11.9.01

Archive for the ‘Rendition’ Category

54 Countries Helped CIA after 9/11, Report Says

In 9/11 News, Civil Liberties, Rendition, Secret Prisons, Torture on February 6, 2013 at 8:37 am

According to a report:

February 4, 2013

WASHINGTON — Some 54 countries helped facilitate the Central Intelligence Agency’s secret detention, rendition and interrogation program in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to a new human rights report that documents broad international involvement in the American campaign against Al Qaeda.

The report, to be made public Tuesday by the Open Society Justice Initiative, a rights advocacy group, is the most detailed external account of other countries’ assistance to the United States, including things like permitting the C.I.A. to run secret interrogation prisons on their soil and allowing the agency to use their airports for refueling while moving prisoners around the world.

The report identifies 136 people who had been held or transferred by the C.I.A., the largest list compiled to date, and describes what is known about when and where they were held. It adds new detail to what is known about the handling of both dedicated Qaeda operatives and innocent people caught up by accident in the global machinery of counterterrorism.

Some of the harsh interrogation methods the C.I.A. used on prisoners under President George W. Bush have been widely denounced as torture, including by President Obama, who banned such techniques. In addition, some prisoners subjected to extraordinary rendition — transferred from one country to another without any legal process — were sent to countries where torture is standard practice.

Such operations remain the subject of fierce debate, with former Bush administration officials asserting that they were necessary to keep the country safe and critics saying the brutal interrogation techniques were illegal and ineffective. The debate has been renewed most recently with the release of the movie “Zero Dark Thirty,” which portrays the use of torture in the hunt for Osama bin Laden, though intelligence officials deny that was the case.

When he took office in 2009, Mr. Obama rejected calls for a national commission to investigate such practices, saying he wanted to look forward and not back. The Senate Intelligence Committee recently completed a 6,000-page study of the C.I.A. detention and interrogation program, but it remains classified, and it is uncertain whether and when it might be even partially released.

Amrit Singh, the author of the Open Society report, “Globalizing Torture,” said she had found evidence that 25 countries in Europe, 14 in Asia and 13 in Africa lent some sort of assistance to the C.I.A., in addition to Canada and Australia. They include Thailand, Romania, Poland and Lithuania, where prisoners were held, but also Denmark, which facilitated C.I.A. air operations, and Gambia, which arrested and turned over a prisoner to the agency.

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New Details on CIA Rendition Flights

In Rendition, Secret Prisons on September 1, 2011 at 1:51 pm

A dense network of private companies was integral to transportation to and from the CIA prison system, i.e. extraordinary rendition:

Case Reveals Details of C.I.A. Flights

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON (AP) — The secret airlift of terrorism suspects and American intelligence officials to CIA-operated overseas prisons via luxury jets was mounted by a hidden network of U.S. companies and coordinated by a prominent defense contractor, newly disclosed documents show.

More than 1,700 pages of court files in a business dispute between two aviation companies reveal how integral private contractors were in the government’s covert “extraordinary rendition” flights. They shuttled between Washington, foreign capitals, the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and, at times, landing points near once-secret, CIA-run overseas prisons.

The companies ranged from DynCorp, a leading government contractor that secretly oversaw the flights, to caterers that unwittingly stocked the planes with fruit platters and bottles of wine, the court files and testimony show.

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New Leak Sheds Light on Gitmo

In Civil Liberties, Guantanamo Bay, Muslims and Arabs after 9/11, Rendition, Torture on April 25, 2011 at 2:02 pm

A new leak provided to the NYTimes provides new details on Gitmo operations:

WASHINGTON — A trove of more than 700 classified military documents provides new and detailed accounts of the men who have done time at the Guantánamo Bayprison in Cuba, and offers new insight into the evidence against the 172 men still locked up there.

Military intelligence officials, in assessments of detainees written between February 2002 and January 2009, evaluated their histories and provided glimpses of the tensions between captors and captives. What began as a jury-rigged experiment after the 2001 terrorist attacks now seems like an enduring American institution, and the leaked files show why, by laying bare the patchwork and contradictory evidence that in many cases would never have stood up in criminal court or a military tribunal.

The documents meticulously record the detainees’ “pocket litter” when they were captured: a bus ticket to Kabul, a fake passport and forged student ID, a restaurant receipt, even a poem. They list the prisoners’ illnesses — hepatitis, gout, tuberculosis, depression. They note their serial interrogations, enumerating — even after six or more years of relentless questioning — remaining “areas of potential exploitation.” They describe inmates’ infractions — punching guards, tearing apart shower shoes, shouting across cellblocks. And, as analysts try to bolster the case for continued incarceration, they record years of detainees’ comments about one another.

