Posts Tagged ‘Khaled El-Masri’

USA: Berlin sollte bei Menschen- und Völkerrechtsverstößen wegsehen

Dienstag, November 30th, 2010

“USA übten im Fall El Masri Druck auf Berlin aus

(…) Anfang 2007 erließ das Amtsgericht München Haftbefehle gegen zehn CIA-Mitarbeiter, die verdächtigt werden, an El Masris Verschleppung beteiligt gewesen zu sein. Das Bundesjustizministerium schrieb die US-Geheimdienstler zur internationalen Fahndung aus. Vor dieser Entscheidung kam es offenbar zu dem Gespräch, dessen Zusammenfassung durch die US-Botschaft jetzt von Wikileaks offengelegt wurde. Ein US-Diplomat warnte demnach das Bundeskanzleramt massiv vor einem solchen Schritt. (…)”

Weiterlesen…

(Quelle: Augsburger Allgmeine.)

Siehe auch:

U.S. Pressured Germany Not To Prosecute CIA Officers For Torture And Rendition
How US ambassador to Germany, William R. Timken Jr., tried to obstruct justice for Khaled al-Masri
European Court to Review Macedonia’s Role in El-Masri’s Rendition

USA / Kanada: Keine Gerechtigkeit für Folteropfer Maher Arar

Samstag, Juni 26th, 2010

“Grave Injustice: Maher Arar and Unaccountable America

By Lisa Hajjar

(Lisa Hajjar is associate professor of sociology at the University of California-Santa Barbara and an editor of Middle East Report.)

On June 14, the Supreme Court buried the prospect of justice for Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen of Syrian origin who was ‘extraordinarily rendered’ by the United States (via Jordan) to Syria in 2002. Arar was suing the US officials who authorized his secret transfer, without charge, to a country infamous for torture. With the justices’ 22-word statement, the case of Arar v. Ashcroft exited the American legal system and entered the annals of American legal history under the category ‘grave injustice.’ Alphabetically, Arar precedes Dred Scott v. Sanford, which upheld slavery, and Korematsu v. United States, which upheld the internment of Japanese Americans. In this case, however, the grave is literal: Arar spent ten months of his year in Syrian custody confined in what he describes as ‘an underground grave.’

Although Arar v. Ashcroft was a product of the Bush administration’s torture policy, the Supreme Court’s rejection of Arar’s petition was a victory for the Obama administration, which had sought that outcome. In the government’s motion, following the obligatory pieties that the US does not countenance torture, Deputy Solicitor General Neal Katyal argued that adjudication would require the courts to ‘review sensitive intergovernmental communications, second-guess whether Syrian officials were credible enough for United States officials to rely on them…as well as the motives and sincerity of United States officials who concluded that petitioner could be removed to Syria.’[1] The move to quash this suit is the latest evidence that when President Barack Obama says he wants to ‘look forward, not backward,’ he means that he wants to keep embarrassing information about serious official misconduct in the ‘war on terror’ and criminal disregard for the law out of the public domain. The courts have been receptive to the Bush-Obama arguments that such cases would damage national security and foreign relations, with majorities contending that, no matter how egregious the allegations or how abundant the evidence of torture, they are non-justiciable.

There is a harmony among the three branches of government in the shared and cooperative unwillingness to hold US officials accountable for their roles in perpetrating or abetting grave breaches of law. As long as the accused are Americans, the ‘new normal’ is impunity for torture. Ironically, however, US courts are still amenable to hearing and deciding cases against officials who perpetrate or abet torture for foreign regimes, like Haiti’s Emmanuel Constant and Liberia’s Charles Taylor, who were recently and successfully sued by their victims in America.

Transit Into Darkness

Arar’s ordeal began on September 26, 2002, while he was changing planes at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on his way back to Canada from Tunisia, where he had been visiting his wife’s family. Arar traveled frequently to the US and in April 2002 had renewed his American work permit because he did consulting for a Boston-based company. On this occasion, he was detained, then moved to a high-security section of the airport and held incommunicado. He was questioned about al-Qaeda and about his relations with other Canadian Muslims, as well as his views on Iraq and Palestine. At one point, he was shown a copy of his 1997 rental agreement that listed Abdullah Almalki, another Syrian Canadian engineer, as an emergency reference.[2]

Since the late 1990s, unbeknownst to Arar, Almalki had been under surveillance by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) as part of a broad investigation into possible terrorist activities among Muslims in Toronto and Ottawa. Almalki had aroused suspicion because, in the early 1990s, he worked in Pakistan and Afghanistan for a Canadian charity, Human Concern International, whose regional director was Egyptian-born Canadian Ahmad Said Khadr. In 1994, Almalki quit the job after a dispute with Khadr and returned to Canada. Khadr had a long history of both charitable work and militancy in Afghanistan. In January 2001, his name was added to a UN list of people who support terrorism associated with Osama bin Laden. (Khadr was killed by the Pakistani army in a firefight in Waziristan in October 2003. His son Omar was captured by US forces in Afghanistan in 2002 when he was 15 years old, and he was transported to Guantánamo Bay in 2003, where he remains to this day facing trial before a military commission.)

Arar had become a ‘person of interest’ to the Mounties on October 12, 2001, when he met Almalki at a shawarma restaurant in Ottawa where they discussed obstetricians (Arar’s wife was pregnant with her first child) and then bought an ink cartridge together. The agents spying on Almalki found it suspicious that the two men spent some time that rainy day talking outside. Arar was added to the list of Canadians deemed to merit security scrutiny. In February 2002, an FBI agent met with his Canadian counterparts to exchange information about their respective post-September 11 investigations, and it is possible that a copy of Arar’s rental lease was turned over at this time.

Under interrogation at JFK, Arar realized that the Americans were not about to concede their mistake in suspecting that he was a member of some al-Qaeda sleeper cell. He was told that he would be deported — ‘removed,’ the agents said. Although the Mounties had been the source of the tip that he was wanted for questioning, there was no truth to the US claim that Canada was unwilling to admit him back into the country. If Canada was not an option, Arar pleaded to be sent back to Tunisia or to Switzerland, through which he had also transited. Anywhere but his native Syria, where he feared he would be tortured.

