter.”
However, he added: "Our territory may have been used not to commit crimes
as such but as a stopover on the way to commit crime in other territories,"
saying that 66 suspect flights had made stops in Spain.
Asked by MEPs for his personal reaction to President Bush’s statement,
he said "One does not need courage to condemn unacceptable and illegal
activities which do not respect fundamental freedoms (...) Bush does not
say that such camps are on European territory. Let’s not get drawn into
easy anti-Americanism here; the USA is a great country with a Supreme Court
whose work has effectively forced Bush to make this statement".
More allegations of extraordinary rendition
Bernhard Docke, a lawyer representing Murat Kurnaz, who was held at
the Guantanamo Bay prison from late 2001 until August 2006, said there
was no proof to justify his detention. Mr Kurnaz, though born and raised
in Germany, was a Turkish citizen, who traveled to Pakistan in the autumn
of 2001 and was arrested by the authorities there. He was then handed over
to US forces and transferred to Guantanamo Bay, apparently on suspicion
of having sought to fight for the Taliban, said Mr Docke, who said his
client had been tortured while at Guantanamo.
Mr Docke said the German authorities had failed to help, on the basis
on Mr Kurnaz’s Turkish citizenship, with the Turkey’s response has been
“belated and passive.” He was, however, finally release after Chanceller
Angela Merkel raised his case during a visit to Washington this year, which,
said Sarah Ludford (ALDE, UK) was proof of “what can be done when you have
the political will to do it.”
Gül Pinar, a lawyer who represents the family of Mohammed Zammar,
a German citizen, said they did not know where he was or even if he was
alive. He had been arrested in Morocco in 2001, said Mrs Pinar, presumably
under the US extraordinary renditions programme, and sent to Damascus by
private plane, where it is thought he may still be imprisoned in Syria’s
Far-Filastin prison. She said that while she could not prove it,
she believed the German intelligence services had been involved.
Sylvia-Yvonne Kaufmann (GUE/NGL, DE) said the committee should raise the
case when they visit Berlin later in September.
The Committee also heard from Francesca Longhi, lawyer for Abou Elkassim
Britel, an Italian citizen detained in Pakistan and, said Mrs Longhi transported
to Morocco “under CIA aegis” aboard a private American plane in May 2002.
Currently held in a Moroccan prison, Mr Britel has been subjected to “torture
and illegal means of interrogation", his lawyer said during the hearing.
"Our [Italian] government", she added, "did not choose to look into that”.
Temporary Committee on the alleged use of European countries by
the CIA for the transport and illegal detention of prisoners
Chair : Carlos Coelho (EPP-ED, PT)
REF.: 20060908IPR10498 Contact:
Maria Andres Marin
: (32-2) 28 44299 (BXL)
: (33-3) 881 73603 (STR)
: (32) 0498.983.590
: (32-2) 28 32232 (BXL)
September 21, 2006 1757 GMT (0157 HKT)
terror suspect: 'I was beaten with a cable'
NEW YORK (CNN) -- U.S. officials detained Maher Arar in 2002 at a New
York airport as he was trying to return home to Canada from a vacation
in Tunisia. Canada had placed Arar, a Syrian native, on a terrorism watch
list. He says the U.S. arrested him and eventually sent him to Syria, where
he allegedly was tortured and held for 10 months.
A Canadian report this week concluded that Arar wasn't a terrorism suspect.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales says the U.S. legally deported Arar and
didn't send him to Syria to be tortured. Syria defends its handling of
the case, saying a Canadian diplomat visited Arar twice and found he was
CNN's Miles O'Brien talked to Arar, 36, about his experience.
O'BRIEN: What exactly happened to you inside that Syrian prison?
ARAR: Well, I was beaten with a cable on multiple occasions. I was
abused psychologically from time to time, and I was asked questions that
would be of interest mostly to the Canadian RCMP police and the Canadian
security agencies, and possibly to American agencies.
O'BRIEN: How did you respond?
ARAR: Well, I tried my best to answer them, you know, since I had nothing
to the hide. But the Syrians, they basically beat first and ask questions
second. And that's what they did to me. In fact, on the third day, to my
surprise, they wanted me to confess that I had been to a training camp
in Afghanistan, which at the end of that day, I falsely confessed to try
to stop the beating. The beating did not stop. But the -- you know, it
decreased in intensity after that false confession.
O'BRIEN: Did you think you'd get out of it alive?
ARAR: No, the beating I went through, just beyond human imagination.
The cell they put me in, the size - it was the size of a grave, 3 feet
wide, 6 feet long and 7 feet high. It was dark, it was filthy.
O'BRIEN: Do you blame the Canadian police for putting you on that watch
ARAR: Well, the findings of the inquiry report clearly state that it
is likely that the Americans based their decision to send me to Syria on
this false information. Well, this is not to absolve the American officials
who took the decision from any responsibility. At the end of the day, they
are the ones who took the decision to send me to a country that they themselves
acknowledge practices torture on detainees.
O'BRIEN: What happened to you, I think most people would agree, is
tragic and inexcusable. But in the war on terror, mistakes might be made.
How do you address that?
ARAR: I think, you know, my story, speaks about basic human rights
abuses that happen after 9/11. This was a deliberate, deliberate attempt
to send me to Syria to extract information under torture. Now what I would
like the U.S. government to do is to accept the findings of the inquiry
and to clear my name. That's what I'm asking them to do at the minimum.
5 October 2006
Innocent Canadian Citizen Maher Arar's Rendition
to Syria via Swiss Airspace?
In the matter of CIA flights and secret CIA prisons in Europe
- latest development: "Bush
acknowledges CIA prisons exist", Brian Knowlton, IHT, 6 Sep 06:
- Senator Dick Marty (firstname.lastname@example.org),
headed an inquiry by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
(see: "Alleged secret detentions
and unlawful inter-state transfers involving Council of Europe member states",
Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, Draft report – Part II (Explanatory
memorandum) Rapporteur: Mr Dick Marty, Switzerland, ALDE, June 7, 2006,
AS/Jur (2006) 16: .../CE06.pdf).
On page 41, section 3.6 (§177), the report addresses in the following
terms the case of Mr. Maher Arar, the Canadian citizen the CIA rendited
- as it happened routinely, presumably by way of Swiss airspace - to Syria
for apparently out-sourced "interrogation" by way of a refueling stopover
at an Italian airport said to be Rome (Ciampino, Aviano, Fiumicino?):
In the night of October 4/5, 2006, CNN International repeatedly (at 8.05
pm & 00.05 am) aired an instructive reportage on the same Maher
Arar case on which the Canadian Parliament, on September 18, 2006,
has published its detailed
inquiry "Report of the Events Relating to Maher Arar" (volumes
The lead councel for the this official Arar inquiry, Paul J.J. Cavalluzzo
has confirmed an interest to obtain information on eventually available
traces of the use of European airspace and airport facilities by said CIA
rendition flight which took place on Oct 8, 2002. The exact date being
of cardinal importance, what follows are related quotes from the Canadian
Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen of Syrian origin, came to testify in public
before the temporary committee of the European Parliament157. During a
stopover on return from holiday in Tunisia, in September 2002, he was arrested
at JFK airport in New York by American agents. After being detained in
a high-security prison and interrogated for two weeks by the New York police,
the FBI and the American immigration service, he was allegedly transported
from New Jersey airport via Washington, Rome and Amman to a prison belonging
to Syrian military intelligence158. He spent more than ten months there,
during which he says he was tortured, abused and forced to make false confessions.
During his stay in Syria, he says, he also heard the voice of a German
prisoner being tortured. After a tenacious campaign by his wife, Mr Arar
was able to have irregular contacts with Canadian diplomats in post in
Syria. He says he has never been the subject of criminal charges in any
country. Mr Arar stills suffers from a post-traumatic stress syndrome following
his terrible experience.
The American Government considers the ‘rendition’ of Arar as a legitimate
procedure in conformity with its immigration rules159.
According to Mr Arar, the agents on board the aircraft never identified
themselves, but he heard that they belonged to a “special removal unit”.
In this specific case, the handing over of Mr Arar to Syria seems to be
a well established example of ‘outsourcing of torture’, a practice mentioned
publicly by certain American officials160.
The question which interests us more particularly, in view of our terms
of reference, is to whether and if so, to what extent the European states
concerned (in particular Italy and Greece) were aware of the illegal transport
of Mr Arar and perhaps even gave logistic support161.
Another question is the role of the Canadian authorities in the matter.
This question is the subject of a very thorough investigation by a special
The initial report of the investigator Stephen J. Toope was published on
14 October 2005163. Mr Toope, who has lengthy experience of working with
torture victims, has convincingly established the truthfulness of Mr Arar’s
depositions, which he has compared with those of other former Syrian prisoners
held in the same prison run by Syrian military intelligence (Far Falestin).
His report, which also mentions the findings of specialist doctors whom
Mr Arar consulted on his return, describes in detail Mr Arar’s treatment
in Syria, which he unhesitatingly regards as torture within the meaning
of the United Nations Convention against Torture. However, that report
does not cover the part played by the Canadian authorities in the matter.
This point will be covered in the final report of the Commission, which
is expected to be published by the end of the summer of 2006164. It is
thus premature to draw any conclusions at this stage165.
The working methods of this commission, a genuine commission of inquiry
with real powers of investigation, empowered to take cognisance of classified
information, strike me as very interesting. However, Mr Paul Cavalluz[z]o,
Mr Arar’s principal lawyer on the Commission, deplores the tendency of
the Canadian authorities to hide behind ’official secrets'."
1. The Inqiry Report "Summary
of Information Received at In Camera Hearings", states: "CSIS
learned of Mr.Arar's deportation to Syria on 9 October", p.5 §19.
2. The Fact Finder "REPORT
OF PROFESSOR STEPHEN J. TOOP" of 14 October 2005 states on p.15/16
"When Mr. Arar was taken across the border from Jordan to Syria on October
9, 2002, he was already extremely worried
and distraught. It is important to consider his state of mind even before
he found himself in Far Falestin. He had been arrested in New York, and
strip-searched, which he found “humiliating”. He had been held in the Metropolitan
Detention Centre in Manhattan for eleven days (September 27th to October
7th), being interrogated. He was initially
access to a lawyer, and had little food or sleep. His request to pray during
the interrogation sessions had also been denied. His interrogators had
insulted him and used “bad words”, which he found deeply upsetting. At
am one morning, he was awakened and told
that the Director of the US Immigration and Naturalization Service had
ordered that Mr. Arar be sent, not to Canada, as he says that he constantly
requested, but to Syria. He told me that at this moment he began to cry
and immediately said that he would be tortured. He felt “destroyed”.
Mr. Arar was then bundled into a van to New
Jersey where he was loaded onto a private plane
that began a long journey to Syria, via Washington, Portland Maine, Rome,
and Amman. Throughout this trip of many, many hours, he was chained and
shackled in the back of the plane. Only in the last couple of hours were
the shackles removed; he was then invited to eat some dinner with his guards.
He could not eat. He recalls that he had plenty of time to remember stories
he had heard from his parents in the 1980’s about abuse in Syrian prisons.
frightened, and assumed that he would face torture.
Mr. Arar arrived in Jordan in the middle
of the night. While being transported
to a detention centre, his Jordanian guards apparently hit him repeatedly
on the back of the head. Mr. Arar was blindfolded. He had not slept since
he left New York. He was brought into a room and his blindfold was taken
off. He was asked some routine questions and then blindfolded again and
taken to a cell. He could not sleep for fear. The next
morning he was taken to a doctor who asked
if he had any chronic diseases or conditions. Then he was taken to an interrogation
room and asked more routine questions before being told what he already
knew: “You are clear you are going to Syria”.
same day he was bundled into a car or
van. Being blindfolded again, he was not sure exactly what was happening.
He was told by one guard that he was going back to Montreal, and he was
desperate to believe him. Instead, he was transferred twice into other
vehicles. He was driven fast over bad roads; from time-to-time, he was
struck by one of his guards.
At around 5:00 pm that same day,
he was taken into a building and his blindfold removed. He saw pictures
of Presidents Assad, father and son."
Aired October 6, 2006 - 12:00 ET (transcript)
Look at U.S. Rendition Policy
CLANCY: We're going to turn now and spend a little bit of time on an
important subject, the controversial weapon in the U.S. war on terror.
Washington calls it rendition. Human rights groups say it's nothing more
than outsourcing torture.
Rendition -- and let's explain what it actually is -- it involves the
seizing of terror suspects in a country outside the U.S. and then transferring
them to a third country where there aren't laws about just how tough they
can be in interrogation. The CIA practice started in 1995. It was authorized
by then President Bill Clinton. It's unclear how many suspects have been
rendered. We will hear from both sides the rendition debate shortly.
VASSILEVA: But first, we examine the case of Syrian-born Canadian Maher
Arar. By Washington's definition, Arar was not technically rendered because
he was in the U.S. when he was sent back to Syria as a terror suspect.
Still, his case is being held up as an example of how U.S. policy flagrantly
flaunts international law.
Bronwyn Adcock has Arar's story. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
BRONWYN ADCOCK, CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Canadian Maher Arar is an
innocent man. Yet based on unfounded suspicions, he was sent for ten months
of hell in a Syrian prison, where he was tortured.
MAHER ARAR, FORMER TORTURE DETAINEE: Let me tell you something that
happened during the interrogation. I urinated myself twice during the interrogation.
I don't know what that shows, but my nerves, like, I can't control myself.
It's so scary when you hear people being tortured. It's so scary when you
are beaten. And I would just say anything -- anything they want -- just
to stop the torture.
ADCOCK: Maher Arar was sent to Syria by United States government officials
who believed he had information about terrorist suspects. Ahar's lawyers
believe the U.S. sent him for the purpose of interrogation under torture.
BILL GOODMAN, MAHER ARAR'S ATTORNEY: They wanted to torture him. But
they didn't quite have the wherewithal, the guts, let's say, to do what
they really intended to do -- was to torture this man. So they franchised
the torture. They knew the Syrians wouldn't blink at torturing someone.
And the purpose was, supposedly, to get information from him about his
connections with al Qaeda, which, by the way, are totally nonexistent.
ADCOCK: Maher Ahar is not the only case of what's known as extraordinary
rendition, a secretive U.S. policy of outsourcing torture to countries
like Syria and Egypt. It's proving embarrassing and controversial for the
U.S. government. Arar was the first to sue the government over the practice.
In clear victory for the Bush administration, his case was thrown out of
GOODMAN: I think some of our clients are terrified of coming back to
the United States, and even though...
ADCOCK: Bill Goodman says this gives a green light for the government
to continue with extraordinary rendition.
GOODMAN: If they can get away with doing it to Maher Arar, they're
going to get away with doing it to whoever they choose to do it to, whether
he be a non-citizen or a citizen, in my humble opinion. Or she. And that
person will -- who's sent to Syria today can be sent to the Sudan or Somalia
tomorrow, or who knows where the next day.
ADCOCK: Maher Arar's terrifying journey began in the summer of 2002,
when he was detained while in transit at JFK Airport in New York. He was
held here in a Brooklyn detention center for two weeks, with little access
to a lawyer. He was accused of being a member of al Qaeda and told he was
to be deported -- not to Canada, but to Syria, the country of his birth.
ARAR: And I told him, I said, listen, you're going to send me to a country
that you know does -- has no law, they don't follow the law. If you send
me there, I'm going to be tortured. So I raised the torture issue many
ADCOCK: Despite his pleas and with no legal extradition process, Arar
was put on board a Gulf Stream jet. It's now known that these planes have
been widely used in America's rendition program, taking detainees everywhere
from Eastern Europe to the Middle East. Once in Syria, Maher Arar's worst
fears were realized.
ARAR: They would basically put me back to the interrogation and they
would beat me again like three or four times with a cable. And now they
started beating me on my shoulder, on my back, on my hips, on -- mostly.
And they would ask questions. Again, sometimes they would beat first and
then ask second.
ADCOCK: Arar says in Syria, he was asked identical questions to those
asked when he was detained in the U.S., leading him to believe that his
Syrian interrogators were acting behalf of the United States.
ARAR: And I asked the colonel, actually -- I said, you guys know I
have nothing to do with any allegations the Americans have against me.
Why don't you release me? And he said, oh, you're going home very soon.
Now whether I believe him or not -- because they lie to me all the times,
right? But he could -- I could tell in their eyes that they had no interest
ADCOCK: Syrian officials have since confirmed that they only took Arar
because the Americans requested it.
Maher Arar was released home to Canada after ten months, time spent
in a coffin-sized cell in solitary confinement. He's never been charged
with anything. "Dateline" caught up with Maher Arar again after he'd received
the news about the court's decision.
ARAR: When a human being is wronged, the first place he would expect
to go is to the justice system. And in my case, that's what -- I exactly
did. And I filed a lawsuit two years ago. And I wanted to held the people
accountable. And all of a sudden, the judge, he's just saying, you know,
good luck. That's what's, you know, scary about it.
ADCOCK: In his court case against the U.S. government, Arar asked for
compensation and a statement that what happened to him was unlawful. The
case was dismissed, largely because of national security and foreign policy
considerations. The judge said taht he couldn't declare what happened to
Arar was illegal because it could threaten the security of America.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "A judge who declares on his or her own Article
III authority that the policy of extraordinary rendition is under all circumstances
unconstitutional must acknowledge that such a ruling can have the most
serious of consequences to our foreign relations or national security or
ADCOCK: The judge said that such decisions are for the government,
not the judiciary.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "The task of balancing individual rights against
national security concerns is one that courts should not undertake without
the guidance or the authority of the coordinate branches, in whom the constitution
imposes responsibility for our foreign affairs and national security. Those
branches have the responsibility to determine whether judicial oversight
ADCOCK: Arar's lawyers are shocked by the judgment. Bill Goodman says
judicial oversight of the government is an essential part of democracy.
GOODMAN: This is a principle that goes back to the magna carta, at
least to the 1213, the 13th century and probably beyond. But if the courts
cannot get involved and cannot demand answers from the executive branch
and cannot demand answers from the executive branch, and cannot tell the
executive branch that it cannot abuse its power, than nobody can. We're
setting ourselves up for an executive branch which will -- which is prepared
to, will likely and undoubtedly, in my opinion, will abuse its power.
ADCOCK: Bill Goodman agrees it's important to consider national security,
but not at any cost.
GOODMAN: I think they have to be taken into consideration in determining
whether or not what the government has done is reasonable. But I do not
think that they're a trump card and can be played and as a result no court
can get involved in deciding whether or not somebody's rights have been
violated. That would be a violation of the most basic and fundamental democratic
principles of the American Constitution.
ADCOCK: This is clearly not the view of the judge, though. He went
as far as saying that the judiciary doesn't have the right to hold the
government to account over policies like rendition, even if the law is
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Judges should not, in the absence of explicit direction
by Congress, hold officials who carry out such policies liable for damages,
even if such conduct violates our treaty obligations or customary international
ADCOCK: The Ahar judgment is clearly written in the context of America
being in the middle of a so-called war on terror. It frequently cites the
importance of national security. Ahar's lawyers say this has led the judge
to act in fear.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fear of terror, you know, fear there will be another
terrorist attack. And that if there is, that these opinions that the judges
will be blamed because they let the terrorists get away with it, because
they -- they tied the hands of the government in fighting the war on terror.
Which, of course, this isn't. This is demanding of the government that
it do what the Constitution compels it to.
ADCOCK: For Mahar Ahar, his only connection with terrorists is that
he was mistaken for one. It's a devastating blow.
AHAR: You have to understand the context in which all of this happened,
you know. I was a successful engineer before. I was living a normal life.
I had everything I wanted, you know. And all of a sudden, I am put out
a job. I am still -- I still have scars, mostly psychological scars, and
I'm still with the nightmares. I'm still with -- suffering from psychological
effects. And financially, I have -- it's very, very, you know, bad situation.
And that's what's disappointing about this. Not only, like, it's giving
the Bush administration the green light to continue in their evil practice,
but also it's very destructive for me on a personal level.
CLANCY: All right. A day in court. Maher Arar has decided he's going
to appeal the U.S. court decision. CNN invited U.S. officials to come here
and talk with us. They had to decline, they said. The Justice Department
did issue a statement, saying, we're having ongoing litigation with Mr.
Arar. The Department of Justice cannot say anything outside of court. A
U.S. State Department official did say the U.S. had no intention of mistreating
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN MCCORMACK, STATE DEPT. SPOKESMAN: My understanding of this is
that he was -- at the time, U.S. officials made a determination that he
posed -- based on the information that they had that he posed a threat,
so he was removed from the U.S. to a country of his citizenship, Syria.
It was done after there were assurances that his treatment would meet the
standards of the Geneva Conventions, meaning that in the sense that he
was not going to be maltreated. We had to have a reasonable expectation
that he was not going to be tortured or maltreated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CLANCY: Well, what do the Syrians say then? Well, we contacted the
Syrian government. Its ambassador to the United States says Arar was not
treated badly in its care, and strongly contests his allegations that he
was tortured. As for the Canadians, an exhaustive inquiry there came to
a close recently and it exonerated Maher Arar.
VASSILEVA: Well, when we return, much more on the rendition controversy,
including the views of two experts who debate the case of Arar. Were his
civil rights trampled on? We'll get their views, coming up.
VASSILEVA: Welcome back. Seen live in more than 200 countries across
the globe. CLANCY: This is YOUR WORLD TODAY on CNN International.
VASSILEVA: We want to continue now with our look at that controversial
practice of rendition.
CLANCY: People asking, really, is this the pursuit of justice, security,
or is it persecution?
VASSILEVA: Well, we got the opinion of two experts.
CLANCY: Jonathan Hafetz is the associate council at the Brennan Center
for Social Justice at New York University.
VASSILEVA: He says rendition robs people of their civil rights.
CLANCY: Now at the same time, JAn Ting, a lawyer, professor and former
U.S. immigration official, in fact, suggests the practice is not only legal,
but it's necessary.
VASSILEVA: And he actually took issue with our report on Maher Arar.
JAN TING, FMR. U.S. IMMIGRATION OFFICIAL: I taught your piece was inaccurate,
and therefore incomplete and biassed. I mean, if Mr. Arar was mistreated,
that was certainly a regrettable thing. But as most of your Canadian viewers
know, there's been big debate in Canada as to what the Canadian government
did wrong. Clearly, the Canadian government advised the United States government
that Mr. Arar was an al Qaeda operative, and his removal from the United
States was based on that representation from the Canadian government. Now,
in accordance with American law, he was deported to a country of which
he was a citizen, Syria, as the government representative said. Representations
were made that he would not be tortured, would not be mistreated. I just
think it's one more example of finger-pointing on the part of people outside
the United States that, rather than blame themselves for errors that have
been made, it's always easier to blame the United States.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: You know, I'm just curious about one thing
about that -- since when did the U.S. start trusting the Syrians on that
sort of thing?
TING: Well, you know, I mean, it's a ridiculous assertion to believe
that the United States, which views Syria as an adversary, as a country
of origin of terrorism and part of the axis of evil is in position to manipulate
the Syrians to do our bidding. I mean, it just stretches credibility to
even make that suggestion.
HOLMES: My point was the U.S. sought assurances from Syria that he
would be well treated. My point is, since when did the U.S. trust Syria
on that? JONATHAN HAFETZ, BRENNAN CTR. FOR JUSTICE: Can I interject for
TING: Well, look, we do the best we can do. When we're deporting somebody
-- you asked me a question, you know. When we're deporting somebody, we
have to find a country willing to take them, and the country we have diplomatic
leverage on to take them is the country of which the individual is a citizen.
HOLMES: All right, Jonathan, let's bring you in now. One thing that
strikes me, if the man's meant to be a member of it is a terrorist organization,
why would we send him back to a country we accuse of terror sponsoring?
Why would he not be charged and dealt with right on U.S. soil?
HAFETZ: The allegations in the Arar case clearly show that he was sent
to Syria, outsourced for torture, because the United States had suspicions
he might be involved in terrorism, and essentially asked Syria to do the
dirty work. And let me just go back, because I think Professor Ting, there's
-- I want to clarify something about what he said about the findings of
the Canadian report.
HOLMES: Certainly, they critiqued the Canadian government as well.
But they also made some devastating findings about the complicity of the
HAFETZ: First of all, the -- while Arar was in custody in the United
States, the Canadian counterterrorism officials contacted the United States
and said they did not know for certain whether Arar was, in fact, a terrorist.
They had concerns about it. And they also -- the United States never informed
Canada that they were planning to send him to Syria, and further, while
Arar was in custody, he was denied a clearly established right, which was
the right to seek the assistance of his consul. This was done in secret.
This is the manifestation of a secret rendition program where you send
people beyond the law.
CLANCY: All right, Michael Holmes there, hosting those two gentlemen,
talking about rendition. We got pretty spirited there at some points.
October 6, 2006 1930 GMT (0330 HKT),
Canada to formally protest to U.S. over deported man
OTTAWA, Canada (Reuters) -- Canada will present a formal protest to
the United States over the case of a Canadian man deported to Syria by
U.S. agents, Prime Minister Stephen Harper told President Bush on Friday.
Software engineer Maher Arar was arrested in New York in September 2002
and was sent to Syria, where he says he was repeatedly tortured. He was
released a year later.
An official inquiry into the affair put much of the blame on Canadian
police, who wrongly told U.S. border agents that Arar was an Islamic extremist.
But inquiry head Dennis O'Connor also urged Ottawa to formally protest
to both Syria and the United States over the way they had treated Arar.
"The prime minister expressed concerns relating to the case of Maher
Arar in the wake of the recent report of the O'Connor report and (said)
that we would be launching an official protest," said Harper spokesman
Dimitri Soudas. A spokeswoman for Harper, speaking separately, said the
protest would be delivered shortly. Harper called Bush to discuss a number
of topics, including Arar, officials said.
Harper's right-wing Conservatives, who won the January 23 election,
campaigned on a promise to repair relations with the United States. Relations
had become strained under the previous Liberal government. Bush is unpopular
with many Canadians and the protest may help deflect opposition complaints
that Harper is too close to the U.S. president.
Copyright 2006 Reuters.
October 6, 2006
Blowing the Easy Ones
Please read the terrorists' mail first.
THE BUSH administration has pushed aggressively for expanded surveillance
powers, military commissions and rough interrogation techniques. When it
comes to fighting the war on terrorism, just about anything goes. Except,
that is, those routine steps with no civil liberties implications at all
that might significantly interrupt terrorism -- such as, say, reading the
mail of convicted terrorists housed in American prisons. The federal Bureau
of Prisons, Justice Department Inspector General Glenn Fine wrote, "does
not read all the mail for terrorist and other high-risk inmates on its
mail monitoring lists." It is also "unable to effectively monitor high-risk
inmates' verbal communications," including phone calls. So while the administration
won't reveal the circumstances under which it spies on innocent Americans,
the communications of imprisoned terrorists, at least, appear sadly secure.
This is not a hypothetical problem. Jailed terrorists and organized-crime
figures try to communicate with confederates outside of prison walls. Three
inmates involved in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, while housed at
the federal government's highest-security prison, managed to exchange around
90 letters with Islamist extremists between 2002 and 2004, including with
terrorists in Spain who were planning attacks there. Just last month, federal
prosecutors accused a drug lord at the same facility of running a huge
distribution network in Los Angeles using coded conversations and messages.
Imprisoned people can direct major crimes from behind bars.
Yet somehow, the bureau leaves unread a lot of mail to and from inmates
it designates as warranting monitoring. What's more, at some federal institutions,
the amount of mail monitored is going down . Part of the problem is that
the bureau "does not have enough proficient translators to translate inmate
mail written in foreign languages" -- a government-wide deficiency. Even
when officers eyeball mail, they are not sufficiently "trained in intelligence
techniques to evaluate whether terrorists' communications contain suspicious
content," the report said.
This should be the easy part of fighting terrorism. It is simply a question
of devoting adequate resources to making happen something that everyone
agrees needs to happen. When a lawyer for the imprisoned Sheikh Omar Abdel
Rahman helped him covertly send messages to his followers, federal prosecutors
rightly pressed charges and won a conviction against her. How ironic that
other terrorists need only set pen to paper and their exhortations can
slip through unread.
© 2006 The Washington Post Company
français; teste italiano; non-authorized
Osthilfe und Genfer Konventionen
Eingereicht von Oskar
Eingereicht im Nationalrat
Stand der Beratung
beurteilt der Bundesrat die mit dem neuen Verhör-Handbuch der amerikanischen
Armee angekündigte Art der Wahrnehmung der Pflichten eines Signatarstaates
der Genfer Konventionen? Und was gedenkt der Bundesrat allenfalls zu unternehmen,
um sicherzustellen, dass solch perfide Verhörpraktiken nicht auch
die unabdingbare Vertrauenswürdigkeit von ICRC-Delegierten, Diplomaten
und anderer Träger schweizerischer Guter Dienste untergraben werden?
der Bundesrat ausschliessen, dass im October 2002 der Schweizer Luftraum
benutzt wurde um den zu Unrecht verdächtigten Kanadier Maher Arar
nach Syrien zu verschleppen und dort mit menschenrechtswidrigen Methoden
einvernommen zu werden?
gedenkt der Bundesrat allenfalls zu gewährleisten, dass auch nicht
der geringste Teil des allfälligen Schweizer Milliardenbeitrags an
den EU-Kohäsionsfonds zur Aufrechterhaltung irgendeines in Osteuropa
weitergeführten CIA-Geheimgefängnisses verwendet werden mag?
in jedem Rechtsstaat allgemein als Verletzung des grundsätzlichen
Gebots von Treu und Glauben empfunden und je nach Sachlage geahndet. Der
Missbrauch der Rotkreuz-Insignien wird weltweit als perfid empfunden
und steht unter entsprechender Strafandrohung, denn besonders im Kriegsfall
erfüllen sie unverzichtbare Schutzfunktionenen sowohl für Zivilpersonen
als auch für Soldaten (z.B. Artikel 44 und 45 der 2.Genfer Konvention
von 1949: www.icrc.org). Die amerikanische Armee hat soeben die Falsch-Flaggen-Methode
zur wirksameren Einvernahme von Kriegs- und andern Gefangenen durch Angehörige
der U.S. Streitkräfte eingeführt ("false flag approach", FM
2-22.3 (FM 34-52), S.139 und 156: www.army.mil/references/FM2-22.3.pdf;
Unter Vorschaukelung falscher Tatsachen bezweckt diese Methode Gefangene
vertrauensselig und entsprechend gesprächig zu machen. Dem Vernehmen
nach sollen dazu besonders diensteifrige Ausländer mit fremden, z.B.
schweizerischen Akzenten, zum Einsatz kommen, damit "der Gefangene glaubt,
er habe es mit einem Vertreter eines Staates zu tun, welcher mit seinem
Heimatstaat oder seiner Organisation befreundet sei."
schon mit dem Bericht des Europarat-Rapporteurs Dick Marty aufgezeigten
der Menschenrechte und der
Mitgliedstaaten durch amerikanische Gefangenentransporte und Geheimgefängnisse
(.../EU06.pdf) findet sich,
trotz anfänglich hartnäckiger Verleugnung, nunmehr bestätigt
durch die Erklärung von Präsident Bush ("Bush acknowledges
CIA prisons exist", International Herald Tribune, 7.September 2006:
Der am 18.September 2006 vorgelegte aufsehenerregende Schlussbericht der
des kanadischen Parlaments "Report of the Events Relating to Maher Arar"
belegt den konkreten Fall des inzwischen von jeder Schuld freigesprochenen
kanadischen Bürgers Maher Arar, welcher am 8.Oktober 2002 mit
einem CIA-Jet anscheinend via Schweizer Luftraum und Zwischenhalt
in Rom nach Syrien zur dortigen "Einvernahme" verfrachtet wurde.
offiziellen amerikanischen Angaben sollen einzelne Geheimgefängnisse
auch in Osteuropa weiterhin "für besondere Zwecke" aufrechterhalten
Das kann nur mit dem Einverständnis der betreffenden Regierungen
erfolgen. Dabei soll es sich auch um Staaten handeln, die vom beabsichtigten
Schweizer Beitrag zum Kohäsionsfonds für die Osterweiterung profitieren
sollen. Solange nicht verlässlich klargestellt ist, dass dieser Schweizer
Beitrag in keiner Art und Weise zur Fortführung dieser rechtsstaatlich
und souveränitätsrechtlich bedenklichen Geheimgefängnisse
Verwendung findet, sprechen vorrangige fundamentale Bedenken gegen
Antwort des Bundesrates
1. Der Missbrauch
der durch die Genfer Abkommen und deren Zusatzprotokolle anerkannten Embleme
ist gemäss Artikel 38 des Zusatzprotokolls I verboten. Artikel 39
Absatz 1 dieses Zusatzprotokolls verbietet zudem die Verwendung von Flaggen
oder militärischen Kennzeichen, Abzeichen oder Uniformen neutraler
oder anderer nicht am Konflikt beteiligter Staaten in einem bewaffneten
Konflikt. Als neutraler Staat ist die Schweiz von dieser Bestimmung betroffen.
Der Bundesrat verfügt aber über keine Informationen, dass die
Embleme der Genfer Abkommen oder die Schweizer Flagge von amerikanischen
Militärpersonen missbraucht worden wären. Die in der Anfrage
erwähnten Bestimmungen des Handbuchs der amerikanischen Armee sprechen
von der Verwendung einer Fremdsprache - darunter fallen auch Schweizer
Dialekte - bei Gefangenenverhören. Eine solche Verwendung ist an sich
im humanitären Völkerrecht nicht verboten. Zudem präzisiert
das Handbuch, dass es verboten ist, sich als IKRK-Delegierten auszugeben.
2. Aufgrund der Ermittlungen
der Bundesanwaltschaft kann der Bundesrat ausschliessen, dass der Schweizer
Luftraum im Oktober 2002 zur Überführung von Maher Arar benutzt
3. Bei der Unterstützungsleistung
an die zehn neuen EU-Mitgliedstaaten handelt es sich nicht um einen Finanzbeitrag
in den EU-Kohäsionsfonds, sondern um ein Programm der bilateralen
Zusammenarbeit zwischen der Schweiz und jedem einzelnen dieser Staaten.
Die Schweiz behält dadurch die volle Kontrolle über die Verwendung
der Unterstützungsbeiträge, und durch die vertraglichen Bestimmungen
der Zusammenarbeit ist die volle Transparenz gewährleistet. Jedes
Projekt, das im Rahmen des Erweiterungsbeitrags umgesetzt wird, muss durch
die Schweizer Behörden genehmigt werden, und die Projektausführung
wird überwacht. Unterstützungsbeiträge zugunsten allfälliger
geheimer Einrichtungen sind somit völlig ausgeschlossen.
aux pays de l'Est et Conventions de Genève
de dépôt 06.10.2006
au Conseil national
des délibérations liquidé
Après la sortie du nouveau manuel d'interrogatoire de l'armée
américaine, que pense le Conseil fédéral de la manière
dont les Etats-Unis abordent leurs obligations en tant qu'Etat signataire
des Conventions de Genève? Et que pense-t-il entreprendre au besoin
pour garantir que des méthodes d'interrogatoire aussi perfides ne
saperont plus le crédit qui est indispensable aux délégués
du CICR, aux diplomates et aux autres personnes qui proposent les bons
offices de la Suisse?
Le Conseil fédéral peut-il certifier qu'on n'a pas utilisé
l'espace aérien suisse en octobre 2002 pour transférer en
Syrie le citoyen canadien Maher Arar, soupçonné à
tort, et pour l'y interroger selon des méthodes contraires aux droits
Comment le Conseil fédéral compte-t-il garantir au besoin
qu'il n'y aura pas la moindre part du milliard que la Suisse versera le
cas échéant dans le fonds de cohésion de l'UE qui
sera utilisée pour le maintien d'une des prisons secrètes
de la CIA qui sont encore en service en Europe de l'Est?
Dans tout Etat de droit, l'étiquetage frauduleux est ressenti, d'une
manière générale, comme une violation d'un principe
fondamental: le principe de la bonne foi; il est réprimé
suivant les cas. L'emploi abusif des signes distinctifs de la Croix-Rouge
est considéré comme perfide dans le monde entier; il fait
l'objet de sanctions pénales, car ces signes distinctifs remplissent
une fonction de protection indispensable, particulièrement en temps
de guerre, tant pour les civils que pour les soldats (cf. p. ex. art. 44
et 45 de la 2e Convention de Genève de 1949: www.icrc.org). L'armée
américaine vient de mettre au point une méthode qui permet
à ses membres d'interroger plus efficacement les prisonniers de
guerre et les autres prisonniers; cette technique est connue sous le nom
de "faux drapeau" ("false flag approach", FM
2-22.3 (FM 34-52), p.139 et 156: www.army.mil/references/FM2-22.3.pdf;
Cette méthode, par laquelle on présente des faits erronés,
vise à donner aux prisonniers une confiance aveugle en leurs geôliers
pour qu'ils se mettent à parler. On a apparemment recours à
des étrangers particulièrement zélés qui maîtrisent
les accents de différents pays, par exemple les accents suisses,
afin que le détenu croie qu'il a affaire à un représentant
d'un pays ami de son pays d'origine ou de l'organisation à laquelle
il est affilié.
Déjà révélées dans le rapport de Dick
Marty, rapporteur du Conseil de l'Europe, les violations des droits de
l'homme et de la souveraineté de plusieurs Etats membres commises
par les Etats-Unis lors de transports de prisonniers et dans leurs prisons
sont maintenant confirmées par le président Bush, bien qu'il
se soit tout d'abord obstiné à les nier («Bush
acknowledges CIA prisons exist», International Herald Tribune
du 7 septembre 2006 : .../ciaprisons.htm#exist).
Le 18 septembre 2006, une commission d'enquête du Parlement canadien
a présenté un rapport final retentissant intitulé
"Report of the Events Relating to Maher Arar" (www.ararcommission.ca/eng/10.htm
Ce rapport expose le cas du citoyen canadien Maher Arar, reconnu innocent
depuis, qui avait été transféré en Syrie à
bord d'un jet de la CIA le 8 octobre 2002 pour y être "interrogé",
apparemment après avoir transité par l'espace aérien
suisse et avoir fait halte à Rome.
D'après des informations officielles fournies par les Etats-Unis,
quelques prisons secrètes sont maintenues en Europe de l'Est à
des fins particulières (.../ciaprisons.htm#Europe).
Or ce maintien n'est possible qu'avec l'assentiment des gouvernements concernés.
Il doit s'agir en l'occurrence de gouvernements d'Etats qui vont profiter
de la contribution que la Suisse versera le cas échéant dans
le fonds de cohésion destiné à l'élargissement
de l'UE à l'Est. Tant que l'on ne sera pas sûr que cette contribution
de la Suisse ne servira en aucune manière au maintien de ces prisons
secrètes contestables du point de vue de l'Etat de droit et du droit
de la souveraineté, il ne faudra pas fournir cette aide vu les objections
fondamentales prioritaires que l'on peut faire.