The secret documents, made available to The New York Times and several other news organizations, reveal that most of the 172 remaining prisoners have been rated as a “high risk” of posing a threat to the United States and its allies if released without adequate rehabilitation and supervision. But they also show that an even larger number of the prisoners who have left Cuba — about a third of the 600 already transferred to other countries — were also designated “high risk” before they were freed or passed to the custody of other governments.

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Tapes of 9/11 Co-Conspirator Ramzi Binalshibh Interrogated in a Secret Prison “Found Under a Desk”

In al Qaeda, Rendition, Secret Prisons on August 17, 2010 at 2:04 pm

In an unbelievable — really, unbelievable — turn of events, one of the 92 tapes the CIA destroyed of interrogations in secret prisons was reportedly found “under a desk” at the CIA.

The CIA has tapes of 9/11 plotter Ramzi Binalshibh being interrogated in a secret overseas prison. Discovered under a desk, the recordings could provide an unparalleled look at how foreign governments aided the U.S. in holding and questioning suspected terrorists. The two videotapes and one audiotape are believed to be the only remaining recordings made within the clandestine prison system.The tapes depict Binalshibh’s interrogation sessions at a Moroccan-run facility the CIA used near Rabat in 2002, several current and former U.S. officials told The Associated Press. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because the recordings remain a closely guarded secret.

When the CIA destroyed its cache of 92 videos of two other al-Qaida operatives, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Nashiri, being waterboarded in 2005, officials believed they had wiped away all of the agency’s interrogation footage. But in 2007, a staffer discovered a box tucked under a desk in the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center and pulled out the Binalshibh tapes.

A Justice Department prosecutor who is already investigating whether destroying the Zubaydah and al-Nashiri tapes was illegal is now also probing why the Binalshibh tapes were never disclosed. Twice, the government told a federal judge they did not exist.

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The Torture of Maher Arar

In Civil Liberties, Rendition, Torture on January 10, 2010 at 9:32 pm

From the New York Review of Books:

In the fall of 2002, Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen on his way home from Tunisia, was pulled out of line by US officials while changing planes at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport. He was locked up for twelve days, much of that time incommunicado, and harshly interrogated. When he was finally allowed to make a phone call, after a week in captivity, he called his mother in Canada, who found him a lawyer.

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Italians Convict Americans in Rendition Case

In Rendition on November 5, 2009 at 9:36 am

An Italian court convicted 23 Americans in absentia for their role in the kidnapping and rendition of a Muslim cleric suspected of terrorism:

MILAN — In a landmark ruling, an Italian judge on Wednesday convicted a base chief for the Central Intelligence Agency and 22 other Americans, almost all C.I.A. operatives, of kidnapping a Muslim cleric from the streets of Milan in 2003.  The case was a huge symbolic victory for Italian prosecutors, who drew the first convictions involving the American practice of rendition, in which terrorism suspects are captured in one country and taken for questioning in another, often one more open to coercive interrogation techniques.

Critics of the Bush administration have long hailed the case as a repudiation of the tactics it used to fight terrorism. And the fact that Italy would actually convict intelligence agents of an allied country was seen as a bold move that could set a precedent in other cases.  Still, the convictions may have little practical effect. They do not seem to change the close relations between the United States and Italy. Nor did they reveal whether the government of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi had approved the kidnapping. And it seemed highly unlikely that anyone, Italian or American, would spend any time in prison.

At the time of his abduction, Mr. Nasr was under surveillance by the Italian authorities, who suspected him of preaching violence from his Milan mosque and recruiting militants to send to Iraq in anticipation of the American invasion. He was missing for a year, finally resurfacing in Egypt, where he called his wife in Italy to say he had been tortured. The phone call was enough to activate Italian prosecutors, who are required to investigate if there is the possibility of a crime. Prosecutors were able to reconstruct his disappearance using cellphone records traced to the American agents. The operatives used false names but left a paper trail of unencrypted cellphone records and credit card bills at luxury hotels in Milan.

Court-appointed lawyers for several of the American defendants assert that prosecutors never adequately established their clients’ identities. They said they would appeal the ruling. “The C.I.A. has not commented on any of the allegations surrounding Abu Omar,” said Paul Gimigliano, a C.I.A. spokesman. The Italian government has denied involvement. Through a spokesman, it declined to comment on Wednesday.

In June, Il Giornale, a newspaper owned by the brother of Mr. Berlusconi, published an interview that it said it had conducted via Skype with Mr. Lady, the former C.I.A. base chief in Milan, whose whereabouts are unknown. In the interview, he said of Abu Omar’s abduction: “Of course it was an illegal operation. But that’s our job. We’re at war against terrorism.”