Arar’s family, frantic over his disappearance, hired a lawyer. She was permitted to meet with him ten days into his US detention. David Cole, one of the attorneys from the Center for Constitutional Rights who represented Arar in his civil suit, explains what happened following that Saturday afternoon meeting:

[T]he government hastily scheduled an extraordinary hearing for the next night — Sunday evening — and only ‘notified’ Arar’s lawyer by leaving a voicemail on her office answering machine that Sunday afternoon. They then falsely told Arar that the lawyer had declined to participate, and questioned him for six hours, until 3 am Monday. When Arar’s lawyer retrieved the voicemail message later that Monday morning, she immediately called the Immigration and Naturalization Service. They told her falsely that Arar was being moved to New Jersey, and that she could contact him there the next day. In fact, he remained in New York until late that night, when he was put on a federally chartered jet and spirited out of the country. US officials never informed Arar’s lawyer that he had been deported, much less that he had been delivered to Syrian security forces.[3]

The US officials responsible for deciding Arar’s fate must have been well aware of the Syrian security services’ propensity for torture, which is documented in annual State Department reports. By sending Arar to Syria, they violated the customary international law principle of non-refoulement, which categorically prohibits any government from transferring a person to a country where there are ‘substantial grounds for believing’ that he or she will be tortured. The officials chose to ignore an immigration review panel that concluded that Arar would be tortured if sent to Syria. More cynically, the same month that Arar was arrested, the Bush administration registered its opposition to the Syrian Accountability Act, contending that this draft legislation ‘ties its hands at a very important moment.’ Because the officials who rendered Arar to Syria never had to answer for their actions in a US court of law, the allegation that he was sent there for the purpose of torture stands legally uncontested. As legal expert Scott Horton has written, the fact that the Syrian interrogators asked Arar the same questions that the Americans had asked and were in regular contact with Washington about his interrogation confirms the ‘prima facie conspiracy to torture.’

Web of Tortured Lies

Arar’s torture began the day after he arrived in Syria. The beatings were ferocious, and on the third day, as he has recounted, ‘I lost all my strength, and I told them what they wanted to hear.’ He falsely confessed that he had trained at an al-Qaeda camp in Afghanistan. In fact, Arar has never been to Afghanistan. But this allegation, forwarded from Washington, emanated from a broader web of tortured false confessions by other prisoners.

One of the people who had falsely named Arar as an al-Qaeda operative was Ahmad Abou El Maati, a Kuwaiti-born Canadian citizen.[4] El Maati had traveled to Syria on November 12, 2001 to marry his Syrian fiancée and was arrested at the Damascus airport. He was taken to military intelligence’s Palestine Branch, a complex notorious as Syria’s premier torture site. Between rounds of interrogation that involved beatings with cables, dousings with ice water and threats to rape his fiancée, he was kept in one of the grave-like cells in the complex. His interrogators wanted El Maati to confess that he had seen Almalki and Arar in Afghanistan, and that he and his brother Amr were al-Qaeda operatives who were planning to bomb the US embassy in Ottawa. Fearing that the Syrians might turn him over to the US, he falsely confessed verbally that he had planned to bomb the Canadian parliament building.

But when El Maati was forced to write his confession, he instead wrote the true account of a map left by someone else in the glove compartment of a delivery truck he was driving for work and found when he was stopped at the Canadian border. That map, which included government buildings, had triggered the Mounties’ suspicions that he was part of a sleeper cell. His Syrian interrogators, angered that his written statement did not comport with the confession they wanted, brutally beat him and burned him with cigarettes. At that point he was incapable of writing anything, so the interrogators wrote a confession and forced him to sign it without allowing him to read it. In January 2002, El Maati was transferred to Egypt where he was tortured even more savagely than in Syria. When he finally met a Canadian consular official in August 2002, he relayed information about his Syrian torture and the false confession he had signed. But because Egyptians were present, he said nothing about his treatment there, except that his asthma was exacerbated by the airless cell where he was kept. In 2003, a relative who visited him in the Cairo prison told him that his fiancée’s family had annulled the marriage contract out of fear for their own safety.

There is no way of knowing with certainty how multilateral clandestine collusions in terror investigations unfold, but the failure to charge and the release of prisoners is an implicit admission of error. On January 11, 2004, El Maati was released from Egyptian custody and, after several aborted attempts, was able to leave the country and return to Canada. On May 26, in a primetime news conference, FBI Director Robert Mueller and Attorney General John Ashcroft claimed they had ‘hard’ evidence of an impending attack on the US, alluding to some information from El Maati’s false confession to the Syrians.

On May 3, 2002, Almalki traveled to Syria for the first time since emigrating as a teen in 1987 in order to visit his sick grandmother.[5] He was detained at the Damascus airport and then transferred to Palestine Branch. He, too, was questioned about other Canadians, including El Maati (who at the time was in Egyptian custody). He was subjected to falaqa (beating on the bare soles of his feet) with a heavy cable, then forced to get up and jog in place. Dousing with water intensified the pain of the beatings. He falsely confessed that he knew Osama bin Laden, concocting a story that they had met when he was working in Pakistan. He rebuffed his interrogators’ allegation that he was bin Laden’s right-hand man, but — in a fit of tortured sarcasm — admitted to being his left-hand man. But the Syrians knew that bin Laden had been in Sudan during the period when Almalki was working in Pakistan, so they beat him for lying. Interrogators later told him that on that first day, he had been lashed 1,000 times with the cable, extraordinary even by Syrian standards. He was also subjected to electric shock, the ‘German chair’ (a device resembling the medieval rack that hyper-extends the spine) and nail pulling.[6] He, too, was dispatched to the underground grave where he spent most of the next 482 days in Syrian custody. In subsequent interrogations, they began asking him about his relationship with Ahmad Khadr, which they claimed proved he was linked to al-Qaeda.

On June 12, 2002, the fortieth day of his detention, Almalki was interrogated by George Saloum, head of the investigation unit. Saloum asked very specific questions about approximately 20 Canadian Syrians, including Arar. Over the next eight months, Almalki was forced to write detailed accounts of all his business dealings and contacts, and he realized that the Syrian interrogators were drawing on information provided by the Canadians from a search of his Ottawa apartment. On July 7, a Syrian relative was permitted to meet him for 15 minutes, and told him that his situation had ‘international’ implications because the Canadians wanted him sent to Guantánamo. In mid-July the beatings intensified, and he confessed falsely that he had trained in Afghanistan. More beatings, and he said that El Maati had been at the training camp, too.

