Saturday, December 15, 2007

Inside the CIA's notorious "black sites"

Inside the CIA's notorious "black sites" is, for me, an introduction to one of the Extraordinary Rendition cases. Extraordinary Rendition is a U.S. Government (CIA) practice of essentially outsourcing torture. A person will be captured somewhere and then enter into a system of secretly operated airplanes being flown around the world to secret prisons operated by the CIA.

This article deals specifically with Mohamed Farag Ahmad Bashmilah. He is a 38-year-old Yemeni national who lived with his wife Zahra in Indonesia, where he ran a small clothing store with his uncle. In October 2003 he flew to Jordan to visit his mother, and through a series of misunderstandings became implicated as a terror-activist trained in Afghanistan, which led the Jordanians to turn him over to the CIA who flew him to Baghram Air Force Base in Afghanistan for "interrogation".

The interrogation which ensued included some standard techniques of psychological manipulation which tend to incite psychological damage to the point of becoming crazy. Many believe these techniques are torture. The techniques include sleep deprivation, beatings, threats against his family members, threats against himself, playing loud music constantly, and more. At one point he signed a confession, which he did not read, just due to the promise that the treatment would end.

'The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a federal suit claiming Jeppesen Dataplan Inc. enabled the clandestine transportation of five terrorism suspects to overseas locations where they were subjected to "forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment."...The U.S. government has asked a federal judge to throw out the lawsuit on the basis that trying the case would result in the release of sensitive state secrets....The ACLU countered in its filing Friday that the clandestine transfer of terrorism suspects to U.S.-run overseas prisons or foreign intelligence agencies, known as extraordinary rendition, is already a matter of public record "confirmed by documentary evidence and eyewitness testimony," along with Federal Aviation Administration records.'

Amnesty International: United States of America / Yemen: Secret Detention in CIA "Black Sites" 'The goal of the network is not just to hold terrorist suspects and their supporters, but to collect intelligence through long-term interrogation, free from any legal restrictions or judicial oversight. The bulk of the work is carried out at facilities under US military control in Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay in Cuba and Iraq, which together hold at least 11,000 people.6 Most of them were detained in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, but others were transferred from countries including Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Gambia, Indonesia, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Libya, Pakistan, Macedonia, Malaysia, Sudan, Tanzania, and Zambia... Long before Guantánamo opened its gates to “war on terror” detainees, however, the USA had been secretly transferring terror suspects into the custody of other states, states where physical and psychological brutality feature prominently in interrogations. Known to the US Administration as “extraordinary rendition,” and to its critics as the “outsourcing of torture”, the program has expanded considerably, reportedly under a classified directive signed by President Bush in late September 2001.8 It has been estimated that the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), often using covert airplanes leased by fictional front companies,9 has flown hundreds of war on terror suspects to countries including Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Syria.10'

This fellow is not the only such person held in U.S. Custody, as you can see in the Wikipedia page for Category:Yemeni extrajudicial prisoners of the United States

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