US backdown on secret suspects in camps

Greg Miller; 24/8/09 (3 Items)

The Pentagon, in an abrupt reversal of policy, will for the first time notify the International Committee of the Red Cross of the identities of militants held in secret at camps in Iraq and Afghanistan. The change begins to lift the veil from the US Government’s most secretive remaining overseas prisons by allowing the Red Cross to track the custody of dozens of the most dangerous suspected terrorists and foreign fighters plucked off the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is a significant advance for the Red Cross in its long fight to gain more information about the detainees. The military had previously insisted that disclosing details about them could tip off other militants and jeopardise counter-terrorism missions. The camps are run by US Special Operations forces.


Power drills used in CIA interrogations: reports
23/8/09; See:
America’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) used handguns, electric drills and mock executions when interviewing terrorism suspects, according to local media reports. The CIA has been forced to disclose a report on its tactics, written in 2004, after a federal judge upheld an appeal from the American Civil Liberties Union for its release. According to Newsweek Magazine, the Washington Post and other US media it is expected to be highly critical of the techniques used on suspected terrorists and also suggests that a number of the interrogation methods broke international laws. One case, involving Abdullah Rahim al-Nashiri, the main suspect in the USS Cole bombing in Yemen in 2000, details how he was interrogated by CIA agents who used a handgun and a power drill. The CIA report says the electric drill was held near the suspect’s head and repeatedly turned on and off. The agents showed him a gun and tried to frighten him into thinking he would be shot. Earlier this year, US President Barack Obama banned harsh interrogation methods, including death threats.

Blackwater in clandestine jail transfers, magazine claims
The CIA hired the private US security firm Blackwater to transfer detainees from Guantanamo Bay to secret prisons in Asia for interrogation, the German weekly Der Spiegel says. The news magazine cites a memo it says it obtained, written by two former Blackwater employees whose identities are not revealed. According to the memo, the CIA hired ”Blackwater and its subsidiaries” to secretly transfer prisoners from the US prison in Cuba to ”secret detention camps in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan for interrogation”. The allegation is the latest revelation to demonstrate a close relationship between the company, now known as Xe Services, and the CIA. It was revealed last week the company had assumed a role in Washington’s most vital counter-terrorism program: the use of drones to kill al-Qaeda’s leaders, from hidden bases in Pakistan and Afghanistan.