On September 26, four days after Arar was arrested at JFK, Almalki was questioned by Saloum and five other interrogators about Arar — although initially, they had the wrong spelling of Arar’s name and Almalki could not figure out who they were asking about. He was told to write down everything he knew about Arar, and threatened that he would be beaten until he needed hospitalization if he lied. Questioning about Arar continued for days. When asked if Arar had ever been to Afghanistan, Almalki said no, not to his knowledge. Saloum told him that Arar would be there soon and if Almalki had lied, he would be put in the German chair until he was paralyzed. In the early hours of October 8, Arar was boarded onto the secret rendition flight to Jordan, and then transported to Syria.

For ten days in October 2002, Arar’s and Almalki’s torture was synchronized, and each was accused of lying because the other ostensibly said something different. Almalki continued to be tortured and interrogated sporadically over the next year. On September 6, 2003, he was transported to Sidnaya prison where he found Arar, who had been there since August.

The Syrians concluded that the allegations that they had received against both men were baseless. On October 5, 2003, Arar was released to the custody of a Canadian embassy official in Damascus and flown to Ottawa the next day. Arar told his story publicly for the first time on November 4, stating that he had been with Almalki in Sidnaya and describing his wrecked condition. That day, Amnesty International issued an urgent action alert calling for Almalki’s release. With media attention escalating and questions multiplying, the Canadian Crown moved to have evidence about domestic investigations of Arar, Almalki and others sealed. On March 10, 2004, Almalki was released but ordered to remain in Syria, and was warned that if he spoke to the media, he would be putting his Syrian relatives at risk. On July 28, he was able to leave the country and return to Canada.

Justice, Canadian-Style

Arar became an iconic victim of government excess and his rendition a cause célèbre of multilateral conspiracy to torture. Canadian public outrage over his treatment, exacerbated by an RCMP insinuation to an Ottawa Citizen journalist that he was indeed an al-Qaeda terrorist, spurred the establishment of an official commission of inquiry on February 5, 2004.

The Arar Commission, headed by Judge Dennis O’Connor, was tasked with investigating and reporting on the actions of Canadian officials ‘in relation to Mr. Arar’ and recommending policy review mechanisms for the Mounties with respect to national security. Following an investigation that included interviews with over 70 officials and a review of approximately 21,500 documents,[7] the Commission released its 1,100-page report on September 18, 2006, concluding ‘categorically that there is no evidence to indicate that Mr. Arar has committed any offense or that his activities constitute a threat to the security of Canada.’ While the Commission found no evidence that Canadian officials played a direct role in the decision to detain Arar at JFK or to send him to Syria, the Mounties had erred — and violated their own policies — by providing information to the US before and after his arrest that was ‘inaccurate, portrayed him in an unfairly negative fashion and overstated his importance in the RCMP investigation.’ The head of the RCMP resigned after the Arar Commission report was released and, three months later, Canada’s public safety minister announced the initiation of separate investigations into any role officials had played in the Syrian detention and torture of three other citizens: El Maati, Almalki and Iraqi-born Muayyed Nureddin.

On January 26, 2007, Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued an official apology to Arar on behalf of the Canadian government, and announced that he would receive a $10.5 million (Canadian) settlement as compensation for his ordeal and an additional million to cover his legal fees. While no amount of money or apology can undo the effects of torture — ‘Whoever was tortured, stays tortured’[8] — the clearing of Arar’s name and reform of the policies that had contributed to his rendition to Syria were vindicating. The Canadian government had taken an appropriate step by investigating its own role in the perpetration of the crime of torture and offering redress for the victim.

Injustice, American-Style

There was no comparable move by the Bush administration to conduct an investigation, let alone hold officials accountable for the torture of Maher Arar. Indeed, at the time Arar was released from Syrian custody — half a year before the publication of the Abu Ghraib photos and the declassification of the first batch of ‘torture memos’ — the US torture policy was operating at full tilt and remained shrouded in near-total secrecy. For example, in December 2003, Khaled El Masri, a Lebanese-born German citizen, was kidnapped by the CIA from Macedonia and extraordinarily rendered to a ‘black site’ in Afghanistan where he was tortured for five months. When the CIA realized that his arrest was a case of mistaken identity, rather than apologizing or acknowledging what they had done, they dumped El Masri in a remote region of Albania, from which he eventually made it back to Germany. Binyam Mohamed, a British resident of Ethiopian origin, was arrested by the Pakistanis at the Karachi airport in April 2002 and then transferred to US custody in Afghanistan in May. In July, he was extraordinarily rendered by the CIA to Morocco where he was brutally tortured for 18 months, following which he was rendered back to Afghanistan and held in a black site. In September 2004, he was transferred to Guantánamo where he remained until his release and return to Britain in February 2009.

Arar, El Masri and Mohamed are three of the thousands of people who have been tortured by or at the behest of the US in the first decade of the twenty-first century.[9] But their names will go down in American history for their efforts to bring those responsible for their torture to account. In the face of bipartisan recalcitrance to conduct any meaningful investigation, as the Canadians had done with Arar and as the British would later do with Mohamed, these victims pursued the only option available to them in the US — civil suits. Arar’s started first.

On January 22, 2004, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed Arar v. Ashcroft in the District Court for the Eastern District of New York.[10] The defendants were US officials serving at the time of Arar’s arrest in 2002: Attorney General John Ashcroft, Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson, FBI Director Robert Mueller, Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, Commissioner for the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) James Ziglar, three other named immigration officials and ten ‘John Does’ from the FBI and INS.

The government moved to shut down the litigation by invoking the ‘state secrets’ privilege, asserting that the discovery of information about the decision making that led to Arar’s rendition to Syria would reveal sensitive intelligence gathering methods and would be harmful to US national security and foreign relations. On February 16, 2006, Judge David Trager dismissed Arar’s suit on the grounds that national security and foreign policy considerations are the purview of the executive and Congress, and even if US officials’ conduct violated treaty obligations or customary international law the courts can provide no remedy. Trager also dismissed Arar’s claims of due process violations while he was detained in the US on the grounds that, as a non-citizen who had not been ‘admitted’ into the US, he had no constitutional standing to make such claims.