Réponse du Conseil
fédéral du 08.12.2006
1. L'utilisation indue
des emblèmes reconnus par les Conventions de Genève et leurs
protocoles est interdite par l'article 38 du Protocole Additionnel I. L'article
39, alinéa 1 du même protocole interdit quant à lui
l'utilisation, dans un conflit armé, "de drapeaux ou pavillons,
symboles, insignes ou uniformes militaires d'Etats neutres ou d'autres
Etats non parties au conflit". En tant qu' Etat neutre, la Suisse est ainsi
concernée par cette disposition. Le Conseil fédéral
n'a pas connaissance que les emblèmes des Conventions de Genève
ou le drapeau suisse aient été utilisés de manière
indue par les militaires américains. Les dispositions du manuel
de l'armée américaine mentionnées dans la question
parlementaire parlent du recours à une langue étrangère
lors d'interrogations de détenus, ce qui en soi n'est pas prohibé
par le droit international humanitaire, y compris s'il s'agit d'un dialecte
suisse. En outre, le Manuel précise qu'il est interdit de se faire
passer pour un délégué du CICR.
2. Sur la base de l'enquête
effectuée par le Ministère Public de la Confédération,
le Conseil fédéral peut exclure que l'espace aérien
suisse ait été utilisé pour le transport de M. Maher
Arar en octobre 2002.
3. Le soutien apporté
aux dix nouveaux pays membres de l'Union européenne n'est pas une
contribution financière au fonds de cohésion de l'UE. Il
s'inscrit dans un programme de coopération bilatérale entre
la Suisse et chacun des pays concernés. L'utilisation des contributions
demeure donc sous l'entier contrôle de la Suisse. En outre, les dispositions
conventionnelles réglant la coopération permettent d'assurer
la pleine transparence. Chaque projet mis en oeuvre dans le cadre de la
contribution de la Suisse à l'UE élargie doit être
approuvé par les autorités suisses, et faire l'objet d'un
contrôle durant toute la phase de réalisation. Il est donc
absolument exclu qu'une partie de ces fonds de soutien puisse être
utilisée pour d'éventuelles installations secrètes.
Département des affaires étrangères (DFAE)
Aiuti all'Est e Convenzioni
Depositato da Freysinger
Data del deposito
Depositato il Consiglio
Come valuta il Consiglio federale l'interpretazione degli obblighi degli
Stati firmatari delle Convenzioni di Ginevra annunciata nel nuovo manuale
sugli interrogatori dell'esercito americano? Cosa pensa di intraprendere
il Consiglio federale, al fine di garantire che queste pratiche sleali
non minino la credibilità imprescindibile dei delegati del CICR,
dei diplomati e di chi presta i buoni uffici svizzeri?
Il Consiglio federale può escludere che lo spazio aereo svizzero
sia stato utilizzato nel 2002 per trasportare in Siria il canadese Maher
Arar - ingiustamente sospettato - al fine di interrogarlo con metodi contrari
ai diritti dell'uomo?
Cosa pensa di fare il Consiglio federale per garantire che neanche una
minima parte del miliardo di franchi svizzeri versato quale contributo
al fondo di coesione dell'UE sia utilizzata per mantenere carceri segreti
della CIA nell'Europa dell'Est?
In tutti gli Stati di diritto, l'uso fraudolento di insegne è generalmente
considerato una violazione del principio fondamentale della buona fede
ed è perseguito in funzione della fattispecie. L'abuso del simbolo
della Croce rossa è considerato sleale in tutto il mondo ed è
punito di conseguenza poiché, soprattutto in caso di guerra, questo
emblema svolge un irrinunciabile ruolo protettivo a favore sia della popolazione
civile sia dei militi (p.es. art. 44 e 45 della Seconda Convenzione di
Ginevra del 1949: WWW.icrc.org). L'esercito americano ha addirittura introdotto
il metodo della bandiera falsa al fine di rendere più efficaci gli
interrogatori di prigionieri di guerra o altri da parte dei militari USA
("false flag approach", FM
2-22.3 (FM 34-52), p. 139 e 156: www.army.mil/references/FM2-22.3.pdf;
Questo metodo, basato sull'inganno, ha lo scopo di infondere fiducia nei
soldati e di indurli a parlare. A tal fine saranno impiegati stranieri
particolarmente zelanti con accento straniero, anche svizzero, affinché
"il prigioniero creda di avere a che fare con un rappresentante di uno
Stato amico del suo Stato di origine o dell'Organizzazione che lo impiega".
Nonostante le ostinate smentite iniziali, il presidente Bush ha ora confermato
le violazioni dei diritti dell'uomo e della sovranità di alcuni
Stati membri in relazione al trasporto di prigionieri americani e all'esistenza
di carceri segrete ("Bush acknowledges CIA prisons exist", International
Herald Tribune, 7 settembre 2006: .../ciaprisons.htm#exist)
(.../EU06.pdf), che erano
già state oggetto del rapporto del relatore del Consiglio d'Europa
Dick Marty. Il sensazionale rapporto finale presentato il 18 settembre
2006 dalla Commissione d'inchiesta del Parlamento canadese "Report of the
Events Relating to Maher Arar" (www.ararcommission.ca/eng/10.htm;
documenta il caso concreto del cittadino canadese Maher Arar - nel frattempo
assolto da ogni colpa - che l'8 ottobre 2002 era stato trasportato in Siria
per esservi "interrogato" con un Jet della CIA, verosimilmente attraverso
lo spazio aereo svizzero e con scalo a Roma.
Secondo dati ufficiali americani, singole carceri segrete saranno verosimilmente
mantenute per "scopi speciali" (.../ciaprisons.htm#Europe).
A tal fine è necessario l'accordo dei Governi in questione. In alcuni
casi si tratterà di Stati che beneficeranno del contributo svizzero
al Fondo di coesione per i Paesi dell'Est. Fintanto che non sarà
accertato che questo contributo non verrà in alcun modo utilizzato
per mantenere queste carceri segrete di dubbia natura dal profilo dello
Stato di diritto e della sovranità, preminenti considerazioni di
fondo parlano contro tale aiuto.
Risposta del Consiglio
federale del 08.12.2006
1. L'abuso degli emblemi
riconosciuti dalle Convenzioni di Ginevra e dai loro protocolli addizionali
è vietato in base all'articolo 38 del protocollo addizionale I.
L'articolo 39 capoverso 1 di questo protocollo addizionale vieta inoltre,
in un conflitto armato, l'uso delle bandiere o emblemi, insegne o uniformi
militari di Stati neutrali o di altri Stati non Parti in conflitto. Tale
disposizione riguarda anche la Svizzera, in qualità di Paese neutrale.
Il Consiglio federale non è però a conoscenza di abusi relativi
agli emblemi riconosciuti dalle Convenzioni di Ginevra oppure alla bandiera
Svizzera da parte di militari americani. Le disposizioni del manuale dell'esercito
americano citate nell'interrogazione menzionano l'uso di una lingua straniera,
compresi quindi i dialetti svizzeri, nell'audizione di detenuti. Si tratta
di un'operazione di per sé non vietata dal diritto internazionale
umanitario. Il manuale precisa inoltre che è proibito farsi passare
per delegato del CICR.
2. In base ai risultati
dell'inchiesta svolta dal Ministero pubblico della Confederazione, il Consiglio
federale ritiene di poter escludere che lo spazio aereo svizzero sia stato
utilizzato nell'ottobre del 2002 per il trasferimento di Maher Arar.
3. Il sostegno finanziario
accordato ai dieci nuovi membri dell'UE non è destinato al Fondo
di coesione dell'Unione europea, ma comprende invece un programma di cooperazione
bilaterale con ognuno di questi Paesi. In tal modo la Svizzera può
mantenere il pieno controllo sulle modalità d'impiego di questi
mezzi finanziari e può beneficiare della piena trasparenza sancita
dalle disposizioni contrattuali su cui poggia tale programma. Le autorità
svizzere dovranno approvare la realizzazione di tutti i progetti finanziati
in base a questo contributo e potranno esercitare un controllo sulla fase
esecutiva. Ciò consente quindi di escludere nel modo più
assoluto che i contributi vengano utilizzati per finanziare eventuali installazioni
Compatible with Geneva
conventions, Swiss sovereignty and human rights?
Submitted by Oskar
Submission date 6.10.2006
Submitted in the national
are the Swiss Government's views on a Geneva Conventions Signatory State's
perception of its related obligations, as reflected in a U.S. Armed Forces
manual on the interrorgation of detainees? And what, in the event, is the
Government prepared to do, in order to guarantee that such perfide interrogation
practices will not also undermine the indispensable trustworthiness of
ICRC delegates, diplomats and other practitioners of Swiss good offices?
the Government exclude that in October 2002 Swiss air space was used for
shipping the baselessly suspected Canadian citizen Maher Arar to Syria
where, in favor of U.S. authorities, he was apparently interrogated with
methods not in line with human rights protections characteristic of Western
culture, values and democracies?
in the event, is the Government to make sure that not even the slightest
part of Switzerland's eventual one billion Swiss franc contribution to
the European Union's Cohesion Fund will be used in favor of any of the
secret CIA prisons which, reportedly, are going to be maintained or created
in some Eastern European countries.
labelling is a universally reprobated behavior. Even in times of war,
there are strict limits to the use of war ruses (the United
States is understood to be still bound by the Hague Land War Convention
and its Regulations' articles
23 &, 24 of 29 July 1899, all of which are also reflected in art.37
of the Additional Protocol of 1977). And when the weapons are
laid down, a core principle of civilized behavior, i.e. the obligation
to act in good faith, must not be tampered with under any pretext
- lest the role of an outcast, willy-nilly, be assumed. Accordingly, the
abuse of the Red Cross emblems is universally felt as a perfidy
and a grave breach of a key pillar of the international humanitarian
law, i.e. the Geneva Conventions, which is punishable in each of
its Signatory States. The reason is simple: in the event of war in particular,
these insignia fulfill indispensable protective functions both for
civilians and for soldiers. And any undermining of their universal respect
- potentially at least - gravely threatens legitimate interests of each
Signatory State (e.g. articles 44 and 45 the 2nd Geneva Convention of 1949:
www.icrc.org). Nonetheless, the American army has now officially
provided for what it calls a "false flag approach" and which is designed
to enhance the effectiveness of the interrogations of war and other prisoners
by members of the U.S. armed forces (FM
2-22.3 (FM 34-52), p.139 and 156: www.army.mil/references/FM2-22.3.pdf;
Under false pretenses, this method aims to "trick
the detainee into cooperating with US forces. For example, using
an interrogator who speaks with a particular accent
[such as a Swiss accent suggestive of some trustworthy Red Cross or good
offices functions], making the detainee believe that he is actually talking
to representatives from a different country, such as a country that is
friendly to the detainee’s country or organization."
report of the Council of Europe rapporteur Dick Marty "Alleged
secret detentions and unlawful inter-state transfers involving Council
of Europe member states" produced solid support for the widely-held
belief that the United States maintains in Europe, Middle East and Asia
a system of secret prisons for interrogation of terrorism suspects, as
well as a globally operating camouflaged transportation system (.../EU06.pdf).
Persistent official denials notwithstanding, President Bush recently admitted
the undeniable (“Bush acknowledges CIA prisons exist”,
International Herald Tribune, 7.September 2006: .../ciaprisons.htm#exist).
On September 18, 2006, the Canadian Parliament's Commission of Inquiry
presented its final “Report of the Events Relating to Maher Arar” (www.ararcommission.ca/eng/10.htm
highlighting the numerous administrative bunglings and failures in the
case of the already previously totally innocented Canadian citizen Maher
Arar who, on October 8, 2002, with a CIA jet apparently using Swiss
air space and refuling in Rome, was shipped to Syria for special “interrogation”.
to official American data, also some secret prisons located in Eastern
Europe are to be maintained “for special purposes” (.../ciaprisons.htm#Europe).
That can take place only with the agreement of the governments concerned.
Reportedly, this involves states which are to profit from the eventual
Swiss contribution to the EU Cohesion Fund for the extension to
the East. From the point of view of the Rule of Law, national sovereignty
and respect for human rights, secret prisons per se and, in particular,
their foreign-controlled use and airlinks among them are inacceptable.
Accordingly, pre-eminent fundamental reservations stand in the way of this
eventual Swiss contribution, at least as long as it cannot reliably be
ruled out that any of these political and legal aberrations might in any
way benefit from same.
Oct 7, 2006 11:46 AM ET
Italian prosecutors wrap up CIA kidnap case
MILAN (Reuters) - Italian prosecutors have wrapped up an investigation
into the 2003 suspected CIA kidnapping of a terrorism suspect in Milan,
which could lead to criminal charges being brought against 38 people, most
of them CIA agents. Judicial sources said on Saturday that 26 CIA agents
and the head of Italy's Sismi military intelligence agency, Nicolo Pollari,
were among the 38 suspects notified at the end of the probe, meaning prosecutors
can now ask a judge to order them to stand trial.
The magistrates say a CIA-led team seized Muslim cleric Hassan Mustafa
Osama Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, in Milan in 2003 and flew him to his
native Egypt. Nasr says he was tortured there while being questioned. Prosecutors
believe Sismi helped the CIA in the operation. Pollari says Sismi did nothing
In July, the Milan prosecutors asked Italy's justice minister to request
the extradition of the suspected U.S. agents.
The Guardian October
Germany offered access to prisoner in
Morocco if it quelled opposition
CIA tried to silence EU on torture flights
The CIA tried to persuade Germany to silence EU protests about the human
rights record of one of America's key allies in its clandestine torture
flights programme, the Guardian can reveal. According to a secret intelligence
report, the CIA offered to let Germany have access to one of its citizens,
an al-Qaida suspect being held in a Moroccan cell. But the US secret agents
demanded that in return, Berlin should cooperate and "avert pressure from
EU" over human rights abuses in the north African country. The report describes
Morocco as a "valuable partner in the fight against terrorism".
The classified documents prepared for the German parliament last February
make clear that Berlin did eventually get to see the detained suspect,
who was arrested in Morocco in 2002 as an alleged organiser of the September
11 strikes. He was flown from Morocco to Syria on another rendition flight.
Syria offered access to the prisoner on the condition that charges were
dropped against Syrian intelligence agents in Germany accused of threatening
Syrian dissidents. Germany dropped the charges, but denied any link.
After the CIA offered a deal to Germany, EU countries adopted an almost
universal policy of downplaying criticism of human rights records in countries
where terrorist suspects have been held. They have also sidestepped questions
about secret CIA flights partly because of growing evidence of their complicity.
The disclosure is among fresh revelations about how the CIA flew terrorist
suspects to locations where they were tortured, and Britain's knowledge
of the practice known as "secret rendition". They are contained in Ghost
Plane, by Stephen Grey, the journalist who first revealed details of secret
CIA flights in the Guardian a year ago. More than 200 CIA flights have
passed through Britain, records show.
He describes how one CIA pilot told him that Prestwick airport, near
Glasgow, was a popular destination for refuelling stops and layovers. "It's
an 'ask-no-questions' type of place and you don't need to give them any
advance warning you're coming," the pilot said.
The CIA used planes of Air America, a group of private companies it
secretly owned, and a second company, Aero Contractors. A CIA Gulfstream
V jet, frequently used for the secret rendition of prisoners, flew to Diego
Garcia, the British Indian Ocean territory where the US has a large base,
the book says. Grey plans to publish more than 3,000 logs of the CIA flights
on the internet this week.
CIA pilots, sometimes using false identities and whose planes regularly
passed through Britain, ran up huge bills in luxury hotels after flying
terrorist suspects to secret locations where they were tortured. But they
revealed their whereabouts and identities by
indiscreet use of mobile phones and allowed outsiders to track their
On one occasion, CIA pilots and crew lived it up in Majorca after rendering
Benyam Mohammed, an Ethiopian brought up in Notting Hill, west London,
to Afghanistan where he was tortured. Benyam was detained in Pakistan early
in 2002, and then flown to Morocco, where he says he suffered appalling
torture. He is being held at Guantánamo Bay.
Benyam has said in a statement to his lawyer that he was tortured for
more than two years after being questioned by US and British officials.
He says that while in Morocco he was shown photos of people he knew from
a west London mosque, and was asked about information he was told was supplied
The government has consistently denied it has ever actively cooperated
in the CIA's "extraordinary rendition" programme". The Foreign Office said
yesterday that the government had "not approved and will not approve a
policy of facilitating transfer of individuals through the UK to places
where there are substantial grounds to believe they face a real risk of
The Guardian October
High-flying lifestyle of the CIA's rendition men
· VIP status for agents who transfer terror
· New book reveals disturbing details
In January 2004 a crew of CIA agents checked into the five-star Marriott
Son Antem golfing resort in Palma for a well-deserved rest. The agents
had just flown from Rabat in Morocco to Afghanistan and back to Algeria
- a gruelling 8,000-mile journey - and were looking forward to luxuriating
in the hotel's spa where, as the brochure put it, they could "journey
to deep inner peace". But as the crew were basking in comfort at US taxpayers'
expense there was little peace for their cargo. In the hold on that day
was Benyam Mohammed, a former Guantánamo Bay detainee alleged to
be one of the world's most dedicated jihadists. In Morocco, Mohammed would
later allege, he had been doused in hot liquids, subjected to incessant
loud noise and had his penis slashed with a scalpel.
The details of Mohammed's treatment emerges in Ghost Plane, a new book
by investigative journalist Stephen Grey describing the CIA's clandestine
system of international terrorist transfers known as extraordinary rendition.
The Marriott Son Antem was not the only luxury hotel in Palma frequented
by CIA agents. The rendition crews also liked to stop off at the Gran Melia
Victoria, a five-star hotel in the centre of the Majorcan capital. On one
occasion, they ordered three bottles of fine Spanish wine, and five crystal
glasses from Mallorcair, one of the plane's ground handling agents - refreshments
for the flight home, all charged to the CIA's bill.
Agents displayed a similar taste for luxury in Milan where Italian prosecutors
accuse the CIA of involvement in the seizure and rendering of Abu Omar,
a radical Egyptian cleric, to Cairo in 2003. Italian investigators found
the CIA agents spent nearly $150,000 (£80,000) on accommodation.
Two spent nearly $18,000 during a three-week stay at Milan's Savoy hotel.
But the US secret service operatives' indiscretions meant the task of
the Italians investigating the kidnapping of Abu Omar was made simple.
CIA officers frequently called each other's hotels and many of the 22
CIA agents allegedly involved had "frequent flyer" numbers or hotel loyalty
cards so they could earn points during their stay in the Italian fashion
capital. Among itemised phone bills discovered by Italian counter-terrorism
police was one showing 156 calls had been made to a landline in Milan.
This led them to the US consulate.
Another example of the indiscretions and contradictions in the US administration's
rendition programme emerges in its willingness to lavish money on entertaining
In December 2002, Syrian president Bashar Assad and his wife paid an
official visit to London. They were guests of honour at the City of London.
But back in the Syrian capital, Damascus, on that same day in December
2002, seven prisoners
were languishing in jail, sent there by the US despite President George
Bush's view that Syria was part of an "axis of evil" with a legacy of "torture,
oppression, misery, and ruin". There is clear evidence the seven rendered
there by the US were brutally tortured.
One, Maher Arar, abducted with the help of Canada, was freed after more
than nine months when he signed a false confession that he had trained
at a camp in Afghanistan. For Mr Arar, the contrast between his treatment
and the Syrian president's is likely to be a bitter pill to swallow.
November 4, 2006
U.S. Seeks Silence on CIA Prisons
Court Is Asked to Bar Detainees From Talking About Interrogations
By Carol D. Leonnig and Eric Rich
The Bush administration has told a federal judge that terrorism suspects
held in secret CIA prisons should not be allowed to reveal details of the
"alternative interrogation methods" that their captors used to get them
The government says in new court filings that those interrogation methods
are now among the nation's most sensitive national security secrets and
that their release -- even to the detainees' own attorneys -- "could reasonably
be expected to cause extremely grave damage." Terrorists could use the
information to train in counter-interrogation techniques and foil government
efforts to elicit information about their methods and plots, according
to government documents submitted to U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton
on Oct. 26.
The battle over legal rights for terrorism suspects detained for years
in CIA prisons centers on Majid Khan, a 26-year-old former Catonsville
resident who was one of 14 high-value detainees transferred in September
from the "black" sites to the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
A lawyer with the Center for Constitutional Rights, which represents many
detainees at Guantanamo, is seeking emergency access to him.
The government, in trying to block lawyers' access to the 14 detainees,
effectively asserts that the detainees' experiences are a secret that should
never be shared with the public.
Because Khan "was detained by CIA in this program, he may have come
into possession of information, including locations of detention, conditions
of detention, and alternative interrogation techniques that is classified
at the TOP SECRET//SCI level," an affidavit from CIA Information Review
Officer Marilyn A. Dorn states, using the acronym for "sensitive compartmented
Gitanjali Gutierrez, an attorney for Khan's family, responded in a court
document yesterday that there is no evidence that Khan had top-secret information.
"Rather," she said, "the executive is attempting to misuse its classification
authority . . . to conceal illegal or embarrassing executive conduct."
Joseph Margulies, a Northwestern University law professor who has represented
several detainees at Guantanamo, said the prisoners "can't even say what
our government did to these guys to elicit the statements that are the
basis for them being held. Kafka-esque doesn't do it justice. This is 'Alice
in Wonderland.' "
Kathleen Blomquist, a Justice Department spokeswoman, said yesterday
that details of the CIA program must be protected from disclosure. She
said the lawyer's proposal for talking with Khan "is inadequate to protect
unique and potentially highly classified information that is vital to our
country's ability to fight terrorism."
Government lawyers also argue in court papers that detainees such as
Khan previously held in CIA sites have no automatic right to speak to lawyers
because the new Military Commissions Act, signed by President Bush last
month, stripped them of access to U.S. courts. That law established separate
military trials for terrorism suspects.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is considering
whether Guantanamo detainees have the right to challenge their imprisonment
in U.S. courts. The government urged Walton to defer any decision on access
to lawyers until the higher court rules.
The government filing expresses concern that detainee attorneys will
provide their clients with information about the outside world and relay
information about detainees to others. In an affidavit, Guantanamo's staff
judge advocate, Cmdr. Patrick M. McCarthy, said that in one case a detainee's
attorney took questions from a BBC reporter with him into a meeting with
a detainee at the camp. Such indirect interviews are "inconsistent with
the purpose of counsel access" at the prison, McCarthy wrote.
Dorn said in the court papers that for lawyers to speak to former CIA
detainees under the security protocol used for other Guantanamo detainees
"poses an unacceptable risk of disclosure." But detainee attorneys said
they have followed the protocol to the letter, and none has been accused
of releasing information without government clearance.
Captives who have spent time in the secret prisons, and their advocates,
have said the detainees were sometimes treated harshly with techniques
that included "waterboarding," which simulates drowning. Bush has declared
that the administration will not tolerate the use of torture but has pressed
to retain the use of unspecified "alternative" interrogation methods.
The government argues that once rules are set for the new military commissions,
the high-value detainees will have military lawyers and "unprecedented"
rights to challenge charges against them in that venue.
U.S. officials say Khan, a Pakistani national who lived in the United
States for seven years, took orders from Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the man
accused of orchestrating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Mohammed allegedly
asked Khan to research poisoning U.S. reservoirs and considered him for
an operation to assassinate the Pakistani president.
In a separate court document filed last night, Khan's attorneys offered
declarations from Khaled al-Masri, a released detainee who said he was
held with Khan in a dingy CIA prison called "the salt pit" in Afghanistan.
There, prisoners slept on the floor, wore diapers and were given tainted
water that made them vomit, Masri said. American interrogators treated
him roughly, he said, and told him he "was in a land where there were no
Khan's family did not learn of his whereabouts until Bush announced
his transfer in September, more than three years after he was seized in
The family said Khan was staying with a brother in Karachi, Pakistan,
in March 2003 when men, who were not in uniform, burst into the apartment
late one night and put hoods over the heads of Khan, his brother Mohammad
and his brother's wife. The couple's 1-month-old son was also seized.
Another brother, Mahmood Khan, who has lived in the United States since
1989, said in an interview this week that the four were hustled into police
vehicles and taken to an undisclosed location, where they were separated
and held in windowless rooms. His sister-in-law and her baby remained together,
According to Mahmood, Mohammad said they were questioned repeatedly
by men who identified themselves as members of Pakistan's intelligence
service and others who identified themselves as U.S. officials. Mohammad's
wife was released after seven days, and he was released after three months,
without charge. He was left on a street corner without explanation, Mahmood
Periodically, he said, people who identified themselves as Pakistani
officials contacted Mohammad and assured him that his brother would soon
be released and that they ought not contact a lawyer or speak with the
"We had no way of knowing who had him or where he was," Mahmood Khan
said this week at the family home outside Baltimore. He said they complied
with the requests because they believed anything else could delay his brother's
In Maryland, Khan's family was under constant FBI surveillance from
the moment of his arrest, his brother said. The FBI raided their house
the day after the arrest , removing computer equipment, papers and videos.
Each family member was questioned extensively and shown photographs of
terrorism suspects that Mahmood Khan said none of them recognized. For
much of the next year, he said, they were followed everywhere.
"Pretty much we were scared," he said. "We live in this country. We
have everything here."
Staff researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.
a risposta scritta 4-00852
giovedì 9 novembre 2006 nella seduta n.069
MARTONE - Ai Ministri
degli affari esteri e dell'interno - Risulta all'interrogante che:
nel settembre 2006
la Commissione d'inchiesta parlamentare canadese sulle attività
delle autorità canadesi nel caso Maher Arar ha reso pubbliche le
conclusioni del suo rapporto finale, nonché le raccomandazioni relative
alle responsabilità ed agli eventi intorno la "extraordinary rendition"
di Maher Arar;
il caso di Maher Arar
è stato anche trattato nel rapporto pubblicato dal Comitato per
i diritti umani e gli affari legali dell'Assemblea parlamentare del Consiglio
d'Europa nel giugno 2006 a cura del senatore svizzero Dick Marty ed intitolato
"Presunte detenzioni segrete e trasferimenti illegale da stato a stato
che hanno coinvolto paesi membri del Consiglio d'Europa";
Marty, dopo aver interpellato
rappresentanti di 46 Paesi del vecchio continente, ha denunciato le reticenze
istituzionali e le complicità di molti Governi su diversi fatti
gravi sconosciuti all'opinione pubblica: si tratta di almeno 100 sequestri
illegali di sospetti terroristi islamici sul suolo europeo su cui spiccano
i rapimenti (ormai provati) di due cittadini egiziani in Svezia e di Abu
Omar in Italia. Il rapporto analizza più di 1.000 movimenti e rotte
di aerei fra il 2001 e il 2005, e mostra che gli aerei della CIA hanno
attraversato regolarmente lo spazio aereo europeo, anche se non è
ancora possibile dimostrare che abbiano trasportato prigionieri in ogni
Maher Arar, cittadino
canadese, venne fermato all'aeroporto JFK di New York nel settembre 2002,
di ritorno da una vacanza in Tunisia. Dopo essere stato trattenuto presso
il centro di detenzione Metropolitan Detention Center ed interrogato per
due settimane, venne trasportato, via Washington, Roma ed Amman, in una
prigione gestita dai servizi segreti siriani. Trascorse in carcere oltre
10 mesi durante i quali venne torturato, ed obbligato a rendere false confessioni;
il Governo americano
ritiene la rendition di Arar una procedura legittima in conformità
con le sue regole per l'immigrazione. Ciononostante, il caso di Arar sembra
rientrare chiaramente nelle "attività di tortura per procura". In
seguito alle denunce fatte da Arar, il Governo canadese istituì
una commissione di inchiesta che pubblicò un primo rapporto a cura
dell'investigatore Stephen J. Toope il 14 ottobre 2005, nel quale si stabilì
che il trattamento riservato ad Arar nel carcere siriano di Far Falestin
rientrava nella fattispecie della tortura;
nel rapporto della
Commissione d'inchiesta canadese, reso pubblico il 18 settembre 2006, si
legge che non esiste alcuna prova che indichi che il sig. Arar abbia commesso
alcun crimine o che la sua condotta comporti minacce alla sicurezza del
Canada. Ciononostante, gli investigatori canadesi hanno fatto il possibile
per produrre prove che dimostrassero il coinvolgimento di Arar in attività
dai registri di volo
della Federal Aviation Administration, l'ente di controllo dei voli americani,
e da quanto risulta dal rapporto del senatore Marty, la notte dell'8 ottobre
2002, un Gulfstream III -Codice N829MG- con a bordo Maher Arar atterrò
all'aeroporto romano di Ciampino;
che si trattasse di
un aereo della CIA è difficilmente contestabile, in quanto risulta
che lo stesso aereo, con lo stesso codice, il 18 dicembre 2003 partì
dalla Florida e arrivò a Guantanamo per poi ripartire e tornare
in Florida a "Fort Lauderdale" dove è situata una base militare
statunitense molto grande;
un altro aspetto molto
inquietante nella vicenda di Arar è il fatto che, durante la sosta
italiana, l'aereo segreto avrebbe avuto la copertura da parte di qualcuno
che aspettava nello scalo romano;
qualcuno, a quanto
risulterebbe, era presente in aeroporto all'atterraggio; da ciò
si potrebbe dedurre che anche tra le istituzioni italiane si sapeva che
questo volo sarebbe transitato e atterrato, si sapeva che questo volo era
utilizzato per un'operazione illegale e clandestina, la "extraordinary
rendition", una "consegna speciale" alla quale occorreva dare il massimo
di collaborazione. Esattamente come era accuduto più o meno nello
stesso periodo a Milano quando 22 agenti della CIA rapirono, in pieno giorno,
l'imam di Milano, Abu Omar, con la presumibile disponibilità, compiacenza
o quantomeno reticenza, dei servizi di sicurezza italiani;
ha intervistato numerose vittime delle cosiddette «restitutions»
e le loro affermazioni si sono dimostrate oerenti e plausibili ogni volta
che sono state confrontate con fatti e informazioni documentati come quelli
riguardanti i voli segreti. Le descrizioni delle torture e dei maltrattamenti
subiti sono altrettanto credibili. Conclusioni che coincidono con quelle
dell'inchiesta condotta su incarico del Consiglio d'Europa dal senatore
ticinese Dick Marty;
ha appurato, tramite le registrazioni di volo presso l'amministrazione
federale dell'aviazione degli Stati Uniti, che quattro aerei noleggiati
dalla CIA, tra il settembre 2001 e lo stesso mese del 2005, hanno usufruito
per i loro spostamenti di aeroporti italiani. Secondo il rapporto di Amnesty
International, la CIA ha sviluppato un ingegnoso sistema che permette di
trasferire senza controllo persone in località segrete;
che la CIA, secondo il segretario generale di Amnesty International Irene
Khan, abbia organizzato molti voli attraverso una ditta intermediaria,
la Premier Executive Transport, compagnia che di fatto esiste solo sulla
carta. Sempre secondo Amnesty, l'amministrazione americana ha tentato in
vari modi di aggirare l'interdizione della tortura e dei maltrattamenti
sui prigionieri. Le ultime prove raccolte dimostrano che l'amministrazione
manipola gli accordi commerciali allo scopo di trasferire dei detenuti
in violazione del diritto internazionale,
si chiede di sapere:
se il Governo non ritenga
opportuno avviare un'indagine per appurare se il territorio italiano sia
stato usato per dare assistenza a voli noleggiati dalla Cia per trasferire
segretamente prigionieri in Paesi dove questi avrebbero potuto subire maltrattamenti
e torture o "sparire";
in attesa degli esiti
di queste indagini, se il Governo ritenga doveroso assicurare che il territorio
e le strutture italiani non siano utilizzati per assistere tali voli;
inoltre, se il Governo
non ritenga che la lotta al terrorismo debba trovare un suo naturale e
insindacabile limite nel rispetto dei diritti dei cittadini e nel diritto
[see also Amnesty International
report EUR 30/006/2006 of 16 November 2006: "Abu
Omar: Italian authorities must cooperate fully with all investigations"]
unauthorized automatic translation:
Interrogation to written answer 4-00852
introduced they give
9 thursdays November 2006 in the sitting n.069
- To the Ministers of the foreign policies and the inside - It turns out
to interrogating that:
in the september the 2006 Investigating committee Canadian parliamentarian
on the activities of the Canadian authorities in the event Maher Arar has
rendered the relative conclusions of its final relationship, let alone
recommendations to the responsibilities and the events public around
“extraordinary rendition” of Maher Arar;
case of Maher Arar has been also dealt in the relationship published from
the Committee for the human rights and the transactions lawyers of the
Assembly parliamentarian of the Council of Europe in the june 2006 edited
by Swiss senator Dick Marty and entitled “Presumed secret detainments and
transfers illegal from state to state that countries have been involved
members of the Council of Europe”;
after to have interpellato representatives of 46 Countries of the old continent,
he has denounced the institutional reticenze and the complicities of many
Governments on various disowned serious facts to the public opinion: draft
at least 100 illegal seizures of terrorist suspiciones Muslims on the European
ground on which they detach the rapimenti by now (tries) of two city Egyptians
in Sweden and Abu Omar to you in Italy. The relationship more analyzes
than to 1.000 movements and routes of airplane between the 2001 and 2005,
and extension that the airplane of the CIA have crossed the European aerial
space regularly, even if is not still possible to demonstrate that they
have transported captive in every occasion;
Arar, Canadian citizen, came stopped to airport JFK of New York in september
2002, of return from one vacation in Tunisia. After to have been withheld
near the center of detainment Metropolitan Detention Center and interrogated
for two weeks, he came transported, via Washington, Rome and Amman, in
one prison managed from the Syrian intelligence agencies. Passed in jail
beyond 10 months during which it came tortured, and obliged to render false
Government American thinks the rendition To plow one legitimate procedure
in conformity with its rules for immigration. Ciononostante, the case To
plow seems to re-enter clearly in the “activities of torture by proxy”.
As a result of the made denunciations To plow, the Canadian Government
instituted an investigating committee that published a first relationship
edited by the investigator Stephen J. Toope 14 October 2005, in which it
settled down itself that the classified treatment To plow in the Syrian
jail To make Falestin re-entered in the fattispecie of the torture;
the relationship of the Canadian Investigating committee, rendered the
18 september 2006, law public that some test does not exist that indicates
that the sig. To plow has store clerk some crime or that its conduct involves
threats to the emergency of Canada. Ciononostante, the Canadian investigators
have made the possible one in order to produce tests that they demonstrated
the involvement To plow in terroristic activities;
the registries of flight of the Federal Aviation Administration, the agency
of control of the flights Americans, and from how much it turns out from
the relationship of senator Marty, the 8 night of October 2002, one Gulfstream
III - Code N829MG- with to edge Maher Arar landed to the roman airport
it was be a matter of an airplane of the CIA is difficultly contestabile,
in how much turns out that the same airplane, with the same code, 18 December
2003 left from Florida and arrived to Guantanamo in order then to leave
again and to return in Florida to “Fort Lauderdale” where one is situated
American military base much large one;
other aspect a lot alarming in the vicissitude To plow is the fact that,
during the Italian pause, the secret airplane would have had the cover
from part of that it waited for in the roman port of call;
to how much would turn out, was present in airport to the landing; from
that it could be deduced that also between the Italian institutions it
was known that this flight would be journeyed and landed, was known that
this flight was used for an illegal and clandestine operation, “extraordinary
rendition”, a “special delivery” to which it was necessary to give the
maximum of collaboration. Exactly as it was accuduto more or less in the
same period to Milan when 22 agents of the rapirono CIA, in broad daylight,
the imam of Milan, Abu Omar, with the presumable availability, compiacenza
or at least reticenza, of the Italian Internal Security Services;
International has interviewed numerous victims of the so-called ones “restitutions”
and their affirmations have been demonstrated oerenti and reasonable every
time that has been confronted with facts and information documents like
those regarding the flights to you secrets. The descriptions of the tortures
and the endured ill-treatments are equally credible. Conclusions that coincide
with those of the inquiry lead on assignment of the Council of Europe from
ticinese senator Dick Marty;
International has ascertained, through the recordings of flight near the
federal administration of aviation of the United States, than four airplane
it rents to you from the CIA, between september 2001 and the same month
of 2005, they have have ud of for their movements of Italian airports.
According to the relationship of Amnesty International, the CIA has developed
an ingenious system that allows to transfer without control persons in
would turn out indeed that the CIA, according to the general secretary
of Amnesty International Irene Khan, has organized many flights through
an intermediary company, the Premier Executive Transport, company that
of fact exists alone on the paper. Always according to Amnesty, the administration
American has tried in several ways to go around the interdiction of the
torture and the ill-treatments on the prisoners. The last tests collections
demonstrate that the administration manipulate the agreements trade them
in order to transfer of the prisoners in violation of the international
is asked for knowing:
the Government does not think opportune to start a surveying in order to
ascertain if the Italian territory is used in order to give attendance
to flights rents to you from the Cia in order to transfer secretly captive
in Countries where these could have endured ill-treatments and tortures
or “to disappear”;
attended of the outcomes of these surveyings, if the Government thinks
right to assure that the Italian territory and structures are not use you
in order to assist such flights;
if the Government does not think that the fight to the terrorism must find
its a natural and insindacabile limit in the respect of the rights of the
citizens and in the international right.
[see also Amnesty International
report EUR 30/006/2006 of 16 November 2006: "Abu
Omar: Italian authorities must cooperate fully with all investigations"]
November 22, 2006 1:35:00 PM
What the Islamists Have Learned
How to defeat the USA in future wars
by Michael Novak
If I were an Islamist, a terrorist, a sworn foe of democracy, here is
what I think I would have learned from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
This is what I would write down in my hard-earned manual of instruction.
THE WILL OF ALLAH, in all wars to come, may it prepare our brave martyrs
for combat operations!
the purpose of war is sharply political, not military; psychological, not
physical. The main purpose of war is to dominate the way the enemy imagines
and thinks about the war. Warfare is not, these days, won on a grand field
of battle. Nor is it won by the force that wins series after series of
military victories. Nor is triumph assured by killing far higher numbers
of the enemy. The physical side of warfare no longer holds precedence.
primary battlefield today lies in the minds of opposing publics.
main strategic aim of war today is to dominate the mind of the enemy's
public, and then ultimately to dominate the mind of that public's leaders.
me offer three examples. At what moment did the war in Vietnam come to
an end? At that precise moment when America's leaders decided that they
could not resist the unrelenting storyline of the enemy, which had long
prevailed in their own press. The press surrendered first, then the leaders
of the nation.
that the Cold War ended not in an explosion of unprecedented violence,
but rather at the precise moment when the Soviet elites no longer believed
their own storyline. Superior ideas cowed them, superior will, superior
narratives. Quite suddenly, the invincible Soviet elites folded, accepted
humiliation, allowed the Wall to come down, and watched in bitterness as
hundreds of millions of formerly captive peoples chose new forms of government.
endgame was psychological, not military. There was a military component--Star
Wars--but nobody knew whether or not that would ever work. It was the idea
of that weapon, and will or Reagan to proceed with it.
weaker political will yielded to the stronger will.
as always, will followed storyline. First comes narrative, then the acts
that give it flesh in history.
we have discovered in Iraq is the weakest link in the ability of the United
States to sustain military operations overseas. That link is the U.S. media.
They are Islamists' best friends.
shows that the mainstream press of the United States is alienated from
the U.S. military. In addition, the American press is extremely vulnerable
to anti-U.S. propaganda. Thus, the American public will be fed nearly everything
that foreign adversaries--our band of brothers--wish to feed it about the
war. Therefore, I write: Maxim # 1: To defeat America, impose upon the
imagination of its media your own storyline.
if you can muster only 10,000 soldiers over the entire countryside of Iraq,
paint the narrative like this: The Americans are irresistible occupiers,
and yet they cannot prevent small (even individual) acts of destruction.
