Skip

Secret world of US jails
June 14, 2004 2:11 PM   Subscribe

Secret world of US jails The United States government, in conjunction with key allies, is running an 'invisible' network of prisons and detention centres into which thousands of suspects have disappeared without trace since the 'war on terror' began. In the past three years, thousands of alleged militants have been transferred around the world by American, Arab and Far Eastern security services, often in secret operations that by-pass extradition laws. The astonishing traffic has seen many, including British citizens, sent from the West to countries where they can be tortured to extract information. Anything learnt is passed on to the US and, in some cases, reaches British intelligence.
posted by Postroad (34 comments total)

 
Too bad the Guardian neglected to cite any kind of credible evidence.
posted by mischief at 2:36 PM on June 14, 2004




Seek help.
posted by Rob1855 at 2:53 PM on June 14, 2004


mischief: Why bother citing credible evidence? It never stopped Bush, Blair and Powell, after all. Why are you holding a newspaper to a higher standard than the leaders of the free World? (Yes, I'm kidding... more or less)
posted by kaemaril at 2:56 PM on June 14, 2004


It amazes me that the response to a Guardian and a CBC story with over two years of coverage on a serious human-rights issue is a link to a tin-foil-hat site. What the fuck is wrong with people?
posted by Jairus at 3:03 PM on June 14, 2004


Well, human rights only apply to the right kind of humans, you know.
posted by signal at 3:14 PM on June 14, 2004


simple. Rob1855 is the new ParisParamus.
posted by quonsar at 3:15 PM on June 14, 2004


seriously, this shit has to stop. bush etal must go. to prison, preferably.
posted by quonsar at 3:17 PM on June 14, 2004


Purely on legal grounds, no previous case has ever been as strong.
posted by y2karl at 3:21 PM on June 14, 2004


Why bother citing credible evidence? : To sway the fencesitters who currently give Bush Inc. the benefit of the doubt.
posted by mischief at 3:32 PM on June 14, 2004


seriously, this shit has to stop. bush etal must go. to prison, preferably.

So the next guy/gal can just pick up where they left off. This is the way of the world quonsar. Bush didn't invent this kind of stuff.
posted by Witty at 3:36 PM on June 14, 2004


Actually, he has gone much farther than anyone before him. Nixon and crew in Watergate were grade school crossing guards gone bad in comparison.
posted by y2karl at 3:59 PM on June 14, 2004


Too bad more thugs aren't being jailed. Like the entire governments of Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and, well, you know...
posted by ParisParamus at 4:05 PM on June 14, 2004


Too bad more thugs aren't being jailed. Like the entire governments of Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and, well, you know...

Yes, it is too bad. But we can set an example by jailing our own thugs.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 4:11 PM on June 14, 2004


We British need all the intelligence we can get, duh...
posted by terrymiles at 4:23 PM on June 14, 2004


I'm not sure which is more disturbing - the bullshit described in the article, or the bullshit from some deluded MeFites who appear to believe the bullshit is OK... I vote we pack up Witty, PP, et. al. and turn them over to the Syrians or the Saudis for a little taste. After all, they're as guilty as those described in the article, so they'd have nothing to worry about, right?
posted by JollyWanker at 4:23 PM on June 14, 2004


and, well, you know...

Israel? Are you alluding to Israel?
posted by mr_roboto at 4:40 PM on June 14, 2004


Like the entire governments of Syria, Saudi Arabia

Except that the Saudis were smart enough to buy an American president, so they won't be going to jail anytime soon.
posted by homunculus at 5:05 PM on June 14, 2004


It amazes me that the response to a Guardian and a CBC story with over two years of coverage on a serious human-rights issue is a link to a tin-foil-hat site. What the fuck is wrong with people?

I feel for those people. I do. after all they've been electronically fellating each other for months in late 2002 - early 2003 thinking about the impending glorious liberation of Iraq and look what they happened to their neocon wet dream -- a disaster of a war that, as of today, has cost 800+ dead GI's, several hundred billion dollars and counting (and a desperately ballooning decifit) , the Abu Ghraib photos humiliation that made US right winger's talk of "moral clarity" a sad laughinstock in front of the world.
not to mention those phantom wmd's. or, you know, the Al Qaeda sleeper cells devoting their time to the next 9-11, only worse, because this time they'll have to upstage Mohammed Atta and his team so they're clearly taking their time to plan everything really well

these are bad, bad times for US rightwingers. they've been consistently wrong on too many thing for too long, now. even their dutiful servants, those non-USian political allies, are losing elections like clockwork, falling one by one thanks to the Mesopotamian cakewalk they had been promised by Dick Cheney and his Feith-based Pentagon boys. Aznar... Blair... Berlusconi... tick ... tick... tick..