Six days before the release of the fact-filled Canadian Arar Commission report and six days after President George W. Bush gave a press conference in which he confirmed the existence of CIA black sites, extraordinary renditions and the official authorization of ‘enhanced interrogation methods,’ on September 12, 2006 Arar filed a notice that he would appeal his case to the Second Circuit. His legal team filed the case on December 12. Meanwhile, despite Arar’s complete exoneration by the Canadians, the government barred him from traveling into the US in October 2007 to testify before Congress at a hearing that was examining his case and the policy of extraordinary rendition; he testified by video link. (His name remains on a no-fly list compiled under Bush and maintained under Obama.)

El Masri’s case was initiated after Arar’s and disposed of sooner, but it raised many of the same issues and produced similar judicial outcomes. On December 5, 2005, the American Civil Liberties Union filed El Masri v. Tenet in the District Court of the Eastern District of Virginia. (The CIA is headquartered in Langley, Virginia.) The defendants were CIA Director George Tenet, ten unnamed CIA agents and ten unnamed employees of the private corporation whose planes were contracted to transport El Masri between southern Europe and Afghanistan. The government asserted state secrets and on May 12, 2006, the District Court dismissed El Masri’s case. One month later, the Council of Europe released the report of its investigation into illegal US activities, finding that 100 people — including El Masri — had been kidnapped by the CIA on the continent.

On appeal to the Fourth Circuit, El Masri’s attorneys charged that the district court had made a legal error by endorsing the government’s overly broad interpretation of the state secrets doctrine in this case; in the past, the doctrine had been used to limit or restrict specific pieces of sensitive evidence, not to entirely block litigation alleging egregious government misconduct. But the dismissal was upheld by the Fourth Circuit, and on October 9, 2007, the Supreme Court declined to hear El Masri’s appeal.

Binyam Mohamed is one of five plaintiffs suing the private corporation whose planes were used in their extraordinary rendition to torture. In May 2007, the ACLU filed Mohamed et al v. Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc. in the District Court for the Northern District of California.[11] Again, the government invoked state secrets and in February 2008, the case was dismissed; the ACLU appealed to the Ninth Circuit. At the appeals hearing in February 2009, one month into the Obama presidency, one of the judges asked if there would be a change in the government’s position in this case, to which the answer was no. In April, the court reversed the district court’s decision, ruling that the government cannot invoke the state secrets privilege to dismiss the entire suit. The case was — or would have been — remanded back to district court, but the Obama administration appealed that decision and requested an en banc (11-judge panel) hearing. The oral arguments took place in December 2009, and until the Ninth Circuit produces its decision, Mohamed’s is the only one of the three cases still in play.

Unappealing Decisions

On June 30, 2008, in a 2-1 vote, the Second Circuit dismissed Arar’s case on the grounds that adjudicating his claims would interfere with national security and foreign policy. The dissenter, Judge Guido Calabresi, wrote that this decision gives federal officials the license to ‘violate constitutional rights with virtual impunity.’ In August, the Second Circuit decided sua sponte (of its own volition) to rehear Arar v. Ashcroft en banc. The court heard oral arguments on December 9, 2008, and issued its decision on November 2, 2009.

The Second Circuit’s en banc ruling (7-4) affirmed earlier rulings that someone who was tortured by proxy at the behest of American officials can find no civil remedy in US courts.[12] The Arar decision is composed of three elements: First, US officials cannot be held responsible (or liable) for torture perpetrated by foreign agents abroad. Second, Congress never provided any legislative remedy for damages claims against officials who decide to ‘remove’ a foreigner from the US, which moots any claims arising from how, why and to where he was removed. The third element addresses the question of whether US officials who violate an individual’s due process rights during an extraordinary rendition can be held accountable for constitutional violations. The majority held that ‘special factors’ counseled against allowing the case to go forward because any provision of ‘a damages remedy against senior officials who implement an extraordinary rendition policy would enmesh the courts ineluctably in an assessment of the validity of the rationale of that policy and its implementation in this particular case, matters that directly affect significant diplomatic and national security concerns.’ 

Judge Calabresi, again dissenting, wrote, ‘When the history of this distinguished court is written, today’s majority decision will be viewed with dismay.’ Echoing the views of the three other dissenters whose opinions he also joined, Calabresi decried the majority’s ‘utter subservience to the executive branch,’ its misunderstanding of the Torture Victims Protection Act and the federal statute that prohibits torture and refoulement. In his dissenting opinion Calabresi addressed one additional failing of the majority: ‘extraordinary judicial activism,’ a criticism typically leveled by conservatives at liberals who are deemed too attentive to the rights claims of victims. In this instance, however, the criticized activism involves judicial overreach to service the political goal of shielding government officials from legal accountability. The implications of this dismissal, Calabresi explained, are far-reaching: The ‘holding that Arar, even if all of his allegations are true, has suffered no remedial constitutional harm legitimates the Government’s actions in a way that a [mere] state secrets dismissal would not. The conduct that Arar alleges is repugnant, but the majority signals — whether it intends to or not — that it is not constitutionally repugnant.’ [emphasis in original]

The Supreme Court’s decision not to hear Arar’s case leaves intact the Second Circuit’s en banc ruling. Thus, Arar did not ‘lose’ his case; he never got the chance to make his case. Judicial majorities at every level were persuaded by the Bush-Obama torture-excusing, accountability-rebuffing arguments that led to the dismissal of Arar — the case and the man.

Accountability by Other Means

On June 15, the day the Supreme Court’s dismissal of his appeal was announced, Arar made a surprising announcement of his own. For the last four years, he had been cooperating with the Mounties in their criminal investigation of the foreign officials responsible for his extraordinary rendition and torture. He told Democracy Now! the following: ‘They’ve been collecting evidence. They’ve been interviewing people both in Canada and internationally. They’ve traveled to some countries, and they’ve collected evidence. They spoke to some interesting people. And their focus is on the Syrian torturers, as well as those American officials who were complicit in my torture.’[13]

He continued, ‘They are looking to charge those people who tortured me physically, but they’re also looking into…whether my removal to Syria was part of a torture program. And if it was, then they would lay charges against those officials…who did this act of sending me to Syria. You have to remember, this is not an easy case… But I was told the investigation has made a lot of progress within the last year or so.’