Daily, unrelenting acts of destruction demonstrate that chaos rules. The
American strategy, and the American storyline of the war, are invalidated
by continuing chaos, highly visible, every single day, on worldwide television.
The new dominating story is that the Americans cannot win.
though our own forces (for nearly two whole years now) can no longer afford
to fight in a single operation lasting longer than a few hours, our martyr-brothers
cannot be prevented from committing daily acts of destruction--the more
stomach-turning the better--which demonstrate a ferocious will and a determination
such wars, my brothers, whichever party maintains the stronger will, along
the most durable storyline, always wins.
defeat the United States, then, it suffices to demonstrate that their vaunted
military, for all its awesome power and tactical bravery in the field,
cannot halt daily "chaos." To achieve this victory over America, it is
not even necessary to create actual "chaos," but only its appearance. This
definition of chaos cannot be made on cerebral, analytic, statistical,
or comparative grounds. (In October the Times of London reported, "An average
of 112 cars a day have been torched across France" this year, with 15 attacks
a day on police and emergency services and nearly 3,000 police officers
injured. We don't need comparisons like this or comparisons with traffic
deaths and violent crimes in individual U.S. states.)
the shadowy existence of this "chaos" in Iraq is projected by a steady
stream of stomach-churning, atavistic, destructive acts, staged day by
day where the cameras of the U.S. press cannot resist them. Some of these
acts bring orange explosions and black smoke, others consist simply of
dumping dead and tortured bodies where the public cannot avoid discovering
design these images to show that our fighters will go where the United
States will not, that our brave martyrs have harder linings in their stomachs
than anyone in the West, and that our ferocity and determination, day after
day, cannot be resisted.
aim of our terror is to induce surrender before the great battles are even
fought. This is the true meaning of "asymmetric" warfare. The weaker side
in military strength may demonstrate conclusively that it has a stronger
stomach for relentless, unstoppable acts of terror.
brothers, there seems to be a psychological tic in the minds of American
journalists, which prevents them from understanding that our terror is
ultimately aimed at them. Today, yes, they think it is aimed at their government,
and will cripple their political opponents within that government. Without
qualm or fear, therefore, they do our bidding day after day. Willingly,
gleefully, with much self-congratulation, they pump our storyline into
the bloodstream of the Western public.
is far easier than anyone ever taught us. This is our new discovery, our
contribution to the history of warfare. Before our very eyes, the West
grows fainter and weaker every day.
# 2: Take heart, then, my terrorist brothers! Bin Laden is even more correct
than we knew before the last two years. The West does not have the will
to resist. Those elites among them who do have the stomach to fight back,
inexorably, day after day, are being undermined by their own media.
and in the future, the media will do our work. All we need are martyrs
sufficient in number to keep a steady stream of orange flames and black
smoke before their cameras, and to dump before them bodies that are stone-cold
dead, and bear all over them the unmistakable blue marks of power drills
and other disfigurements.
such martyrs, we need each day only a handful. In 365 successive days,
we need fewer than one thousand.
small band of brothers can defeat the most powerful army in human history.
The path, my brothers, is to come to dominate the minds of their public,
which they must suppose is supporting them, and in reality turns quite
quickly into our best ally.
is not so huge a task, my brothers! In the long run of glorious history,
the time required is like the blinking of an eye.
Michael Novak is George Frederick Jewett Scholar in Religion, Philosophy,
and Public Policy at the American Enterprise Institute.
The Associated Press
November 28, 2006; 10:02 PM
EU Report Says Secret Prisons Were Known
By CONSTANT BRAND
BRUSSELS, Belgium -- Eleven European Union governments _ including Britain,
Poland and Germany _ knew about secret CIA prisons operating in Europe,
a draft European Parliament report
The report presented to the EU assembly's special committee investigating
allegations about the detention centers and CIA kidnappings in Europe called
on governments to launch their own inquiries to determine whether human
rights laws were violated. It criticized top EU officials, including foreign
policy chief Javier Solana and anti-terror coordinator Gijs de Vries of
"omissions and denials" during testimony to the committee. The draft also
said there were more than a thousand CIA flights in the European region.
No EU governments have admitted that the claimed anti-terror operations
were carried out on their territory. Governments have been warned by EU
Justice and Home Affairs Commissioner Franco Frattini that if they knew
about the CIA renditions and secret flights they could be found in violation
of EU law.
While thin on proof to back up the allegations, the committee report
claimed it got information from secret documents and information from several
sources in the United States and from national authorities in the 25-nation
bloc. "At least 1,245 flights operated by the CIA have flown into the European
airspace or stopped over at European airports," the draft said.
The report said 11 EU nations _ Britain, Poland, Italy, Germany, Sweden,
Austria, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Cyprus _ had knowledge of
the alleged U.S. secret anti-terrorism measures taking place on European
soil. Germany topped the list with 336 flight stopovers, while Britain
had 170, according to the report. Others include: Ireland, 147; Portugal,
91; Greece, 64; Italy, 47; Cyprus, 57; Romania, 21; Poland, 11.
It said the committee had obtained "serious circumstantial evidence"
showing that Poland may have hosted a temporary secret detention center
for the CIA. The British government denies knowing about secret CIA prisons
or colluding in a secret program to transfer CIA prisoners. A Foreign Office
spokesman said there was nothing unusual about CIA flights using British
airports. "The U.K. is an international hub for refueling to and from the
United States," he said on the government's customary condition of anonymity.
"Under the Chicago Convention, we can't investigate the aircraft unless
we think that a crime is being committed at that time." The convention
requires aircraft used in military, customs and police operations to seek
special authorization to land in signatory states.
Polish officials in Warsaw also rejected the allegations made by the
report. "The committee's report, from what we know so far, is not based
on any strong proof, but only commonly repeated assumptions, suspicions
and probabilities," said Krzysztof Lapinski, spokesman for Poland's minister
for special services. "We stand by our earlier stated stance that there
were no secret CIA prisons in Poland."
The report also criticized most of the 25 EU governments for lack of
cooperation in their probe, which was launched in January and is expected
to last until January. The draft report will be voted upon by the special
committee after the EU assembly's Christmas break, officials said. Allegations
that CIA agents shipped prisoners through European airports to secret detention
centers, including compounds in Eastern Europe, were first reported in
November 2005. Human Rights Watch later identified Poland and Romania as
possible locations of the alleged secret prisons. Both countries have repeatedly
An investigator for the Council of Europe, a leading human rights group,
said evidence pointed to the likelihood that planes linked to the CIA carrying
terror suspects stopped in Romania and Poland and likely dropped off detainees
In September, President Bush acknowledged for the first time that terrorism
suspects have been held in CIA-run prisons overseas, but did not specify
November 29, 2006
European Report Details Flights By CIA Aircraft
Polish, Romanian Facilities Cited
By Craig Whitlock
Nov. 28 -- Most days, the skies are quiet over the Szymany airport, a mothballed
runway in rural Poland. So the airport director took note when strangers
showed up on at least six occasions in 2002 and 2003, offering to pay large
sums of cash to land planes from faraway places such as Afghanistan.
When the chartered civilian planes arrived, they followed the same secretive
drill, Mariola Przewlocka, former director of the airport, told investigators
from the European Parliament last week. To avoid prying eyes, she said,
the aircraft would sit at the end of the runway and wait for unmarked minivans
to arrive. In the dark, it was hard to tell whether people got on or off.
But in at least one case, a flight took off with several passengers for
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, records show. "More money was being paid for these
landings than any other landings," Przewlocka told the investigators, adding
that the people who brought the money spoke excellent Polish but that the
invoices indicated the jet owners were from the United States. "The landings
of these aircraft were part of the work of secret services, as we understood
it," she recalled.
Details of the flights and testimony from airport employees constitute
"serious circumstantial evidence" that Szymany was the transfer point for
a nearby secret prison run by the CIA, according to a report
released Tuesday by a European Parliament committee that is investigating
CIA counterterrorism operations in Europe.
John B. Bellinger III, legal adviser to Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice, called the European Parliament report "hysterical in its hyperbole."
He said the committee was leaping to conclusions about the missions of
the CIA flights and improperly assuming that they all had a "nefarious"
"There are numerous, numerous reasons for CIA flights to Europe," he
said in a telephone interview. "By and large, they are a symbol of cooperation
between our countries and the sharing of information, not illegal activity."
The committee said that it had found records of 1,245 CIA-operated flights
landing at European airports or passing through European airspace, though
it found evidence of only a handful of cases in which prisoners were transported.
The investigative committee said it suspected that the prison held captured
al-Qaeda leaders and that it was housed in a nearby Polish intelligence
training center at Stare Kiejkuty, in northeastern Poland. Although the
committee acknowledged that it lacked proof, it cited testimony of airport
employees that they were kept away from the mysterious flights by Polish
military officials and were prohibited from conducting passenger checks
or customs inspections.
The CIA declined to comment Tuesday on the parliamentary findings. The
government of Poland has repeatedly denied allowing the CIA to operate
a prison on its territory.
"The committee's report, from what we know so far, is not based on any
strong proof but only commonly repeated assumptions, suspicions and probabilities,"
Krzysztof Lapinski, spokesman for Poland's minister for special services,
told the Associated Press in Warsaw.
The European Parliament accused Poland of blocking the probe, saying
that high-ranking Polish officials refused to meet with the panel. It also
accused the Polish government of withholding or destroying flight logs
pertaining to CIA flights at Szymany and other airports.
Also Tuesday, the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza reported that international
flight logs showed that a single Gulfstream jet used by the CIA landed
five times in Warsaw, the capital, and once at Szymany between February
and July 2003. Four of the flights originated in Afghanistan, the paper
In November 2005, The Washington Post first reported the presence of
clandestine CIA prisons in Eastern Europe. The Post withheld the exact
locations at the request of the White House, which argued that divulging
such details could jeopardize active counterterrorism operations and subject
the host countries to retaliation from al-Qaeda and its sympathizers.
In September, President Bush acknowledged the existence of the CIA's
overseas prison network for the first time. He said that 14 inmates had
been transferred to the U.S. Navy prison at Guantanamo Bay and that the
"black sites" had been emptied, although he did not rule out using them
No European country has admitted allowing the CIA to run secret prisons
on its territory. But the parliamentary committee said it had obtained
records describing an "informal" Dec. 7, 2005, meeting of foreign ministers
from the European Union and NATO "confirming that member states had knowledge"
of the secret prisons. The meeting was attended by Rice and other U.S.
officials, according to the report.
"The decision has been to keep mum and shroud decisions in secrecy,"
said Giovanni Claudio Fava, an Italian member of the European Parliament
who led the investigation. "Many of our governments have cooperated actively
The committee report also cited evidence that the CIA may have operated
a prison in Romania and said it "cannot exclude," based on testimony by
Romanian officials, "the possibility that US secret services have operated
in Romania on a clandestine basis."
The panel said it "expresses serious concern" about 21 stopovers by
CIA-operated aircraft landing in Romania, including a crash landing by
a Gulfstream jet in Bucharest on Dec. 6, 2004.
Although no one was reported injured, seven passengers on board the
flight "disappeared" after the accident, and Romanian air transport investigators
never learned their identities, according to the report. The plane had
started its journey at Bagram air base, the site of a U.S. prison in Afghanistan.
Researcher Julie Tate in Washington contributed to this report.
November 29, 2006
Report Rejects European Denial of C.I.A. Activity
By BRIAN KNOWLTON
WASHINGTON, Nov. 28 — A new report
by the European Parliament bluntly rejected the assertions by several
European countries that they were unaware of a C.I.A. program to secretly
abduct, transport and detain terrorist suspects.
“Many governments cooperated passively or actively” with the Central
Intelligence Agency, said Giovanni Claudio Fava, who led a special inquiry.
“They knew.” The report said that 11 European countries, including Britain,
Italy and Germany, knew of the agency’s activities.
The report, issued Tuesday in Brussels, offered new confirmation of
the United States’ practice of so-called extraordinary renditions, in which
suspects were abducted, then transported, with European complicity, to
third countries where they might face harsh interrogation methods.
Mr. Fava’s report followed an inquiry conducted for the Council of Europe,
the European human rights watchdog organization. That report, written by
Dick Marty, a member of the Swiss Parliament, described what the council
called a “reprehensible network” created by the C.I.A., one that was allowed
to exist through the “intentional or grossly negligent collusion of the
Mr. Marty’s report was based largely on news reports, legal proceedings
and other public information. But Mr. Fava asserted that his committee
had obtained, from a confidential source, records of an informal meeting
of European Union and NATO foreign ministers on Dec. 7, 2005, “confirming
that member states had knowledge of the program of extraordinary rendition
and secret prisons.” Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was among the
participants, it said.
President Bush confirmed on Sept. 6 that the C.I.A. had been operating
a secret detention program, and said 14 prisoners held abroad were being
sent to the United States naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
The European Union-NATO meeting came just over a month after The Washington
Post reported that the C.I.A. had been holding its “most important Al Qaeda
captives at a Soviet-era compound in Eastern Europe.” It did not identify
the country involved, though the group Human Rights Watch subsequently
named Poland and Romania as leading possibilities.
Mr. Fava’s draft report asserted that at least 1,245 C.I.A.-operated
flights passed through Europe’s airspace or stopped at its airports, and
listed Poland as among the countries least cooperative with its inquiry.
The committee said that when it asked the Polish authorities for copies
of the flight logs of 11 C.I.A.-operated flights, it was told that these
were “said not to have been retained, then said to have been faxed and
destroyed, and finally said to have been saved in an unspecified place.”
The report quoted Szymany airport employees as describing what it said
transpired there in 2002 and 2003, when six Gulfstream jets with civilian
registration numbers parked at the edge of the airport, not entering customs
Quoting a former senior airport official, it said that the authorities
had been directly ordered not to approach the aircraft and that vehicles,
bearing military registration numbers associated with the intelligence
training base in nearby Stare Kiejkuty, would await each aircraft.
Zbigniew Gniatkowski, a spokesman for the Polish mission to the European
Union, said Tuesday that Poland stood by its previous denials of any involvement.
December 16, 2006
Testimony Helps Detail CIA's Post-9/11 Reach
Europeans Told of Plans for Abductions
By Craig Whitlock
MILAN -- A few days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the CIA station
chief in Rome paid a visit to the head of Italy's military intelligence
agency, Adm. Gianfranco Battelli, to float a proposal: Would the Italian
secret services help the CIA kidnap terrorism suspects and fly them out
of the country?
The CIA man did not identify which targets he had in mind but was "expressly
referring to the possibility of picking up a suspected terrorist in Italy,
bringing him to an airport and sending him from there to a foreign country,"
Battelli, now retired, recalled in a deposition.
This initial secret contact and others that followed, disclosed in newly
released documents, show the speed and breadth with which the CIA applied
in post-9/11 Europe a tactic it had long reserved for the Third World --
"extraordinary rendition," the extrajudicial abduction of Islamic radicals
overseas for interrogation in friendly countries.
A year after the first contact, the CIA officer held another meeting
with his Italian counterparts, this time sharing a list of more than 10
"dangerous people" the agency was tracking in Italy, Belgium, Austria and
the Netherlands, according to a deposition from Gen. Gustavo Pignero, another
high-ranking Italian military intelligence official. "It was clear that
this was an aggressive search project, that their willingness to employ
illicit means was clear," Pignero said, adding that the list was later
destroyed and he could not recall the names.
U.S. spies drew up suspect lists with the help of European intelligence
agencies and chased some of the men around the globe before putting a brake
on the operations in early 2004, about a year after the invasion of Iraq,
according to documents unearthed in criminal investigations, lawsuits and
All told, the U.S. agency took part in the seizure of at least 10 European
citizens or legal immigrants, some of them from countries not cited in
that list of "dangerous people" received by the Italian spies. Four renditions
occurred on European soil: in Sweden, Macedonia and Italy. Six operations
targeted people who were traveling abroad or who had been captured in Pakistan;
European intelligence agencies provided direct assistance to the CIA in
at least five of those cases, records show.
Each prisoner was then secretly handed over to intelligence services
in the Middle East or Africa with histories of human rights abuses. Some
remain imprisoned in those countries; others have been taken to the U.S.
naval prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. One man was later released after
being taken from the Balkans to Afghanistan, the victim of an apparent
case of mistaken identity.
In the early stages, the CIA had prepared even more ambitious plans,
according to the depositions from the Italian intelligence officials, who
testified last summer during a criminal investigation into a CIA-sponsored
kidnapping of a radical Islamic cleric in Milan.
For example, Pignero said in his deposition that the CIA's Rome station
chief had offered in 2002 to abduct a fugitive leader of the Red Brigades
-- a Marxist network blamed for dozens of assassinations in Italy -- who
had found refuge in South America. "The Americans would capture him and
turn him over to us, and we in return would have to 'extradite' him to
Italy without any legal proceedings," Pignero said.
In exchange, the CIA wanted help in abducting Islamic radicals living
in the Italian cities of Turin, Vercelli and Naples, Pignero said. Italian
intelligence officials rejected the offer, he added, because it was "contrary
to international laws."
Reports of clandestine CIA operations have fueled deep public anger
in Europe, where many people regard renditions as a blatant violation of
national sovereignty and international law. Since last year, prosecutors
have opened four separate criminal investigations into CIA activities in
Europe. A dozen countries have conducted legislative inquiries into whether
local spy agencies were involved.
Last month, a European Parliament committee investigating CIA operations
in Europe condemned the practice of rendition "as an illegal and systematic
instrument used by the United States" and called it "counterproductive
in the fight against terrorism."
"I think that after the 11th of September, the CIA thought that all
the ways useful to capture their enemies, the alleged terrorists, were
now possible," Giovanni Claudio Fava, an Italian legislator who led the
parliamentary probe, said in an interview in Brussels. "They wanted to
clean Europe of all these dangerous, alleged terrorists. They didn't have
faith in the quality and capacity of our own security controls and our
In the past year, U.S. officials have sought to repair the diplomatic
damage. They have met repeatedly with their European counterparts to defuse
opposition to renditions, the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo and the
disclosure in November 2005 that the CIA had set up secret prisons for
terrorism suspects in Eastern Europe.
John B. Bellinger III, legal adviser to Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice, said U.S. diplomats have made some headway. But he added that ongoing
political disputes have "undermined cooperation and intelligence activities."
"I'd say that many European government officials and academics acknowledge
now that there is a legal murkiness that applies to international terrorism,"
he said in a telephone interview from Washington. "On the negative side
of the ledger, we do continue to have these hysterical, inflated allegations
denouncing the United States that unfortunately do fan the flames of suspicion
and anti-Americanism." The CIA declined to comment.
'He Was Too Loud'
The most detailed disclosures about the CIA's European rendition project
have emerged from Milan, where Italian prosecutors have spent two years
investigating the disappearance of Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, a militant
Egyptian-born cleric known as Abu Omar.
When Nasr vanished in February 2003, police and prosecutors in Milan
thought at first that he had slipped out of the country on his own, perhaps
to join resistance forces in Iraq in advance of the U.S.-led invasion.
The CIA lent credence to their suspicions a few months later, when it delivered
an intelligence bulletin to Rome stating that Nasr had been seen in the
In fact, prosecutors later discovered, Nasr had been grabbed on the
street in Milan as he was walking to a mosque and stuffed into a white
van, which sped to Aviano Air Base, a joint U.S.-Italian military installation.
From there, he was put on a plane to Ramstein Air Base in Germany, and
onward to Cairo, where Nasr claims he was tortured for months with electric
shocks and sexually abused.
Prosecutors in Milan have since issued arrest warrants on kidnapping
charges for 25 CIA operatives and a U.S. Air Force officer, alleging that
they conspired with Italian secret service agents to abduct Nasr. Although
none of the Americans is likely to be extradited to Italy, prosecutors
have served notice that they intend to try them in absentia and asked a
judge last month to formally indict the defendants.
Senior Italian intelligence officials have also been charged in the
case, including Gen. Nicolo Pollari, director of the Italian military intelligence
agency known as Sismi. Pignero, his former deputy, was arrested in June,
shortly after he gave his deposition to prosecutors. He died of cancer
three months later, on Sept. 11.
European investigators are still examining other mysterious cases of
missing or detained people. Among them is the disappearance a few weeks
before Nasr's kidnapping of another Egyptian-born Islamic fundamentalist.
Gamal al-Menshawi, a physician and occasional mosque preacher who knew
Nasr personally, had left his home in Graz, Austria, bound for the Islamic
holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. His wife was waiting for him there, but
he never arrived, according to Egyptian exiles in Austria and Italy who
Menshawi's trail vanished after he arrived in Amman, Jordan, for a flight
connection. He later surfaced in Egypt. European Parliament investigators
have concluded he was detained there for two years without facing charges.
He was released in 2005 and is living in Alexandria, Egypt, according
to Austrian journalists. He has severed contact with friends and colleagues
in Europe, who strongly suspect he was subjected to a rendition, although
they lack proof or direct evidence of U.S. involvement.
Arman Ahmed al-Hissini, imam of the Viale Jenner mosque in Milan and
an acquaintance of Menshawi and Nasr, said both have been silenced by the
Egyptian security services. "The Arab secret services, they give names
to the CIA of people who they want, people who are on the outside, such
as Europe," said Hissini, an Egyptian native known locally as Abu Imad.
"They give the names to the CIA, because the CIA can go to work in these
countries." There is also little doubt about Menshawi's fate among those
who knew him in Austria's Islamic community.
"I see the American government as being primarily responsible," said
Mohamed Mahmoud, chairman of a group called Islamic Group of Austria. "This
is not the first time someone has disappeared." "The Americans look around
in Europe for who is being loud, who is speaking out, and then those people
are kidnapped," he added. "He was very vocal; he was too loud for them.
He talked openly about Egypt's government, about the U.S. government, about
the Islamic community in Austria."
'They Needed Information'
About the same time, another Islamic militant from Austria disappeared
during a stopover at the Amman airport. Masaad Omer Behari, a Sudanese
citizen who had lived in Austria for more than a decade, has said he was
arrested by Jordanian secret service agents on Jan. 12, 2003, as he was
traveling home to Vienna from a trip to Sudan.
Behari told European Parliament investigators in October that he was
held for three months in a Jordanian prison, where he was interrogated
about Islamic militants in Austria and elsewhere in Europe. "On the first
day I was in prison, they told me they did not think I was a terrorist,
but that they needed information about the Islamic scene in Vienna," he
Documents obtained by the investigators show that Behari had been under
surveillance by Austria's domestic intelligence service since 1998, when
he was interrogated about an alleged plot to blow up the U.S. Embassy in
Vienna. Behari said he was innocent and never faced charges, but was pressured
by Austrian secret service agents to leave the country after the Sept.
"I have experienced hard times because I did not cooperate with the
security authorities in Europe and with the Americans," Behari said, according
to a transcript of his testimony. The Austrians "threatened me that they
would cause me problems. I thought it was only 'blah-blah,' but it was
Austrian authorities said they have not opened official inquiries into
the disappearances of Menshawi or Behari, in part because neither is an
Austrian citizen. "Since the alleged abductions did not take place on Austrian
soil, in an Austrian airplane or on an Austrian ship, we see no need for
action," said Rudolf Gollia, spokesman for the Austrian Interior Ministry.
Special correspondent Shannon Smiley in Berlin contributed to this
December 16, 2006
Tortured Canadian Still on U.S. 'Watch List'
Muslim Cleared By Ottawa Inquiry
By Doug Struck
TORONTO, Dec. 15 -- Maher Arar, the Canadian Muslim who was whisked
by U.S. agents from a New York airport to imprisonment and torture in Syria,
remains on the U.S. "watch list" despite an exhaustive Canadian inquiry
that found he is an innocent man, the U.S. ambassador to Canada said Friday.
Ambassador David Wilkins said in an interview with CBC Radio that Arar
"is on the watch list and has been since he was deported" in 2002 to Syria,
where he was held for 10 months, much of it in a coffin-like dungeon.
His transfer to Syria, part of a series of U.S. clandestine "extraordinary
renditions" of terrorism suspects for interrogation in foreign countries,
created a scandal in Canada.
The head of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police resigned last week after
a two-year judicial inquiry found his officers gave U.S. agents false information
to cast suspicion on Arar.
The Canadian Parliament has apologized to Arar, now 36, and the Canadian
government is preparing compensation for the engineer.
But the United States has never acknowledged any mistake in the matter,
and Wilkins's disclosure Friday indicates Arar might again be detained
by the United States if he were to enter the country.
His removal to Syria "was based on information from a variety of sources,
as is his current watch list status," Wilkins said in a statement he issued
later Friday. U.S. officials have made "our own independent assessment
of the threat to the United States," he said.
"That the United States would have the gall to keep Maher on a watch
list, implying that he poses a threat to this country, is outrageous,"
said one of Arar's attorneys, Maria LaHood, a lawyer with the Center for
Constitutional Rights in New York. The nonprofit group filed a suit on
Arar's behalf against the U.S. government, but it was dismissed.
"This administration is unwilling to admit its mistakes and still tries
to conceal them," she said.
In Ottawa, New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton said the Canadian
government should demand that the United States remove Arar's name from
the list. "Otherwise, it sends a message the Canadian government will not
stand behind its own citizens," he told reporters.
December 21, 2006
Congress should correct the mistake it
made in eliminating habeas corpus
for prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.
LAST WEEK a federal court in Washington threw out the lawsuit of Salim
Ahmed Hamdan, the detainee at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, whose successful challenge
to the Bush administration's proposed military trials for accused terrorists
led to a landmark Supreme Court decision earlier this year. The dismissal
of the case is an ironic consequence of Mr. Hamdan's victory before the
high court. The justices' decision forced Congress finally to take action
to create a legal structure for the war on terrorism. But one of the actions
Congress took in the hastily passed Military Commissions Act was to strip
the federal courts of jurisdiction over such lawsuits, including those,
like Mr. Hamdan's, that were already pending. Under the act, many other
important cases will probably have to be dismissed -- which is why Congress
should promptly amend the law when it reconvenes in January.
While the Supreme Court's rulings on this subject have been muddy, U.S.
District Judge James Robertson may well have been legally correct in dismissing
the case. The fault here lies with Congress, not with any judge. Judge
Robertson held that the legislature had unambiguously stripped the courts
of jurisdiction over all lawsuits challenging detentions at Guantanamo
Bay -- so-called habeas corpus lawsuits. And he ruled as well that Congress
had the power under the Constitution to do so -- at least for aliens held
beyond American shores. But saying that Congress acted lawfully is not
the same as saying it acted wisely.
Stripping the courts of habeas jurisdiction over Guantanamo was a profoundly
foolish step to stop judicial review of an administration whose behavior
has repeatedly illustrated the crucial importance of such oversight. Virtually
every step the administration has taken toward a fairer and more open system
for the detention and prosecution of enemy combatants has come as the result
of pressure, direct and indirect, of litigation. The decision to respond
to the Supreme Court's rebuke by, among other things, sharply limiting
judicial review disabled the one mechanism that has consistently pushed
policy in a constructive direction. Congress badly needs to reconsider.
Fortunately, the bipartisan leadership of the Senate Judiciary Committee
is committed to doing just that. Incoming Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.)
and ranking Republican Arlen Specter (Pa.) are pushing legislation to reestablish
habeas jurisdiction for these cases. The new Congress would do a service
if it acted swiftly to correct its error.
February 28, 2007
New Light Shed on CIA's 'Black Site' Prisons
By Dafna Linzer and Julie Tate
On his last day in CIA custody, Marwan Jabour, an accused al-Qaeda paymaster,
was stripped naked, seated in a chair and videotaped by agency officers.
Afterward, he was shackled and blindfolded, headphones were put over his
ears, and he was given an injection that made him groggy. Jabour, 30, was
laid down in the back of a van, driven to an airstrip and put on a plane
with at least one other prisoner.
His release from a secret facility in Afghanistan on June 30, 2006,
was a surprise to Jabour -- and came just after the Supreme Court rejected
the Bush administration's assertion that the Geneva Conventions do not
apply to prisoners like him.
Jabour had spent two years in "black sites" -- a network of secret internment
facilities the CIA operated around the world. His account of life in that
system, which he described in three interviews with The Washington Post,
offers an inside view of a clandestine world that held far more prisoners
than the 14 men President Bush acknowledged and had transferred out of
CIA custody in September.
"There are now no terrorists in the CIA program," the president said,
adding that after the prisoners held were determined to have "little or
no additional intelligence value, many of them have been returned to their
home countries for prosecution or detention by their governments."
But Jabour's experience -- also chronicled by Human Rights Watch, which
yesterday issued a report on the fate of former "black site" detainees
-- often does not accord with the portrait the administration has offered
of the CIA system, such as the number of people it held and the threat
detainees posed. Although 14 detainees were publicly moved from CIA custody
to the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, scores more have not
been publicly identified by the U.S. government, and their whereabouts
remain secret. Nor has the administration acknowledged that detainees such
as Jabour, considered so dangerous and valuable that their detentions were
kept secret, were freed.
After 28 months of incarceration, Jabour -- who was described by a counterterrorism
official in the U.S. government as "a committed jihadist and a hard-core
terrorist who was intent on doing harm to innocent people, including Americans"
-- was released eight months ago. U.S. intelligence and counterterrorism
officials confirmed his incarceration and that he was held in Pakistan
and Afghanistan. They would not discuss conditions inside black sites or
the treatment of any detainee.
A House in Islamabad
By Jabour's account, and that of U.S. intelligence officials, his entrance
into the black-sites program began in May 2004. In interviews, he said
he was muscled out of a car as it pulled inside the gates of a secluded
villa in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad.
In the week before his arrival, Jabour said, Pakistani intelligence
officers had beaten, abused and burned him at a jailhouse in Lahore, where
he was arrested. There two female American interrogators also questioned
him and told him he would be rich if he cooperated and would vanish for
life if he refused. He said he was later blindfolded and driven four hours
north to the villa in a wealthy residential neighborhood.
The house in Islamabad, which U.S. intelligence officials say was jointly
run by the CIA and Pakistani intelligence, had been outfitted with jail
cells. When Jabour arrived, he saw as many as 20 other detainees, including
the 16-year-old son of an Egyptian sheik, who had been captured in Pakistan.
Dozens of al-Qaeda suspects swept up in the years after Sept. 11, 2001,
have been through the house, according to accounts by former prisoners
and U.S. intelligence officials with knowledge of the facility.
Jabour spent five weeks there, chained to a wall and prevented from
sleeping more than a few hours at a time. He said he was beaten nightly
by Pakistani guards after hours of questions from U.S. interrogators. Then
he and others were whisked off to CIA-run sites. Some sites were in Eastern
Europe; Jabour went to one in Afghanistan. Interrogators -- whom he described
as Americans in their late 20s and early 30s -- told Jabour he would never
see his three children again.
Human Rights Watch has identified 38 people who may have been held by
the CIA and remain unaccounted for. Intelligence officials told The Post
that the number of detainees held in such facilities over nearly five years
remains classified but is higher than 60. Their whereabouts have not been
"The practice of disappearing people -- keeping them in secret detention
without any legal process -- is fundamentally illegal under international
law," said Joanne Mariner, director of the terrorism program at Human Rights
Watch in New York. "The kind of physical mistreatment Jabour described
is also illegal." Mariner interviewed Jabour separately as part of the
The CIA said it would not comment directly on Jabour. "The agency does
not, as a rule, publicly discuss specific rendition cases from the war
on terror," said Paul Gimigliano, a spokesman for the CIA. But, he said,
renditions "are a key, lawful tool in the fight against terror, and have
helped save lives by taking terrorists off the street. They are conducted
with care, they are closely reviewed, and they have produced valuable intelligence
that has allowed the United States and other nations to foil terrorist
John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), chairman of the Senate intelligence
committee, plans to investigate the fate of the missing detainees as part
of a larger examination into the CIA's operation of secret prisons and
its rendition program.
Aiding Al-Qaeda Fighters
In interviews with The Post from his parents' home in the Gaza Strip,
Jabour acknowledged helping al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters who fled Afghanistan
as the U.S. military hunted for the perpetrators of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Jabour was born to Palestinian parents in Jordan, raised in Saudi Arabia
and educated in Pakistan. In 1998, he said, he became drawn to the plight
of Muslims in Chechnya living under Russian rule. He crossed the border
into Afghanistan so he could train in jihadist camps, then planned to join
up with Chechen separatists.
"In Afghanistan, I met other people who believed in the Islamic state,
where it was safe to practice Islam the way they wanted," Jabour said in
a recent conversation. "I became friends with other Arabs who felt like
me, Palestinians and Jordanians, but after three months of training I was
told there was no chance to go to Chechnya."
Jabour returned to Pakistan in 1999. Two years later, after the U.S.
military offensive in Afghanistan, those he lived and trained with came
calling for help.
"Some of their children were injured, some of their women were wounded.
From that moment, they came to our home and we helped them," he said.
Using funds from al-Qaeda financiers, Jabour said, he arranged for food,
medical treatment and travel documents for several dozen people and arranged
for others, including two African men who fought for al-Qaeda, to slip
out of Pakistan. He did not return to Afghanistan to fight, and he said
he had no interest in attacking Americans.
The U.S. counterterrorism official who discussed aspects of Jabour's
classified file did not call him a member of al-Qaeda. But the official
said that in Pakistan, Jabour "was in direct touch with top al-Qaeda operations
figures," including Hamza Rabia, who briefly served as one of Osama bin
Laden's lieutenants before a missile from a CIA predator drone killed him
in December 2005. In interviews, Jabour said he met with Rabia on two occasions.
The official said Jabour "provided the money and means for other jihadists
to move from Afghanistan to Pakistan" and provided funds that went to an
al-Qaeda bioweapons lab. "He's an all-around bad guy," the official said.
No charges were brought against Jabour, however, and the official would
not say why he is free today.
Taken to Afghanistan
On June 16, 2004, after weeks in the villa, Jabour was drugged, blindfolded
and put on a plane. Counterterrorism officials did not dispute that he
was taken to a black site in Afghanistan. Jabour said the facility was
run by Americans in civilian clothes and guarded by masked men who wore
black uniforms and gloves.
He said he does not know where the facility is located, and counterterrorism
officials would not say whether Jabour was held at two known detention
sites in Afghanistan -- one run by the U.S. military at Bagram air base,
the other operated by the CIA outside Kabul.
Jabour said he was often naked during his first three months at the
Afghan site, which he spent in a concrete cell furnished with two blankets
and a bucket. The lights were kept on 24 hours a day, as were two cameras
and a microphone inside the cell. Sometimes loud music blasted through
speakers in the cells. The rest of the time, the low buzz of white noise
whizzed in the background, possibly to muffle any communication by prisoners
through cell walls.
Daily interrogations were conducted by a variety of Americans. Over
two years, Jabour said he encountered about 45 interrogators, plus medical
staff and psychologists. He was threatened with physical abuse but was
Once, he was shown a small wooden crate his interrogators called a "dog
box" and was told he would be put in it if he didn't cooperate. He was
told that Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the suspected architect of the Sept. 11
attacks who was among the 14 moved to Guantanamo Bay last year, became
cooperative after he had been put in the box. But Jabour said he was not
subjected to the crate.
He was, however, chained up and left for hours in painful positions
more than 20 times and deprived of sleep for long periods. Sometimes he
would have one hand chained to a section of his cell wall, making it impossible
to stand or sit.
About six weeks into his stay, he was issued a pair of pants. Later
he was given a T-shirt, then shoes, a Koran and finally a mattress. Jabour
said prison conditions slowly improved: Air conditioning was installed;
a library was built and stocked with books in Arabic, Urdu and English.
Well-behaved detainees were rewarded with movie nights, in which such Hollywood
blockbusters as "Titanic" were screened. A deputy director of the facility
taught Jabour how to play chess and gave him pencils and paper. Jabour
used to draw pictures of trees and grass, which he hung in his windowless
Jabour recalled with fondness the prison director, a man named Charlie.
"He told me, 'Marwan, we need information -- if you cooperate, that is
good.' I told him I wasn't hiding anything and was not a dangerous man.
He told me that they didn't want to use force but would if they had to.
I told him I wouldn't lie to him."
Jabour began to receive better food, including pizza and Snickers and
Transferred and Released
On Dec. 18, 2004, six months after his arrival, Jabour was transferred
to a larger cell. Under the sink he found a small inscription that read:
"Majid Khan, 15 December, 2004, American-Pakistani." Khan, whose family
lives outside Baltimore, was arrested in March 2003 in Karachi, Pakistan,
and was among the group transferred to Guantanamo five months ago. The
U.S. government has not divulged where Khan was held during his first 3
1/2 years of incarceration.
Jabour met only one other prisoner during his time there. That was an
Algerian named Yassir al-Jazeeri, a suspected high-level al-Qaeda operative
who was arrested in Pakistan in March 2003. Their visits were arranged
by the facility director, who told Jabour they were rewards for good behavior.
During interrogations, Jabour was often shown hundreds of photographs
of wanted or captured suspects. One photo appears to have been that of
Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan, a British-Pakistani who was arrested in Pakistan
in July 2004.
Noor Khan, a suspected al-Qaeda operative, was thought to be involved
in the planning of a disrupted 2004 attack on U.S. and British financial
institutions. Babar Awan, a Pakistani lawyer hired by Noor Khan's family,
said he has "heard nothing from the government authorities or any other
authorities about where Noor Khan is."
There is no public U.S. government record available that states the
CIA ever held Jabour, al-Jazeeri or Noor Khan.
Last April, John D. Negroponte, who was then director of national intelligence,
told Time magazine that he did not know what would be the "endgame for
the three dozen or so high-value detainees" in CIA custody at that time.
Jabour's odyssey ended with a secret flight to Amman, Jordan, where
he woke to find himself in an office staring at government wall portraits
of King Abdullah and his dead father, King Hussein. "I don't know why they
released me, but I told them everything I knew . . .," Jabour said. "You
have to tell them the truth and that was no problem for me. They are smart
people," he said of his American captors.
The Jordanians called the International Committee for the Red Cross,
which sent a representative to interview Jabour and to contact his family.
He remained in Jordanian custody for six weeks, was interrogated and was
then handed over to Israel's security services.
The Israelis treated him better than his other captors, he said. They
got Jabour his first lawyer, an Israeli Arab named Nizar Mahajna, who said
in an interview that the Israelis had held Jabour in a prison near Haifa
for two months. He was not mistreated, blindfolded or shackled, the lawyer
Israeli authorities had considered charging Jabour with fighting for
an enemy of the Jewish state. But, Mahajna said, Jabour's training in Afghanistan
had occurred more than eight years earlier, he was not a member of al-Qaeda
and he had never lived in the Palestinian territories.
"The Israelis were given secret information on Marwan, which they got
from the Americans. It wasn't shared with me but whatever it says, the
central fact remained that the Pakistanis and the Americans had let him
go. Why should Israel keep him?" Mahajna said.
The Israeli government dropped the case and transferred Jabour to Gaza.
Prison guards drove him to the Erez border crossing between Israel and
the Gaza Strip. "Good luck," one of them said to Jabour as he crossed into
Gaza, where his parents awaited.
You mean you would believe the
word of a terrorist over the United States Government? How the hell else
do you get info from terrorists? Do you sit down over a cup of tea? Why
is it that you reporters are so quick to bash your own government over
something like this when it is for the security of your country and children?