no wonder the right wingers are pissed off. at this point they can only scream "America-hater" or "tinfoil hat". they might as well be screaming in tongues.
it all sounds like squealing anyway, no matter how hard they try to wrap themselves in the flag of the country whose revolutionary ideals of equal rights and due process they have helped dishonor.

one only hopes they have at least taken the time to thoroughly clean their keyboards
posted by matteo at 5:09 PM on June 14, 2004


Quite right. We could have left Saddam Hussein to torture his own people, because it doesn't affect us anyway. It's better to keep your nose out of other peoples' business and wall yourself in to your own country. Hear hear!
posted by wackybrit at 5:34 PM on June 14, 2004


OK, my turn.... I gotta come up with an anti-war cliche....

Uh..

No War For Oil!

Alright! Who's next? It's a pro-war turn... May I suggest using the word "appeasement"?
posted by mr_roboto at 5:41 PM on June 14, 2004


Quite right. We could have left Saddam Hussein to torture his own people, because it doesn't affect us anyway.

It seems that we wanted to torture people too, why let Saddam have all the fun!
posted by elwoodwiles at 5:42 PM on June 14, 2004


matteo... what do you think about "right wingers"?
posted by Witty at 5:53 PM on June 14, 2004


I get the feeling that this torture policy isnt really aimed at obtaining information...

They have to know by now that torture will yield false information, so why do they keep on doing it?

I think it's for intimidation purposes... as if the message is if you oppose us, and we capture you, you will suffer.
posted by titboy at 5:57 PM on June 14, 2004


It's a beauty of human nature how can a serious sounding subject like politics be so hilarious and so pointless at the same time :-) More soundbites please!
posted by wackybrit at 6:35 PM on June 14, 2004


the response to a Guardian and a CBC story with over two years of coverage on a serious human-rights issue is a link to a tin-foil-hat site
How about because the Guardian story is nothing but crying wolf, all bark and no bite.
posted by mischief at 6:40 PM on June 14, 2004


mischief: How is publishing the names and histories of people who've been tortured, and the details of the circumstances that allow them to be tortured, in a story about said torturous circumstances 'crying wolf'?
posted by Jairus at 6:50 PM on June 14, 2004


"Names and histories" are still nothing more than allegations. Where is the factual/forensic evidence? Something incontrovertible?

This story is fine for preaching to the choir, but for making converts of the unconvinced, this story is shit.
posted by mischief at 7:41 PM on June 14, 2004


Here's an interesting related passage from the link in the post just above this:

There is already ample evidence that the abusive treatment of Iraqi prisoners proceeded from systematic policy at some level. With U.S. forces facing a rising insurgency and a severe lack of intelligence infrastructure there, do you think Bush policymakers decided that the situation required a kind of dragnet interrogation system? That in order to deal with the problem they had to round up anybody remotely suspicious and "take the gloves off" -- as Rumsfeld ordered done with American Taliban John Walker Lindh -- in order to figure out who and where the enemy was?

Well, we know Gen. [Geoffrey D.] Miller went from Guantánamo to Iraq [last August] in order to beef up the whole intelligence gathering apparatus so that we could try to begin to understand who we were fighting there. For a long time the administration had been claiming we were fighting Baathists and dead-enders, or foreign terrorists pouring in across Iraq's borders. Part of the reason for those claims was that politically that's what was needed to explain the continuing resistance. It was also clear that we didn't really know who we were fighting.

Fallujah is a good example: The administration has never given a clear answer as to who we've been fighting there. Our behavior suggests that when we finally decided to back off, we had concluded that whoever it was didn't pose a direct threat to us. It was a resistance to us -- but we were perfectly prepared to live with it. We turned it over to an Iraqi officer and said, "Hey, you deal with this." They didn't have to shoot all the Iraqi insurgents, they reached an agreement and the fighting appeared suddenly to just stop.

How would you connect that to the administration's broader interrogation policy?

I think the attempts at Abu Ghraib -- and in many other places, I'm sure -- to extract information about what was happening on the ground were based on a real need. But the military had at least one success that suggested how they might do it correctly: tracking down Saddam Hussein.

As far as I understand it, that was essentially a bookkeeping success. They really paid attention to detail, kept very good files and eventually identified and located everybody who was connected to Saddam, to 10 degrees of separation. They realized that somebody would tell somebody else in that network where he was. So that kind of complete encompassing of the subject appears to have been effective.

But the notion that Abu Ghraib prison was chaotic and out of control, that's what people say who don't want to take responsibility for it. I don't believe that for a second. Rumsfeld wouldn't sit down and say, "The best way is to photograph these guys pretending to masturbate," but I think he did create the circumstances and the pressure for that kind of thing -- in effect issued blanket permission for them to turn up the heat.