The intellectual authors of the US torture policy, and those who bear direct responsibility for the extraordinary rendition of Arar, El Masri, Mohamed and others will probably enjoy de facto immunity in the US for the foreseeable future. Politics often trumps law. But torture is such an uncontestably prohibited practice that perpetrators and abettors can be prosecuted in a foreign national court system under the doctrine of universal jurisdiction. In this instance, however, if the Canadian investigation leads to an indictment of US officials who bear responsibility for his rendition to torture, the case would not involve universal jurisdiction. Rather, passive personality jurisdiction gives a government a legal right and a duty to investigate and prosecute foreigners who commit grave crimes under international law against their citizens. Certainly, most Americans would expect no less of their own government if a US citizen was subjected to the horrors that Arar has endured since that fateful day at JFK. Torture is a crime and prosecution is important not only as a future deterrent but as a way of attacking the ‘new normal’ of impunity for the torturers in the present.

————

Endnotes
[1] The Obama administration’s motion to dismiss Arar v. Ashcroft is available at: http://ccrjustice.org/files/Opposition%20by%20U.S.%20Government%20and%20Ashcroft_5.12.10.pdf.

[2] Ottawa Citizen, December 8, 2006.

[3] David Cole, ‘He Was Tortured, But He Can’t Sue,’ NYR Blog, June 15, 2010, available at http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2010/jun/15/he-was-tortured-but-cant-sue/.

[4] This account about El Maati is drawn from a chronology prepared by his legal counsel Barbara Jackman; the document is available at: http://www.bccla.org/othercontent/elmaatichronology.pdf.

[5] This account about Almalki is drawn from a chronology prepared by his legal counsel Paul Copeland; the document is available at: http://www.bccla.org/othercontent/almalkichronology.pdf.

[6] For a survey of Syrian torture tactics, see James A. Paul, Human Rights in Syria (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1990), pp. 52-56.

[7] The governments of the United States, Syria and Jordan declined to give evidence or otherwise participate in the Arar Commission investigation.

[8] Jean Améry, At the Mind’s Limits: Contemplations by a Survivor on Auschwitz and Its Realities (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press), p. 34.

[9] See Lisa Hajjar, ‘American Torture: The Price Paid, the Lessons Learned,’ Middle East Report 251 (Summer 2009).

[10] For a complete timeline of Arar v. Ashcroft, see http://ccrjustice.org/ourcases/current-cases/arar-v-ashcroft.

[11] For information about Mohamed et al v. Jeppesen Dataplan, see: http://www.aclu.org/national-security/mohamed-et-al-v-jeppesen-dataplan-inc.

[12] The Second Circuit’s 2009 en banc decision in Arar v. Ashcroft is available here: http://www.ca2.uscourts.gov/decisions/isysquery/c05cd9a7-02c0-4d4e-b8ef-92b467c6a843/1/doc/06-4216-cv_opn2.pdf

[13] The Democracy Now! interview, in which Arar recounts the details of his ordeal, was broadcast on June 15 and is available at: http://www.democracynow.org/2010/6/15/supreme_court_torture_and_rendition_victim.”

 

(Quelle: Middle East Report.)

Die CIA-Gefängnisse in Afghanistan und Irak

Donnerstag, Juni 17th, 2010

“UN Secret Detention Report: CIA Prisons In Afghanistan And Iraq

WRITTEN BY ANDY WORTHINGTON

To complement my recent article, “UN Human Rights Council Discusses Secret Detention Report,” in which I explained how, two weeks ago, the UN Human Rights Council had — after some delays — finally discussed the findings of the “Joint Study on Global Practices in Relation to Secret Detention in the Context of Counter-Terrorism,” a detailed, 186-page report issued in February (PDF), I’m posting the section of the report that deals with US secret detention policies since the 9/11 attacks, in the hope that it might reach a new audience — and provide useful research opportunities — as an HTML document.

I do, however, urge everyone to read the whole report, because the introduction and conclusions are important, as are the sections establishing the legal approach to secret detention and its historical context, the section detailing current practices in 25 other countries worldwide, and the annexes, which contain government responses to a questionnaire about secret detention, and a number of case studies.

Given the length of this section of the report (pp. 43-89), I’m publishing it in three parts. The first, published here, provided an introduction, and dealt with “The ‘high-value detainee’ programme and CIA secret detention facilities,” the second, published below, looks at “CIA detention facilities or facilities operated jointly with United States military in battlefield zones,” and the third looks at “Proxy detention sites,” “Complicity in the practice of secret detention” and “Secret detention and the Obama administration.”

Please note that I have inserted hyperlinks where possible. However, the original report contains footnotes, and not all of these provide links to websites. In most cases, I have added the information contained in the footnotes in square brackets, but for full details, please see the original.

Excerpts from the UN “Joint Study on Global Practices in Relation to Secret Detention in the Context of Counter-Terrorism,” February 2010

Prepared by Martin Scheinin, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, Manfred Nowak, the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Shaheen Ali, the vice-chair of the Working Group on arbitrary detention, and Jeremy Sarkin, the chair of the Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances.

B. CIA detention facilities or facilities operated jointly with United States military in battlefield zones

131. Although it is still not possible to identify all 28 of the CIA’s acknowledged high-value detainees, the figures quoted in a memo of the Office of Legal Counsel of 30 May 2005 written by Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stephen G. Bradbury [PDF] indicate that the other 66 prisoners in the CIA programme were regarded as less significant. Some of them were subsequently handed over to the United States military and transferred to Guantanamo, while others were rendered to the custody of their home countries or other countries. In very few cases were they released.