Why is it that you that you are not critical of the governments of other
countries who practice far worse torture against there own citizens? As
innocent civilians, or military soldiers are beheaded and beaten, where
is your outrage? This article should be rewritten to give the utmost praise
to the CIA and the U.S military for great job they did interogating the
By ntthom | Feb 27, 2007 11:06:37 PM | Request Removal
Washington Post is showing their
leftist, hate POTUS lose the war at any cost agenda. Daffy and Julie are
doing what they were brainwashed to do, back in college. Liberalism is
a mental disorder. Wallbight
By nigrough | Feb 27, 2007 11:33:58 PM | Request Removal
This is all well and good, however,
where is Washington Posts detailed, hard-hitting report concerning that
ACLU leader, caught with illegal child porn? Wallbight
By nigrough | Feb 27, 2007 11:38:11 PM | Request Removal
Wow. A Muslim who says the Israelis
treated him better.
By retmlt | Feb 28, 2007 12:03:38 AM | Request Removal
A few years ago the U.S. apologized
for its treatment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. I see America
having to repeat a similar apology 50 years from now to Muslims around
the world. It is funny watching American sinking into the same filth as
the Gestapo, the Stasi and the KGB. The sooner America finishes bleeding/pissing
away all its power and wealth, the better off the world will be.
By john.f.titor | Feb 28, 2007 12:07:36 AM | Request Removal
I, for one, would believe the word
of ANYONE over the United States government. They are proven liars, ten
times over. Everybody else gets the benefit of the doubt.
By thrh | Feb 28, 2007 12:31:13 AM | Request Removal
An insight into the Nazi mind in
By thrh | Feb 28, 2007 12:32:52 AM | Request Removal
retmit: *Wow. A Muslim who says
the Israelis treated him better.* Why do you think the Israelis are the
By thrh | Feb 28, 2007 12:36:18 AM | Request Removal
*This article should be rewritten
to give the utmost praise to the CIA and the U.S military for great job
they did interogating the confessed terrorist!!* How dumb do they make
them?? Should we have beheaded him? Just because your enemy does evil deeds,
does that give us the license to do them too? I for one am ashamed that
the US would stoop to the level described in the article. You apparently
arent. That pretty much tells us all we need to know about your morals
and ethics. FOR SHAME!
By thrh | Feb 28, 2007 12:39:27 AM | Request Removal
Whoever ordered these crimes against
humanity must be held accountable or there is no justice in this world
anymore, and it will also send a message to future leaders that they can
get away with war crimes.
By patsfan555 | Feb 28, 2007 12:56:43 AM | Request Removal
Hey, wait a minute! I thought I
was reading an article about Saddam and his torture camps. What a relief
to find that its about the U.S. and its war against torturers, injustice,
inhumanity, and out-of-control fascist regimes that suspend civil rights
in the name of national security.
By mikeasr | Feb 28, 2007 1:08:15 AM | Request Removal
The next time I hear the Republican
National Anthem - *Im Proud To Be An American* by Lee Greenwood - Ill keep
this in mind.
By smokinmike | Feb 28, 2007 1:13:00 AM | Request Removal
Awesome! Its about time we were
feared by our enemies! YES! Now that they fear us maybe they will respect
the fact that we love peace.
By friendswithpaul | Feb 28, 2007 1:33:45 AM | Request Removal
If this story is actually fact
based journalism, it would be the first in years, why is there no citation
of the CIA and other government officials? The only citation made is to
a confessed terrorist. And I am really curious about the crime agains humanity,
is this a reference to several thousand people killed by terrorists or
the one self professed terrorists whining about the treatment he received
while being a prisoner? Morals and values??? What happened to pride and
patriotism? There was a comment made about setting examples for future
leaders that makes a very good point. We need to set the example of being
humane in any situation, assuring that criminals from other countries are
to receive the same if not more civil rights that US citizens receive.
And let us definitely make it clear that you can come to our country and
bomb us, killing several innocent women, children and men, citizens, without
consequence that might possibley violate some civl right. All the while,
former leaders of the ACLU must maintain the right to graphic and violent
pre pubesent child pornography. We have become such a tolerant country
that we have cut off our own balls and are more than happy to serve them
up on a silver platter! What is wrong with everyone?
By bananaturner | Feb 28, 2007 1:41:35 AM | Request Removal
This proves that Pakistan and the
USA are terrorist states. How can you justify kidnapping anyone without
charging them in a court of law? Only terririst states do that. What happended
to law and order? Gone with the war on terror .
By judystanton | Feb 28, 2007 2:07:04 AM | Request Removal
According to previous reporting
by the WaPo, if my memory serves me correctly, Khalid Shiek Mohammed [broke]
only after being [water boarded] but in this article, it is claimed that
he broke after being subjected to the Dog Box. It is also interesting that
the facility director, a man known as Charlie, was viewed by this former
detainee as a fairly decent human being under the circumstances of the
contact[s]. Possibly a reason for his release. So long as radical Islam
continues to promise suicide bombers and other expendable individuals 72
virgins [though it remains UNCLEAR to me at least, if these are actual
virgins who had lives on Earth at some time, or if they are specially created
for the pleasures of martyrs in the afterlife], so long it seems a challenge
difficult to overcome in the midst of poverty and hopelessness. Heaven
forbid if Christian and Jewish martyrs get green cards to visit each other
as well as the Islamic martyrs and overstay their visas.
By brucerealtor | Feb 28, 2007 2:23:17 AM | Request Removal
Right, America has put itselfs
public on top of the list of terrorist-countries. It has always been a
terroristcountry starting with the masacre of the indians. But when you
have to choose between two very bad options you choose for example usa
instead of ussr. But eventually the western hemisphere should stick together,
there is no alternative and there probably never will be one.
By jw.holtkamp | Feb 28, 2007 2:32:24 AM | Request Removal
That this detainee was well treated
by Israel, suggest just how low a level detainee he actually must have
been by that period of his detention. If those interrogating detainees
get as confused from their statements as apparently two reporters from
the WaPo re what caused Khalid Shiek Mohammed to finally break in detention
have, well ....
By brucerealtor | Feb 28, 2007 2:33:40 AM | Request Removal
You people never cease to amaze
me. As usual, you are ever so much more concerned about treatment of a
cold-blooded terrorist than American civilians or American troops. I applaud
ANYTHNG our guys do to STOP these murderous fanatics.
By noteman | Feb 28, 2007 2:41:28 AM | Request Removal
It is a shame what America has become under George Bush. From a country
admired and respected in most of the world to this. I am optimistic we
can turn things around, but its going to take a lot of years... and even
then it will never be the same. W = Worst Ever. -chrisco WhiteHouseMafia.com
By skibumcolo | Feb 28, 2007 2:43:08 AM | Request Removal
So, noteman, will you still be
applauding if you or one of your relatives were mistaken for a terrorist,
taken to secret camps to be beaten and tortured for days on end? Remember,
you do not have to look like one to be mistaken for one. All that is required
is a name or a phone number similar to yours to turn up in their address
book. Interestingly enough, this so-called *terrorist* was released even
by Israel. So you applaud the use of torture where it is known to not work
? If the government had anything to charge him with, they would have done
so rather than torture him. As usual, this method of extraction did not
produce anything and they were forced to turn him over. You are a sick,
twisted example of what once decent people in the USA have turned into
- hateful, brainwashed individuals hellbent on destroying anything that
does not conform with your sick sense of values.
By kamyar.jalali | Feb 28, 2007 3:04:52 AM | Request Removal
I agree to all those who agree
with the polices of the US government!! You should Kidnap the everyone
and keep in secret place, naming everyone a terrorist you may wish, forget
about the courts and law or human rights as well. I ask a simple question!
He was a terrorist or not I am not to question this, I only wish one be
named as terrorist after a process in the court room. As a free man I owe
to every single person in Guantanama or any other place without a charge
or a court room process to fight for thier right to have the legal immunities
they have. May I ask every one including Mr. Bush, will he like to be declared
a terrorist by any state, not being given a process of law, torturtered,
mistreatedl. I do not answer the question, I leave it to your honesty to
answer it. Do you do same to a murderer in US? I wish everyone who supports
Guantanmo or disappearnace without a trace must answer.
By ur_rahman | Feb 28, 2007 4:23:22 AM | Request Removal
It amazes me that people still
condone the behaviour of this Government under the reason they are doing
this to protect you from those bad people. Be happy and keep quiet. As
Kamyar pointed out, how would you feel if one of your own relatives or
yourself was held for no reason and tortured? It is so strange to see them
making excuses for the bad behavior of their own government while at the
same time bad mouthing anybody else who does the same. Remember it does
not matter how bad the mistreatment is. The issue at hand is that it was
done at all by a country which claims to have the highest moral standard
in the world! Simple example and please think carefully before taking a
position. Lets say the Chinese government captured an American tourist,
kept him for over two years, did not inform the American embassy or his
relatives, chained him, deprived him of his sleep, and quietly released
him one day with no explanations. Would you say, the Chinese Gov did it
to protect their citizens from a possible American spy, and say good work?
By nanda_ramesh | Feb 28, 2007 4:42:35 AM | Request Removal
I think someone should swear out
an international arrest warrant for the President and others involved in
these war crimes and gross violations of human rights.
By ferd666 | Feb 28, 2007 5:21:54 AM | Request Removal
ntthom - Sort of missing the point,
are`nt you, ntthom? [How the hell else do you get info from terrorists?
.... Why is it that you that you are not critical of the governments of
other countries who practice far worse torture against there own citizens?]
1. You would confess that I was your mother if YOU were tortured, and you
would probably also be amazed that anybody would believe anything you said
under such interrogation. 2. How bad does torture have to be to be *far
worse* than this article describes? Most of us ARE every bit as critical
of the governments of other countries which practise torture, but the USA
has always pretended to be better than they are. This is called hypocrisy
in civilized societies. You tell me if you know of a way the USA can qualify
as *civilized* without following some sort of international convention
as to what that word means.
By rikkisimm | Feb 28, 2007 5:51:31 AM | Request Removal
noteman - Same goes for you, noteman.
This article must have touched a nerve for so many Nazis to creep out of
By rikkisimm | Feb 28, 2007 5:54:08 AM | Request Removal
Will someone just take a 1.8 second
look at that skelatoid figure of U.S. security and tell me that it all
is not right in plain view? In other words, the U.S. has come a long way
baby and has done a pretty good job mimicing what we perceive as Hitlerian
style, even the look. Having been born in Geneva, I can tell you that I
would not believe ONE word said by this lying Administration. Truly, they
need to be castigated and punished and hold on to your seats as we know
of mock bird flu and dirty bomb drills throughout the U.S. These are happening
now! try rbnlive com for archieved and live words for truthseekers as they
are not in the mits of corporatist. www confidentialsources com eye for
eye, brain for brain, tooth for yours.
By abroadventure | Feb 28, 2007 6:33:29 AM | Request Removal
TO nanda_ramesh--One would have
to know what it is like to be falsely accused and punished through a system
I would not call a justice system, but they might. One would have to know
the pain and agony of being punished and hurt for something they never
did. These people that talk about things in abstract do not understand
one thing about this position and do not have the mental intelect to even
imagine or emphathize such condition and those that shake-it-off as sorry
for the temporary inconvenience do NOT realize that the memory and the
retaliation structure of pay-back is enduring. These people ought to find
themselves in this position so they can re-adjust their thinking. They
should be so fortunate. Open your mind folks------------OPEN YOUR MIND--learn-imagine-live
it-know it-write it.
By abroadventure | Feb 28, 2007 6:41:18 AM | Request Removal
Just suppose the TV series 24 showed
Pres. Bush being taken by Canada under claims of Extraordinary Rendition,
a legal act and swept away in a secret jet, drugged, stripped naked, shackled,
denied food and water, subjected to electrical shocks, not allowed to contact
a lawyer or our embassy, and hidden away from not only the country, but
family and loved ones. Does that sound acceptable to you ? That is what
we are asking the World swallow as ok just because we are the United States
and we should be trusted. Once upon a time the word Extraordinary meant
just that, during that same time the practice of rendition was used in
a sparing manner for and only for extraordinary reasons. When the USA decidered
to do it in a wholesale manner we lost the trust that the world on a whole
had given us. To make sure we have gotten that point Italy and Germany
has issued warrants for the arrest and trial of members of the CIA and
even Donald Rumsfeld. Two countrys all too familiar with Nuremberg and
its ramifications. When Chavez or some other leader begins to act like
this Admin. we wont have a leg to stand on. Mark my words, some day we
will see this unless we arrest and try our own criminals first.
By OneCrankyDom | Feb 28, 2007 6:47:08 AM | Request Removal
A thought plays over and over in
my mind when I read these accounts.... Would Bush or Cheney freely hand
their daughters over to the CIA for interrogation, without a whisper of
doubt that theyd be well treated during their questioning? For all of the
we dont torture rhetoric, would they accept the treatment they describe
as humane if it were applied to their daughters.... Just a hanging question
that plays over and over in my mind.... Oh, and another. When someone one
is described as a suspected terrorist, why do so many people later refer
to them as terrorists -- dropping the critical word suspected. Who is the
Suspector, and how does one appeal to the Suspector when he/she retains
such successful anonymity....
By tbrucia | Feb 28, 2007 7:04:00 AM | Request Removal
The practice of disappearing people
by governments is not only grounds for impeachment, it is grounds for execution.
If the spineless Dems can not stop Bush, the free world must.
By boating | Feb 28, 2007 7:33:08 AM | Request Removal
Why does the MSM continue to use
the word *detainees* when they actually should be using *prisoners*? The
practice of replacing words to make something bad seem benign is right
out of the Karl Rove playbook. To this day the media does not challenge
them on this kind of thing...
By john65001 | Feb 28, 2007 7:34:53 AM | Request Removal
If the American people do not respond
to the clear and present danger to our democracy presented by the Bush/Cheney
administration, and think that this kind of thing can only happen to so
- called terrorists, then all of us could be sitting naked and chained
in a secret prison one day soon. Why did all the talk about impeachment
hearings disappear the day after the Democrats won the election? How many
times in history have cowardly opposition leaders enabled a country to
preserve its endangered democracy? I cannot think of even one example.
By algaselex | Feb 28, 2007 8:00:24 AM | Request Removal
You Americans have obviously a
criminal government. And you cannot do anything about it. Stuck with a
two parties democracy, of which both parties are bought by the one big
military industrial complex. I pity you, and never ever will I visit the
USA again. It has become a police state.
By sjoerd | Feb 28, 2007 8:13:53 AM | Request Removal
George Bush has come a long way
from just blowing up frogs. Hes a big-time sadist now.
By krob0507 | Feb 28, 2007 8:31:12 AM | Request Removal
The way the US treats muslims is
far above and beyond the way their own clerics and government treats them.
[note the Wapo doesnt cover muslim executions of their gays brothers].
How about we continue to seek vengence for the 3000 innocent US civilians
murdered on 9/11 - by muslims. So easy to forget when swayed by the media,
By rumraisin | Feb 28, 2007 8:41:49 AM | Request Removal
Those who claim the US is a bunch
of terrorists, or bad guys, please, no really PLEASE, feel free to leave.
There are enough proud patriots to write the checks for your one-way ticket
to France. Oh wait - French Foreign Legion is working, ehem, wonders, in
Africa. Guess theyre a terrorist country too. Damn. Perhaps Japan. Oh wait.
They murder dolphins and whales. Darn. Canada? Oooppps. They club seals.
Perhaps Zimbabwe? Things are grand there.
By rumraisin | Feb 28, 2007 8:45:31 AM | Request Removal
For the folks claiming -what if
this happened to you - how about you make a semblance of effort to denounce
terrorists and stand up for the US instead of your terrorist-related clergy?
I never hear about the hard working folks getting picked up and flown off
as you say. I think the Feds make a pretty clear investigation and back
it up with tremendous evidence before making a pickup. Stop the fear mongering
already. Have there been any attacks on US soil since? In the UK? Yes.
Spain? Yes. Bali? Yes. Accept the facts.
By rumraisin | Feb 28, 2007 8:49:17 AM | Request Removal
A generation from now, or perhaps
two generations, our children and grandchildren will look back on special
renditions, black sites, dog crates and waterboarding and wonder how it
was that we Americans came to temporarily lose our moral compasses. Well,
I certainly hope that my use of the word temporarily is correct, that we
Americans have not already crossed a moral divide from which there is no
By bill | Feb 28, 2007 9:15:40 AM | Request Removal
Noteman lives in some world of fear and buys-into the crap spouted by
this lying Administration. Heh Noteman, just because they say something,
you do not have to believe it. Perhaps, you have not been burned yet. If
so, sorry! Put new batteries in your detection equipment. Get something
a little more advanced to pick-up low grade effect. Tune your UNIT. Calibrate
your mind. I pray that someone accuses you of something that you did NOT
do and they use their power to give you the hardest time you have ever
imagined--then YOU might get it! www confidentialsources com equal/equal/right-left
paradigm/CFR-sovereignity loss via NAU in USA?/evian spelled backwards
By abroadventure | Feb 28, 2007 9:19:56 AM | Request Removal
hearts and minds, bush-style.
By gompa | Feb 28, 2007 9:27:57 AM | Request Removal
RUMRAISIN-- they are going to get
around to a couple more false flag operations right prior to the --CHAOS--
goal of NWO. Time to show that the NRA is more important than the globalist
and Israel, IMHO.
By abroadventure | Feb 28, 2007 9:28:59 AM | Request Removal
Rumraisin - you are one frightened
little American. So frightened that you would dump democracy, the rule
of law, high ethical standards and all the rest of it, to fight a miniscule
enemy who frightens the pants off you. That is why the world puts the US
on a moral par with its enemies. If you do not understand that equation
then you need to return to school with your ruler George Bush.
By harkadahl | Feb 28, 2007 9:29:23 AM | Request Removal
Whenever I hear someone defending
torture, I instantaneously want to see it exercised upon them.
By absolutkt | Feb 28, 2007 9:29:49 AM | Request Removal
Embrace Democracy or we will kidnap
you, send you to a more hellish corner of the universe than Crawford Texas
and waterboard you and shock your genitals until you are as impotent as
Shotgun Dick who shoots double O buckshot seeds of death at anything not
wrapped in the flag...
By braultrl | Feb 28, 2007 9:30:17 AM | Request Removal
Maybe Karen Hughes can open up
a driving school with a handful of convertible 1964 and1/2 Mustangs.. this
By abroadventure | Feb 28, 2007 9:31:07 AM | Request Removal
The actions of the Itialian government
in prosecuting -- or trying to prosecute -- 25 CIA agents who were involved
in the extraordinary rendition of a suspect to Egypt are an indication
that light is beginning to shine on the **dark sites.** This article is
another indicator, so please reporters, keep digging, and keep up the good
work. We need to know about this!
By larsene | Feb 28, 2007 9:32:23 AM | Request Removal
Pizza, Kit Kat and Snickers are
not better food, they are junk food that contribute to the obesity Americans
are so well known for around the world. The CIA was simply continuing to
torture this man. On another note, why is the concentration camp located
on the British island of Diego Garcia, in the Indian Ocean, not investigated
By thw2006 | Feb 28, 2007 9:37:48 AM | Request Removal
ntthom noteman and your ilk-let
the CIA get a hold of you and I will bet you will become a `confessed terrorist`
By DROSE | Feb 28, 2007 9:45:31 AM | Request Removal
I think the Post should run a daily
column on the treatment people get in the countries where the terrorists
come from. Forget about terrorists or traitors in those countries - ordinary
people expressing one complaint against their government are exposed to
torture, violence, or brutality. Seems like paradise here in the US but
people still complain to no end on how bad we have it.
By ssd17 | Feb 28, 2007 9:50:25 AM | Request Removal
I cant wait until Bush and those
who are taking part in these programs are disappeared to courts in Italy,
Germany, The Hague....
By scotterL | Feb 28, 2007 9:56:38 AM | Request Removal
This article did not make me feel
sorry for this gentleman. He admitted that he was out to collaborate with
Al-Qaeda, an organization responsible for mass murder of men, women and
children of all races, religions and nationalities not just in America,
but in Indonesia, Spain, London, America, Kenya, Tanzania, Saudi Arabia
and every other corner of the world. If you think that keeping him under
lights 24 hours a day is torture, you dont even have an idea of what real
torture is. If any of you think that clandestine activities like this are
not performed by every country on earth, you need to climb back up the
tree you are hugging. America does what needs to be done to protect its
citizens, the same that every other country does. Im sad to see such vitriolic,
anti-American comments coming from Americans. I wonder if you people have
ever lived in other countries? Maybe you should venture out. You may realize
that despite some warts, America is a great country. And if you dont come
to that conclusion, you are FREE to leave, thanks to those people you are
so disgusted by.
By radioactivepete | Feb 28, 2007 10:00:10 AM | Request Removal
Well considering the aided AL Quaeda
and admits he was trained for Jihad, I think it was important that he was
held and information gotten from him. Now we know how some escaped from
Afghanistan and Pakistan. Hopefully he is now so thoroughly frightened
that he will never get involved with Al Quaeda again. Sorry but I have
no sympathy for him or for the pro-terrorist organizations like HRW and
AI that scream about it and want to expose US Secret Intelligence to the
world. I am ashamed of WAPO for printing this story. It is of no interest
and should not be printed as it goes to sources and methods. Al Quaeda
can read this and better prepare their leaders and follower to evade telling
the truth when they are captured. Sen. Rockerfeller should NOT HOLD HEARINGS!!!
By judyweller | Feb 28, 2007 10:02:45 AM | Request Removal
As long as the majority of Americans
keep showing indifference, after having learned how the CIA under their
President is treating their detainees, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE CO-RESPONSIBLE
TOGETHER WITH BUSH AND THE CIA, SINCE THEY ARE TACITLY CONDONING THEIR
By chriswuth | Feb 28, 2007 10:10:36 AM | Request Removal
to tbrucia: I read all the comments
so far posted. I want to thank you, tbrucia, for providing a bit of sanity
in the midst of so many belligerent immature inanities. The means we choose
will form us in the end, and our own embrace of immoral means will eventually
harm our children and their children, if not our own generation.
By rolf10 | Feb 28, 2007 10:22:31 AM | Request Removal
Judy, if you lived in Berlin in
the early 1940s would you have been ashamed if a German paper exposed the
so called sources and methods of of the SS? Your and the Bushs ends justifies
the means mentality have no place in a democracy that is built on the rule
of law. As you might remember, the sources and methods that the SS used
outside the country were also used inside the country. The world will demand
that we bring the Bush administration and those who did their bidding to
justice or we WILL never regain our standing in the world and will be trapped
in Bushs self fulfilling generations-long war on terror.
By scotterL | Feb 28, 2007 10:23:47 AM | Request Removal
This article mentioned that well-behaved
detainees--or in plain English told the interrogators what they wanted
to hear, were rewarded. If the moral dilemmas arent problematic enough,
the Senate reports on what went wrong on Iraq pointed to just that. Those
wrongfully detained told those who were would be interrogating them what
they wanted to hear: e.g. that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction,
and got better treatment. This is Is it any wonder the intelligence system
has broken down?
By lieb666 | Feb 28, 2007 10:29:10 AM | Request Removal
Rum raisin, didnt you read about
the Canadian citizen we kidnapped? The story broke a few months back, turns
out that after we kidnapped and tortured him he wasnt a terrorist at all,
but just a Canadian citizen who was muslim. Im sure the CIA thinks they
are protecting the US from terrorists, but mistakes _do_ happen and when
the process isnt accountable to judicial review innocent people get hurt.
Not to mention the irreparable damage this does to our image overseas.
Essentially, we are trading the moral high ground for a dubious process
of information gathering at best. Thats just a terrible policy.
By jhmil2 | Feb 28, 2007 10:33:28 AM | Request Removal
We have sunk lower than our enemies-
Way to go George and Dick
By roy.secondchance | Feb 28, 2007 10:38:41 AM | Request Removal
Terrorist - takes one to know one.
By HadhratKhadija | Feb 28, 2007 10:44:04 AM | Request Removal
*On his last day in CIA custody,
Marwan Jabour, an accused al-Qaeda paymaster, was stripped naked, seated
in a chair and videotaped by agency officers. Afterward, he was shackled
and blindfolded, headphones were put over his ears, and he was given an
injection that made him groggy. Jabour, 30, was laid down in the back of
a van, driven to an airstrip and put on a plane with at least one other
prisoner.* I hope whoever did this ends up accountable-they are a terrorist
too or a nut to have the mindset to torture someone . I have worked in
more than one maximum security prison with CONVICTED inmates-I was fair
with everybody. They were not good little children some had killed and
raped. I worked with boys aged 12-21-but for Gods sake-NEVER would we have
treated another human being like this. What kind of American who believes
our in justice system COULD??
By theprissypatriot | Feb 28, 2007 10:47:56 AM | Request Removal
Japanese-Americans were illegally
incarcerated by their own government inside the US itself. These muslim
detainees are not US citizens. There is a wide difference in the circumstances.
I dont think either situation is effective for the US.
By rottenorange767 | Feb 28, 2007 10:54:17 AM | Request Removal
Worse than animals, this administration.
- At least an animal has no choice but to be the animal type it is. Even
a rat would be a total freak if it acted like a cute teddy bear. The USA
used to claim high moral ground by virtue of the fact that it could say,
`We know better than our enemies and choose the better way.` Now it is
only possible to say, `We know better than our enemies, but we have decided
to sink to the lowest standards anyway.` Thank you very much for a remorseless
slide into ignominy, Mr. President. I hope you will soon be very alone.
Vermin has few friends. If your God is still talking to you, pay close
attention. You are misunderstanding something important here.
By rikkisimm | Feb 28, 2007 11:13:59 AM | Request Removal
Not much interest in this article,
By rikkisimm | Feb 28, 2007 11:16:06 AM | Request Removal
If an innocent guy is tortured
and abused by this judicial runaway train, can anybody imagine what others
less innocent might be going through at the hands of, supposedly, a democracy?
Why the court system does not interfere in the commission of war crimes?
Is the supreme court afraid of being labeled terrorists, anti-patriotics?
Are they supposed to oversee the executive branch? This looks more like
the twilight zone, where evil is king. Doesnt this make the supreme court
guilty of abetting war crimes? Welcome to the old USSR.
By jigomez0441 | Feb 28, 2007 11:27:07 AM | Request Removal
The stand out sentence in this
article reads The practice of disappearing people -- keeping them in secret
detention without any legal process -- is fundamentally illegal under international
law. The United States is not above international law, and while once we
were a shining example of the standard of conduct for all nations, we are
now setting the opposite kind of example, which will no doubt be followed
by other nations in the future. Military members and families should keep
this in mind what we reap is what we sow. This administration has put the
entire country to shame and lowered the bar of acceptable behavior.
By jvlem | Feb 28, 2007 11:27:36 AM | Request Removal
Jabour was either a terrorist supporter
or innocent. If the former he should have been charged under the law of
whichever state has jurisdiction or if the latter, set free. Ultimately
it seems that the latter is the case and the US administration and CIA
are guilty of various crimes in contravention of international law. That
is why Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld were so keen not to recognise the jurisdiction
of the International Criminal Court, they KNOW that their actions are CRIMINAL.
By rbingham | Feb 28, 2007 11:56:51 AM | Request Removal
MIKEASR,Yes it does sound a little
like Saddams torture camps doesnt it,only worse,but some people doesnt
know the half of it yet,but they will,nothing can be kept secret forever.Who
attacked the wtc? wasnt any other country.Who is going to attack Iran?
even if they have to use Israel to get it started? Do you think they care
about our troops? or just using them as a means to an end,like the oil
in Iraq and Iran,then maybe replacing them with Iraqi refugees to use as
slave labor? sure would put more money in their oily pockets,wouldnt it?
America needs help,Our troops need help or theyre going to be murdered,along
with the other countries innocent people.Weve got an evil leadership.
By maryelizabeth_61 | Feb 28, 2007 11:58:23 AM | Request Removal
It is in genes culture. Poor George
can not help it.
By prkshah | Feb 28, 2007 11:59:15 AM | Request Removal
Our government has admitted that
they have beendisappearing people, and transferring them to nations that
we KNOW use torture. This is not about believing a terrorist vs the US
administration. This is about the US having HIGHER STANDARDS, and following
the Geneva Conventions that we are part of. I do not believe that we must
choose between immoral behavior or allowing terrorism freedom to do as
they wish. We CAN follow laws and still protect ourselves. Why do not many
people seem to think it is OK to act as immoral as the terrorists?????
By kimoconnor | Feb 28, 2007 12:00:09 PM | Request Removal
There is no solution to all this
than to incarcerate the criminals at the top of the US Govt. that willfully
deceived the American people while perpetrating crimes on their orders
in our name. INTELLIGENCE was the totally missing ingredient in our bureaucratic
quest for Brownie points in a dark bureaucracy that proved totally intelligence
blind, language deaf and culture dumb. And, by handing these people over
to the very corrupt Arab regimes we support for torture on our behalf,
is a real compounding of the crime. As a refugee from Communism, I almost
found myself a refugee from Bushism. Yet, I am a Republican who in 2000
worked for his election and a survivor of the World Trade Center on 9/11.
We owe it to our children to leave as clean a slate as possible for them
by properly prosecuting THE TOP that so criminally mishandled our enemies.
Our humanity was our strength. It was not meant to crumble at the first
moment of fear. We must show that we Americans are NOT moral cowards by
prosecuting the leaders who committed vile crimes against humanity in our
name but kept secret from us through lies and classification. They are
NOT heroes who save America they are criminal minds that must be duly processed
so the world can see that, even when afraid, America still holds high its
moral standards. Anything less will leave our children a moral legacy that
I would not wish on anyone. The East Europe I came from processed its communists
humanely and justly. We should establish the historic character of our
Republic by duly prosecuting the top of the command chain that made such
criminality possible. I am the protector of the American people is no excuse
and I am the decider is a damning self-indictment. The rest is up to Congress
and the courts.
By danieleteodoru | Feb 28, 2007 12:05:08 PM | Request Removal
Insurgents, terrorists, patriots,
freedom fighters... I guess it all depends on one*s perspective and experiences
does it not? If I am outraged over the covert and illegal detention and
torture of a *suspected terrorist,* does this mean I am supportive of the
al Qaeda cause and methods? Definitely not! If, however, I support illegal
detentions and torture of *suspected terrorists* it does mean that I am
supportive of al Qaeda methods if I think the cause is right. Somehow,
the words of the rumraisins who commented to this article sound eerily
similar to the words of the bin ladens. Just replace a select *infidel*
with *terrorist,* *jihad* with *protect our way of life*... Torture is
not right sometimes. Illegal detentions are not acceptable because 9/11
has happened. And a terrorist is a terrorist because of what he does, not
because of the cause, or nation he follows.
By halifar59 | Feb 28, 2007 12:07:10 PM | Request Removal
The treatment of terrorists is
a concern because anyone could be treated that way by the govt. Anyone
who thinks that in the US we have the right to keep and bear arms should
be outraged against this treatment of prisoners. After all they are being
treated this way to protect America. That is the same reason some want
to ban firearms.
By Pensfans | Feb 28, 2007 12:07:28 PM | Request Removal
Where are the headlines that Canada
did away with all of their post nine-eleven *patriot* acts and other civil
liberty quashers, and have now returned to pre nine-eleven life? Think
America will ever get there someday?
By mellowyellow | Feb 28, 2007 12:18:39 PM | Request Removal
***We have met the enemy and they
are us*** POGO
By kparc | Feb 28, 2007 12:32:55 PM | Request Removal
This is not torture!
By Vet1988 | Feb 28, 2007 12:43:23 PM | Request Removal
Every case of abuse of human rights
has a price to be paid by the perpetrators, sooner or later. That is the
law of Kharma, that knows of no exception.
By robertlrose21 | Feb 28, 2007 12:49:42 PM | Request Removal
Bush is in fact worse than Hilter.
By deathmuzeta | Feb 28, 2007 12:52:13 PM | Request Removal
National Security Advisor Condoleezza
Rice, a former member of the board of Chevron, itself no innocent bystander
in the future CHEVRON deal. Rice made an impression on her old colleagues
at Chevron. The company has named one of their supertankers the SS Condoleezza
Rice. CHENEY CLOSED THAT DEAL FOR CHEVRON....afghanistan is about the money
too... and your blood and United States Economny are going to hell, so
that a few fat white business men get riche selling you patriotism....
By amonster | Feb 28, 2007 12:58:00 PM | Request Removal
The obvious, and woefully underreported, interfaces between the Bush
administration, UNOCAL, the CIA, the Taliban, Enron, Saudi Arabia, and
Pakistan, the groundwork for which was laid when the Bush Oil team was
on the sidelines during the Clinton administration, is making the Republicans
worried. Vanquished vice presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman is in
the ironic position of being the senator who will chair the Senate Government
Affairs Committee hearings on the collapse of Enron. The roads from Enron
also lead to Afghanistan and murky Bush oil politics.
By amonster | Feb 28, 2007 12:59:47 PM | Request Removal
When one peers beyond all of the
rhetoric of the White House and Pentagon concerning the Taliban, a clear
pattern emerges showing that construction of the trans-Afghan pipeline
was a top priority of the Bush administration from the outset. Although
UNOCAL claims it abandoned the pipeline project in December 1998, the series
of meetings held between U.S., Pakistani, and Taliban officials after 1998,
indicates the project was never off the table. Quite to the contrary, recent
meetings between U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Wendy Chamberlain and that
countrys oil minister Usman Aminuddin indicate the pipeline project is
international Project Number One for the Bush administration. Chamberlain,
who maintains close ties to the Saudi ambassador to Pakistan a one-time
chief money conduit for the Taliban, has been pushing Pakistan to begin
work on its Arabian Sea oil terminus for the pipeline. Meanwhile, President
Bush says that U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan for the long haul.
Far from being engaged in Afghan peacekeeping -- the Europeans are doing
much of that -- our troops will effectively be guarding pipeline construction
personnel that will soon be flooding into the country.
By amonster | Feb 28, 2007 1:01:01 PM | Request Removal
In December 1997, the Taliban visited
UNOCALs Houston refinery operations. Interestingly, the chief Taliban leader
based in Kandahar, Mullah Mohammed Omar, now on Americas international
Most Wanted List, was firmly in the UNOCAL camp. His rival Taliban leader
in Kabul, Mullah Mohammed Rabbani not to be confused with the head of the
Northern Alliance Burhanuddin Rabbani, favored Bridas, an Argentine oil
company, for the pipeline project. But Mullah Omar knew UNOCAL had pumped
large sums of money to the Taliban hierarchy in Kandahar and its expatriate
Afghan supporters in the United States. Some of those supporters were also
close to the Bush campaign and administration. And Kandahar was the city
near which the CentGas pipeline was to pass, a lucrative deal for the otherwise
desert outpost. While Clintons State Department omitted Afghanistan from
the top foreign policy priority list, the Bush administration, beholden
to the oil interests that pumped millions of dollars into the 2000 campaign,
restored Afghanistan to the top of the list, but for all the wrong reasons.
After Bushs accession to the presidency, various Taliban envoys were received
at the State Department, CIA, and National Security Council. The CIA, which
appears, more than ever, to be a virtual extended family of the Bush oil
interests, facilitated a renewed approach to the Taliban.
By amonster | Feb 28, 2007 1:02:14 PM | Request Removal
National Security Advisor Condoleezza
Rice, a former member of the board of Chevron, itself no innocent bystander
in the future CentGas deal. Rice made an impression on her old colleagues
at Chevron. The company has named one of their supertankers the SS Condoleezza
By amonster | Feb 28, 2007 1:03:19 PM | Request Removal
deathmuzeta - If we want to hear
the voice of reason being taken seriously on these pages, we have to avoid
exaggeration, death. Hitler reached the bottom. You can`t go lower, although
I will grant you that Bush is still digging.
By rikkisimm | Feb 28, 2007 1:03:21 PM | Request Removal
Torture is still torture no matter
how much you try to sugarcoat it. No amount of Orwellian Doublespeak from
Rove/Goebbels or smiley-faced-Gonzo can change that.
By TempCFO | Feb 28, 2007 1:10:06 PM | Request Removal
This is torture...Gen. William
B. Caldwell IV, the American military spokesman, said the remains of what
are believed to be two American soldiers were found near a power plant
in the vicinity of Yusefiya, about three miles from the site where they
had been captured by insurgents. Gen. Cadwell declined to speak in detail
about the phyisical condition of those who had been found, but said the
cause of death could not be determined. He said the remains of the men
would be sent to the United States for DNA testing to determine definitely
their identidies. That seemed to suggest that the tow Americans had been
tortured beyond recognition. We couldnt identify them, the American officiel
in Baghdad said...
By veteranUSA | Feb 28, 2007 1:11:36 PM | Request Removal
It appears that over the period
in question, the prisoner gave valuable information without torture, but
under threat. In the interview, he spewaksa of his active participatio
in sheltering and supporting Al Qaeda and Taliban operatives. I would imagine
that he identified somwe of them as well. It is unclear to me why his rendition
and eventual eelease are not appropriate in this kind of war. I thinbk
they ARE appropriate. RThe comparisoins with the Gulag and the Nazis are
ignorant. thios man is alive, healthy, and released. That is not the record
of either the USSR or the Third reich in dealing with guerillas or ophers
they identified as enemies of the state. The danger of this kind of process
is the rendition and imprisonment of apparently harmless men, like the
Canadian grabbed by the FBI and hustled off to Egypt. Even there, he WAS
released eventually. The pressure for release came from Canada, and acquiescence
from the US. The Nazi and USSR solution to those instances was to kill
the prisoner so there would be no record of the mistake. Thge equation
of these situations and the US/CIA treatment of prisoners to the USSR and
the Third Reich is factually mistaken, and trivializes the enormity of
those regimes and their wholesale slaughter of opponents and innocents.
By lgkuttner | Feb 28, 2007 1:18:07 PM | Request Removal
I see our spinner are hard at work
making torture an acceptable family value.
By katman13 | Feb 28, 2007 1:30:15 PM | Request Removal
THIS IS WHEN PNAC WAS FORMED IN
1997...while Clinton was in office... The obvious, and woefully underreported,
interfaces between the Bush administration, UNOCAL, the CIA, the Taliban,
Enron, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan, the groundwork for which was laid when
the Bush Oil team was on the sidelines during the Clinton administration....
its called a coup, its a gainst th elaw....it is punishable by execution
by firing squad.... read up on it.... electoral fraud... vote fixing ,
Diebold , Katherine Harris , JINSA/PNAC/AEI/UCP search on those acronyms
know your subersives roots...it makes it easier to connect the dots....
By amonster | Feb 28, 2007 1:34:34 PM | Request Removal
so what is bush/cheney/rice/rumsfeld/PNAC
? against the law ... what is the Patriot ACT? an _illegal_ document ,
nullifying the Bill of Rights... what is the current Corrupt Executive
Branch doing? _illegally_ occupying the whitehouse as it defrauds the American
peoples and bankrupts and sells Americans properties to foreign interests....
got any Royal Banks in your neighborhood?
By amonster | Feb 28, 2007 1:38:31 PM | Request Removal
monster: Ever heard of Occidental
Petoleum? Look into these guys if you want to talk about corruption on
By veteranUSA | Feb 28, 2007 1:58:56 PM | Request Removal
Its a shame that men havent yet
learned how to treat and relate to each other. The whole race of males
should be wiped from the face of the earth.