 

Obama Administration to Continue Rendition Flights

In Civil Liberties, Guantanamo Bay, Rendition, Secret Prisons, Torture on August 25, 2009 at 11:23 am

Promising strict supervision, the Obama administration will continue rendition of detainees to third country parties:

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration will continue the Bush administration’s practice of sending terrorism suspects to third countries for detention and interrogation, but pledges to closely monitor their treatment to ensure that they are not tortured, administration officials said Monday.

The announcement, by President Obama’s Interrogation and Transfer Policy Task Force, seemed intended in part to offset the impact of the release on Monday of a long-withheld report by the C.I.A. inspector general, written in 2004, that offered new details about the brutal tactics used by the C.I.A. in interrogating terrorism detainees.

Though the Obama administration previously signaled that it would continue the use of renditions, some civil liberties groups were disappointed because, as a presidential candidate, Mr. Obama had strongly suggested he might end the practice. In an article in Foreign Affairs in the summer of 2007, Mr. Obama wrote, “To build a better, freer world, we must first behave in ways that reflect the decency and aspirations of the American people.”

Mr. Obama continued, “This means ending the practices of shipping away prisoners in the dead of night to be tortured in far-off countries, of detaining thousands without charge or trial, of maintaining a network of secret prisons to jail people beyond the reach of the law.” In January, the president ordered secret prisons run by the C.I.A. to be shut down.

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How The Secret Prisons in Europe Were Built

In Rendition, Secret Prisons, Torture on August 13, 2009 at 9:35 am

A profile of Kyle D. Foggo:

In March 2003, two C.I.A. officials surprised Kyle D. Foggo, then the chief of the agency’s main European supply base, with an unusual request. They wanted his help building secret prisons to hold some of the world’s most threatening terrorists. Mr. Foggo, nicknamed Dusty, was known inside the agency as a cigar-waving, bourbon-drinking operator, someone who could get a cargo plane flying anywhere in the world or quickly obtain weapons, food, money — whatever the C.I.A. needed. His unit in Frankfurt, Germany, was strained by the spy agency’s operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, but Mr. Foggo agreed to the assignment.

“It was too sensitive to be handled by headquarters,” he said in an interview. “I was proud to help my nation.”

With that, Mr. Foggo went on to oversee construction of three detention centers, each built to house about a half-dozen detainees, according to former intelligence officials and others briefed on the matter. One jail was a renovated building on a busy street in Bucharest, Romania, the officials disclosed. Another was a steel-beam structure at a remote site in Morocco that was apparently never used. The third, another remodeling project, was outside another former Eastern bloc city. They were designed to appear identical, so prisoners would be disoriented and not know where they were if they were shuttled back and forth. They were kept in isolated cells.

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Island of Shame

In Rendition on May 11, 2009 at 8:49 am

A new book details the once-secret history of the U.S. base on Diego Garcia, turned into a hub for Bush administration-era CIA rendition flights:

Island of Shame: The Secret History of the US Military Base on Diego Garcia by David Vine. Princeton University Press

It is a story of an old empire passing the torch to the new, Britain handing over one of its furthest-flung territories to the United States and expelling the native inhabitants to make way for the construction of a military base that has since become central to US control of the Indian Ocean and domination of the Persian Gulf. It is the tale of how a remote island idyll was simply emptied of its people, allowing for the creation of a place so secret that no journalist has been allowed to visit, a key staging post in George W. Bush’s war on terror, both the launch pad for the B-1s, B-2 “stealth” bombers, and B-52s that pounded Afghanistan and Iraq and a crucial node in the CIA’s rendition system, a “black site” through which at least two high-value suspected terrorists were spirited, far from the prying eyes of international law.

Justice Department Releases CIA Interrogation Memos: Obama Vows Not to Prosecute CIA Operatives

In Rendition, Torture on April 17, 2009 at 9:13 am

Justice Department releases CIA interrogation memos while President Obama confirms that he will not seek prosecution for CIA operatives who engaged in these interrogation techniques:

The Justice Department on Thursday made public detailed memos describing brutal interrogation techniques used by the Central Intelligence Agency, as President Obama sought to reassure the agency that the C.I.A. operatives involved would not be prosecuted. 

In dozens of pages of dispassionate legal prose, the methods approved by the Bush administration for extracting information from senior operatives of Al Qaeda are spelled out in careful detail — like keeping detainees awake for up to 11 straight days, placing them in a dark, cramped box or putting insects into the box to exploit their fears.  The interrogation methods were authorized beginning in 2002, and some were used as late as 2005 in the C.I.A.’s secret overseas prisons. The techniques were among the Bush administration’s most closely guarded secrets, and the documents released Thursday afternoon were the most comprehensive public accounting to date of the program.

Mr. Obama condemned what he called a “dark and painful chapter in our history” and said that the interrogation techniques would never be used again. But he also repeated his opposition to a lengthy inquiry into the program, saying that “nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past.”

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