1. Afghanistan

132. Outside of the specific “high-value detainee” programme, most detainees were held in a variety of prisons in Afghanistan. Three of these are well-known: a secret prison at Bagram airbase, reportedly identified as “the Hangar” [See also the interview with Murat Kurnaz (annex II, case 14)], and two secret prisons near Kabul, known as the “dark prison” and the “salt pit”. During an interview held with the experts, Bisher al-Rawi indicated that, in the dark prison, there were no lights, heating or decoration. His cell was about 5 x 9 feet with a solid steel door and a hatch towards the bottom of it. He only had a bucket to use as a toilet, an old piece of carpet and a rusty steel bar across the width of the cell to hang people from. All the guards wore hoods with small eye holes, and they never spoke. Very loud music was played continuously. He also indicated that he had been subjected to sleep deprivation for up to three days and received threats. Binyam Mohamed provided a similar account to the experts [see annex II, case 18], as did the lawyer of Khaled El-Masri [annex II, case 9] and Suleiman Abdallah [annex II, case 2]. The experts heard allegations about three lesser-known prisons, including one in the Panjshir valley, north of Kabul, and two others identified as Rissat and Rissat 2, but it was not yet possible to verify these allegations. Of the prisoners identified as having been held in secret CIA custody (in addition to the above-mentioned high-value detainees), seven were eventually released and four escaped from Bagram in July 2005, namely Abu Yahya al-Libi, a Libyan; Omar al-Faruq, a Kuwaiti, captured in Bogor, Indonesia, in 2002; Muhammad Jafar Jamal al-Kahtani, a Saudi, reportedly [re-]captured in Khost province, Afghanistan, in November 2006; and Abdullah Hashimi, a Syrian, also known as Abu Abdullah al-Shami. Five prisoners were reportedly returned to the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya in 2006: Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi [see para. 146 below]; Hassan Raba’i and Khaled al-Sharif, both captured in Peshawar, Pakistan, in 2003, who had “spent time in a CIA prison in Afghanistan”; Abdallah al-Sadeq, seized in a covert CIA operation in Thailand in the spring of 2004; and Abu Munder al-Saadi, both held briefly before being rendered to the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. In May 2009, Human Rights Watch reported that its representatives briefly met Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi on a visit to Abu Salim prison in Tripoli, although he refused to be interviewed. Human Rights Watch interviewed four other men, who claimed that, “before they were sent to the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, United States forces had tortured them in detention centers in Afghanistan, and supervised their torture in Pakistan and Thailand”. One of the four was Hassan Raba’i, also known as Mohamed Ahmad Mohamed al-Shoroeiya, who stated that, in mid-2003, in a place he believed was Bagram prison in Afghanistan, “the interpreters who directed the questions to us did it with beatings and insults. They used cold water, ice water. They put us in a tub with cold water. We were forced [to go] for months without clothes. They brought a doctor at the beginning. He put my leg in a plaster. One of the methods of interrogation was to take the plaster off and stand on my leg”.

133. The released detainees are:

    Laid Saidi, an Algerian seized in the United Republic of Tanzania on 10 May 2003, was handed over to Malawians in plain clothes who were accompanied by two middle-aged Caucasian men wearing jeans and T-shirts. Shortly after the expulsion, a lawyer representing Mr. Saidi’s wife filed an affidavit with a Tanzanian court, saying that immigration documents showed that Mr. Saidi had been deported through the border between Kasumulu, United Republic of Tanzania, and Malawi. He was held for a week in a detention facility in the mountains of Malawi, then rendered to Afghanistan, where he was held in the “dark prison”, the “salt pit” and another unidentified prison. About a year after he was seized, he was flown to Tunisia, where he was detained for another 75 days, before being returned to Algeria, where he was released.
    • Three Yemenis — Salah Nasser Salim Ali Darwish, seized in Indonesia in October 2003, Mohammed al-Asad and Mohammed Farag Ahmad Bashmilah — were held in a number of CIA detention facilities until their return to Yemen in May 2005, where they continued to be held, apparently at the request of the United States authorities. Mr. Bashmilah was detained by Jordanian intelligence agents in October 2003, when he was in Jordan to assist his mother who was having an operation. From 21 to 26 October 2003, Mr. Bashmilah was detained without charge and subjected to torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, including prolonged beatings and being threatened with electric shocks and the rape of his mother and wife [see Declaration of Mohamed Farag Ahmad Bashmilah in support of plaintiffs’ opposition to the motion of the United States to dismiss or, in the alternative, for summary judgment, civil action No. 5:07-cv-02798 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Division]. A communication was sent by the special rapporteurs on torture and on human rights while countering terrorism to the Governments of the United States, Indonesia, Yemen and Jordan on the cases of Bashmilah and Salim Ali, who were both detained and tortured in Jordan [E/CN.4/2006/6/Add.1, paras. 93, 126, 525 and 550]. Only the latter country responded, declaring that no record showing that the two men had been arrested for the violations of either the penal, disciplinary or administrative codes, and that they did not have documented files indicating that they posed a security concern, eliminating the possibility of their arrest for what may be described as terrorism [A/HRC/4/33/Add.1, para. 123]. The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention adopted its opinion No. 47/2005 (Yemen) on the case on 30 November 2005, declaring their detention to be arbitrary as being devoid of any legal basis. In its reply to the allegations, the Government of Yemen confirmed that Mr. Bashmilah and Mr. Salim Ali had been handed over to Yemen by the United States. According to the Government, they had been held in a security police facility because of their alleged involvement in terrorist activities related to Al-Qaida. The Government added that the competent authorities were still dealing with the case pending receipt of the persons’ files from the United States authorities in order to transfer them to the Prosecutor [A/HRC/4/40/Add.1, para. 15].
    Khaled El-Masri, a German seized on the border of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on 31 December 2003, was held in a hotel room by agents of that State for 23 days, then rendered by the CIA to the “salt pit”. He was released in Albania on 29 May 2004 [Also see Interview with the lawyer of Khaled El-Masri (annex II, case 9)].
    Khaled al-Maqtari, a Yemeni seized in Iraq in January 2004, was initially held in Abu Ghraib, then transferred to a secret CIA detention facility in Afghanistan. In April 2004, he was moved to a second secret detention facility, possibly in Eastern Europe, where he remained in complete isolation for 28 months, until he was returned to Yemen and released in May 2007.
    Marwan Jabour, a Jordanian-born Palestinian, was seized in Lahore, Pakistan, on 9 May 2004, and held in a CIA detention facility in Afghanistan for 25 months. He was then transferred to Jordan, where he was held for six weeks, and to Israel, where he was held for another six weeks, before being freed in Gaza.

[Also mentioned:] Murat Kurnaz, a Turkish national residing in Germany, interviewed by the experts for the present study, was arrested in Pakistan in November or December 2001 and initially held by Pakistani police officers and officers of the United States. He was then transferred into the custody of the United States at that country’s airbase in Kandahar, Afghanistan, before being taken to the naval base at Guantanamo Bay on 1 February 2002. He was held secretly until May 2002, and released on 24 August 2006.