By ivangroznii | Feb 28, 2007 1:59:52 PM | Request Removal
I continue to be stunned, saddened
and ashamed that the country I love, whose ideals I honor, and once upon
on a time, when I was an officer in the United States Navy, for which I
would have given my life, could stoop to such shameful practices. We are
better people than this, we Americans. This torture practiced and lied
about, repeatedly by the Bush administration degrades and humiliates us.
These shameful practices are not consistent with American ideals - they
are the practices of the kind of two-bit petty dictators Ive thought all
my life that the United States of America stood against. Sadly, tragically,
we Americans now have become the torturers, liars, and deniers of justice
that always have found dark niches in places of tyranny. God forgive us
By jlcoyle | Feb 28, 2007 2:13:15 PM | Request Removal
NO SURPRISES HERE! THIS IS STILL
AN INSTITUTIONALLY AND A SYSTEMICALLY RACIST PLACE!
By aisha_jackson-muhammad | Feb 28, 2007 2:20:03 PM | Request Removal
WITH ALL THE DEBATE THAT SOME CAUCASIANS
WANT TO GIVE ON THIS TOPIC!...AMERICA IS RACIST! THERE HAS BEEN MAJOR CHANGE
OVER THE LAST 38 YEARS OR SO BUT SYSTEMICALLY ......... THINGS ARE QUITE
THE SAME! THERE IN LIES THE MYTH AND LIE THAT IS AMERIKKKA!
By aisha_jackson-muhammad | Feb 28, 2007 2:21:48 PM | Request Removal
WHITE FOLKS TALK ABOUT TERROR ACCEPT
NO ONE REALLY WANTS TO HAVE THE DIALOG TRULY ABOUT THE IMPACT OF SLAVERY
AND THAT IT WAS ONE OF THE EARTHS, HUMANITIES MOST UGLY PERIODS! ITS NOT
MUCH THAT CAN TOP THE MIDDLE PASSAGE AND THE TREATMENT OF BLACK PEOPLE!
EVEN TO THIS DATE!
By aisha_jackson-muhammad | Feb 28, 2007 2:23:31 PM | Request Removal
Poor man. Very sorry this happened
to you. But the hornets can be dangerous, when attacked. Should have gone
to Chechnya. The Russians would have treated you better, were you caught
there. It us níce that there is a happy ending. Released, at home
again, apparently without lasting damage. Nice too, that the Israelis treated
you better than the Americans or the Pakistanis. Suggest that you keep
your head down and stay out of harms way, in future.
By michael.daly | Feb 28, 2007 2:27:31 PM | Request Removal
Marwan Jabour made out a lot better
than Danny Pearl and Nick Berg who were beheaded and had their executions
played and re-played on the internet and Mideast TV.They went home to their
families too... in multiple pieces.WAPO-Spare us any more of these nonsensical
By bowspray | Feb 28, 2007 2:53:15 PM | Request Removal
I wonder if those detainees are
really missing or are they dead and i hope the truth comes out whichever
way it is.
By smorrow | Feb 28, 2007 3:05:42 PM | Request Removal
other then the beatings from the
Pakastanie guards, sounds like he got the same treatment as Hannabil Lecter.
All good for me, and this guy saw a lot of faces of Terrorist leaving Afganistan
and for that reason alone he did have intelegence value.
By jbreed31 | Feb 28, 2007 3:23:44 PM | Request Removal
So let me see if I have this straight.
It is okay for the US, and only the US, to use any methods they choose
to kidnap, detain, torture, and hold people indefinitely without any rights
to a hearing or court of law in their battle against terrorism. What would
the US administration and their supporters say if a country like, say China,
was attacked by some looney-tunes who just happened to have American passports
and were christians? Then China decides to perform renditions on any christian
Americans it can find, detain, torture etc.etc., in THEIR battle against
terrorism? The whole point is that if the United States of America refuses
to adhere to the principles of the Geneva convention, i.e. basic HUMAN
rights and the right to a fair trial, then I fear the old saying, yea shall
reap what thy sow.
By dremp | Feb 28, 2007 3:34:25 PM | Request Removal
Atten: Dafna Linza: These allegations
of Black Sites and torture are awful, if true. I believe that an immediate
investigation should be launched, and, if the allegations are true, punitive
measures should be instituted against the perpetrators. This country should
never condone the conduct outlined in the report identified as Black Sites.
Sincerely yours:Kenneth B. Smith, P.E.
By Cyrano | Feb 28, 2007 3:49:59 PM | Request Removal
It is not what the terrorists did
but rather what we do and how we respond that counts and therefore, I must
agree with Kennie B.
By katman13 | Feb 28, 2007 3:55:53 PM | Request Removal
Go katman. That says it.
By rikkisimm | Feb 28, 2007 4:23:57 PM | Request Removal
The reason we are fighting these
guys is that we believe we are better. We are better because we dont do
the things they do. If we do the things they do they have won and it doesnt
matter who wins as the world really loses as the human race takes a step
back from civilization.
By Pensfans | Feb 28, 2007 4:26:01 PM | Request Removal
As long as the USA continues to
make enemies there will be no true security. There will always be those
who seek to attack and do harm to the USA so long as the USA participates
in violence like in the case of CIA Blacksites and engages in destructive
imperialist ventures like the occupation of Iraq. Global military and economic
hegemony, or dominance, are no longer feasible goals in a world that has
increasing access to information. Democracy is rising, and the USA had
better wake up and realize the futility in its drive for global dominance.
It wont work.
By robert11 | Feb 28, 2007 5:45:42 PM | Request Removal
What ever happened to the *American
Torturers Gone Wild in Iraq* videos? They have been around for at least
two years. Its time they saw the light of day regardless of whom they embolden,
including the Democrats in Congress.
By kevinschmidt | Feb 28, 2007 5:57:02 PM | Request Removal
Pensfans | Feb 28, 2007 4:26:01
PM Actually, the reason we are illegally occupying and committing genocide
in Iraq is to steal their oil. Here is the proof, democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/02/20/1523250
By kevinschmidt | Feb 28, 2007 5:59:46 PM | Request Removal
I am very saddened to see so many
people here defending the illegal actions of our government. I can only
wonder if you would feel the same way if the shoe was on the other foot,
and someone in your family happened to be from a Muslim nation and just
disappeared off the face of the earth, thanks to the US government. PEOPLE,
we can be SAFE and Law ABIDING it is not an either or proposition. And
I am SICK of hearing the defense of the administrations actions by saying
but they do worse things! are you adults or children? Or are you so scared
you have lost your sense of reason?
By kimoconnor | Feb 28, 2007 6:15:28 PM | Request Removal
I am more afraid of the war on
terror than of the terrorists. It is terrifying to think that anyone can
be accused - you or I - and held without trial and tortured, all in secret.
I prefer terrorist bombs.
By James_B_Cole | Feb 28, 2007 7:58:39 PM | Request Removal
The practice of disappearing people
-- keeping them in secret detention without any legal process -- is fundamentally
illegal under international law, said Joanne Mariner, director of the terrorism
program at Human Rights Watch in New York. The kind of physical mistreatment
Jabour described is also illegal. Mariner interviewed Jabour separately
as part of the organizations investigation. And what will be done about
By maryheicher | Feb 28, 2007 11:41:23 PM | Request Removal
This article was an incredibly
rich and insightful portrayal of the people who are in these black sites
and what practices are used against them. I could be a sap, but overall,
this mans story had a definite air of credibility to it. It had a balance
to it that could only be described as human. His crimes, which, while we
can certainly view them as dangerous in the context of the 2001 war against
the Taliban and the War on Terror, seem to have a level of human compassion
as their genesis. While I can certainly understand our government interrogating
such a person who had definite contact with important figures in Al-Qaeda,
the initial conditions are unforgiveable and evoke echoes of The Gulag
Archipelago. It should be acknowledged that threats of physical beating
and the Dog Box were eventually unsubstantiated, but nevertheless these
aptly-named black sites emphasize the depths that some will go to to protect
what they hold dear and the human values that still sometimes shine through.
I think that those readers who are either condemning the governments actions
or overwhelmingly approving of its actions against a terrorist which I
would hesitate to label this man did not read the article carefully enough.
This article reveals the gray areas of morality that spring up on the fringes
of civilization. What lengths are we willing to go to as a civilization
in our efforts to combat individuals who for all intensive purposes do
not belong to civilization and do not observe its rules of conduct? The
detainee was not a hardened terrorist, and the interrogators were not the
icy Orwellian agents of our nightmares. These were human beings in severe
situations, and I think that this article is worth careful reflection and
consideration. What would you do in the position of any of the actors?
By cscheineson | Mar 1, 2007 12:26:08 AM | Request Removal
Once the champion of human rights
our reputation is very tarnished.That first step can easily slide into
treatment of our own citizens.That first step is the road to a slippery
By mbfreedom1 | Mar 1, 2007 3:46:38 AM | Request Removal
March 25, 2007
The President’s Prison
George Bush does not want to be rescued.
The president has been told countless times, by a secretary of state,
by members of Congress, by heads of friendly governments — and by the American
public — that the Guantánamo Bay detention camp has profoundly damaged
this nation’s credibility as a champion of justice and human rights. But
Mr. Bush ignored those voices — and now it seems he has done the same to
his new defense secretary, Robert Gates, the man Mr. Bush brought in to
clean up Donald Rumsfeld’s mess.
Thom Shanker and David Sanger reported in Friday’s Times that in his
first weeks on the job, Mr. Gates told Mr. Bush that the world would never
consider trials at Guantánamo to be legitimate. He said that the
camp should be shut, and that inmates who should stand trial should be
brought to the United States and taken to real military courts.
Mr. Bush rejected that sound advice, heeding instead the chief enablers
of his worst instincts, Vice President Dick Cheney and Attorney General
Alberto Gonzales. Their opposition was no surprise. The Guantánamo
operation was central to Mr. Cheney’s drive to expand the powers of the
presidency at the expense of Congress and the courts, and Mr. Gonzales
was one of the chief architects of the policies underpinning the detainee
system. Mr. Bush and his inner circle are clearly afraid that if Guantánamo
detainees are tried under the actual rule of law, many of the cases will
collapse because they are based on illegal detention, torture and abuse
— or that American officials could someday be held criminally liable for
their mistreatment of detainees.
It was distressing to see that the president has retreated so far into
his alternative reality that he would not listen to Mr. Gates — even when
he was backed by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who, like her predecessor,
Colin Powell, had urged Mr. Bush to close Guantánamo. It seems clear
that when he brought in Mr. Gates, Mr. Bush didn’t want to fix Mr. Rumsfeld’s
disaster; he just wanted everyone to stop talking about it.
If Mr. Bush would not listen to reason from inside his cabinet, he might
at least listen to what Americans are telling him about the damage to this
country’s credibility, and its cost. When Khalid Shaikh Mohammed — for
all appearances a truly evil and dangerous man — confessed to a long list
of heinous crimes, including planning the 9/11 attacks, many Americans
reacted with skepticism and even derision. The confession became the butt
of editorial cartoons, like one that showed the prisoner confessing to
betting on the Cincinnati Reds, and fodder for the late-night comedians.
What stood out the most from the transcript of Mr. Mohammed’s hearing
at Guantánamo Bay was how the military detention and court system
has been debased for terrorist suspects. The hearing was a combatant status
review tribunal — a process that is supposed to determine whether a prisoner
is an illegal enemy combatant and thus not entitled in Mr. Bush’s world
to rudimentary legal rights. But the tribunals are kangaroo courts, admitting
evidence that was coerced or obtained through abuse or outright torture.
They are intended to confirm a decision that was already made, and to feed
detainees into the military commissions created by Congress last year.
The omissions from the record of Mr. Mohammed’s hearing were chilling.
The United States government deleted his claims to have been tortured during
years of illegal detention at camps run by the Central Intelligence Agency.
Government officials who are opposed to the administration’s lawless policy
on prisoners have said in numerous news reports that Mr. Mohammed was indeed
tortured, including through waterboarding, which simulates drowning and
violates every civilized standard of behavior toward a prisoner, even one
as awful as this one. And he is hardly the only prisoner who has made claims
of abuse and torture. Some were released after it was proved that they
never had any connection at all to terrorism.
Still, the Bush administration says no prisoner should be allowed to
take torture claims to court, including the innocents who were tortured
and released. The administration’s argument is that how prisoners are treated
is a state secret and cannot be discussed openly. If that sounds nonsensical,
it is. It’s also not the real reason behind the administration’s denying
these prisoners the most basic rights of due process.
The Bush administration has so badly subverted American norms of justice
in handling these cases that they would not stand up to scrutiny in a real
court of law. It is a clear case of justice denied.
March 31, 2007
Detainee Alleges Abuse in CIA Prison
Torture Coerced Confession, He Says
By Josh White and Ann Scott Tyson
GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba, March 30 -- A high-level al-Qaeda suspect who
was in CIA custody for more than four years has alleged that his American
captors tortured him into making false confessions about terrorist attacks
in the Middle East, according to newly released Pentagon transcripts of
a March 14 military tribunal hearing here.
Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who U.S. officials believe was involved in
the bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa in 1998 and who allegedly
organized the attack on the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000, told a panel of
military officers that he was repeatedly tortured during his imprisonment
and that he admitted taking part in numerous terrorism plots because of
"The detainee states that he was tortured into confession and once he
made a confession his captors were happy and they stopped torturing him,"
Nashiri's representative read to the tribunal, according to the transcript.
"Also, the detainee states that he made up stories during the torture in
order to get it to stop."
Nashiri's allegations came just days after Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the
self-confessed mastermind of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, also alleged
abuse during a similar hearing before a Combatant Status Review Tribunal
(CSRT) at this island detention facility, though his claims were submitted
on paper and have not been released.
It is impossible to confirm or evaluate Nashiri's allegations regarding
his interrogation by the CIA. U.S. government officials often caution that
terrorists are trained to allege abuse at the hands of their captors, and
portions of the 36-page transcript that appeared to detail the locations
and methods of the alleged abuse were redacted. But such allegations could
call into question the veracity of Nashiri's interrogations and those of
other detainees previously held at secret CIA prisons, and could make trying
the men at military commissions difficult if the alleged coercion elicited
Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, said the CIA cited "national security
concerns" regarding the locations of detention facilities, interrogation
techniques and operational details as rationale for the redactions.
Abuse allegations are generally referred to the CIA inspector general's
office, which investigates from within. Defense Department and intelligence
officials said Friday that allegations made during the CSRT process will
be forwarded to the government agency being accused of abuse.
"I'm not going to respond to those sorts of allegations other than to
emphasize that the CIA's terrorist interrogation program has been conducted
lawfully, with great care and close review, producing vital information
that has helped disrupt terrorist plots and save lives," said Mark Mansfield,
a CIA spokesman.
Nashiri, a Saudi national, is one of 14 detainees who were confined
secretly for years and are undergoing a process to determine whether they
are enemy combatants against the United States and whether they should
be held indefinitely in maximum security at Guantanamo Bay. A spokesman
for the International Committee of the Red Cross, which has interviewed
all of the detainees, declined to discuss Nashiri's case.
U.S. officials allege that Nashiri is responsible for assisting the
bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and for taking a lead
role in the Cole bombing. The report of the Sept. 11 commission identified
him as "the mastermind of the Cole Bombing and the eventual head of Al
Qaeda Operations in the Arabian Peninsula." In addition, Nashiri was named
in a New York court as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Cole bombing
and was sentenced to death in absentia in Yemen for his role in the bombing.
But Nashiri said he "confessed under torture" to those attacks. "From
the time I was arrested . . . they have been torturing me," he said through
an interpreter in answers to the tribunal officers' questions. "One time
they tortured me one way, and another time they tortured me in a different
Nashiri said, according to the transcript, that he "invented" some information
just to "make people happy" during his interrogations. One of those statements
was that Osama bin Laden, whom he had met numerous times, had procured
a nuclear weapon.
"They were extremely happy because of this news," he said, according
to the transcript.
It has long been publicly known that the CIA used controversial interrogation
techniques that went beyond those used by the military after the Sept.
11 attacks, including waterboarding (which simulates the sensation of drowning),
exposure to extreme temperatures and prolonged forced standing. Detainees
who think they have been in secret CIA detention facilities have reported
serious abuse there.
John Sifton, a senior terrorism researcher at Human Rights Watch, decried
the secrecy and said there is ample evidence that the CIA has used illegal
tactics on detainees and is trying to hide it.
"It's a bit disingenuous for the CIA to refer allegations to the inspector
general" after the agency itself approved questionable techniques, he said.
Nashiri acknowledged connections to the Cole bombers but said that he
was involved in a fishing business with them and that he was unaware of
the plot to attack a U.S. Navy warship. He said that he sent money to the
men who carried out the bombing for a fishing "project" and that he is
"not responsible for them or what they have in their heads."
"The cards are stacked against al-Nashiri," said Evan Kohlmann, a terrorism
analyst. "There is too much testimony and evidence suggesting his long-standing
role as an al-Qaeda operative and recruiter. Many people involved in the
USS Cole have been interrogated, and everyone . . . has implicated Nashiri."
Nashiri said he made himself a millionaire by the age of 19 as a merchant
and periodically went to Afghanistan to meet with bin Laden. He also said
he traveled to battlefields throughout the Middle East "to help people
by gathering information."
Nashiri denied being a member of al-Qaeda and said he is not an enemy
of the United States, though he criticized U.S. foreign policy.
"If you think that anybody who wants the Americans to get out of the
Gulf as your enemy, then you will catch about 10 million peoples in Saudi
Arabia that have same opinion," Nashiri said, according to the transcript.
Tyson reported from Washington. Staff researcher Julie Tate contributed
to this report.
WALL STREET JOURNAL
March 31, 2007
The Conscience of the Colonel
Lt. Col. Stuart Couch volunteered to prosecute terrorists.
Then he decided one had been tortured
By JESS BRAVIN
When the Pentagon needed someone to prosecute a Guantanamo Bay prisoner
linked to 9/11, it turned to Lt. Col. V. Stuart Couch. A Marine Corps pilot
and veteran prosecutor, Col. Couch brought a personal connection to the
job: His old Marine buddy, Michael "Rocks" Horrocks, was co-pilot on United
175, the second plane to strike the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
The prisoner in question, Mohamedou Ould Slahi, had already been suspected
of terrorist activity. After the attacks, he was fingered by a senior al
Qaeda operative for helping assemble the so-called Hamburg cell, which
included the hijacker who piloted United 175 into the South Tower. To Col.
Couch, Mr. Slahi seemed a likely candidate for the death penalty. "Of the
cases I had seen, he was the one with the most blood on his hands," Col.
But, nine months later, in what he calls the
toughest decision of his military career, Col. Couch refused to proceed
with the Slahi prosecution. The reason: He concluded that Mr. Slahi's incriminating
statements -- the core of the government's case -- had been taken through
torture, rendering them inadmissible under U.S. and international law.
The Slahi case marks a rare instance of a military prosecutor refusing
to bring charges because he thought evidence was tainted by torture. For
Col. Couch, it also represented a wrenching personal challenge. Laid out
starkly before him was a collision between the government's objectives
and his moral compass.
These kinds of concerns will likely become more prevalent as other high-level
al Qaeda detainees come before military commissions set up by the Bush
administration. Guantanamo prosecutors estimate that at least 90% of cases
depend on statements taken from prisoners, making the credibility of such
evidence critical to any convictions. In Mr. Slahi's case, Col. Couch would
uncover evidence the prisoner had been beaten and exposed to psychological
torture, including death threats and intimations that his mother would
be raped in custody unless he cooperated.
ON THE TRAIL OF SLAHI
Mohamedou Ould Slahi attracted the attention of U.S. intelligence as
early as 1998, years before he would be suspected of indirectly helping
to round up future hijackers for the 9/11 attacks. Raised in Asheboro,
N.C., Col. Couch, now 41 years old, was an Eagle Scout, a graduate of Duke
and commander of his Naval ROTC battalion. An Anglican, Col. Couch says
he counts among his heroes two men known for making a public commitment
to their faith: C.S. Lewis, the academic and book author, and Dietrich
Bonhoeffer, the Lutheran pastor hanged by the Nazis in 1945.
In 1987, Col. Couch joined the Marines to be a pilot before an assignment
on the squadron's legal desk inspired him to enroll in law school. After
graduating from Campbell University, Buies Creek, N.C., he was assigned
to the team prosecuting a flight crew for a 1998 incident in Aviano, Italy,
where a Marine Prowler clipped a ski gondola cable, killing 20. He still
keeps in touch with relatives of the accident's victims.
Col. Couch left active duty but found private practice boring. After
9/11, he asked to return to the military. When President Bush issued his
Nov. 13, 2001 order creating the first iteration of military commissions,
"I did that to get a crack at the guys who attacked the United States,"
he says. "I wanted to do what I could do with the skill set that I had."
Col. Couch began his assignment at the Office of Military Commissions
in August 2003. Soon after arriving at the commissions' offices in Crystal
City, Arlington, Va., he was handed files on several Guantanamo prisoners.
The Slahi file stood out as the one directly connected to 9/11.
Mr. Slahi, now 37, is the eighth of 12 children born to a Mauritanian
camel herder, according to his lawyers. He studied electrical engineering
in Germany and later ran an Internet cafe. Before 9/11, U.S. authorities
tried unsuccessfully to link him to the so-called Millennium Plot to blow
up Los Angeles International Airport. Mauritanian authorities picked him
up after Sept. 11, and shipped him to Jordan, according to testimony he
gave to a Guantanamo detention board.
The U.S. got a break one year later, when Ramzi Binalshibh, a top al
Qaeda operative, was captured in Pakistan. He told the CIA that in 1999,
Mr. Slahi sent him and three future 9/11 hijackers -- Mohammed Atta, Ziad
Jarrah and Marwan al-Shehhi -- from Germany to Pakistan, and then to al
Qaeda headquarters in Afghanistan. There, according to the 9/11 Commission,
Mr. bin Laden assigned them to the 9/11 operation. But beyond Mr. Binalshibh's
uncorroborated statements, Col. Couch had little additional evidence.
In Crystal City, morale was sinking. Several junior officers complained
that, in its rush to win convictions, the office was proceeding with shaky
cases, overlooking allegations of abuse and failing to protect exculpatory
evidence. Allegations of torture at places such as Abu Ghraib had not yet
surfaced, but some officers were starting to express their unease in private.
A handful of prosecutors would later quit rather than take part in trials
they considered rigged.
Subsequent internal reviews found no criminal wrongdoing, but prompted
a shake-up in which the then-chief military commissions prosecutor was
ousted. Col. Couch had his own misgivings. On his first visit to Guantanamo
in October 2003, he recalls preparing to watch an interrogation of a detainee
when he was distracted by heavy-metal music. Accompanied by an escort,
he saw a prisoner shackled to a cell floor, rocking back and forth, mumbling
as strobe lights flashed. Two men in civilian dress shut the cell door
and told Col. Couch to move along.
"Did you see that?" he asked his escort. The escort replied: "Yeah,
it's approved," Col. Couch says. The treatment resembled the abuse he had
been trained to resist if captured; he never expected Americans would be
the ones employing it. The incident "started keeping me up at night," he
says. "I couldn't stop thinking about it."
Col. Couch contacted a senior Marine lawyer who had been an informal
mentor. The officer said: "I know there's a lot of stuff going on, and
that's why we need people like yourself in this situation," Col. Couch
recalls. "You're shirking your responsibility if you've got issues and
you're not willing to do something about it."
"He was looking for a sanity check, asking: 'Am I crazy or does this
smell bad to you?'" the Marine lawyer, now a retired brigadier general
recalls. "My response was, 'yeah, this is a problem and you need to work
Col Couch's wife, Kim, a nurse, says her husband began to rue each coming
week. "I called it the Sunday Night Blues," she says. "It got worse and
Under the Pentagon structure, Col. Couch had no direct contact with
his potential defendants, but received instead summaries of their statements.
In late 2003, Mr. Slahi suddenly started corroborating the Binalshibh allegations.
"After a while, I just couldn't keep up with him because things were
coming out every day," Col. Couch says. "He was giving like a "Who's Who"
of al Qaeda in Germany and all of Europe."
The sanitized reports reaching Col. Couch made no mention of what spurred
this cooperation. Intelligence agencies refused to share all the information
they had on the prisoner.
A colleague let on that Mr. Slahi had begun the "varsity program" --
an informal name for the Special Interrogation Plan authorized by then-Defense
Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for the most recalcitrant Guantanamo prisoners.
Col. Couch says he and his case investigator, an agent detailed from
the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, began an "under the table" effort
to find out what made Mr. Slahi break. Col. Couch says he was suspicious
about the sudden change, and felt he needed to know all the circumstances
before bringing the case to trial. "It was like Hansel and Gretel, following
bread crumbs," Col. Couch says. The agent spoke to intelligence officers
and others with more direct knowledge, pursued documents with details of
the interrogations, and passed his findings on to the prosecutor. What
emerged, Col. Couch believed, was torture.
Initially, Mr. Slahi said he was pleased to be taken to Guantanamo.
"I thought, this is America, not Jordan, and they are not going to beat
you," he told his detention hearing. But after Mr. Binalshibh named him
as a top al Qaeda member, "my life...changed dramatically," Mr. Slahi said.
The account of Mr. Slahi's treatment has been pieced together from interviews
with government officials, official reports and testimony, as well as Mr.
Slahi's attorneys and Col. Couch. Col. Couch wouldn't discuss classified
information, including aspects of the Slahi interrogation involving the
Initially, Mr. Slahi denied having al Qaeda connections, frustrating
his interrogators. On May 22, 2003, a Federal Bureau of Investigation interrogator
said, "this was our last session; he told me that I was not going to enjoy
the time to come."
In the following weeks, Mr. Slahi said, he was placed in isolation,
subjected to extreme temperatures, beaten and sexually humiliated. The
detention-board transcript states that at this point, "the recording equipment
began to malfunction." It summarizes Mr. Slahi's missing testimony as discussing
"how he was tortured while here at GTMO by several individuals."
Mr. Slahi was put under more intense interrogation. On July 17, 2003,
a masked interrogator told Mr. Slahi he had dreamed of watching detainees
dig a grave, according to a 2005 Pentagon report into detainee abuse at
Guantanamo, headed by Air Force Lt. Gen. Randall Schmidt and Army Brig.
Gen. John Furlow. (Gen. Furlow later testified that Mr. Slahi was "the
value detainee" at Guantanamo, "the key orchestrator of the al Qaeda
cell in Europe.") [Bob Swann]
The interrogator said he saw "a plain, pine casket with [Mr. Slahi's]
identification number painted in orange lowered into the ground." Three
days later, the interrogator told Mr. Slahi "that his family was 'incarcerated,'"
the report said.
On Aug. 2, an interrogation chief visited the prisoner posing as a White
House representative named "Navy Capt. Collins," the report said. He gave
the prisoner a forged memorandum indicating that Mr. Slahi's mother was
being shipped to Guantanamo, and that officials had concerns about her
safety as the only woman amid hundreds of male prisoners, according a person
familiar with the matter.
"Capt. Collins" told Mr. Slahi "that if he wanted to help his family
he should tell them everything they wanted to know," the report continued.
The same day, an interrogator made a "death threat" to Mr. Slahi, Gen.
Schmidt said in testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee. According
to records cited by the report, the interrogator advised Mr. Slahi "to
use his imagination to think of the worst possible scenario he could end
In his detention-board testimony, Mr. Slahi provided further details,
as did other people familiar with the matter. Two men took a shackled,
blindfolded Mr. Slahi to a boat for a journey into the waters of Guantanamo
Bay. The hour-long trip apparently led Mr. Slahi to think he was to be
killed and, in fear, he urinated in his pants.
After making land, "two Arab guys" took him away, beat him and turned
him over to a "doctor who was not a regular doctor [but] part of the team,"
Mr. Slahi said. The doctor "was cursing me and telling me very bad things.
He gave me a lot of medication to make me sleep," Mr. Slahi said. After
two or three weeks, Mr. Slahi said, he broke, "because they said to me,
either I am going to talk or they will continue to do this."
On Sept. 8, 2003, according to the Pentagon report, Mr. Slahi asked
to see "Capt. Collins." Mr. Slahi corroborated the account of Mr. Binalshibh
and provided an extensive list of other al Qaeda names.
In later testimony to the Army Inspector General, Gen. Schmidt said
he concluded that the interrogation chief "was a rogue guy," a "zealot"
who "essentially was having a ball." A Pentagon spokesman says the interrogation
chief, who invoked his right against self-incrimination and didn't testify,
was not court-martialed. The spokesman declines to say what discipline
Military and law-enforcement officials started warning the Bush administration
in 2002 that its unorthodox interrogation practices, which the president
has called "tough" and "necessary," were hurting the ability of prosecutors
to bring cases to court. Officials expect the concern to arise in particular
with 14 "high-value" al Qaeda suspects transferred to Guantanamo in September
after years of secret CIA interrogation. They include Khalid Sheikh Mohammed,
the man who claimed responsibility for planning 9/11. Some detainees, including
Mr. Mohammed, have alleged they were tortured. Pentagon reviews documented
cruel and degrading treatment, while declining to classify such abuse as
"There's a serious question of whether they will ever be able to legitimately
prosecute those individuals," if necessary evidence was produced through
torture, says retired Maj. Gen. Thomas Romig, who served as the Army's
top uniformed lawyer, the judge advocate general, from 2001 to 2005.
Gen. Romig, recently appointed dean at Washburn University law school,
Topeka, Kan., says within the government "there was a view that we have
got to get intelligence out of these guys, and we don't care we if we prosecute
them or not."
The military commissions trying the cases of foreign terrorists don't
hew to the rules that govern civilian courts or courts-martial. The 2006
Military Commissions Act permits use of evidence obtained before Dec. 30,
2005, through "cruel, inhuman or degrading" methods, although it bars any
obtained by torture.
Top U.S. government officials won't specify which practices cross the
line beyond stating that prisoners should be treated "humanely." Such ambiguity
has forced decision-making down the chain of command. Even Guantanamo's
chief prosecutor, Air Force Col. Moe Davis, says he's still not sure how
the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman
or Degrading Treatment or Punishment applies to military commissions.
A report into abuses at Guantanamo concluded that the "threats" made
to Mr. Slahi "do not rise to the level of torture as defined under U.S.
law" but did violate the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which governs
the conduct of the armed forces. The Pentagon won't say how the report
reached that conclusion.
By May 2004, Col. Couch had most of the picture relating to Mr. Slahi's
treatment, and faced a painful dilemma: Could he seek a conviction based
on statements he thought were taken through torture, as permitted by President
Bush's November 2001 military commission order citing a "state of emergency?"
Or was he nonetheless bound by the Torture Convention, which
bars using statements taken "as a result of torture...as evidence in
The convention says "no exceptional circumstances whatsoever" can be
cited to justify torture, which it defines broadly. The 1994 federal statute
implementing the treaty contains additional definitions, including the
"threat of imminent death" or "severe physical pain or suffering," as well
as the actual or threatened use of "mind-altering substances or other procedures
calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality."
Col. Couch was uneasy over interfering with plans to try Mr. Slahi,
given the detainee's history. He turned to others with his dilemma, including
Marine lawyers he knew and his wife's two brothers -- one a Protestant
theologian, the other a retired Marine infantry officer. Because of the
classified nature of the information, Col. Couch didn't give them specifics
about the case, and spoke only in generalities. Their advice conflicted.
"He wanted to be a good solider and yet on the other hand felt his duty
to his God to be the greatest duty that he had," recalls Bill Wilder, director
of educational ministries at the Center for Christian Study, Charlottesville,
Va. "He said more than once to me that human beings are created in the
image of God and as a result we owe them a certain amount of dignity."
Mr. Wilder says he agreed with Col. Couch's concerns. "Stuart, you need
to pray about this," Mr. Wilder says he advised.
Briant Wilder, the other brother and a former Marine lieutenant, urged
Col. Couch to instead consider the context of the war on terrorism, where
obtaining intelligence could be crucial to protecting innocent lives.
"I have to also say that I don't agree with everybody's definition of
torture," Mr. Wilder says. "If some of the things that people say are torture
were torture, then I was tortured at Officer Candidate School at Quantico.
And so was he."
In May 2004, attending a baptism at Virginia's Falls Church, Col. Couch
joined the congregation in reciting the liturgy. The reading concluded,
as is typical, with the priest asking if congregants will "respect the
dignity of every human being."
"When I heard that, I knew I gotta get off the fence," Col. Couch says.
"Here was somebody I felt was connected to 9/11, but in our zeal to get
information, we had compromised our ability to prosecute him." He says,
in retrospect, the tipping point came with the forged letter about Mr.
Slahi's mother. "For me, that was just, enough is enough. I had seen enough,
I had heard enough, I had read enough. I said: 'That's it.' "
In May 2004, at a meeting with the then-chief prosecutor, Army Col.
Bob Swann, Col. Couch dropped his bombshell. He told Col. Swann that in
addition to legal reasons, he was "morally opposed" to the interrogation
techniques "and for that reason alone refused to participate in [the Slahi]
prosecution in any manner."
Col. Swann was indignant, Col. Couch says, replying: "What makes you
think you're so much better than the rest of us around here?" Col. Couch
says he slammed his hand on Col. Swann's desk and replied: "That's not
the issue at all, that's not the point!"
An impassioned debate followed, the prosecutor recalls. Col. Swann said
the Torture Convention didn't apply to military commissions. Col. Couch
asked his superior to cite legal precedent that would allow the president
to disregard a treaty. The meeting ended when Col. Swann asked the prosecutor
to turn over the Slahi files so the case could be reassigned, Col. Couch
Through a spokesman, Col. Swann declined to comment for this article.
Col. Swann retired from the Army in 2005. He continues, as a civilian employee,
to serve as deputy chief prosecutor, playing a major role in commission
Other trial prosecutors in the office say they respected Col. Couch's
decision. "I thought his conduct was perfectly appropriate and I agreed
with his approach," says retired Navy Cmdr. Scott Lang, now a state prosecutor
A week later, Col. Couch put his position in writing and asked that
his concerns be raised with the Pentagon's general counsel, William J.
Haynes II. The legal adviser to the military commissions office, Air Force
Brig. Gen. Thomas Hemingway, says: "Mr. Haynes was not informed of the
issues raised by Lt. Col. Couch nor did he expect to be told about all
internal operations within the Office of Military Commissions."
Gen. Hemingway says Col. Swann "was aware the interrogation techniques
used were under investigation at the time Lt. Col. Couch expressed misgivings
about the information he had received. Col. Swann removed Lt. Col. Couch
from the case to assuage his concerns."
In a written statement, the Defense Department says it "cannot comment
on Mohamedou Ould Slahi because he is under investigation. It would be
inappropriate for us to discuss ongoing cases that are pending prosecution."
In March 2005, Col. Couch considered quitting, frustrated by how the
office was run. Lt. Col. Daniel Daugherty, one of Col. Couch's best friends,
urged him in an email to reconsider. "Personally I would rather be fired
than quit," Col. Daugherty wrote. "Being fired for your ethics is (in my
view) better than walking away."
With the Slahi prosecution on ice, Col. Couch continued work on other
cases -- including another "varsity program" prisoner, Mohammmed al-Qahtani,
who, according to army report overseen by Gens. Schmidt and Furlow, had
been made to wear women's underwear, leashed, forced to perform dog tricks
and berated as a homosexual. Col. Couch refused to use statements obtained
during these interrogations. But he determined the prosecution could continue
based on a separate source of evidence compiled by the FBI before Mr. Qahtani's
He was also one of the prosecutors who worked on the case of Salim Hamdan,
Mr. bin Laden's former driver. Mr. Hamdan's case would eventually go to
the Supreme Court, which used the case to strike down the administration's
first attempt to create a military commissions system. Col. Davis, the
Guantanamo chief prosecutor, says Mr. Slahi remains among the 75 or so
prisoners potentially eligible for trial. He says no one is assigned to
the case and that it's unclear when Mr. Slahi will be charged, due to Col.
Couch's concerns and a staff shortage.
Today, Mr. Slahi is detained in private quarters at Guantanamo Bay,
with a television, a computer and a tomato patch to tend, according to
people familiar with the matter. "Since 2004, I really have no complaints,"
Mr. Slahi told a military detention board.
He has asked to be resettled in the U.S., an option Pentagon officials
have not ruled out. Col. Davis declines to comment on plea negotiations.
A lawyer representing Mr. Slahi, Nancy Hollander, says that if charged
with a crime, Mr. Slahi would plead not guilty.
In a September 2006 letter to his attorneys, Mr. Slahi joked about their
request that he detail his discussions with interrogators. "Are you out
of your mind! How can I render uninterrupted interrogation that has been
lasting the last 7 years. That's like asking Charlie Sheen how many women
he dated," Mr. Slahi writes. He divided his time into pre- and post-torture
eras. In the latter, he wrote, "I yessed every accusation my interrogators
Col. Couch had been assigned to the prosecutor's office for a three
year stint. When it came to an end, Col. Couch decided not to renew his
assignment. He says there was no attempt to remove him from office.
After he left, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld awarded Col. Couch the Defense
Meritorious Service Medal for his work on Guantanamo prosecutions as is
typical when officers move on to new assignments. The citation describes
him as "steady in faith, possessed by moral courage and relentless in the
pursuit of excellence."
In August 2006, he took on a new assignment as a judge on the Navy-Marine
Corps Court of Criminal Appeals.
Col. Couch says he's still frustrated that the actions of the U.S. government
helped ruin the case against Mr. Slahi. "I'm hoping there's some non-tainted
evidence out there that can put the guy in the hole," he says.
On the Trail of Slahi
By JESS BRAVIN
March 31, 2007Mohamedou Ould Slahi attracted the attention of U.S. intelligence
as early as 1998. He was living in Germany at the time and was heard on
intercepts of a satellite telephonethat had been traced to Osama bin Laden.
A Slahi relative was a top advisor to Mr. bin Laden. In later questioning,
Mr. Slahi admitted traveling to Afghanistan in the early 1990sto wage jihad
against its Soviet-installed regime.In 1999, U.S. authorities tried to
link Mr. Slahi to the so-called Millennium Plot to blow up Los Angeles
International Airport. The would-be bomber, Ahmed Ressam, hadattended a
Montreal mosque where the Mr. Slahi, a Mauritanian, had been installed
as prayer leader. U.S. officials suggested Mr. Slahi had come to activate
a terrorist cell.Canadian authorities put Mr. Slahi under surveillance
but lacked grounds to arrest him.The following month, Mr. Slahi left for
Mauritania, where he was questioned repeatedly by local authorities and
the U.S. During three weeks in custody, Mr. Slahi deniedknowledge of the
Millennium Plot, and the Americans gave up, according to news reports and
his own later testimony.After 9/11, Washington again pushed the Mauritanians
to move against Mr. Slahi. He was taken in for questioning several times
through November 2001, when theMauritanians, at what Mr. Slahi said he
was told was American instruction, sent him to Jordan."Then, man, what
happened to me there is beyond description," he told a detention board
reviewing his incarceration at Guantanamo Bay. He said he was beaten, underfed
andthreatened with torture unless he confessed to the Millennium Plot.
In July 2002, he said, he was transferred to U.S. custody and eventually
taken to Guantanamo.A break for the U.S. came exactly one year after 9/11,
when Ramzi Binalshibh, a top al Qaeda lieutenant, was captured in Pakistan.
According to U.S. intelligence summaries, Mr.Binalshibh told interrogators
that in 1999, a chance encounter led him and some confederates to Mr. Slahi.