Then you have to ask who actually instructed U.S. interrogators in Arab psychology and suggested this would be a good way to get Arabs to feel powerless and vulnerable and tell you what you want to know. My guess is the people who've had the most experience in that, namely the Israelis, who've been at war with Arabs for decades, must've cooperated with us on a method. Of course, that's pure speculation on my part.

Clearly this kind of treatment shatters the U.S. relationship to the Geneva Accords, not to mention the professed morality of our mission. What do you make of the latest Pentagon memo to come to light, which said the president could ignore the anti-torture laws?

The answer seems pretty clear to me. The U.S. government has people who specialize in interrogation, and they have a long list of things they can't do. But when you're feeling desperate, you simply take some of the things from list B, what you're not allowed to do, and you move them over to list A, the things you are allowed to do.

posted by y2karl at 7:46 PM on June 14, 2004


Well, it seems that torture was not always an All-American affair:

Man beaten so long and so severely his kidneys failed

A detailed medical file passed to The Independent on Sunday has revealed that an Iraqi civilian was so severely beaten about the body by British troops that it caused his kidneys to fail.

British hospital consultants have revealed that medical records for Kifah Talah, 44, an engineer arrested last September, showed that his kidney damage was due to a sustained and prolonged physical assault all over his body. Doctors say the beatings led to the massive release of a toxic enzyme into his blood stream that overloaded his kidneys, causing them to fail, and left him needing kidney dialysis for life.

Mr Talah's case - first revealed by the IoS earlier this year - is one of the most notorious to come out of a now infamous raid on a hotel near Basra by a Queen's Lancashire Regiment unit on 13 September last year, in a search for an illegal weapons cache...

An expert analysis of Mr Talah's medical notes is expected to be given to the High Court, with witness statements from all six men, for a hearing next month into allegations that British troops illegally killed more than 20 Iraqi civilians, including two children. Phil Shiner, lawyer behind the court hearing, said: "His records are highly significant because they show he was beaten black and blue."

Last week, the armed forces minister, Adam Ingram, revealed that the Army and RAF police had investigated 75 complaints of deaths in custody, deaths through shootings, and cases of alleged ill-treatment - far more than previously acknowledged. His admissions have led to further pressure for independent investigations into the UK's treatment of Iraqi detainees.

posted by y2karl at 9:12 PM on June 14, 2004


Quite right. We could have left Saddam Hussein to torture his own people, because it doesn't affect us anyway. It's better to keep your nose out of other peoples' business and wall yourself in to your own country. Hear hear!

Well at least selectively it seems eh? Why not all the other insert melodramatic adjectives here such as evil, devilish, murderous, godless, etc. dictators the world over? Or more to the point why Saddam?

And as for walling yourself into your own country, the United States has done quite well in erecting barriers of late.
posted by juiceCake at 5:03 AM on June 15, 2004


I hear that things are not going so well in the Sudan.

So when's the US invasion ?
posted by troutfishing at 6:08 AM on June 15, 2004


"We don't kick the (expletive) out of them. We send them to other countries so they can kick the (expletive) out of them."
- Washington Post, December 2002

The perils of 'extreme rendering'


Outsourcing torture


If you're going to do bad things, do them far away from home

... where was—and is—American outrage over so-called "renditions," in which the U.S. places individuals in the hands of the secret police of nations notorious for torture and human rights abuses, outliers like Pakistan, Syria, and Egypt? Is it less offensive when U.S. intelligence operatives supply the questions while others apply their ancient methods to secure the answers?

indeed!

If administration officials have decided that moderate physical pressure -- once an abuse -- is now to be the norm in terrorism cases, the American people ought to know and ought to be able to respond through their representatives and through individual and organizational voices. It shouldn't be the administration's unilateral call.

amen!
posted by mrgrimm at 11:06 AM on June 15, 2004


So, when does it become okay to torture criminals here in the US? Because I bet there's a whole bunch of overzealous, overaggressive cops out there just salivating at having the opportunity to baton a bunch of pot-smokin' hippies into submission. Oh yes, I know they're there.

"Taking the gloves off" out there has a pretty good chance of them getting taken off here too.

Although I agree that this one Guardian story is probably a bit thin to base full-on outrage upon, if these allegations are true and get stronger support from other independent sources, this WILL be something to be outraged about and should reflect more mistrust and wrath on the administration.

Letting other people do your evil dirtywork for you, now THAT is downright un-American.
posted by zoogleplex at 11:47 AM on June 15, 2004


« Older Agent Orange   |   A Temporary Coup Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post