134. A total of 23 detainees who ended up in Guantanamo were also held in CIA detention facilities in Afghanistan. They include:

(a) Six men seized in the Islamic Republic of Iran in late 2001:

    • Wassam al-Ourdoni, a Jordanian, who was released from Guantanamo in April 2004. In 2006, he told Reprieve that he had been seized by the Iranian authorities while returning from a religious visit to Pakistan with his wife and newborn child in December 2001, then handed over to the Afghan authorities, who handed him on to the CIA. He said that the Americans “asked me about my relationship with Al-Qaida. I told them I had nothing to do with Al-Qaida. They then put me in jail under circumstances that I can only recall with dread. I lived under unimaginable conditions that cannot be tolerated in a civilized society.” He said that he was first placed in an underground prison for 77 days: “this room was so dark that we couldn’t distinguish nights and days. There was no window, and we didn’t see the sun once during the whole time.” He said that he was then moved to “prison number three”, where the food was so bad that his weight dropped substantially. He was then held in Bagram for 40 days before being flown to Guantanamo [Clive Stafford Smith, “Abandoned to their fate in Guantánamo”, Index on Censorship, 2006].
    • Aminullah Tukhi, an Afghan who was transferred to Afghan custody from Guantanamo in December 2007. He alleged that he had fled from Herat to the Islamic Republic of Iran to escape the Taliban, and was working as a taxi driver when the Iranians began rounding up illegal immigrants towards the end of 2001 [PDF, pp. 71-7].
    • Hussein Almerfedi, a Yemeni, still at Guantanamo. He alleged that he was “kidnapped” in the Islamic Republic of Iran and held for a total of 14 months in three prisons in Afghanistan, “two under Afghani control and one under US control [Bagram]” [PDF, pp. 31-40].
    • Tawfiq al-Bihani, a Yemeni, still at Guantanamo. Allegedly, after deciding to flee Pakistan after the 9/11 attacks, he was “arrested by Iranian Police in Zahedan, Iran for entering the country without a visa” and held “in various prisons in Iran and Afghanistan, for approximately one year in total [PDF, pp. 66-9].
    • Rafiq Alhami, a Tunisian still held at Guantanamo, who alleged that “I was in an Afghan prison but the interrogation was done by Americans. I was there for about a one-year period, transferring from one place to another. I was tortured for about three months in a prison called the Prison of Darkness or the Dark Prison” [PDF, pp. 147-61]. And further: “Back in Afghanistan I would be tortured. I was threatened. I was left out all night in the cold. It was different here. I spent two months with no water, no shoes, in darkness and in the cold. There was darkness and loud music for two months. I was not allowed to pray. I was not allowed to fast during Ramadan. These things are documented. You have them” [PDF, pp. 20-22].
    • Walid al-Qadasi, a Yemeni who was rendered to the “dark prison” and held in other prisons in Afghanistan, together with four other men whose whereabouts are unknown [In addition, Aminullah Tukhi explained that 10 prisoners in total — six Arabs, two Afghans, an Uzbek and a Tajik — had been delivered to the Americans. Although six of these men are accounted for above, it is not known what happened to the other four: an Arab, an Afghan, the Uzbek and the Tajik]. An allegation letter was sent in November 2005 by the Special Rapporteur on torture in relation to Walid Muhammad Shahir Muhammad al-Qadasi, a Yemeni citizen, indicating that the following allegations had been received: He was arrested in Iran in late 2001. He was held there for about three months before being handed over to the authorities in Afghanistan who in turn handed him over to the custody of the US. He was held in a prison in Kabul. During US custody, officials cut his clothes with scissors, left him naked and took photos of him before giving him Afghan clothes to wear. They then handcuffed his hands behind his back, blindfolded him and started interrogating him. The apparently Egyptian interrogator, accusing him of belonging to Al-Qaida, threatened him with death. He was put in an underground cell measuring approximately two metres by three metres with very small windows. He shared the cell with ten inmates. They had to sleep in shifts due to lack of space and received food only once a day. He spent three months there without ever leaving the cell. After three months, Walid al-Qadasi was transferred to Bagram, where he was interrogated for one month. His head was shaved, he was blindfolded, made to wear ear muffs and a mouth mask, handcuffed, shackled, loaded on to a plane and flown out to Guantanamo, where he was held in solitary confinement for one more month. In April 2004, after having been detained for two years, he was transferred to Sana’a prison in Yemen. In its response, the Government of the United States reiterated its earlier announcements that no Government agency was allowed to engage in torture and that its actions complied with the non-refoulement principle. Opinion No. 47/2005 of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention also concerns Mr. al-Qadasi [See E/CN.4/2006/6/Add.1, paras. 1 and 527, and the response from the Government of the United States (A/HRC/10/44/Add.4, para. 252). See also the report of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, opinion No. 47/2005 (A/HRC/4/40/Add.1)].

(b) Two men seized in Georgia in early 2002 and sold to United States forces:

    • Soufian al-Huwari, an Algerian, transferred to Algerian custody from Guantanamo in November 2008; and Zakaria al-Baidany, also known as Omar al-Rammah, a Yemeni, still held at Guantanamo. According to Mr. al-Huwari, both were rendered to the “dark prison”, and were also held in other detention facilities in Afghanistan: “The Americans didn’t capture me. The Mafia captured me. They sold me to the Americans”. He added: “When I was captured, a car came around and people inside were talking Russian and Georgian. I also heard a little Chechnyan. We were delivered to another group who spoke perfect Russian. They sold us to the dogs. The Americans came two days later with a briefcase full of money. They took us to a forest, then a private plane to Kabul, Afghanistan” [PDF, pp. 15-23].

(c) Bisher al-Rawi, an Iraqi national and British resident, was seized in the Gambia in November 2002, and rendered to the “dark prison” at the beginning of December 2002. He was kept shackled in complete isolation and darkness for two weeks. On or around 22 December 2002, he was transferred to Bagram, and then to Guantanamo on 7 February 2003. He was finally released on 30 March 2007. At Bagram, he was reportedly threatened and subjected to ill-treatment and sleep deprivation for up to three days at a time [Interview with Bisher al-Rawi (annex II, case 4)].

(d) Jamil El-Banna, a Jordanian national and British resident, was also seized in the Gambia in November 2002 and rendered to the “dark prison”, then to Guantanamo. He was released from Guantanamo in December 2007.