The men, then living in Hamburg, Germany , wanted to wage jihad.They heard
that Mr. Slahi could help them get to Chechnya, where Islamist rebels were
fighting Russian troops.When they met, Mr. Binalshibh said, Mr. Slahi persuaded
them to head instead for Afghanistan, where they could obtain training
for jihad. Following Mr. Slahi's instructions,they made their way to a
Taliban office in Pakistan, from whence they were taken to al Qaeda headquarters
in Kandahar, Afghanistan. There, they impressed Mr. bin Laden, who assigned
them to the 9/11 operation, according to the National Commission on Terrorist
Attacks Upon the United States, commonly known as the 9/11 Commission.
The menincluded three future 9/11 hijackers -- Mohammed Atta, Ziad Jarrah
and Marwan al-Shehhi.
Write to Jess Bravin at email@example.com
Read a transcript2 of Mr.
Slahi's hearing before a Combatant Status Review Tribunal at Guantanamo
* * *
Read the unclassified summary3
of the spring 2005 Schmidt-Furlow report presenting the results of a Pentagon
investigation into detainee abuse at Guantanamo. The section detailing
Mr. Slahi's treatment is headed "second special interrogation plan," on
* * *
Read a transcript4 of Mr.
Slahi's Administrative Review Board hearing at Guantanamo Bay in December
* * *
See the Defense Meritorious
Service Medal5 and citation awarded to Col. Couch by Defense Secretary
Donald Rumsfeld in September 2006.
* * *
Read a letter6
Mr. Slahi sent to his attorneys, Nancy Hollander and Sylvia Royce,
from Guantanamo Bay on Nov. 9, 2006.
Wouldn't it be wonderful
if there were more military officers who took their obligations and oaths
seriously like this man? There ARE people whose moral compasses still function:
Lt. Ehren Watada, Sgt. Carlos Lazo, Lt. James Yee, the former Muslim chaplain
at Guantanamo, to name the first ones who come to mind. There are others
coming forward every day, but not enough and not soon enough, but they
are setting a positive example of both conscience and of consciousness.
It seems to me that the Bush
administration functions on the basis of too many old Western movies where
the mob was hurriedly called to action, saying "Let's Give 'em a fair trial
and string 'em up."
What the Bush administration
has done, with the complicity of many elected officials and the media,
makes it hard to be proud to be a citizen of the United States of America.
From time to time I like to refer to my native country as "Disnelyandia"
because of the cultural weirdness which so predominates in the country
of my birth. Here's someone every person can and should try to learn from
and, in our own ways, to emulate.
The New Yorker
August 13, 2007
A rare look inside the C.I.A.’s secret interrogation
The Black Sites
In the war on terror, one historian says, the C.I.A.
“didn’t just bring back the old psychological techniques—they
by Jane Mayer
In March, Mariane Pearl, the widow of the murdered Wall Street Journal
reporter Daniel Pearl, received a phone call from Alberto Gonzales, the
Attorney General. At the time, Gonzales’s role in the controversial dismissal
of eight United States Attorneys had just been exposed, and the story was
becoming a scandal in Washington. Gonzales informed Pearl that the Justice
Department was about to announce some good news: a terrorist in U.S. custody—Khalid
Sheikh Mohammed, the Al Qaeda leader who was the primary architect of the
September 11th attacks—had confessed to killing her husband. (Pearl was
abducted and beheaded five and a half years ago in Pakistan, by unidentified
Islamic militants.) The Administration planned to release a transcript
in which Mohammed boasted, “I decapitated with my blessed right hand the
head of the American Jew Daniel Pearl in the city of Karachi, Pakistan.
For those who would like to confirm, there are pictures of me on the Internet
holding his head.”
Pearl was taken aback. In 2003, she had received a call from Condoleezza
Rice, who was then President Bush’s national-security adviser, informing
her of the same news. But Rice’s revelation had been secret. Gonzales’s
announcement seemed like a publicity stunt. Pearl asked him if he had proof
that Mohammed’s confession was truthful; Gonzales claimed to have corroborating
evidence but wouldn’t share it. “It’s not enough for officials to call
me and say they believe it,” Pearl said. “You need evidence.” (Gonzales
did not respond to requests for comment.)
The circumstances surrounding the confession of Mohammed, whom law-enforcement
officials refer to as K.S.M., were perplexing. He had no lawyer. After
his capture in Pakistan, in March of 2003, the Central Intelligence Agency
had detained him in undisclosed locations for more than two years; last
fall, he was transferred to military custody in Guantánamo Bay,
Cuba. There were no named witnesses to his initial confession, and no solid
information about what form of interrogation might have prodded him to
talk, although reports had been published, in the Times and elsewhere,
suggesting that C.I.A. officers had tortured him. At a hearing held at
Guantánamo, Mohammed said that his testimony was freely given, but
he also indicated that he had been abused by the C.I.A. (The Pentagon had
classified as “top secret” a statement he had written detailing the alleged
mistreatment.) And although Mohammed said that there were photographs confirming
his guilt, U.S. authorities had found none. Instead, they had a copy of
the video that had been released on the Internet, which showed the killer’s
arms but offered no other clues to his identity.
Further confusing matters, a Pakistani named Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh
had already been convicted of the abduction and murder, in 2002. A British-educated
terrorist who had a history of staging kidnappings, he had been sentenced
to death in Pakistan for the crime. But the Pakistani government, not known
for its leniency, had stayed his execution. Indeed, hearings on the matter
had been delayed a remarkable number of times—at least thirty—possibly
because of his reported ties to the Pakistani intelligence service, which
may have helped free him after he was imprisoned for terrorist activities
in India. Mohammed’s confession would delay the execution further, since,
under Pakistani law, any new evidence is grounds for appeal.
A surprising number of people close to the case are dubious of Mohammed’s
confession. A longtime friend of Pearl’s, the former Journal reporter Asra
Nomani, said, “The release of the confession came right in the midst of
the U.S. Attorney scandal. There was a drumbeat for Gonzales’s resignation.
It seemed like a calculated strategy to change the subject. Why now? They’d
had the confession for years.” Mariane and Daniel Pearl were staying in
Nomani’s Karachi house at the time of his murder, and Nomani has followed
the case meticulously; this fall, she plans to teach a course on the topic
at Georgetown University. She said, “I don’t think this confession resolves
the case. You can’t have justice from one person’s confession, especially
under such unusual circumstances. To me, it’s not convincing.” She added,
“I called all the investigators. They weren’t just skeptical—they didn’t
Special Agent Randall Bennett, the head of security for the U.S. consulate
in Karachi when Pearl was killed—and whose lead role investigating the
murder was featured in the recent film “A Mighty Heart”—said that he has
interviewed all the convicted accomplices who are now in custody in Pakistan,
and that none of them named Mohammed as playing a role. “K.S.M.’s name
never came up,” he said. Robert Baer, a former C.I.A. officer, said, “My
old colleagues say with one-hundred-per-cent certainty that it was not
K.S.M. who killed Pearl.” A government official involved in the case said,
“The fear is that K.S.M. is covering up for others, and that these people
will be released.” And Judea Pearl, Daniel’s father, said, “Something is
fishy. There are a lot of unanswered questions. K.S.M. can say he killed
Jesus—he has nothing to lose.”
Mariane Pearl, who is relying on the Bush Administration to bring justice
in her husband’s case, spoke carefully about the investigation. “You need
a procedure that will get the truth,” she said. “An intelligence agency
is not supposed to be above the law.”
Mohammed’s interrogation was part of a secret C.I.A. program, initiated
after September 11th, in which terrorist suspects such as Mohammed were
detained in “black sites”—secret prisons outside the United States—and
subjected to unusually harsh treatment. The program was effectively suspended
last fall, when President Bush announced that he was emptying the C.I.A.’s
prisons and transferring the detainees to military custody in Guantánamo.
This move followed a Supreme Court ruling, Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, which found
that all detainees—including those held by the C.I.A.—had to be treated
in a manner consistent with the Geneva Conventions. These treaties, adopted
in 1949, bar cruel treatment, degradation, and torture. In late July, the
White House issued an executive order promising that the C.I.A. would adjust
its methods in order to meet the Geneva standards. At the same time, Bush’s
order pointedly did not disavow the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques”
that would likely be found illegal if used by officials inside the United
States. The executive order means that the agency can once again hold foreign
terror suspects indefinitely, and without charges, in black sites, without
notifying their families or local authorities, or offering access to legal
The C.I.A.’s director, General Michael Hayden, has said that the program,
which is designed to extract intelligence from suspects quickly, is an
“irreplaceable” tool for combatting terrorism. And President Bush has said
that “this program has given us information that has saved innocent lives,
by helping us stop new attacks.” He claims that it has contributed to the
disruption of at least ten serious Al Qaeda plots since September 11th,
three of them inside the United States.
According to the Bush Administration, Mohammed divulged information
of tremendous value during his detention. He is said to have helped point
the way to the capture of Hambali, the Indonesian terrorist responsible
for the 2002 bombings of night clubs in Bali. He also provided information
on an Al Qaeda leader in England. Michael Sheehan, a former counterterrorism
official at the State Department, said, “K.S.M. is the poster boy for using
tough but legal tactics. He’s the reason these techniques exist. You can
save lives with the kind of information he could give up.” Yet Mohammed’s
confessions may also have muddled some key investigations. Perhaps under
duress, he claimed involvement in thirty-one criminal plots—an improbable
number, even for a high-level terrorist. Critics say that Mohammed’s case
illustrates the cost of the C.I.A.’s desire for swift intelligence. Colonel
Dwight Sullivan, the top defense lawyer at the Pentagon’s Office of Military
Commissions, which is expected eventually to try Mohammed for war crimes,
called his serial confessions “a textbook example of why we shouldn’t allow
The Bush Administration has gone to great lengths to keep secret the
treatment of the hundred or so “high-value detainees” whom the C.I.A. has
confined, at one point or another, since September 11th. The program has
been extraordinarily “compartmentalized,” in the nomenclature of the intelligence
world. By design, there has been virtually no access for outsiders to the
C.I.A.’s prisoners. The utter isolation of these detainees has been described
as essential to America’s national security. The Justice Department argued
this point explicitly last November, in the case of a Baltimore-area resident
named Majid Khan, who was held for more than three years by the C.I.A.
Khan, the government said, had to be prohibited from access to a lawyer
specifically because he might describe the “alternative interrogation methods”
that the agency had used when questioning him. These methods amounted to
a state secret, the government argued, and disclosure of them could “reasonably
be expected to cause extremely grave damage.” (The case has not yet been
Given this level of secrecy, the public and all but a few members of
Congress who have been sworn to silence have had to take on faith President
Bush’s assurances that the C.I.A.’s internment program has been humane
and legal, and has yielded crucial intelligence. Representative Alcee Hastings,
a Democratic member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, said,
“We talk to the authorities about these detainees, but, of course, they’re
not going to come out and tell us that they beat the living daylights out
of someone.” He recalled learning in 2003 that Mohammed had been captured.
“It was good news,” he said. “So I tried to find out: Where is this guy?
And how is he being treated?” For more than three years, Hastings said,
“I could never pinpoint anything.” Finally, he received some classified
briefings on the Mohammed interrogation. Hastings said that he “can’t go
into details” about what he found out, but, speaking of Mohammed’s treatment,
he said that even if it wasn’t torture, as the Administration claims, “it
ain’t right, either. Something went wrong.”
Since the drafting of the Geneva Conventions, the International Committee
of the Red Cross has played a special role in safeguarding the rights of
prisoners of war. For decades, governments have allowed officials from
the organization to report on the treatment of detainees, to insure that
standards set by international treaties are being maintained. The Red Cross,
however, was unable to get access to the C.I.A.’s prisoners for five years.
Finally, last year, Red Cross officials were allowed to interview fifteen
detainees, after they had been transferred to Guantánamo. One of
the prisoners was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. What the Red Cross learned has
been kept from the public. The committee believes that its continued access
to prisoners worldwide is contingent upon confidentiality, and therefore
it addresses violations privately with the authorities directly responsible
for prisoner treatment and detention. For this reason, Simon Schorno, a
Red Cross spokesman in Washington, said, “The I.C.R.C. does not comment
on its findings publicly. Its work is confidential.”
The public-affairs office at the C.I.A. and officials at the congressional
intelligence-oversight committees would not even acknowledge the existence
of the report. Among the few people who are believed to have seen it are
Condoleezza Rice, now the Secretary of State; Stephen Hadley, the national-security
adviser; John Bellinger III, the Secretary of State’s legal adviser; Hayden;
and John Rizzo, the agency’s acting general counsel. Some members of the
Senate and House intelligence-oversight committees are also believed to
have had limited access to the report.
Confidentiality may be particularly stringent in this case. Congressional
and other Washington sources familiar with the report said that it harshly
criticized the C.I.A.’s practices. One of the sources said that the Red
Cross described the agency’s detention and interrogation methods as tantamount
to torture, and declared that American officials responsible for the abusive
treatment could have committed serious crimes. The source said the report
warned that these officials may have committed “grave breaches” of the
Geneva Conventions, and may have violated the U.S. Torture Act, which Congress
passed in 1994. The conclusions of the Red Cross, which is known for its
credibility and caution, could have potentially devastating legal ramifications.
Concern about the legality of the C.I.A.’s program reached a previously
unreported breaking point last week when Senator Ron Wyden, a Democrat
on the intelligence committee, quietly put a “hold” on the confirmation
of John Rizzo, who as acting general counsel was deeply involved in establishing
the agency’s interrogation and detention policies. Wyden’s maneuver essentially
stops the nomination from going forward. “I question if there’s been adequate
legal oversight,” Wyden told me. He said that after studying a classified
addendum to President Bush’s new executive order, which specifies permissible
treatment of detainees, “I am not convinced that all of these techniques
are either effective or legal. I don’t want to see well-intentioned C.I.A.
officers breaking the law because of shaky legal guidance.”
A former C.I.A. officer, who supports the agency’s detention and interrogation
policies, said he worried that, if the full story of the C.I.A. program
ever surfaced, agency personnel could face criminal prosecution. Within
the agency, he said, there is a “high level of anxiety about political
retribution” for the interrogation program. If congressional hearings begin,
he said, “several guys expect to be thrown under the bus.” He noted that
a number of C.I.A. officers have taken out professional liability insurance,
to help with potential legal fees.
Paul Gimigliano, a spokesman for the C.I.A., denied any legal impropriety,
stressing that “the agency’s terrorist-detention program has been implemented
lawfully. And torture is illegal under U.S. law. The people who have been
part of this important effort are well-trained, seasoned professionals.”
This spring, the Associated Press published an article quoting the chairman
of the House intelligence committee, Silvestre Reyes, who said that Hayden,
the C.I.A. director, “vehemently denied” the Red Cross’s conclusions. A
U.S. official dismissed the Red Cross report as a mere compilation of allegations
made by terrorists. And Robert Grenier, a former head of the C.I.A.’s Counterterrorism
Center, said that “the C.I.A.’s interrogations were nothing like Abu Ghraib
or Guantánamo. They were very, very regimented. Very meticulous.”
He said, “The program is very careful. It’s completely legal.”
Accurately or not, Bush Administration officials have described the
prisoner abuses at Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo as the unauthorized
actions of ill-trained personnel, eleven of whom have been convicted of
crimes. By contrast, the treatment of high-value detainees has been directly,
and repeatedly, approved by President Bush. The program is monitored closely
by C.I.A. lawyers, and supervised by the agency’s director and his subordinates
at the Counterterrorism Center. While Mohammed was being held by the agency,
detailed dossiers on the treatment of detainees were regularly available
to the former C.I.A. director George Tenet, according to informed sources
inside and outside the agency. Through a spokesperson, Tenet denied making
day-to-day decisions about the treatment of individual detainees. But,
according to a former agency official, “Every single plan is drawn up by
interrogators, and then submitted for approval to the highest possible
level—meaning the director of the C.I.A. Any change in the plan—even if
an extra day of a certain treatment was added—was signed off by the C.I.A.
On September 17, 2001, President Bush signed a secret Presidential finding
authorizing the C.I.A. to create paramilitary teams to hunt, capture, detain,
or kill designated terrorists almost anywhere in the world. Yet the C.I.A.
had virtually no trained interrogators. A former C.I.A. officer involved
in fighting terrorism said that, at first, the agency was crippled by its
lack of expertise. “It began right away, in Afghanistan, on the fly,” he
recalled. “They invented the program of interrogation with people who had
no understanding of Al Qaeda or the Arab world.” The former officer said
that the pressure from the White House, in particular from Vice-President
Dick Cheney, was intense: “They were pushing us: ‘Get information! Do not
let us get hit again!’ ” In the scramble, he said, he searched the C.I.A.’s
archives, to see what interrogation techniques had worked in the past.
He was particularly impressed with the Phoenix Program, from the Vietnam
War. Critics, including military historians, have described it as a program
of state-sanctioned torture and murder. A Pentagon-contract study found
that, between 1970 and 1971, ninety-seven per cent of the Vietcong targeted
by the Phoenix Program were of negligible importance. But, after September
11th, some C.I.A. officials viewed the program as a useful model. A. B.
Krongard, who was the executive director of the C.I.A. from 2001 to 2004,
said that the agency turned to “everyone we could, including our friends
in Arab cultures,” for interrogation advice, among them those in Egypt,
Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, all of which the State Department regularly criticizes
for human-rights abuses.
The C.I.A. knew even less about running prisons than it did about hostile
interrogations. Tyler Drumheller, a former chief of European operations
at the C.I.A., and the author of a recent book, “On the Brink: How the
White House Compromised U.S. Intelligence,” said, “The agency had no experience
in detention. Never. But they insisted on arresting and detaining people
in this program. It was a mistake, in my opinion. You can’t mix intelligence
and police work. But the White House was really pushing. They wanted someone
to do it. So the C.I.A. said, ‘We’ll try.’ George Tenet came out of politics,
not intelligence. His whole modus operandi was to please the principal.
We got stuck with all sorts of things. This is really the legacy of a director
who never said no to anybody.”
Many officials inside the C.I.A. had misgivings. “A lot of us knew this
would be a can of worms,” the former officer said. “We warned them, It’s
going to become an atrocious mess.” The problem from the start, he said,
was that no one had thought through what he called “the disposal plan.”
He continued, “What are you going to do with these people? The utility
of someone like K.S.M. is, at most, six months to a year. You exhaust them.
Then what? It would have been better if we had executed them.”
The C.I.A. program’s first important detainee was Abu Zubaydah, a top
Al Qaeda operative, who was captured by Pakistani forces in March of 2002.
Lacking in-house specialists on interrogation, the agency hired a group
of outside contractors, who implemented a regime of techniques that one
well-informed former adviser to the American intelligence community described
as “a ‘Clockwork Orange’ kind of approach.” The experts were retired military
psychologists, and their backgrounds were in training Special Forces soldiers
how to survive torture, should they ever be captured by enemy states. The
program, known as SERE—an acronym for Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and
Escape—was created at the end of the Korean War. It subjected trainees
to simulated torture, including waterboarding (simulated drowning), sleep
deprivation, isolation, exposure to temperature extremes, enclosure in
tiny spaces, bombardment with agonizing sounds, and religious and sexual
humiliation. The SERE program was designed strictly for defense against
torture regimes, but the C.I.A.’s new team used its expertise to help interrogators
inflict abuse. “They were very arrogant, and pro-torture,” a European official
knowledgeable about the program said. “They sought to render the detainees
vulnerable—to break down all of their senses. It takes a psychologist trained
in this to understand these rupturing experiences.”
The use of psychologists was also considered a way for C.I.A. officials
to skirt measures such as the Convention Against Torture. The former adviser
to the intelligence community said, “Clearly, some senior people felt they
needed a theory to justify what they were doing. You can’t just say, ‘We
want to do what Egypt’s doing.’ When the lawyers asked what their basis
was, they could say, ‘We have Ph.D.s who have these theories.’ ” He said
that, inside the C.I.A., where a number of scientists work, there was strong
internal opposition to the new techniques. “Behavioral scientists said,
‘Don’t even think about this!’ They thought officers could be prosecuted.”
Nevertheless, the SERE experts’ theories were apparently put into practice
with Zubaydah’s interrogation. Zubaydah told the Red Cross that he was
not only waterboarded, as has been previously reported; he was also kept
for a prolonged period in a cage, known as a “dog box,” which was so small
that he could not stand. According to an eyewitness, one psychologist advising
on the treatment of Zubaydah, James Mitchell, argued that he needed to
be reduced to a state of “learned helplessness.” (Mitchell disputes this
Steve Kleinman, a reserve Air Force colonel and an experienced interrogator
who has known Mitchell professionally for years, said that “learned helplessness
was his whole paradigm.” Mitchell, he said, “draws a diagram showing what
he says is the whole cycle. It starts with isolation. Then they eliminate
the prisoners’ ability to forecast the future—when their next meal is,
when they can go to the bathroom. It creates dread and dependency. It was
the K.G.B. model. But the K.G.B. used it to get people who had turned against
the state to confess falsely. The K.G.B. wasn’t after intelligence.”
As the C.I.A. captured and interrogated other Al Qaeda figures, it established
a protocol of psychological coercion. The program tied together many strands
of the agency’s secret history of Cold War-era experiments in behavioral
science. (In June, the C.I.A. declassified long-held secret documents known
as the Family Jewels, which shed light on C.I.A. drug experiments on rats
and monkeys, and on the infamous case of Frank R. Olson, an agency employee
who leaped to his death from a hotel window in 1953, nine days after he
was unwittingly drugged with LSD.) The C.I.A.’s most useful research focussed
on the surprisingly powerful effects of psychological manipulations, such
as extreme sensory deprivation. According to Alfred McCoy, a history professor
at the University of Wisconsin, in Madison, who has written a history of
the C.I.A.’s experiments in coercing subjects, the agency learned that
“if subjects are confined without light, odors, sound, or any fixed references
of time and place, very deep breakdowns can be provoked.”
Agency scientists found that in just a few hours some subjects suspended
in water tanks—or confined in isolated rooms wearing blacked-out goggles
and earmuffs—regressed to semi-psychotic states. Moreover, McCoy said,
detainees become so desperate for human interaction that “they bond with
the interrogator like a father, or like a drowning man having a lifesaver
thrown at him. If you deprive people of all their senses, they’ll turn
to you like their daddy.” McCoy added that “after the Cold War we put away
those tools. There was bipartisan reform. We backed away from those dark
days. Then, under the pressure of the war on terror, they didn’t just bring
back the old psychological techniques—they perfected them.”
The C.I.A.’s interrogation program is remarkable for its mechanistic
aura. “It’s one of the most sophisticated, refined programs of torture
ever,” an outside expert familiar with the protocol said. “At every stage,
there was a rigid attention to detail. Procedure was adhered to almost
to the letter. There was top-down quality control, and such a set routine
that you get to the point where you know what each detainee is going to
say, because you’ve heard it before. It was almost automated. People were
utterly dehumanized. People fell apart. It was the intentional and systematic
infliction of great suffering masquerading as a legal process. It is just
The U.S. government first began tracking Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in 1993,
shortly after his nephew Ramzi Yousef blew a gaping hole in the World Trade
Center. Mohammed, officials learned, had transferred money to Yousef. Mohammed,
born in either 1964 or 1965, was raised in a religious Sunni Muslim family
in Kuwait, where his family had migrated from the Baluchistan region of
Pakistan. In the mid-eighties, he was trained as a mechanical engineer
in the U.S., attending two colleges in North Carolina.
As a teen-ager, Mohammed had been drawn to militant, and increasingly
violent, Muslim causes. He joined the Muslim Brotherhood at the age of
sixteen, and, after his graduation from North Carolina Agricultural and
Technical State University, in Greensboro—where he was remembered as a
class clown, but religious enough to forgo meat when eating at Burger King—he
signed on with the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan, receiving military
training and establishing ties with Islamist terrorists. By all accounts,
his animus toward the U.S. was rooted in a hatred of Israel.
In 1994, Mohammed, who was impressed by Yousef’s notoriety after the
first World Trade Center bombing, joined him in scheming to blow up twelve
U.S. jumbo jets over two days. The so-called Bojinka plot was disrupted
in 1995, when Philippine police broke into an apartment that Yousef and
other terrorists were sharing in Manila, which was filled with bomb-making
materials. At the time of the raid, Mohammed was working in Doha, Qatar,
at a government job. The following year, he narrowly escaped capture by
F.B.I. officers and slipped into the global jihadist network, where he
eventually joined forces with Osama bin Laden, in Afghanistan. Along the
way, he married and had children.
Many journalistic accounts have presented Mohammed as a charismatic,
swashbuckling figure: in the Philippines, he was said to have flown a helicopter
close enough to a girlfriend’s office window so that she could see him;
in Pakistan, he supposedly posed as an anonymous bystander and gave interviews
to news reporters about his nephew’s arrest. Neither story is true. But
Mohammed did seem to enjoy taunting authorities after the September 11th
attacks, which, in his eventual confession, he claimed to have orchestrated
“from A to Z.” In April, 2002, Mohammed arranged to be interviewed on Al
Jazeera by its London bureau chief, Yosri Fouda, and took personal credit
for the atrocities. “I am the head of the Al Qaeda military committee,”
he said. “And yes, we did it.” Fouda, who conducted the interview at an
Al Qaeda safe house in Karachi, said that he was astounded not only by
Mohammed’s boasting but also by his seeming imperviousness to the danger
of being caught. Mohammed permitted Al Jazeera to reveal that he was hiding
out in the Karachi area. When Fouda left the apartment, Mohammed, apparently
unarmed, walked him downstairs and out into the street.
In the early months of 2003, U.S. authorities reportedly paid a twenty-five-million-dollar
reward for information that led to Mohammed’s arrest. U.S. officials closed
in on him, at 4 A.M. on March 1st, waking him up in a borrowed apartment
in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. The officials hung back as Pakistani authorities
handcuffed and hooded him, and took him to a safe house. Reportedly, for
the first two days, Mohammed robotically recited Koranic verses and refused
to divulge much more than his name. A videotape obtained by “60 Minutes”
shows Mohammed at the end of this episode, complaining of a head cold;
an American voice can be heard in the background. This was the last image
of Mohammed to be seen by the public. By March 4th, he was in C.I.A. custody.
Captured along with Mohammed, according to some accounts, was a letter
from bin Laden, which may have led officials to think that he knew where
the Al Qaeda founder was hiding. If Mohammed did have this crucial information,
it was time sensitive—bin Laden never stayed in one place for long—and
officials needed to extract it quickly. At the time, many American intelligence
officials still feared a “second wave” of Al Qaeda attacks, ratcheting
the pressure further.
According to George Tenet’s recent memoir, “At the Center of the Storm,”
Mohammed told his captors that he wouldn’t talk until he was given a lawyer
in New York, where he assumed he would be taken. (He had been indicted
there in connection with the Bojinka plot.) Tenet writes, “Had that happened,
I am confident that we would have obtained none of the information he had
in his head about imminent threats against the American people.” Opponents
of the C.I.A.’s approach, however, note that Ramzi Yousef gave a voluminous
confession after being read his Miranda rights. “These guys are egomaniacs,”
a former federal prosecutor said. “They love to talk!”
A complete picture of Mohammed’s time in secret detention remains elusive.
But a partial narrative has emerged through interviews with European and
American sources in intelligence, government, and legal circles, as well
as with former detainees who have been released from C.I.A. custody. People
familiar with Mohammed’s allegations about his interrogation, and interrogations
of other high-value detainees, describe the accounts as remarkably consistent.
Soon after Mohammed’s arrest, sources say, his American captors told
him, “We’re not going to kill you. But we’re going to take you to the very
brink of your death and back.” He was first taken to a secret U.S.-run
prison in Afghanistan. According to a Human Rights Watch report released
two years ago, there was a C.I.A.-affiliated black site in Afghanistan
by 2002: an underground prison near Kabul International Airport. Distinctive
for its absolute lack of light, it was referred to by detainees as the
Dark Prison. Another detention facility was reportedly a former brick factory,
just north of Kabul, known as the Salt Pit. The latter became infamous
for the 2002 death of a detainee, reportedly from hypothermia, after prison
officials stripped him naked and chained him to the floor of his concrete
cell, in freezing temperatures.
In all likelihood, Mohammed was transported from Pakistan to one of
the Afghan sites by a team of black-masked commandos attached to the C.I.A.’s
paramilitary Special Activities Division. According to a report adopted
in June by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, titled
“Secret Detentions and Illegal Transfers of Detainees,” detainees were
“taken to their cells by strong people who wore black outfits, masks that
covered their whole faces, and dark visors over their eyes.” (Some personnel
reportedly wore black clothes made from specially woven synthetic fabric
that couldn’t be ripped or torn.) A former member of a C.I.A. transport
team has described the “takeout” of prisoners as a carefully choreographed
twenty-minute routine, during which a suspect was hog-tied, stripped naked,
photographed, hooded, sedated with anal suppositories, placed in diapers,
and transported by plane to a secret location.
A person involved in the Council of Europe inquiry, referring to cavity
searches and the frequent use of suppositories during the takeout of detainees,
likened the treatment to “sodomy.” He said, “It was used to absolutely
strip the detainee of any dignity. It breaks down someone’s sense of impenetrability.
The interrogation became a process not just of getting information but
of utterly subordinating the detainee through humiliation.” The former
C.I.A. officer confirmed that the agency frequently photographed the prisoners
naked, “because it’s demoralizing.” The person involved in the Council
of Europe inquiry said that photos were also part of the C.I.A.’s quality-control
process. They were passed back to case officers for review.
A secret government document, dated December 10, 2002, detailing “SERE
Interrogation Standard Operating Procedure,” outlines the advantages of
stripping detainees. “In addition to degradation of the detainee, stripping
can be used to demonstrate the omnipotence of the captor or to debilitate
the detainee.” The document advises interrogators to “tear clothing from
detainees by firmly pulling downward against buttoned buttons and seams.
Tearing motions shall be downward to prevent pulling the detainee off balance.”
The memo also advocates the “Shoulder Slap,” “Stomach Slap,” “Hooding,”
“Manhandling,” “Walling,” and a variety of “Stress Positions,” including
one called “Worship the Gods.”
In the process of being transported, C.I.A. detainees such as Mohammed
were screened by medical experts, who checked their vital signs, took blood
samples, and marked a chart with a diagram of a human body, noting scars,
wounds, and other imperfections. As the person involved in the Council
of Europe inquiry put it, “It’s like when you hire a motor vehicle, circling
where the scratches are on the rearview mirror. Each detainee was continually
assessed, physically and psychologically.”
According to sources, Mohammed said that, while in C.I.A. custody, he
was placed in his own cell, where he remained naked for several days. He
was questioned by an unusual number of female handlers, perhaps as an additional
humiliation. He has alleged that he was attached to a dog leash, and yanked
in such a way that he was propelled into the walls of his cell. Sources
say that he also claimed to have been suspended from the ceiling by his
arms, his toes barely touching the ground. The pressure on his wrists evidently
became exceedingly painful.
Ramzi Kassem, who teaches at Yale Law School, said that a Yemeni client
of his, Sanad al-Kazimi, who is now in Guantánamo, alleged that
he had received similar treatment in the Dark Prison, the facility near
Kabul. Kazimi claimed to have been suspended by his arms for long periods,
causing his legs to swell painfully. “It’s so traumatic, he can barely
speak of it,” Kassem said. “He breaks down in tears.” Kazimi also claimed
that, while hanging, he was beaten with electric cables.
According to sources familiar with interrogation techniques, the hanging
position is designed, in part, to prevent detainees from being able to
sleep. The former C.I.A. officer, who is knowledgeable about the interrogation
program, explained that “sleep deprivation works. Your electrolyte balance
changes. You lose all balance and ability to think rationally. Stuff comes
out.” Sleep deprivation has been recognized as an effective form of coercion
since the Middle Ages, when it was called tormentum insomniae. It was also
recognized for decades in the United States as an illegal form of torture.
An American Bar Association report, published in 1930, which was cited
in a later U.S. Supreme Court decision, said, “It has been known since
1500 at least that deprivation of sleep is the most effective torture and
certain to produce any confession desired.”
Under President Bush’s new executive order, C.I.A. detainees must receive
the “basic necessities of life, including adequate food and water, shelter
from the elements, necessary clothing, protection from extremes of heat
and cold, and essential medical care.” Sleep, according to the order, is
not among the basic necessities.
In addition to keeping a prisoner awake, the simple act of remaining
upright can over time cause significant pain. McCoy, the historian, noted
that “longtime standing” was a common K.G.B. interrogation technique. In
his 2006 book, “A Question of Torture,” he writes that the Soviets found
that making a victim stand for eighteen to twenty-four hours can produce
“excruciating pain, as ankles double in size, skin becomes tense and intensely
painful, blisters erupt oozing watery serum, heart rates soar, kidneys
shut down, and delusions deepen.”
Mohammed is said to have described being chained naked to a metal ring
in his cell wall for prolonged periods in a painful crouch. (Several other
detainees who say that they were confined in the Dark Prison have described
identical treatment.) He also claimed that he was kept alternately in suffocating
heat and in a painfully cold room, where he was doused with ice water.
The practice, which can cause hypothermia, violates the Geneva Conventions,
and President Bush’s new executive order arguably bans it.
Some detainees held by the C.I.A. claimed that their cells were bombarded
with deafening sound twenty-fours hours a day for weeks, and even months.
One detainee, Binyam Mohamed, who is now in Guantánamo, told his
lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, that speakers blared music into his cell
while he was handcuffed. Detainees recalled the sound as ranging from ghoulish
laughter, “like the soundtrack from a horror film,” to ear-splitting rap
anthems. Stafford Smith said that his client found the psychological torture
more intolerable than the physical abuse that he said he had been previously
subjected to in Morocco, where, he said, local intelligence agents had
sliced him with a razor blade. “The C.I.A. worked people day and night
for months,” Stafford Smith quoted Binyam Mohamed as saying. “Plenty lost
their minds. I could hear people knocking their heads against the walls
and doors, screaming their heads off.”
Professor Kassem said his Yemeni client, Kazimi, had told him that,
during his incarceration in the Dark Prison, he attempted suicide three
times, by ramming his head into the walls. “He did it until he lost consciousness,”
Kassem said. “Then they stitched him back up. So he did it again. The next
time, he woke up, he was chained, and they’d given him tranquillizers.
He asked to go to the bathroom, and then he did it again.” This last time,
Kazimi was given more tranquillizers, and chained in a more confining manner.
The case of Khaled el-Masri, another detainee, has received wide attention.
He is the German car salesman whom the C.I.A. captured in 2003 and dispatched
to Afghanistan, based on erroneous intelligence; he was released in 2004,
and Condoleezza Rice reportedly conceded the mistake to the German chancellor.
Masri is considered one of the more credible sources on the black-site
program, because Germany has confirmed that he has no connections to terrorism.
He has also described inmates bashing their heads against the walls. Much
of his account appeared on the front page of the Times. But, during a visit
to America last fall, he became tearful as he recalled the plight of a
Tanzanian in a neighboring cell. The man seemed “psychologically at the
end,” he said. “I could hear him ramming his head against the wall in despair.
I tried to calm him down. I asked the doctor, ‘Will you take care of this
human being?’ ” But the doctor, whom Masri described as American, refused
to help. Masri also said that he was told that guards had “locked the Tanzanian
in a suitcase for long periods of time—a foul-smelling suitcase that made
him vomit.” (Masri did not witness such abuse.)
Masri described his prison in Afghanistan as a filthy hole, with walls
scribbled on in Pashtun and Arabic. He was given no bed, only a coarse
blanket on the floor. At night, it was too cold to sleep. He said, “The
water was putrid. If you took a sip, you could taste it for hours. You
could smell a foul smell from it three metres away.” The Salt Pit, he said,
“was managed and run by the Americans. It was not a secret. They introduced
themselves as Americans.” He added, “When anything came up, they said they
couldn’t make a decision. They said, ‘We will have to pass it on to Washington.’
” The interrogation room at the Salt Pit, he said, was overseen by a half-dozen
English-speaking masked men, who shoved him and shouted at him, saying,
“You’re in a country where there’s no rule of law. You might be buried
According to two former C.I.A. officers, an interrogator of Mohammed
told them that the Pakistani was kept in a cell over which a sign was placed:
“The Proud Murderer of 3,000 Americans.” (Another source calls this apocryphal.)
One of these former officers defends the C.I.A.’s program by noting that
“there was absolutely nothing done to K.S.M. that wasn’t done to the interrogators
themselves”—a reference to SERE-like training. Yet the Red Cross report
emphasizes that it was the simultaneous use of several techniques for extended
periods that made the treatment “especially abusive.” Senator Carl Levin,
the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who has been a prominent
critic of the Administration’s embrace of harsh interrogation techniques,
said that, particularly with sensory deprivation, “there’s a point where
it’s torture. You can put someone in a refrigerator and it’s torture. Everything
is a matter of degree.”
One day, Mohammed was apparently transferred to a specially designated
prison for high-value detainees in Poland. Such transfers were so secretive,
according to the report by the Council of Europe, that the C.I.A. filed
dummy flight plans, indicating that the planes were heading elsewhere.
Once Polish air space was entered, the Polish aviation authority would
secretly shepherd the flight, leaving no public documentation. The Council
of Europe report notes that the Polish authorities would file a one-way
flight plan out of the country, creating a false paper trail. (The Polish
government has strongly denied that any black sites were established in
No more than a dozen high-value detainees were held at the Polish black
site, and none have been released from government custody; accordingly,
no first-hand accounts of conditions there have emerged. But, according
to well-informed sources, it was a far more high-tech facility than the
prisons in Afghanistan. The cells had hydraulic doors and air-conditioning.
Multiple cameras in each cell provided video surveillance of the detainees.
In some ways, the circumstances were better: the detainees were given bottled
water. Without confirming the existence of any black sites, Robert Grenier,
the former C.I.A. counterterrorism chief, said, “The agency’s techniques
became less aggressive as they learned the art of interrogation,” which,
he added, “is an art.”
Mohammed was kept in a prolonged state of sensory deprivation, during
which every point of reference was erased. The Council on Europe’s report
describes a four-month isolation regime as typical. The prisoners had no
exposure to natural light, making it impossible for them to tell if it
was night or day. They interacted only with masked, silent guards. (A detainee
held at what was most likely an Eastern European black site, Mohammed al-Asad,
told me that white noise was piped in constantly, although during electrical
outages he could hear people crying.) According to a source familiar with
the Red Cross report, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed claimed that he was shackled
and kept naked, except for a pair of goggles and earmuffs. (Some prisoners
were kept naked for as long as forty days.) He had no idea where he was,
although, at one point, he apparently glimpsed Polish writing on a water
In the C.I.A.’s program, meals were delivered sporadically, to insure
that the prisoners remained temporally disoriented. The food was largely
tasteless, and barely enough to live on. Mohammed, who upon his capture
in Rawalpindi was photographed looking flabby and unkempt, was now described
as being slim. Experts on the C.I.A. program say that the administering
of food is part of its psychological arsenal. Sometimes portions were smaller
than the day before, for no apparent reason. “It was all part of the conditioning,”
the person involved in the Council of Europe inquiry said. “It’s all calibrated
to develop dependency.”
The inquiry source said that most of the Poland detainees were waterboarded,
including Mohammed. According to the sources familiar with the Red Cross
report, Mohammed claimed to have been waterboarded five times. Two former
C.I.A. officers who are friends with one of Mohammed’s interrogators called
this bravado, insisting that he was waterboarded only once. According to
one of the officers, Mohammed needed only to be shown the drowning equipment
again before he “broke.”
