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Secret prisons in the USA: A current controversy

Charleston Voice  International organizations and human rights activists denounce the United States for maintaining secret prisons in various countries, where prisoners of the so-called war against terrorism are abused and tortured.

They are the subject of the controversial issue of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) prisons recently uncovered, after reviewing a case statement which dates from 2002 and 2003, such as a denunciation against such prisons in Poland.

Specialists are of the opinion that the transmission of the case by the Attorney from Warsaw to Krakow is an attempt by the Polish authorities to attenuate the effects of a scandal that is gaining ground, commented the newspaper The Voice of Russia.

Thus, a delegation headed by the Chairman of the Committee on Civil Liberties and Interior Affairs of the European Parliament, Juan Fernández-López Aguilar, demanded an inquiry last April about the secret prisons in Lithuania, recognized by the Government in October 2011.

This year, it was learned that the alleged al-Qaeda member, Abu Zubaydah, arrested and a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, 10 years ago, was moved from Morocco to Jordan via a Lithuanian prison, in the so-called CIA “secret flights,” a publication reported.

The euro deputies also dialogued with representatives of the Lithuanian Institute of Observation of Human Rights and the Civil Air Administration of the country for data on the alleged connivance of that Executive to support the “extraordinary rendition program,” initiated in 2001 by the administration of George W. Bush.

American civil servants exerted strong pressure so that arrest warrants did not apply against CIA officials linked to the kidnapping of a German citizen mistakenly classified as a terrorist in 2003, revealed the site Wikileaks.

John M. Koenig, of the U.S. mission in Berlin, threatened the Teutonic government for  “carefully measuring each step of their involvement in their relationship with the United States,” in the case of Khaled Masri, a German of Lebanese descent.

Masri said that he was detained on the border with Macedonia, sent to a secret prison and tortured before it was recognized that it was a mistake and they freed him, enumerated the New York Times.

However, Washington also employed war ships from the Navy to locate defendants far away from judicial court procedures established for their detention.

The association of British Jurists Reprieve, revealed in detail the secret CIA flights, in a report produced in 2009, explaining that the White House would have chosen to escape any legal action by installing secret prisons in warships that cross international waters.

Identified were at least 17 floating prisons, including the USS Ashland, USS Bataan and USS Peleliu, amphibious assault ships that have the particularity of having easy prison cells, the British newspaper, The Guardian, pointed out.

Since 2001, more than 80,000 people have passed through these prisons, it said.

The scandal of secret CIA prisons exploded in February 2005, after several revelations in the Washington Post.

Data published by the newspaper confirmed that the CIA hid the most dangerous al-Qaeda terrorists in what are called Black Sites (Dark Places) located in Eastern Europe, such as Lithuania, Poland and Romania, and the others listed as “allies.”

In these prisons, the inmates were subjected to psychological pressure and torture, such as a mock drowning, sleep deprivation and other interrogation methods banned by the UN Convention on Human Rights, the newspaper added.

An expert from the International Institute of Humanitarian Research Policy of Poland, Vladimir Bruter, explained that Washington used its allies in order to not violate the law on their own territory.

The existence of U.S. prisons in several countries is illegal, and it is clear that it will reverberate negatively on President Barack Obama, who aspires for reelection in approximately six months, warned Bruter.

Despite being an election promise, the Democratic administration has failed to close the controversial prison at Guantanamo, where like in Abu Ghraib (Iraq) and Bagram (Afghanistan), prisoners were tortured, as seen in photos that show the vexations that sparked public criticism in 2006.

During his tenure, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld authorized the CIA and the military in Iraq to employ “hard” and “precise” interrogation techniques on suspects arrested after the attacks of September 11, 2001.

He also gave the green light, with the connivance of higher ups in positions in the administration of George W. Bush, for the installation of secret prisons around the world.

Prensa Latina

Translated from the Portuguese version by:
Lisa Karpova

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