(e) Six other detainees were flown to Guantanamo on 20 September 2004 after having spent one to three years in custody:

    • Abdul Rahim Ghulam Rabbani and Mohammed Ahmad Ghulam Rabbani, Pakistani brothers seized in Karachi, who were held in the “salt pit” [Both Laid Saidi and Khaled El-Masri spoke about getting to know the Rabbani brothers in the “salt pit”];
    • Abdulsalam al-Hela, a Yemeni colonel and businessman who was seized in Egypt;
    • Adil al-Jazeeri, an Algerian seized in Pakistan [PDF, pp. 315-34];
    • Sanad al-Kazimi, a Yemeni seized in the United Arab Emirates [PDF. Also on the flight that took these men to Guantanamo were Ali al-Hajj al-Sharqawi, Hassan bin Attash and Binyam Mohamed. See also paras 151 and 159 below];
    • Saifullah Paracha, a Pakistani businessman seized in Thailand, who was held in isolation in Bagram for a year.

Mr. al-Kazimi was apprehended in Dubai in January 2003 and held at an undisclosed location in or near Dubai for two months. He was then transferred to a different place about two hours away. He was kept naked for 22 days, at times shackled, and subjected to extreme climatic conditions and simulated drowning. After six months, he was transferred to United States custody, allegedly pursuant to the CIA rendition programme. He was taken to Kabul and held in the “dark prison” for nine months, where he suffered severe physical and psychological torture by unidentified persons. He was then transferred to Bagram airbase, where he was held for a further four months in United States custody. Again, he was allegedly subjected to severe physical and psychological torture by what he believed were the same unidentified persons he had encountered in the “dark prison” [See the report of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, opinion No. 3/2009 (United States of America) (A/HRC/13/30/Add.1)].

135. Four others detainees, held in Bagram, are known because lawyers established contact with their families and filed habeas corpus petitions on their behalf:

    • Redha al-Najar, a Tunisian who was seized in Karachi in May 2002.
    • Amin Mohammad al-Bakri, a Yemeni who was seized in Bangkok on 28 December 2002 by agents of the intelligence services of the United States or of Thailand. Throughout 2003, his whereabouts were unknown. The Thai authorities confirmed to Mr. al-Bakri’s relatives that he had entered Thai territory, but denied knowing his whereabouts. In January 2004, Mr. al-Bakri’s relatives received a letter from him through ICRC, informing them that he was being kept in detention at the Bagram airbase. It was reported that Mr. al-Bakri was detained owing to his commercial connections with Mr. Khalifa, a cousin of Osama bin Laden later assassinated in Madagascar [Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, opinion No. 11/2007 (Afghanistan/ United States of America) (A/HRC/7/4/Add.1)].
    • Fadi al-Maqaleh, a Yemeni seized in 2004, who was sent to Abu Ghraib before Bagram.
    • Haji Wazir, an Afghan seized in the United Arab Emirates in late 2002 [PDF].

136. The whereabouts of 12 others are unknown, and the others remain to be identified. It is probable that some of these men have been returned to their home countries, and that others are still held in Bagram. The experts received allegations that the following men were also held: Issa al-Tanzani (Tanzanian), also identified as Soulayman al-Tanzani, captured in Mogadishu; Abu Naseem (Libyan), captured in Peshawar, Pakistan, in early 2003; Abou Hudeifa (Tunisian), captured in Peshawar, Pakistan, at the end of 2002; and Salah Din al-Bakistani, captured in Baghdad. Marwan Jabour also mentioned eight other prisoners. One was Yassir al-Jazeeri (Algerian), seized in Lahore, March 2003 (whom he met), and he heard about seven others: Ayoub al-Libi (Libyan), seized in Peshawar in January 2004; Mohammed (Afghan, born Saudi), seized in Peshawar in May 2004; Abdul Basit (Saudi or Yemeni), seized before June 2004; Adnan (nationality unknown), seized before June 2004; an unidentified Somali (possibly Shoeab as-Somali or Rethwan as-Somali); another unidentified Somali; and Marwan al-Adeni (Yemeni), seized in or around May 2003.

2. Iraq

137. Although the Government of the United States stated that the Geneva Conventions applied to detainees seized during the occupation, an unknown number of persons were deliberately held “off the books” and denied ICRC access. In Abu Ghraib, for example, the abuse scandal that erupted following the publication of photographs in April 2004 involved military personnel who were not only holding supposedly significant detainees delivered by the United States military, but others delivered by the CIA or United States Special Forces units. The existence of “ghost detainees”, who were clearly held incommunicado in secret detention, was later exposed in two United States investigations.

138. In August 2004, a report into detainee detentions in Iraq (chaired by former Secretary of Defense James R. Schlesinger) noted that “other Government agencies” had brought a number of “ghost detainees” to detention facilities, including Abu Ghraib, “without accounting for them, knowing their identities, or even the reason for their detention”, and that, on one occasion, a “handful” of these detainees had been “moved around the facility to hide them from a visiting ICRC team” [PDF].

139. In another report issued in August 2004, Lieutenant General Anthony R. Jones and Major General George R. Fay noted that eight prisoners in Abu Ghraib had been denied access to ICRC delegates by Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, the Commander of the Coalition Joint Task Force in Iraq: “Detainee-14 was detained in a totally darkened cell measuring about 2 metres long and less than a metre across, devoid of any window, latrine or water tap, or bedding. On the door the delegates noticed the inscription ‘the Gollum’, and a picture of the said character from the film trilogy ‘The Lord of the Rings’” [PDF].

140. Although the Schlesinger report noted the use of other facilities for “ghost detainees”, the locations of these other prisons, and the numbers of detainees held, have not yet been thoroughly investigated. In June 2004, the then United States Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld admitted that a suspected leader of Ansar al-Aslam had been held for more than seven months without ICRC being notified of his detention; he also stated: “He was not at Abu Ghraib. He is not there now. He has never been there to my knowledge” [also see this New York Times report]. According to another report, the prisoner was known as “Triple X” and his secret detention was authorized by Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, who issued a classified order in November 2003 “directing military guards to hide [him] from Red Cross inspectors and keep his name off official rosters”. In addition, some locations may well be those in which prisoners died in United States custody. In 2006, Human Rights First published a report identifying 98 deaths in United States custody in Iraq, describing five deaths in CIA custody, including Manadel al-Jamadi, who died in Abu Ghraib, and others at locations including Forward Operating Base Tiger, in Anbar province, a forward operating base near Al-Asad, a base outside Mosul, a temporary holding camp near Nasiriyah and a forward operating base in Tikrit [PDF].

Andy Worthington

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK). To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to his RSS feed (he can also be found on Facebook and Twitter). Also see his definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in January 2010, and, if you appreciate his work, feel free to make a donation.

(Quelle: Eurasia Review.)