“Waterboarding works,” the former officer said. “Drowning is a baseline
fear. So is falling. People dream about it. It’s human nature. Suffocation
is a very scary thing. When you’re waterboarded, you’re inverted, so it
exacerbates the fear. It’s not painful, but it scares the shit out of you.”
(The former officer was waterboarded himself in a training course.) Mohammed,
he claimed, “didn’t resist. He sang right away. He cracked real quick.”
He said, “A lot of them want to talk. Their egos are unimaginable. K.S.M.
was just a little doughboy. He couldn’t stand toe to toe and fight it out.”
The former officer said that the C.I.A. kept a doctor standing by during
interrogations. He insisted that the method was safe and effective, but
said that it could cause lasting psychic damage to the interrogators. During
interrogations, the former agency official said, officers worked in teams,
watching each other behind two-way mirrors. Even with this group support,
the friend said, Mohammed’s interrogator “has horrible nightmares.” He
went on, “When you cross over that line of darkness, it’s hard to come
back. You lose your soul. You can do your best to justify it, but it’s
well outside the norm. You can’t go to that dark a place without it changing
you.” He said of his friend, “He’s a good guy. It really haunts him. You
are inflicting something really evil and horrible on somebody.”
Among the few C.I.A. officials who knew the details of the detention
and interrogation program, there was a tense debate about where to draw
the line in terms of treatment. John Brennan, Tenet’s former chief of staff,
said, “It all comes down to individual moral barometers.” Waterboarding,
in particular, troubled many officials, from both a moral and a legal perspective.
Until 2002, when Bush Administration lawyers asserted that waterboarding
was a permissible interrogation technique for “enemy combatants,” it was
classified as a form of torture, and treated as a serious criminal offense.
American soldiers were court-martialled for waterboarding captives as recently
as the Vietnam War.
A C.I.A. source said that Mohammed was subjected to waterboarding only
after interrogators determined that he was hiding information from them.
But Mohammed has apparently said that, even after he started coöperating,
he was waterboarded. Footnotes to the 9/11 Commission report indicate that
by April 17, 2003—a month and a half after he was captured—Mohammed had
already started providing substantial information on Al Qaeda. Nonetheless,
according to the person involved in the Council of Europe inquiry, he was
kept in isolation for years. During this time, Mohammed supplied intelligence
on the history of the September 11th plot, and on the structure and operations
of Al Qaeda. He also described plots still in a preliminary phase of development,
such as a plan to bomb targets on America’s West Coast.
Ultimately, however, Mohammed claimed responsibility for so many crimes
that his testimony became to seem inherently dubious. In addition to confessing
to the Pearl murder, he said that he had hatched plans to assassinate President
Clinton, President Carter, and Pope John Paul II. Bruce Riedel, who was
a C.I.A. analyst for twenty-nine years, and who now works at the Brookings
Institution, said, “It’s difficult to give credence to any particular area
of this large a charge sheet that he confessed to, considering the situation
he found himself in. K.S.M. has no prospect of ever seeing freedom again,
so his only gratification in life is to portray himself as the James Bond
By 2004, there were growing calls within the C.I.A. to transfer to military
custody the high-value detainees who had told interrogators what they knew,
and to afford them some kind of due process. But Donald Rumsfeld, then
the Defense Secretary, who had been heavily criticized for the abusive
conditions at military prisons such as Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo,
refused to take on the agency’s detainees, a former top C.I.A. official
said. “Rumsfeld’s attitude was, You’ve got a real problem.” Rumsfeld, the
official said, “was the third most powerful person in the U.S. government,
but he only looked out for the interests of his department—not the whole
Administration.” (A spokesperson for Rumsfeld said that he had no comment.)
C.I.A. officials were stymied until the Supreme Court’s Hamdan ruling,
which prompted the Administration to send what it said were its last high-value
detainees to Cuba. Robert Grenier, like many people in the C.I.A., was
relieved. “There has to be some sense of due process,” he said. “We can’t
just make people disappear.” Still, he added, “The most important source
of intelligence we had after 9/11 came from the interrogations of high-value
detainees.” And he said that Mohammed was “the most valuable of the high-value
detainees, because he had operational knowledge.” He went on, “I can respect
people who oppose aggressive interrogations, but they should admit that
their principles may be putting American lives at risk.”
Yet Philip Zelikow, the executive director of the 9/11 Commission and
later the State Department’s top counsellor, under Rice, is not convinced
that eliciting information from detainees justifies “physical torment.”
After leaving the government last year, he gave a speech in Houston, in
which he said, “The question would not be, Did you get information that
proved useful? Instead it would be, Did you get information that could
have been usefully gained only from these methods?” He concluded, “My own
view is that the cool, carefully considered, methodical, prolonged, and
repeated subjection of captives to physical torment, and the accompanying
psychological terror, is immoral.”
Without more transparency, the value of the C.I.A.’s interrogation and
detention program is impossible to evaluate. Setting aside the moral, ethical,
and legal issues, even supporters, such as John Brennan, acknowledge that
much of the information that coercion produces is unreliable. As he put
it, “All these methods produced useful information, but there was also
a lot that was bogus.” When pressed, one former top agency official estimated
that “ninety per cent of the information was unreliable.” Cables carrying
Mohammed’s interrogation transcripts back to Washington reportedly were
prefaced with the warning that “the detainee has been known to withhold
information or deliberately mislead.” Mohammed, like virtually all the
top Al Qaeda prisoners held by the C.I.A., has claimed that, while under
coercion, he lied to please his captors.
In theory, a military commission could sort out which parts of Mohammed’s
confession are true and which are lies, and obtain a conviction. Colonel
Morris D. Davis, the chief prosecutor at the Office of Military Commissions,
said that he expects to bring charges against Mohammed “in a number of
months.” He added, “I’d be shocked if the defense didn’t try to make K.S.M.’s
treatment a problem for me, but I don’t think it will be insurmountable.”
Critics of the Administration fear that the unorthodox nature of the
C.I.A.’s interrogation and detention program will make it impossible to
prosecute the entire top echelon of Al Qaeda leaders in captivity. Already,
according to the Wall Street Journal, credible allegations of torture have
caused a Marine Corps prosecutor reluctantly to decline to bring charges
against Mohamedou Ould Slahi, an alleged Al Qaeda leader held in Guantánamo.
Bruce Riedel, the former C.I.A. analyst, asked, “What are you going to
do with K.S.M. in the long run? It’s a very good question. I don’t think
anyone has an answer. If you took him to any real American court, I think
any judge would say there is no admissible evidence. It would be thrown
The problems with Mohammed’s coerced confessions are especially glaring
in the Daniel Pearl case. It may be that Mohammed killed Pearl, but contradictory
evidence and opinion continue to surface. Yosri Fouda, the Al Jazeera reporter
who interviewed Mohammed in Karachi, said that although Mohammed handed
him a package of propaganda items, including an unedited video of the Pearl
murder, he never identified himself as playing a role in the killing, which
occurred in the same city just two months earlier. And a federal official
involved in Mohammed’s case said, “He has no history of killing with his
own hands, although he’s proved happy to commit mass murder from afar.”
Al Qaeda’s leadership had increasingly focussed on symbolic political targets.
“For him, it’s not personal,” the official said. “It’s business.”
Ordinarily, the U.S. legal system is known for resolving such mysteries
with painstaking care. But the C.I.A.’s secret interrogation program, Senator
Levin said, has undermined the public’s trust in American justice, both
here and abroad. “A guy as dangerous as K.S.M. is, and half the world wonders
if they can believe him—is that what we want?” he asked. “Statements that
can’t be believed, because people think they rely on torture?”
Asra Nomani, the Pearls’ friend, said of the Mohammed confession, “I’m
not interested in unfair justice, even for bad people.” She went on, “Danny
was such a person of conscience. I don’t think he would have wanted all
of this dirty business. I don’t think he would have wanted someone being
tortured. He would have been repulsed. This is the kind of story that Danny
would have investigated. He really believed in American principles.”
October 4, 2007
Secret U.S. Endorsement of Severe Interrogations
By SCOTT SHANE, DAVID JOHNSTON and JAMES RISEN
WASHINGTON, Oct. 3 — When the Justice Department publicly declared torture
“abhorrent” in a legal opinion in December 2004, the Bush administration
appeared to have abandoned its assertion of nearly unlimited presidential
authority to order brutal interrogations.
But soon after Alberto R. Gonzales’s arrival as attorney general in
February 2005, the Justice Department issued another opinion, this one
in secret. It was a very different document, according to officials briefed
on it, an expansive endorsement of the harshest interrogation techniques
ever used by the Central Intelligence Agency.
The new opinion, the officials said, for the first time provided explicit
authorization to barrage terror suspects with a combination of painful
physical and psychological tactics, including head-slapping, simulated
drowning and frigid temperatures.
Mr. Gonzales approved the legal memorandum on “combined effects” over
the objections of James B. Comey, the deputy attorney general, who was
leaving his job after bruising clashes with the White House. Disagreeing
with what he viewed as the opinion’s overreaching legal reasoning, Mr.
Comey told colleagues at the department that they would all be “ashamed”
when the world eventually learned of it.
Later that year, as Congress moved toward outlawing “cruel, inhuman
and degrading” treatment, the Justice Department issued another secret
opinion, one most lawmakers did not know existed, current and former officials
said. The Justice Department document declared that none of the C.I.A.
interrogation methods violated that standard.
The classified opinions, never previously disclosed, are a hidden legacy
of President Bush’s second term and Mr. Gonzales’s tenure at the Justice
Department, where he moved quickly to align it with the White House after
a 2004 rebellion by staff lawyers that had thrown policies on surveillance
and detention into turmoil.
Congress and the Supreme Court have intervened repeatedly in the last
two years to impose limits on interrogations, and the administration has
responded as a policy matter by dropping the most extreme techniques. But
the 2005 Justice Department opinions remain in effect, and their legal
conclusions have been confirmed by several more recent memorandums, officials
said. They show how the White House has succeeded in preserving the broadest
possible legal latitude for harsh tactics.
A White House spokesman, Tony Fratto, said Wednesday that he would not
comment on any legal opinion related to interrogations. Mr. Fratto added,
“We have gone to great lengths, including statutory efforts and the recent
executive order, to make it clear that the intelligence community and our
practices fall within U.S. law” and international agreements.
More than two dozen current and former officials involved in counterterrorism
were interviewed over the past three months about the opinions and the
deliberations on interrogation policy. Most officials would speak only
on the condition of anonymity because of the secrecy of the documents and
the C.I.A. detention operations they govern.
When he stepped down as attorney general in September after widespread
criticism of the firing of federal prosecutors and withering attacks on
his credibility, Mr. Gonzales talked proudly in a farewell speech of how
his department was “a place of inspiration” that had balanced the necessary
flexibility to conduct the war on terrorism with the need to uphold the
Associates at the Justice Department said Mr. Gonzales seldom resisted
pressure from Vice President Dick Cheney and David S. Addington, Mr. Cheney’s
counsel, to endorse policies that they saw as effective in safeguarding
Americans, even though the practices brought the condemnation of other
governments, human rights groups and Democrats in Congress. Critics say
Mr. Gonzales turned his agency into an arm of the Bush White House, undermining
the department’s independence.
The interrogation opinions were signed by Steven G. Bradbury, who since
2005 has headed the elite Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department.
He has become a frequent public defender of the National Security Agency’s
domestic surveillance program and detention policies at Congressional hearings
and press briefings, a role that some legal scholars say is at odds with
the office’s tradition of avoiding political advocacy.
Mr. Bradbury defended the work of his office as the government’s most
authoritative interpreter of the law. “In my experience, the White House
has not told me how an opinion should come out,” he said in an interview.
“The White House has accepted and respected our opinions, even when they
didn’t like the advice being given.”
The debate over how terrorist suspects should be held and questioned
began shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, when the Bush administration
adopted secret detention and coercive interrogation, both practices the
United States had previously denounced when used by other countries. It
adopted the new measures without public debate or Congressional vote, choosing
to rely instead on the confidential legal advice of a handful of appointees.
The policies set off bruising internal battles, pitting administration
moderates against hard-liners, military lawyers against Pentagon chiefs
and, most surprising, a handful of conservative lawyers at the Justice
Department against the White House in the stunning mutiny of 2004. But
under Mr. Gonzales and Mr. Bradbury, the Justice Department was wrenched
back into line with the White House.
After the Supreme Court ruled in 2006 that the Geneva Conventions applied
to prisoners who belonged to Al Qaeda, President Bush for the first time
acknowledged the C.I.A.’s secret jails and ordered their inmates moved
to Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The C.I.A. halted its use of waterboarding,
or pouring water over a bound prisoner’s cloth-covered face to induce fear
But in July, after a monthlong debate inside the administration, President
Bush signed a new executive order authorizing the use of what the administration
calls “enhanced” interrogation techniques — the details remain secret —
and officials say the C.I.A. again is holding prisoners in “black sites”
overseas. The executive order was reviewed and approved by Mr. Bradbury
and the Office of Legal Counsel.
Douglas W. Kmiec, who headed that office under President Ronald Reagan
and the first President George Bush and wrote a book about it, said he
believed the intense pressures of the campaign against terrorism have warped
the office’s proper role.
“The office was designed to insulate against any need to be an advocate,”
said Mr. Kmiec, now a conservative scholar at Pepperdine University law
school. But at times in recent years, Mr. Kmiec said, the office, headed
by William H. Rehnquist and Antonin Scalia before they served on the Supreme
Court, “lost its ability to say no.”
“The approach changed dramatically with opinions on the war on terror,”
Mr. Kmiec said. “The office became an advocate for the president’s policies.”
From the secret sites in Afghanistan, Thailand and Eastern Europe where
C.I.A. teams held Qaeda terrorists, questions for the lawyers at C.I.A.
headquarters arrived daily. Nervous interrogators wanted to know: Are we
breaking the laws against torture?
The Bush administration had entered uncharted legal territory beginning
in 2002, holding prisoners outside the scrutiny of the International Red
Cross and subjecting them to harrowing pressure tactics. They included
slaps to the head; hours held naked in a frigid cell; days and nights without
sleep while battered by thundering rock music; long periods manacled in
stress positions; or the ultimate, waterboarding.
Never in history had the United States authorized such tactics. While
President Bush and C.I.A. officials would later insist that the harsh measures
produced crucial intelligence, many veteran interrogators, psychologists
and other experts say that less coercive methods are equally or more effective.
With virtually no experience in interrogations, the C.I.A. had constructed
its program in a few harried months by consulting Egyptian and Saudi intelligence
officials and copying Soviet interrogation methods long used in training
American servicemen to withstand capture. The agency officers questioning
prisoners constantly sought advice from lawyers thousands of miles away.
“We were getting asked about combinations — ‘Can we do this and this
at the same time?’” recalled Paul C. Kelbaugh, a veteran intelligence lawyer
who was deputy legal counsel at the C.I.A.’s Counterterrorist Center from
2001 to 2003.
Interrogators were worried that even approved techniques had such a
painful, multiplying effect when combined that they might cross the legal
line, Mr. Kelbaugh said. He recalled agency officers asking: “These approved
techniques, say, withholding food, and 50-degree temperature — can they
be combined?” Or “Do I have to do the less extreme before the more extreme?”
The questions came more frequently, Mr. Kelbaugh said, as word spread
about a C.I.A. inspector general inquiry unrelated to the war on terrorism.
Some veteran C.I.A. officers came under scrutiny because they were advisers
to Peruvian officers who in early 2001 shot down a missionary flight they
had mistaken for a drug-running aircraft. The Americans were not charged
with crimes, but they endured three years of investigation, saw their careers
derailed and ran up big legal bills.
That experience shook the Qaeda interrogation team, Mr. Kelbaugh said.
“You think you’re making a difference and maybe saving 3,000 American lives
from the next attack. And someone tells you, ‘Well, that guidance was a
little vague, and the inspector general wants to talk to you,’” he recalled.
“We couldn’t tell them, ‘Do the best you can,’ because the people who did
the best they could in Peru were looking at a grand jury.”
Mr. Kelbaugh said the questions were sometimes close calls that required
consultation with the Justice Department. But in August 2002, the department
provided a sweeping legal justification for even the harshest tactics.
That opinion, which would become infamous as “the torture memo” after
it was leaked, was written largely by John Yoo, a young Berkeley law professor
serving in the Office of Legal Counsel. His broad views of presidential
power were shared by Mr. Addington, the vice president’s adviser. Their
close alliance provoked John Ashcroft, then the attorney general, to refer
privately to Mr. Yoo as Dr. Yes for his seeming eagerness to give the White
House whatever legal justifications it desired, a Justice Department official
Mr. Yoo’s memorandum said no interrogation practices were illegal unless
they produced pain equivalent to organ failure or “even death.” A second
memo produced at the same time spelled out the approved practices and how
often or how long they could be used.
Despite that guidance, in March 2003, when the C.I.A. caught Khalid
Sheikh Mohammed, the chief planner of the Sept. 11 attacks, interrogators
were again haunted by uncertainty. Former intelligence officials, for the
first time, disclosed that a variety of tough interrogation tactics were
used about 100 times over two weeks on Mr. Mohammed. Agency officials then
ordered a halt, fearing the combined assault might have amounted to illegal
torture. A C.I.A. spokesman, George Little, declined to discuss the handling
of Mr. Mohammed. Mr. Little said the program “has been conducted lawfully,
with great care and close review” and “has helped our country disrupt terrorist
plots and save innocent lives.”
“The agency has always sought a clear legal framework, conducting the
program in strict accord with U.S. law, and protecting the officers who
go face-to-face with ruthless terrorists,” Mr. Little added.
Some intelligence officers say that many of Mr. Mohammed’s statements
proved exaggerated or false. One problem, a former senior agency official
said, was that the C.I.A.’s initial interrogators were not experts on Mr.
Mohammed’s background or Al Qaeda, and it took about a month to get such
an expert to the secret prison. The former official said many C.I.A. professionals
now believe patient, repeated questioning by well-informed experts is more
effective than harsh physical pressure.
Other intelligence officers, including Mr. Kelbaugh, insist that the
harsh treatment produced invaluable insights into Al Qaeda’s structure
“We leaned in pretty hard on K.S.M.,” Mr. Kelbaugh said, referring to
Mr. Mohammed. “We were getting good information, and then they were told:
‘Slow it down. It may not be correct. Wait for some legal clarification.’”
The doubts at the C.I.A. proved prophetic. In late 2003, after Mr. Yoo
left the Justice Department, the new head of the Office of Legal Counsel,
Jack Goldsmith, began reviewing his work, which he found deeply flawed.
Mr. Goldsmith infuriated White House officials, first by rejecting part
of the National Security Agency’s surveillance program, prompting the threat
of mass resignations by top Justice Department officials, including Mr.
Ashcroft and Mr. Comey, and a showdown at the attorney general’s hospital
Then, in June 2004, Mr. Goldsmith formally withdrew the August 2002
Yoo memorandum on interrogation, which he found overreaching and poorly
reasoned. Mr. Goldsmith, who left the Justice Department soon afterward,
first spoke at length about his dissenting views to The New York Times
last month, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.
Six months later, the Justice Department quietly posted on its Web site
a new legal opinion that appeared to end any flirtation with torture, starting
with its clarionlike opening: “Torture is abhorrent both to American law
and values and to international norms.”
A single footnote — added to reassure the C.I.A. — suggested that the
Justice Department was not declaring the agency’s previous actions illegal.
But the opinion was unmistakably a retreat. Some White House officials
had opposed publicizing the document, but acquiesced to Justice Department
officials who argued that doing so would help clear the way for Mr. Gonzales’s
confirmation as attorney general.
If President Bush wanted to make sure the Justice Department did not
rebel again, Mr. Gonzales was the ideal choice. As White House counsel,
he had been a fierce protector of the president’s prerogatives. Deeply
loyal to Mr. Bush for championing his career from their days in Texas,
Mr. Gonzales would sometimes tell colleagues that he had just one regret
about becoming attorney general: He did not see nearly as much of the president
as he had in his previous post.
Among his first tasks at the Justice Department was to find a trusted
chief for the Office of Legal Counsel. First he informed Daniel Levin,
the acting head who had backed Mr. Goldsmith’s dissents and signed the
new opinion renouncing torture, that he would not get the job. He encouraged
Mr. Levin to take a position at the National Security Council, in effect
Mr. Bradbury soon emerged as the presumed favorite. But White House
officials, still smarting from Mr. Goldsmith’s rebuffs, chose to delay
his nomination. Harriet E. Miers, the new White House counsel, “decided
to watch Bradbury for a month or two. He was sort of on trial,” one Justice
Department official recalled.
Mr. Bradbury’s biography had a Horatio Alger element that appealed to
a succession of bosses, including Justice Clarence Thomas of the Supreme
Court and Mr. Gonzales, the son of poor immigrants. Mr. Bradbury’s father
had died when he was an infant, and his mother took in laundry to support
her children. The first in his family to go to college, he attended Stanford
and the University of Michigan Law School. He joined the law firm of Kirkland
& Ellis, where he came under the tutelage of Kenneth W. Starr, the
Whitewater independent prosecutor.
Mr. Bradbury belonged to the same circle as his predecessors: young,
conservative lawyers with sterling credentials, often with clerkships for
prominent conservative judges and ties to the Federalist Society, a powerhouse
of the legal right. Mr. Yoo, in fact, had proposed his old friend Mr. Goldsmith
for the Office of Legal Counsel job; Mr. Goldsmith had hired Mr. Bradbury
as his top deputy.
“We all grew up together,” said Viet D. Dinh, an assistant attorney
general from 2001 to 2003 and very much a member of the club. “You start
with a small universe of Supreme Court clerks, and you narrow it down from
But what might have been subtle differences in quieter times now cleaved
them into warring camps.
Justice Department colleagues say Mr. Gonzales was soon meeting frequently
with Mr. Bradbury on national security issues, a White House priority.
Admirers describe Mr. Bradbury as low-key but highly skilled, a conciliator
who brought from 10 years of corporate practice a more pragmatic approach
to the job than Mr. Yoo and Mr. Goldsmith, both from the academic world.
“As a practicing lawyer, you know how to address real problems,” said
Noel J. Francisco, who worked at the Justice Department from 2003 to 2005.
“At O.L.C., you’re not writing law review articles and you’re not theorizing.
You’re giving a client practical advice on a real problem.”
As he had at the White House, Mr. Gonzales usually said little in meetings
with other officials, often deferring to the hard-driving Mr. Addington.
Mr. Bradbury also often appeared in accord with the vice president’s lawyer.
Mr. Bradbury appeared to be “fundamentally sympathetic to what the White
House and the C.I.A. wanted to do,” recalled Philip Zelikow, a former top
State Department official. At interagency meetings on detention and interrogation,
Mr. Addington was at times “vituperative,” said Mr. Zelikow, but Mr. Bradbury,
while taking similar positions, was “professional and collegial.”
While waiting to learn whether he would be nominated to head the Office
of Legal Counsel, Mr. Bradbury was in an awkward position, knowing that
a decision contrary to White House wishes could kill his chances.
Charles J. Cooper, who headed the Office of Legal Counsel under President
Reagan, said he was “very troubled” at the notion of a probationary period.
“If the purpose of the delay was a tryout, I think they should have
avoided it,” Mr. Cooper said. “You’re implying that the acting official
is molding his or her legal analysis to win the job.”
Mr. Bradbury said he made no such concessions. “No one ever suggested
to me that my nomination depended on how I ruled on any opinion,” he said.
“Every opinion I’ve signed at the Office of Legal Counsel represents my
best judgment of what the law requires.”
Scott Horton, an attorney affiliated with Human Rights First who has
closely followed the interrogation debate, said any official offering legal
advice on the campaign against terror was on treacherous ground.
“For government lawyers, the national security issues they were deciding
were like working with nuclear waste — extremely hazardous to their health,”
Mr. Horton said.
“If you give the administration what it wants, you’ll lose credibility
in the academic community,” he said. “But if you hold back, you’ll be vilified
by conservatives and the administration.”
In any case, the White House grew comfortable with Mr. Bradbury’s approach.
He helped block the appointment of a liberal Ivy League law professor to
a career post in the Office of Legal Counsel. And he signed the opinion
approving combined interrogation techniques.
Mr. Comey strongly objected and told associates that he advised Mr.
Gonzales not to endorse the opinion. But the attorney general made clear
that the White House was adamant about it, and that he would do nothing
Under Mr. Ashcroft, Mr. Comey’s opposition might have killed the opinion.
An imposing former prosecutor and self-described conservative who stands
6-foot-8, he was the rare administration official who was willing to confront
Mr. Addington. At one testy 2004 White House meeting, when Mr. Comey stated
that “no lawyer” would endorse Mr. Yoo’s justification for the N.S.A. program,
Mr. Addington demurred, saying he was a lawyer and found it convincing.
Mr. Comey shot back: “No good lawyer,” according to someone present.
But under Mr. Gonzales, and after the departure of Mr. Goldsmith and
other allies, the deputy attorney general found himself isolated. His troublemaking
on N.S.A. and on interrogation, and in appointing his friend Patrick J.
Fitzgerald as special prosecutor in the C.I.A. leak case, which would lead
to the perjury conviction of I. Lewis Libby, Mr. Cheney’s chief of staff,
had irreparably offended the White House.
“On national security matters generally, there was a sense that Comey
was a wimp and that Comey was disloyal,” said one Justice Department official
who heard the White House talk, expressed with particular force by Mr.
Mr. Comey provided some hints of his thinking about interrogation and
related issues in a speech that spring. Speaking at the N.S.A.’s Fort Meade
campus on Law Day — a noteworthy setting for the man who had helped lead
the dissent a year earlier that forced some changes in the N.S.A. program
— Mr. Comey spoke of the “agonizing collisions” of the law and the desire
to protect Americans.
“We are likely to hear the words: ‘If we don’t do this, people will
die,’” Mr. Comey said. But he argued that government lawyers must uphold
the principles of their great institutions.
“It takes far more than a sharp legal mind to say ‘no’ when it matters
most,” he said. “It takes moral character. It takes an understanding that
in the long run, intelligence under law is the only sustainable intelligence
in this country.”
Mr. Gonzales’s aides were happy to see Mr. Comey depart in the summer
of 2005. That June, President Bush nominated Mr. Bradbury to head the Office
of Legal Counsel, which some colleagues viewed as a sign that he had passed
a loyalty test.
Soon Mr. Bradbury applied his practical approach to a new challenge
to the C.I.A.’s methods.
The administration had always asserted that the C.I.A.’s pressure tactics
did not amount to torture, which is banned by federal law and international
treaty. But officials had privately decided the agency did not have to
comply with another provision in the Convention Against Torture — the prohibition
on “cruel, inhuman, or degrading” treatment.
Now that loophole was about to be closed. First Senator Richard J. Durbin,
Democrat of Illinois, and then Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican
who had been tortured as a prisoner in North Vietnam, proposed legislation
to ban such treatment.
At the administration’s request, Mr. Bradbury assessed whether the proposed
legislation would outlaw any C.I.A. methods, a legal question that had
never before been answered by the Justice Department.
At least a few administration officials argued that no reasonable interpretation
of “cruel, inhuman or degrading” would permit the most extreme C.I.A. methods,
like waterboarding. Mr. Bradbury was placed in a tough spot, said Mr. Zelikow,
the State Department counselor, who was working at the time to rein in
“If Justice says some practices are in violation of the C.I.D. standard,”
Mr. Zelikow said, referring to cruel, inhuman or degrading, “then they
are now saying that officials broke current law.”
In the end, Mr. Bradbury’s opinion delivered what the White House wanted:
a statement that the standard imposed by Mr. McCain’s Detainee Treatment
Act would not force any change in the C.I.A.’s practices, according to
officials familiar with the memo.
Relying on a Supreme Court finding that only conduct that “shocks the
conscience” was unconstitutional, the opinion found that in some circumstances
not even waterboarding was necessarily cruel, inhuman or degrading, if,
for example, a suspect was believed to possess crucial intelligence about
a planned terrorist attack, the officials familiar with the legal finding
In a frequent practice, Mr. Bush attached a statement to the new law
when he signed it, declaring his authority to set aside the restrictions
if they interfered with his constitutional powers. At the same time, though,
the administration responded to pressure from Mr. McCain and other lawmakers
by reviewing interrogation policy and giving up several C.I.A. techniques.
Since late 2005, Mr. Bradbury has become a linchpin of the administration’s
defense of counterterrorism programs, helping to negotiate the Military
Commissions Act last year and frequently testifying about the N.S.A. surveillance
program. Once he answered questions about administration detention policies
for an “Ask the White House” feature on a Web site.
Mr. Kmiec, the former Office of Legal Counsel head now at Pepperdine,
called Mr. Bradbury’s public activities a departure for an office that
traditionally has shunned any advocacy role.
A senior administration official called Mr. Bradbury’s active role in
shaping legislation and speaking to Congress and the press “entirely appropriate”
and consistent with past practice. The official, who spoke on the condition
of anonymity, said Mr. Bradbury “has played a critical role in achieving
greater transparency” on the legal basis for detention and surveillance
Though President Bush repeatedly nominated Mr. Bradbury as the Office
of Legal Counsel’s assistant attorney general, Democratic senators have
blocked the nomination. Senator Durbin said the Justice Department would
not turn over copies of his opinions or other evidence of Mr. Bradbury’s
role in interrogation policy.
“There are fundamental questions about whether Mr. Bradbury approved
interrogation methods that are clearly unacceptable,” Mr. Durbin said.
John D. Hutson, who served as the Navy’s top lawyer from 1997 to 2000,
said he believed that the existence of legal opinions justifying abusive
treatment is pernicious, potentially blurring the rules for Americans handling
“I know from the military that if you tell someone they can do a little
of this for the country’s good, some people will do a lot of it for the
country’s better,” Mr. Hutson said. Like other military lawyers, he also
fears that official American acceptance of such treatment could endanger
Americans in the future.
“The problem is, once you’ve got a legal opinion that says such a technique
is O.K., what happens when one of our people is captured and they do it
to him? How do we protest then?” he asked.
October 7, 2007
On Torture and American Values
Once upon a time, it was the United States that urged all nations to
obey the letter and the spirit of international treaties and protect human
rights and liberties. American leaders denounced secret prisons where people
were held without charges, tortured and killed. And the people in much
of the world, if not their governments, respected the United States for
The Bush administration has dishonored that history and squandered that
respect. As an article on this newspaper’s front page last week laid out
in disturbing detail, President Bush and his aides have not only condoned
torture and abuse at secret prisons, but they have conducted a systematic
campaign to mislead Congress, the American people and the world about those
After the attacks of 9/11, Mr. Bush authorized the creation of extralegal
detention camps where Central Intelligence Agency operatives were told
to extract information from prisoners who were captured and held in secret.
Some of their methods — simulated drownings, extreme ranges of heat and
cold, prolonged stress positions and isolation — had been classified as
torture for decades by civilized nations. The administration clearly knew
this; the C.I.A. modeled its techniques on the dungeons of Egypt, Saudi
Arabia and the Soviet Union.
The White House could never acknowledge that. So its lawyers concocted
documents that redefined “torture” to neatly exclude the things American
jailers were doing and hid the papers from Congress and the American people.
Under Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Mr. Bush’s loyal enabler, the
Justice Department even declared that those acts did not violate the lower
standard of “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.”
That allowed the White House to claim that it did not condone torture,
and to stampede Congress into passing laws that shielded the interrogators
who abused prisoners, and the men who ordered them to do it, from any kind
of legal accountability.
Mr. Bush and his aides were still clinging to their rationalizations
at the end of last week. The president declared that Americans do not torture
prisoners and that Congress had been fully briefed on his detention policies.
Neither statement was true — at least in what the White House once scorned
as the “reality-based community” — and Senator John Rockefeller, chairman
of the Intelligence Committee, was right to be furious. He demanded all
of the “opinions of the Justice Department analyzing the legality” of detention
and interrogation policies. Lawmakers, who for too long have been bullied
and intimidated by the White House, should rewrite the Detainee Treatment
Act and the Military Commissions Act to conform with actual American laws
For the rest of the nation, there is an immediate question: Is this
really who we are?
Is this the country whose president declared, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down
this wall,” and then managed the collapse of Communism with minimum bloodshed
and maximum dignity in the twilight of the 20th century? Or is this a nation
that tortures human beings and then concocts legal sophistries to confuse
the world and avoid accountability before American voters?
Truly banning the use of torture would not jeopardize American lives;
experts in these matters generally agree that torture produces false confessions.
Restoring the rule of law to Guantánamo Bay would not set terrorists
free; the truly guilty could be tried for their crimes in a way that does
not mock American values.
Clinging to the administration’s policies will only cause further harm
to America’s global image and to our legal system. It also will add immeasurably
to the risk facing any man or woman captured while wearing America’s uniform
or serving in its intelligence forces.
This is an easy choice.
October 10, 2007
Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Torture Appeal
By LINDA GREENHOUSE
WASHINGTON, Oct. 9 — The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to hear an
appeal filed on behalf of a German citizen of Lebanese descent who claims
he was abducted by United States agents and then tortured by them while
imprisoned in Afghanistan.
Without comment, the justices let stand an appeals
court ruling that the state secrets privilege, a judicially created
doctrine that the Bush administration has invoked to win dismissal of lawsuits
that touch on issues of national security, protected the government’s actions
from court review. In refusing to take up the case, the justices declined
a chance to elaborate on the privilege for the first time in more than
The case involved Khaled el-Masri, who says he was detained while on
vacation in Macedonia in late 2003, transported by the United States to
Afghanistan and held there for five months in a secret prison before being
taken to Albania and set free, evidently having been mistaken for a terrorism
suspect with a similar name.
Mr. Masri says he was tortured while in the prison. After prosecutors
in Germany investigated the case, a court there issued arrest warrants
in January for 13 agents of the Central Intelligence Agency. The German
Parliament is continuing to investigate the episode, which has become a
very public example of the United States government’s program of “extraordinary
Mr. Masri, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, brought
a lawsuit in federal court against George J. Tenet, director of central
intelligence from 1997 to 2004; three private airline companies; and 20
people identified only as John Doe. He sought damages for treatment that
he said violated both the Constitution and international law.
Shortly after he filed the lawsuit in December 2005, the government
intervened to seek its dismissal under the state secrets privilege, asserting
that to have to provide evidence in the case would compromise national
security. That argument succeeded in the Federal District Court in Alexandria,
Va., which dismissed the case without permitting Mr. Masri’s lawyers to
take discovery. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit,
in Richmond, Va., upheld the dismissal in March.
In their Supreme Court appeal, El-Masri v. United States, No. 06-1613,
Mr. Masri’s lawyers argued that these rulings allowed the state secrets
doctrine to become “unmoored” from its origins as a rule to be invoked
to shield specific evidence in a lawsuit against the government, rather
than to dismiss an entire case before any evidence was produced.
The Supreme Court created the doctrine in a 1953 decision, United States
v. Reynolds, which began as a lawsuit by survivors of three civilians who
had died in the crash of a military aircraft. In pretrial discovery, the
plaintiffs sought the official accident report.
But the government, asserting that the report included information about
the plane’s secret mission and the equipment that it was testing, refused
to reveal it. The Supreme Court upheld the government, ruling that evidence
should not be disclosed when “there is a reasonable danger that compulsion
of the evidence will expose military matters which, in the interest of
national security, should not be divulged.”
Mr. Masri’s lawyers argued that this decision, which the court has occasionally
invoked but has not revisited, did not justify dismissing a case before
any evidence was requested. Ben Wizner, Mr. Masri’s lawyer at the civil
liberties union, said in an interview that the courts had permitted the
doctrine to evolve from an evidentiary privilege to a broad grant of immunity,
a way for the executive branch to shield itself from judicial scrutiny.
In this case, Solicitor General Paul D. Clement offered to let the justices
see, “under appropriate security measures,” the classified declaration
that the government filed in the lower courts to support its claim of privilege.
The court evidently did not think that step was necessary.
The court will soon have other opportunities to revisit the state secrets
issue. Last week the A.C.L.U. filed an appeal that raises the issue as
part of a challenge to the National Security Agency’s program of wiretapping
without court warrants.
October 11, 2007
The Supreme Court exerts leadership over the nation’s justice system,
not just through its rulings, but also by its choice of cases — the ones
it agrees to hear and the ones it declines. On Tuesday, it led in exactly
the wrong direction.
Somehow, the court could not muster the four votes needed to grant review
in the case of an innocent German citizen of Lebanese descent who was kidnapped,
detained and tortured in a secret overseas prison as part of the Bush administration’s
morally, physically and legally abusive anti-terrorism program. The victim,
Khaled el-Masri, was denied justice by lower federal courts, which dismissed
his civil suit in a reflexive bow to a flimsy government claim that allowing
the case to go forward would put national security secrets at risk.
Those rulings, Mr. Masri’s lawyers correctly argued, represented a major
distortion of the state secrets doctrine, a rule created by the federal
courts that was originally intended to shield specific evidence in a lawsuit
filed against the government. It was never designed to dictate dismissal
of an entire case before any evidence is produced.
It may well be that one or more justices sensitive to the breathtaking
violation of Mr. Masri’s rights, and the evident breaking of American law,
refrained from voting to accept his case as a matter of strategy. They
may have feared a majority ruling by the Roberts court approving the dangerously
expansive view of executive authority inherent in the Bush team’s habitual
invocation of the state secrets privilege. In that case, the justices at
least could have commented, or offered a dissent, as has happened when
the court abdicated its responsibility to hear at least two other recent
cases involving national security issues of this kind.
Mr. Masri says he was picked up while vacationing in Macedonia in late
2003 and flown to a squalid prison in Afghanistan. He says he was questioned
there about ties to terrorist groups and was beaten by his captors, some
of whom were Americans. At the end of May 2004, Mr. Masri was released
in a remote part of Albania without having been charged with a crime. Investigations
in Europe and news reports in this country have supported his version of
events, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice acknowledged privately to her that Mr. Masri’s abduction
was a mistake, an admission that aides to Ms. Rice have denied. The Masri
case, in other words, is being actively discussed all over the world. The
only place it cannot be discussed, it seems, is in a United States courtroom.
In effect, the Supreme Court has granted the government immunity for
subjecting Mr. Masri to “extraordinary rendition,” the morally and legally
unsupportable United States practice of transporting foreign nationals
to be interrogated in other countries known to use torture and lacking
basic legal protections. It’s hard to imagine what, at this point, needs
to be kept secret, other than the ways in which the administration behaved
irresponsibly, and quite possibly illegally, in the Masri case. And Mr.
Masri is not the only innocent man kidnapped by American agents and subjected
to abuse and torture in a foreign country. He’s just the only one whose
lawsuit got this far.
This unsatisfactory outcome gives rise to new worries about the current
Supreme Court’s resolve to perform its crucial oversight role — particularly
with other cases related to terrorism in the pipeline and last week’s disclosure
of secret 2005 Justice Department memos authorizing the use of inhumane
interrogation methods that just about everyone except the Bush White House
thinks of as torture. Instead of a rejection, the Masri case should have
occasioned a frank revisiting of the Supreme Court’s 1953 ruling in United
States v. Reynolds. That case enshrined the state secrets doctrine that
this administration has repeatedly relied upon to avoid judicial scrutiny
of its lawless actions.
Indeed, the Reynolds case itself is an object lesson in why courts need
to apply a healthy degree of skepticism to state secrets claims. The court
denied the widows of three civilians, who had died in the crash of a military
aircraft, access to the official accident report, blindly accepting the
government’s assertion that sharing the report would hurt national security.
When the documents finally became public just a few years ago, it became
clear that the government had lied. The papers contained information embarrassing
to the government but nothing to warrant top secret treatment or denying
American citizens honest adjudication of their lawsuit.
In refusing to consider Mr. Masri’s appeal, the Supreme Court has left
an innocent person without any remedy for his wrongful imprisonment and
torture. It has damaged America’s standing in the world and established
the nation as Supreme Enabler of the Bush administration’s efforts to avoid
accountability for its actions. These are not accomplishments to be proud
October 11, 2007
Did the Inspector General discover the Agency's
CIA "rendition" flights as cover for drug smuggling:
Anyone who has followed CIA scandals will find no historical parallel
to this story ["Watchdog
of C.I.A. Is Subject of C.I.A. Inquiry", NYT, MARK MAZZETTI and SCOTT
SHANE, Oct 11, 07]. CIA Director Michael Hayden wants to inspect his Inspector
General, John L. Helgerson. Helgerson has been looking rather too closely
at the CIA's rendition programs.
The Inspector General (or IG) runs the Agency's "internal affairs" department
-- in other words, he polices the CIA. Usually, the IG is one of the "old
boys," but occasionally the gig goes to someone who plays hardball.
In the current case, it appears that Hayden has asked his close aide
Robert Deitz (a man who plays Tonto to Hayden's Lone Ranger) to investigate
John Helgerson. The IG has been a thorn in Hayden's side for quite some
The inspector general’s office also rankled
agency officials when it completed a withering report about the C.I.A’s
missteps before the Sept. 11 attack - a report that recommended “accountability
boards” to consider disciplinary action against a handful of senior officials.
Did the IG uncover the drug connection?
The argument I'm about to make is, in part, speculative. Each reader
must judge whether the speculative sections constitute well-grounded deduction
or irresponsible conjecture. (For reasons of brevity, this post will rely
heavily on previous articles, which contain the off-site links.)
Let's begin with a simple question. Why is CIA Director Hayden taking
unprecedented action? What can the IG reveal about the rendition flights
that could possibly be worse than what we already know?
Not just prisoners: In the past, I have argued that the
program did not simply transfer prisoners to torture-friendly nations.
The flights may also have been used for smuggling. I base that claim on
1. The sheer number of rendition flights.
2. The odd places visited during those flights.
3. A rather large collection of books, available at any university
library, documenting the overlap between spies and the drug trade.
Naturally, any such "rogue" use of CIA-controlled aircraft would have
to be kept hidden from the Inspector General -- and, in all likelihood,
from the owners of record.
Before you dismiss the idea, please read my earlier piece, "The
CIA's airlines: What's in the baggage compartment?" As that article
notes, just one Gulfstream IV used by the CIA made 488 flights between
2001 and 2005. That single plane can carry twenty passengers. Many other
jets were used in this program.
How many "prisoners" could there have been?
CIA rendition flights have taken off and landed
in Spain, the U.K., Switzerland, Norway, Portugal, France, the Czech Republic,
Ireland, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Thailand, Uzbekistan and other nations.
Although officially civilian, the jets are allowed to land at American
military bases. Virtually anything could be shipped without detection on
We now have no fewer than three major episodes linking CIA aircraft
to the drug trade. (To read the rest, click "Permalink" below)
The crashed coke jet.
The most recent incident involved a Gulfstream II that went down mysteriously
in Mexico, after the pilot and passengers had bailed out. Authorities found
over three tons of cocaine on board. (See here
In the 2003-2005 period, that same aircraft was under the control of
-- though not technically owned by -- the CIA-linked firm Richmor aviation.
During that time, the jet made a series of "rendition" flights.
Just before the recent coke transport flight, the plane was transferred
from one mysterious "owner" to another at a dizzying clip. (This is common.
When attempting to track the history of CIA aircraft, one should expect
to encounter confusing ownership flips and an endless number of on-paper
I would ask readers to note the chronology. Richmor's routine use of
the jet for "prisoner" flights stopped after 2005 -- when IG John Helgerson
started to look into renditions.
The captured Skyway coke jet.
This blog has devoted quite a few posts to last year's
remarkable capture, on a Mexican tarmac, of a jet laden with five tons
of coke. (Here
and that's for starters.) Although the plane was surrounded by police,
the pilot somehow "got away."
(Compare his fate to that of the Gulfstream II pilot: He bailed, was
captured, and then tried to bribe his way out of custody. I don't know
if the bribe worked; no further news reports have mentioned him.)
The Skyway jet was owned by a noted con artist who, in exchange for
protection, allowed "his" plane to be used for various nefarious activities.
Although this aircraft underwent the usual rapid ownership transfers just
before the bust in Mexico, it still bore the Skyway logo, which strongly
resembles the Homeland Security logo.
Skyway was a fake firm associated with In-Q-Tel,
a shadowy investment group begun by CIA personnel. Although Skyway head
Brent Kovar was a notorious scamster, he has never faced a judge, and his
aviation undertaking somehow attracted investment from two very real corporations:
The defense giant Titan and Argyll Equities of Boerne, Texas. According
to investigator Daniel Hopsicker,
Argyll previously arranged for a $17 million
loan to a Mexican businessman, who in turn provided "significant capital"
to a “Chilean narcotics trafficker" named Manuel Vicente Losada, arrested
in the Chilean capital of Santiago after being “linked to a shipment of
five tons of cocaine which U.S. drug enforcement officials in Miami intercepted
over six years ago on the vessel Harbour, as it headed toward Guantanamo
"Guantanamo Bay"? asks Hopsicker. The implications
hang in the air. Hopsicker lists a few other indicators that Argyll may
have a shady history. No less a figure than Patrick Fitzgerald investigated
allegations that Argyll played a role in a scheme to defraud a hedge fund
administered by the mother of actor Vince Vaughn.
That, I fear, is a tale for another time. Right now, let
us stay focused on the eye-popping allegation that cocaine headed toward
Is Guantanamo being used as a drug transshipment point?
Consider: The recently-crashed Gulfstream II made a number of trips
to Gitmo. Why? To transport prisoners? No: News accounts have made clear
that the prisoners there were brought in via military craft.
Evergreen. Evergreen airlines is the most famous CIA-linked
aviation company; indeed, it is difficult to say where Evergreen stops
and the Agency begins. Oddly enough, Evergreen had employed Russell DeFreitas,
who was arrested last June for an alleged attempt to blow up JFK airport.
In an earlier
post, I argued that DeFreitas was involved with a drug ring while he
worked at JFK airport. News accounts link him with the Triniad-based nationalist
organization Jamaat Al Muslimeen, which controls much of the organized
crime in that part of the world.
Do you believe that Evergreen -- which is to say, the CIA -- would accidentally
hire a man connected to a criminal syndicate? Evergreen is a major player
in the "rendition" scandal. Evergreen aircraft were used to transport "prisoners."
And perhaps not just prisoners.
Based on the above, I posit -- but cannot prove -- that
Inspector General John Helgerson has been looking into the links between
"renditions" and smuggling.
The pattern is difficult to explain away: In
each of the three episodes listed above, the scenarios changed after 2005
-- after the IG began to investigate renditions. After 2005, the Gulfstream
II underwent a series of weird and hard-to-follow ownership transfers.
So did the Skyway jet. DeFreitas left Evergreen to work as a "baggage handler"
at JFK (where Evergreen has a presence) -- an interesting gig for someone
associated with drug thugs and spooks.
Never before has a CIA Director investigated an Inspector
General. Why now?
(Note: I've substantially rewritten this piece since original
# posted by Deighved H
Stern MD : 11:58 PM
I caught wind
of this over at Lisa's site, and came immediately over here to let you
know about it. (Then I sent a message to C&L). I'm looking for a link
to tell people how to find and contact their Representatives and Senators
in Congress about this, but have not found it yet. (I know I have it in
here somewhere.) If ever urgent action was needed, this is that time...
# posted by dr. elsewhere
: 7:54 AM
as ever, joe! we've talked about the smuggling thing before, and we know
it's true. we just need the smoking gun, so maybe this is it and the IG
is getting too close. it simply amazes me that this unbelieveably illegal
and immoral scam could have operated for so long with so many people involved.
i guess when you get to that level of corruption, nothing stands in your
way. hence we have the deaths of spc. durkin in afghanistan, and others
- who know how many? and is it worth speculating that pat tillman's greater
crime than rejecting the iraq invasion was to know too much about the us
connection to drugs in that region? that's also bugged me. smugglers will
kill to keep their booty. so i guess i've answered my own question; folks
are dying when they find out about this stuff. i wonder if helgerson is
taking this as a warning?
# posted by gary :
a shadowy investment group which some consider a CIA front." In-Q-Tell
is the CIA's venture capital company. If you take a look at their website
you will find that they openly acknowledge this.
# posted by dqueue
: 8:36 AM
you raise an important point, folks are dying when they learn about this
stuff. Whose deaths tie to the stories that are presently in play? I wonder
if its the agency, as a whole? Or is it a subset of corrupt participants
who have used and abused compartmentalization procedures to hide such activity?
(Not to mention murder, bribery, blackmail, terror, etc...)
# posted by AitchD
: 10:24 AM
In the late
1970s the Church committee got testimony about CIA involvement in the opium
trade in Southeast Asia; the Kerry committee in the middle-late 1980s got
testimony about the CIA involvement in the cocaine trade in Central America;
the early 1990s had Congress investigating the CIA involvement in crack
distribution in California; in the middle 1990s, Congress looked into money
laundering and drug trafficking; in the late 1990s, Congress investigated
drug trafficking and Colombia. A brief outline is at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CIA_drug_trafficking
"These things gotta happen
every five years or so, ten years, helps to get rid of the bad blood. Been
ten years since the last one. You know, you gotta stop 'em at the beginning,
like they shoulda stopped Hitler at Munich. They should never've let him
get away with that. They was just asking for big trouble" - Peter Clemenza
in The Godfather. "Follow the money" - Deep Throat in All the President's
Men. "Open the pod bay doors, Hal" - Dave Bowman in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
# posted by Anonymous
: 10:50 AM
Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 2
# posted by starroute
: 11:35 AM
Cocaine, and Covert Operations
August, 1996, series in the San Jose Mercury News by reporter Gary Webb
linked the origins of crack cocaine in California to the contras, a guerrilla
force backed by the Reagan administration that attacked Nicaragua's Sandinista
government during the 1980s. Webb's series, "The Dark Alliance," has been
the subject of intense media debate, and has focused attention on a foreign
policy drug scandal that leaves many questions unanswered.
electronic briefing book is compiled from declassified documents obtained
by the National Security Archive, including the notebooks kept by NSC aide
and Iran-contra figure Oliver North, electronic mail messages written by
high-ranking Reagan administration officials, memos detailing the contra
war effort, and FBI and DEA reports. The documents demonstrate official
knowledge of drug operations, and collaboration with and protection of
known drug traffickers. Court and hearing transcripts are also included.
of Official U.S. Knowledge of Drug Trafficking and the Contras
that NSC Staff Supported Using Drug Money to Fund the Contras
Officials and Major Traffickers:
of Fabio Ernesto Carrasco, 6 April 1990
Security Archive Analysis and Publications
I may have
said this here before, but if Latin American drug connections are of interest,
so too should be the Central Asian heroin routes. As one example, Uzbekistan,
where so many Afghan prisoners were brought in 2002-03, is also a major
transshipment point for Afghan heroin. The real issue in Afghanistan is
not drug use by US troops. I've picked up hints -- though so far no more
than that -- that the US may be pushing Afghan opium growing to unfathomable
levels in order to be able to destabilize neighboring countries with a
flood of heroin. This would most certainly include Iran (where heroin use
is a growing problem, due to ayatollah-enforced boredom), but also Russia
and perhaps even China. (A large part of this is about geostrategy -- and
the deep thinkers over at CSIS who have convinced themselves that dominance
of Central Asia is somehow the essential pivot point from which to rule
the world.) The Afghan heroin trade has been a core part of the CIA mission
for most of the period since 1979 -- compared to that, Latin American cocaine
was no more than a trendy diversion of the Iran-Contra period. So if something
noticeable is happening here in the Americas, it's likely to be only a
fraction of the full picture.
# posted by dr. elsewhere
: 11:51 AM
with folks dying when drug trades are exposed, it's pretty spooky. literally
and figuratively. and then there's the similar shakedown tactics applied
to jill simpson in alabama when she exposed karl rove's involvement in
seligman's frame-up: her house caught on fire and her car was run off the
road, as joe pointed out. clearly drugs are not the only motivating commodity
operating here. and these idiots are not just crazy and incompetent; they're
# posted by Deighved H
Stern MD : 2:18 PM
Just a follow-up
on my first post, I am absolutely floored that C&L has apparently not
chosen to pick up on this story. Can anyone come up with a good reason
why they wouldn't think this story worth amplifying?
# posted by Joseph
: 3:34 PM
worry, Dave. This story's on the front page at Buzzflash and there seems
to be a fair amount of traffic from Reddit. Not bad what is, after all,
a theory. All I hope to do is to spur some investigation.
# posted by Anonymous
: 4:52 PM
Something that is rarely mentioned with regard to Seligman is that his
purported briber was in the waste business. This may be an important thread
that has been largely overlooked. Cannonfire-- I've followed your line
of reasoning with interest. Over and over again, I've suggested that you
start with Miami. There's a reason for that...
# posted by Anonymous
: 8:51 PM
I had to search,
but I knew I'd read about this in the past. It was November, 2005. "Could
The CIA Planes In Portugal And Europe Be Running Drugs?" http://www.brendastardom.com/arch.asp?ArchID=776
December 1, 2007
Foreign Terror Suspects Tell of Torture
Jordan's Spy Agency: Holding Cell for the CIA
By Craig Whitlock
AMMAN, Jordan -- Over the past seven years, an imposing building on
the outskirts of this city has served as a secret holding cell for the
The building is the headquarters of the General Intelligence Department,
Jordan's powerful spy and security agency. Since 2000, at the CIA's behest,
at least 12 non-Jordanian terrorism suspects have been detained and interrogated
here, according to documents and former prisoners, human rights advocates,
defense lawyers and former U.S. officials.
In most of the cases, the spy center served as a covert way station
for CIA prisoners captured in other countries. It was a place where they
could be hidden after being arrested and kept for a few days or several
months before being moved on to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, or CIA prisons elsewhere
in the world.
Others were arrested while transiting through Jordan, including two
detained during stopovers at Amman's international airport. Another prisoner,
a microbiology student captured in Pakistan in the weeks after the attacks
of Sept. 11, 2001, has not been seen since he was flown to Amman on a CIA
plane six years ago.
The most recent case to come to light involved a Palestinian detainee,
Marwan al-Jabour, who was transferred to Jordan last year from a CIA-run
secret prison, then released several weeks later in the Gaza Strip.
The General Intelligence Department, or GID, is perhaps the CIA's most
trusted partner in the Arab world. The Jordanian agency has received money,
training and equipment from the CIA for decades and even has a public English-language
Web site. The relationship has deepened in recent years, with U.S. officials
praising their Jordanian counterparts for the depth of their knowledge
regarding al-Qaeda and other radical Islamic networks.
In the aftermath of Sept. 11, however, the GID was attractive for another
reason, according to former U.S. counterterrorism officials and Jordanian
human rights advocates. Its interrogators had a reputation for persuading
tight-lipped suspects to talk, even if that meant using abusive tactics
that could violate U.S. or international law. "I was kidnapped, not knowing
anything of my fate, with continuous torture and interrogation for the
whole of two years," Al-Haj Abdu Ali Sharqawi, a Guantanamo prisoner from
Yemen, recounted in a written account of his experiences in Jordanian custody.
"When I told them the truth, I was tortured and beaten."
Sharqawi was captured in Karachi, Pakistan, in February 2002 in a joint
Pakistani-U.S. operation. Although the Guantanamo Bay prison had just opened,
the CIA flew him instead to Amman, where he was imprisoned for 19 months,
according to his account and flight records. He was later taken to another
CIA-run secret prison, his statement says, before he was finally moved
to Guantanamo in February 2004.
Sharqawi said he was threatened with sexual abuse and electrocution
while in Jordan. He also said he was hidden from officials of the International
Committee for the Red Cross during their visits to inspect Jordanian prisons.
"I was told that if I wanted to leave with permanent disability both
mental and physical, that that could be arranged," Sharqawi said in his
April 2006 statement, which was released by a London-based attorney, Clive
Stafford Smith, who represents Guantanamo inmates. "They said they had
all the facilities of Jordan to achieve that. I was told that I had to
talk, I had to tell them everything."
Bush administration officials have said they do not hand over terrorism
suspects to countries that are likely to abuse them. For several years,
however, the State Department has cited widespread allegations of torture
by Jordan's security agencies in its annual report cards on human rights.
Independent monitors have become increasingly critical of Jordan's record.
Since 2006, the United Nations, Amnesty International and Human Rights
Watch have issued reports on abuses in Jordan, often singling out the General
Former prisoners have reported that their captors were expert in two
practices in particular: falaqa, or beating suspects on the soles of their
feet with a truncheon and then, often, forcing them to walk barefoot and
bloodied across a salt-covered floor; and farruj, or the "grilled chicken,"
in which prisoners are handcuffed behind their legs, hung upside down by
a rod placed behind their knees, and beaten.
In a report released in January 2007, Manfred Nowak, the U.N. special
investigator for torture, found that "the practice of torture is routine"
at GID headquarters and concluded "that there is total impunity for torture
and ill-treatment in the country."
Officials with the GID did not respond to a letter seeking an interview
for this article. The Jordanian Foreign Ministry also did not respond to
The CIA declined to comment on its relationship with the GID but defended
in general the covert transfer of terrorism suspects to other countries,
a practice known as rendition. "The United States does not transfer individuals
to any country if it believes they will be tortured there," said Paul Gimigliano,
a CIA spokesman. "Setting aside the myths, rendition is, in fact, a lawful,
effective tool that has been used over the years on a very limited scale,
and is designed to take terrorists off the street."
'In Jordan, Nobody Asks'
Immediately after Sept. 11, the CIA had nowhere to hold terrorism suspects
it had captured abroad. The military prison at Guantanamo did not open
until January 2002. And it took the CIA until the spring of 2002 to get
its own network of secret overseas prisons up and running.
Short on options, the CIA sought help from its counterparts in Jordan.
Soon, CIA airplanes began carrying prisoners to Amman. Jamil Qasim Saeed
Mohammed, a Yemeni microbiology student, was captured in a U.S.-Pakistani
operation in Karachi a few weeks after 9/11 on suspicion of helping to
finance al-Qaeda operations. Witnesses reported seeing masked men take
him aboard a Gulfstream V jet at the Karachi airport Oct. 24, 2001.
Records show that the plane was chartered by a CIA front company and
that it flew directly to Amman. Mohammed has not been seen since. Amnesty
International said it has asked the Jordanian government for information
on his whereabouts but has not received an answer.
About the same time, Jamal Alawi Mari, another Yemeni citizen, was apprehended
at his home in Karachi by Pakistani and U.S. agents. Records show that
U.S. officials suspected him of working for Islamic charities that allegedly
Soon after, Mari was also flown by the CIA to Amman. "They never told
me where I was going," he testified later before a U.S. military tribunal.
"I found out later I was in Jordan." Mari said he was imprisoned for four
months in Jordan, out of sight of visiting Red Cross officials. In early
2002, he was taken to Guantanamo and remains imprisoned there.
Defense lawyers and human rights advocates in Amman said it wasn't a
surprise that the CIA turned to Jordan's security agency for assistance.
"In America, people will ask about any breach of the law," said Younis
Arab, a lawyer who has represented a CIA prisoner brought to Jordan. "Here
in Jordan, nobody asks. So the Americans get the Jordanians to do the dirty
Other Jordanian lawyers cited unconfirmed reports that the CIA had transferred
high-ranking al-Qaeda leaders to Jordan for interrogation. Although hard
evidence is elusive, some former inmates have reported being detained in
the same wing as Ramzi Binalshibh, a key planner in the Hamburg cell that
carried out the Sept. 11 hijackings, said Abdulkareem al-Shureidah, an
"He was detained in Jordanian jails, definitely," Shureidah said of
Binalshibh, who was kept in CIA custody in undisclosed locations from the
time of his capture in Karachi in September 2002 until September 2006,
when he was transferred to Guantanamo. "The U.S. brought all kinds of persons
here from around the world."
Samieh Khreis, an Amman lawyer who has represented former Guantanamo
inmates from Jordan, said testimony by former prisoners and others in Jordan
reinforced a long-held suspicion that the CIA ran a satellite operation
inside headquarters of the General Intelligence Department. "Of course
they had a jail here, a secret jail -- of course, no question," he said.
"If they were to put me in that GID building over there, in my mind, it
might as well be an American jail."
Khreis said the Jordanian spy service has a well-deserved reputation
for using dubious tactics to force confessions. But he said the CIA sent
prisoners to Amman primarily to take advantage of the GID's knowledge of
Islamic radical groups. "Torture is not the main reason," he said.
A Flat Denial
On June 26, 2006, just after 6 p.m., Nowak, the U.N. investigator, paid
a surprise visit to GID headquarters in Amman. The Jordanian government
had previously agreed to give Nowak carte blanche to inspect any prison
in the country, with no preconditions and unfettered access to inmates.
As a new member of the U.N. Human Rights Council, Jordan was eager to win
Nowak's seal of approval. GID officials permitted Nowak to tour its prison
wing. But they refused to allow him to speak with prisoners in private.
When Nowak asked about allegations that the CIA had used the building as
a proxy jail, department officials said the reports were untrue.
"The response was just very flat, a simple denial, 'We don't know anything
about that,' " Nowak recalled in an interview. In interviews with former
GID prisoners, Nowak said, he heard repeated, credible reports of inmates
being subjected to electric shocks, sleep deprivation and various forms
of beatings, including farruj and falaqa.
He said several inmates reported that their chief tormentor was Col.
Ali Birjak, head of the GID's counterterrorism unit and one of the officials
who had denied cooperating with the CIA. Based on those interviews, Nowak
recommended in his report that Birjak be investigated by Jordanian authorities
on torture charges.
In a written response to Nowak's findings on Oct. 10, 2006, the Jordanian
government called the torture allegations "untrue" and noted that they
were lodged by people with criminal records. "It is common for prisoners
to make false allegations about torture in a pathetic attempt to evade
punishment and to influence the court," the government wrote.
In interviews with The Washington Post, however, former prisoners of
the GID gave similar accounts of physical abuse. Masaad Omer Behari, a
Sudanese citizen, spent 86 days in the department's custody in early 2003
after he was arrested during a stopover at Amman's international airport.
Behari said his interrogators wanted to know about his activities in
Vienna, where he had lived for more than a decade. He had been asked many
of the same questions previously by the FBI and Austrian security officials
about an alleged plot to bomb the U.S. Embassy in Vienna in 1998, he said,
though he had denied any role and was never charged.
While he was in custody in Amman, Behari said, guards meted out a combination
of falaqa and farruj. They struck the soles of his feet with batons while
he was handcuffed and hanging upside down, then doused him with cold water
and forced him to walk over a salt-strewn floor. "I thought they were going
to kill me," he said. "I said my prayers, thinking I was going to die."
Researcher Julie Tate in Washington contributed to this report.
May 12, 2009
threatens to limit U.S. intel with Brits
The Obama administration says it may curtail Anglo-American intelligence
sharing if the British High Court discloses new details of the treatment
of a former Guantanamo detainee.
A court filing from the British Foreign Office released recently includes
a letter from the U.S. government, identified as the "Obama administration's
communication." Other information identifying the U.S. agency and author
of the letter appears to have been redacted.
The letter says:
"If it is determined that [her majesty's government] is unable to protect
information we provide to it, even if that inability is caused by your
judicial system, we will necessarily have to review with the greatest care
the sensitivity of information we can provide in the future."
The letter stands in contrast to President Obama's decision last month
to release four memos from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel
providing fresh detail on the CIA's enhanced interrogation program.
But, the U.S. letter points out: "Neither in [those four] memoranda,
nor in any statements of the administration accompanying their release,
was reference made to the identity of any foreign government that might
have assisted the United States.
"Given the declassification of the highly sensitive information contained
in the memoranda, the fact that the president refrained from providing
any information about foreign governments is indicative that the United
States continues to preserve the secrecy of such information as critical
to our national security."
At issue is whether the British courts will disclose a seven-paragraph
summary of the treatment of Binyam Mohamed, a former detainee who was released
from Guantanamo Bay prison in February.
The British terrorism suspect was set free after charges that he had
collaborated with convicted terrorist Jose Padilla in a plot to set off
a "dirty bomb" in the United States fell apart. Mr. Mohamed says he was
tortured while in U.S., Pakistani and Moroccan custody.
In February, the British Foreign Office claimed that the U.S. government
had threatened to reduce intelligence cooperation if details of the interrogations
and treatment of Mr. Mohamed were disclosed.
The High Court agreed on Feb. 4 to keep the details of Mr. Mohamed's
treatment from the public. But two days later, the court decided to take
up the matter again in response to an argument that the position of the
U.S. government may have represented the Bush administration's view and
not that of the Obama administration.
The letter, however, put to rest any doubt that it reflects the position
of Mr. Obama's administration. Depending on what the court decides, it
also may quash Mr. Mohamed's efforts to get the court to disclose any U.S.
confirmation that he was tortured.
"The seven paragraphs at issue are based upon classified information
shared between our countries," the U.S. letter said. "Public disclosure
of this information, reasonably could be expected to cause serious damage
to the United Kingdom's national security.
"Specifically, disclosure of this information may result in a constriction
of the U.S.-U.K. relationship, as well as U.K. relationships with other
Clive Stafford Smith, an attorney for Mr. Mohamed, said in a telephone
interview that he was disappointed.
"What they are doing is twisting the arm of the British to keep evidence
of torture committed by American officials secret," said Mr. Smith, a U.S.
citizen. "I had high hopes for the Obama administration. I voted for the
guy, and one hopes the new administration would not continue to cover up
evidence of criminal activity."
The Metropolitan Police of London is investigating whether Mr. Mohamed
was tortured when he was in American custody.
Mr. Smith said that by attempting to keep evidence of Mr. Mohamed's
"abuse" secret, the U.S. official who communicated the threats to the British
Foreign Office was in breach of British law, specifically the International
Criminal Court Act of 2001.
"The U.S. is committing a criminal offense in Britain by seeking to
conceal this information. What the Obama administration did is not just
ill-advised, it is illegal," he said.
Mr. Smith said he is scheduled to meet with the Metropolitan Police
next week. "One of the questions that will come up is whether these statements
by the U.S. government are an independent crime that should be investigated,"
David Rose, a contributing editor for Vanity Fair and one of the parties
in the case petitioning the British court to release the details of Mr.
Mohamed's interrogation, said the U.S. government might be helping the
British government shroud its own hand in Mr. Mohamed's treatment.
"Binyam Mohamed has always alleged that MI5 agents colluded in his maltreatment
and reiterated this in an interview with me after his release," Mr. Rose
said. "The British government's attitude towards this case has been characterized
by an absence of candor for many months. One has to wonder if this is in
order to protect the true role the British agencies played."
The White House and Justice Department declined to comment for this
Last month, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to proceed
with another case Mr. Mohamed was bringing against Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen
Dataplan, claiming the company renditioned him to foreign jails from Pakistan
In that case, the Obama Justice Department requested that the circuit
court vacate the case on the grounds that it would disclose state secrets,
a plea the Justice Department lost.
Last month, Mr. Obama said at a press conference that the state secret
privilege should be modified and that it was "overly broad."
"But keep in mind, what happens is we come into office; we're in for
a week and suddenly we've got a court filing that's coming up," the president
said. "And so we don't have the time to effectively think through what
exactly should a[n] overarching reform of that doctrine take. We've got
to respond to the immediate case in front of us.
"There - I think - it is appropriate to say that there are going to
be cases in which national-security interests are genuinely at stake, and
that you can't litigate without revealing covert activities or classified
information that would genuinely compromise our safety," the president
Ben Wizner, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
who represents Mr. Mohamed and others in a civil lawsuit against Jeppesen
Dataplan, which is accused of supplying the equipment and personnel used
to transport prisoners among nations, said the Obama administration should
have no problem releasing the seven paragraphs disclosing details of Mr.
"The U.S. actions viewed as a whole seem aimed at preventing accountability
in either the United States or in Europe for the past administration's
crimes," Mr. Wizner said.
16 février 2011
Conseil fédéral a sciemment enterré l’enquête
des vols illégaux de la CIA
Par Jean-Claude Péclet
Des câbles diplomatiques inédits
en possession du «Temps» montrent comment le gouvernement suisse
a cédé aux pressions américaines alors qu’il affirmait
publiquement vouloir faire la lumière sur le transfert par la CIA
d’un présumé terroriste. Survol illégal de la Suisse,
accusations infondées contre l’homme kidnappé en plein jour:
de tout cela, la Suisse n’a rien voulu savoir, au nom des bonnes relations
bilatérales avec les Etats-Unis
Un cynisme consommé, doublé
d’une grande déférence envers les Etats-Unis: ainsi apparaît
le Conseil fédéral dans deux documents diplomatiques américains
inédits sur le transfert aérien illégal d’un présumé
terroriste en 2003. Les câbles remis au Temps montrent également
l’acharnement des Etats-Unis à discréditer Dick Marty, rapporteur
spécial du Conseil de l’Europe qui enquêtait sur les vols
et les prisons secrètes de l’administration Bush.
Le 17 février 2003, 26 agents de la
CIA enlèvent à Milan Hassan Mustafa Osama, dit Abou Omar,
et l’amènent à la base militaire d’Aviano. Le soir même,
un Learjet LJ-35 immatriculé SPAR92 le transfère à
Rammstein, en Allemagne, survolant la Suisse en violation des engagements
pris par les Etats-Unis. Le 18 février, Abou Omar est amené
au Caire, où il sera torturé et emprisonné jusqu’en
2007; une cour égyptienne jugera alors son incarcération
«infondée» et le libérera.
Fin 2005, le scandale des prisons et vols
secrets est médiatisé. Dick Marty enquête dès
novembre, le Ministère public de la Confédération
(MPC) un mois plus tard. En janvier 2006 – la veille du jour où
Dick Marty présente son premier rapport –, un câble de l’ambassade
américaine à Berne (06BERN141, déjà publié)
déplore l’intérêt des autorités suisses et des
médias pour ces affaires. L’ambassadeur américain Pamela
Willeford a «averti les officiels que l’obsession pour les prisons
et les vols – largement entretenue par le sénateur Dick Marty –
risque de peser sur («overwhelm») la perception de la Suisse
Message reçu. Tandis que le procureur
milanais Armando Spataro mène sur le cas Abou Omar une enquête
serrée qui aboutit à des arrestations dès juillet
2006 (et, au final, à la condamnation de 23 agents américains
et deux italiens), il faut attendre fin septembre 2006 pour que le MPC
livre un premier rapport au chef du Département de justice et police,
Christoph Blocher. Le survol illégal de la Suisse y est qualifié
de «vraisemblable, voire certain».
Comment ne pas froisser les Etats-Unis? Le
Conseil fédéral les prévient avec délicatesse.
Le 22 septembre – alors que le rapport du MPC est encore secret – trois
diplomates du Département fédéral des affaires étrangères
(DFAE) ont averti l’ambassade des Etats-Unis. Ignorant les conclusions
du MPC, le DFAE «espère qu’elles ne gâteront pas nos
relations», dit un diplomate cité par un câble inédit
(06BERN1804). Côté américain, on souligne le caractère
«spéculatif» des éléments réunis
par Dick Marty. On invite les interlocuteurs à chanter plus hardiment
les liens avec les Etats-Unis. «Il ne suffit pas de dire des choses
positives derrière des portes closes – les Suisses doivent aussi
rendre publiques les bonnes nouvelles», écrit le nouvel ambassadeur,
Peter Coneway, dans son commentaire.
Sur quoi le Conseil fédéral
temporise. Ce n’est que le 14 février 2007 qu’il autorise le MPC
à engager des poursuites pénales à propos du vol SPAR92
et du cas Abou Omar. Encore exclut-il de ces poursuites l’agent américain
«Tom», dont le Blick révélait quelques mois plus
tôt qu’il voulait acquérir en cachette les fichiers du syndicat
Syna. «La Suisse ne tolère pas les violations des droits de
l’homme, même dans le cadre de la lutte contre le terrorisme»,
affirme crânement le communiqué du gouvernement.
Tout autre est le discours que la conseillère
diplomatique de Christoph Blocher tient le même jour à l’ambassade
américaine. Selon un autre câble inédit (07BERN151),
elle «relativise» la décision du Conseil fédéral.
«A un certain point, ajoute-t-elle, il fallait bien que le MPC obtienne
l’autorisation de continuer son enquête.» Elle ajoute que son
département ne peut commenter les accusations concernant le survol
de la Suisse, ne détenant pas d’informations de première
main («was not privy to evidence»).
Qu’en termes charmants l’impuissance des autorités
suisses est ainsi dévoilée au partenaire américain!
L’ambassadeur Coneway ne s’y méprend pas: «Difficile de dire
quel type de preuves les Suisses possèdent, mais nous comprenons
que le lien entre le vol SPAR92 et Abou Omar ne repose que sur les conjectures
(sic) italiennes», écrit-il.
En novembre 2007, le MPC a «suspendu»
l’enquête sur le vol SPAR92. Aucun communiqué n’a été
diffusé. Aujourd’hui, il «n’entend pas s’exprimer davantage»,
dit une porte-parole. La conseillère diplomatique de Christoph Blocher
est allée travailler sous d’autres cieux, personne ne peut dire
où. Un courriel adressé à son nom est resté
Entre-temps, les informations de Dick Marty
ont été confirmées, ailleurs qu’en Suisse. Il y a
trois semaines, un câble WikiLeaks (06ANKARA3352, public) révélait
que la Turquie a prêté main-forte dès 2002 au transfert
de prisonniers à la base d’Incirlik. En janvier 2006, Ankara démentait
avec véhémence Dick Marty, qui disait cela dans son rapport.
Juste après la publication de ce dernier, les transferts ont cessé.
«Le Conseil fédéral n’a
jamais voulu parler avec moi du cas Abou Omar et du vol SPAR92»,
dit au Temps Dick Marty.
Vertrag über Folter und Stillschweigen
In Polen ist ein Dokument
aufgetaucht, das Details über ein geheimes US-Gefängnis bei Warschau
Der Gerichtshof für
Menschenrechte fordert die Herausgabe der Papiere – und bringt die USA
sollen Gefangenenflüge der CIA gelandet sein: Das Flugfeld von Szymany,
Polen. (Archivbild) Bild: Keystone
Artikel des «Telegraph»
Artikel auf «Der Standard»
Artikel zum Thema
Mann, der in Europa die Geheim-Verliese der CIA baute
für die Rebellen aus der Hand der CIA
Folterknecht, der das Volk schützen wollte
(kpn) Der Saudiaraber Abdel Rahim al-Nashiri erschien diese Woche
erstmals vor der Militärjustiz im US-Gefangenenlager Guantánamo.
Während der Anhörung wird der Prozess gegen den mutmasslichen
Drahtzieher des Anschlags auf das US-Kriegsschiff USS Cole vor zwölf
Jahren vorbereitet. Bevor im November das eigentliche Verfahren gegen al-Nashiri
anläuft, dürfte zunächst die Aufmerksamkeit einmal mehr
auf der Gefangenenpolitik der Vereinigten Staaten liegen.
Der Europäische Gerichtshof für Menschenrechte hat Polen um
die Herausgabe eines Dokuments gebeten, welches Details über den Aufbau
des geheimen CIA-Gefängnisses bei Warschau enthält. Jenem Gefängnis,
in welchem ab 2002 nebst al-Nashiri Dutzende Al-Qaida-Verdächtige
den Foltermethoden der CIA ausgesetzt waren. Laut «Telegraph»
hatte ein Informant vor rund einem Monat die polnische Presse über
das Papier informiert. Bei diesem handelt es sich offenbar um einen Vertragsentwurf,
der die Zusammenarbeit zwischen den Geheimdiensten Polens und der USA regeln
Unterschriften der Amerikaner fehlen
Unter anderem sei darin festgehalten, wie man im Falle des Todes eines
Gefangenen vorgehen wolle. Der Vertrag soll vom früheren polnischen
Inlandsgeheimdienstchef Zbigniew Siemiatkowski unterzeichnet worden sein.
Unterschriften vonseiten der USA fehlten jedoch. Die amerikanischen Vertreter
hätten die Polen ausgelacht, will der Informant wissen. Man habe sie
als Amateure bezeichnet und gemeint, es gebe bei solchen Angelegenheiten
keine formalen Verträge.
Das Fehlen einer Unterschrift spiele jedoch keine Rolle, meint Adam
Bondar von der Helsinki-Stiftung für Menschenrechte gegenüber
der österreichischen Zeitung «Der Standard». Das Fehlen
der Unterschrift mindere die Beweiskraft des Dokuments nicht. «Allein
die Tatsache der Vorbereitung des Dokuments bestätigt, dass der Wille
da war und Menschen, die es gelesen haben, seinen Inhalt kannten»,
so Bondar, der die eigenen Ermittlungen der Polen über das mutmassliche
CIA-Gefängnis in Polen überwacht.
Frist bis September
Das Dokument soll mittlerweile bei der Staatsanwaltschaft in Warschau
liegen. Doch von polnischer Seite habe man seine Existenz bisher weder
bestätigen noch abstreiten wollen, so der «Telegraph».
Strassburg hat die Regierung in Warschau nun angewiesen, sich zu den Unterlagen
zu äussern. Falls das Dokument tatsächlich existiere, sei Warschau
unter europäischem Recht dazu verpflichtet, eine Kopie zur Verfügung
zu stellen. Polens Regierung hat eine Frist bis zum 5. September bekommen.
Bis dato haben sowohl Polen als auch die USA alles daran gesetzt, Details
über das geheime Lager bei Warschau im Dunkeln zu behalten.
Für die Vereinigten Staaten kommt die Forderung des Gerichtshofs
für Menschenrechte mehr als ungelegen. Zu Beginn der Anhörung
von Abdel Rahim al-Nashiri hatten nämlich dessen Anwälte in Strassburg
bereits eine Kompensationsklage eingereicht. Sie fordern, dass die USA
die Wahrheit über die geheimen CIA-Gefängnisse ans Licht bringen
und die Foltermethoden, welchen auch al-Nashiri während mindestens
sechs Monaten ausgesetzt war, zugeben.
Massiver Druck auf die USA
Im Gefängnis auf der Militär- und Geheimdienstbasis Stare
Kijekuty sollen die Gefangenen unter anderem Pseudo-Erschiessungen und
simuliertem Ertrinken (sogenanntes Waterboarding) ausgesetzt gewesen sein.
Die Forderungen des Gerichtshofs in Strassburg könnten nun bedeuten,
dass es für die US-Regierung massiv schwieriger wird, Forderungen
von al-Nashiris Anwälten nach der Herausgabe von offiziellen Dokumenten
zu Gefängnissen in Polen, Marokko und Thailand abzublocken.