CIA holding Al-Qaida suspects in secret Jordanian lockup

nemo

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Bumped into this article today in the Haaretz.

The Central Intelligence Agency runs a top-secret interrogation facility in Jordan, where at least 11 detainees who are considered Al-Qaida's most senior cadre are being held, Haaretz has learned from international intelligence sources.


Since the war in Afghanistan ended three years ago, reports spoke of these special detainees being held outside the United States, but no location was mentioned. A report on these prisoners issued Tuesday by the Human Rights Watch organization claims they are being held somewhere so secret that U.S. President George Bush asked the CIA heads not to report it to him.

The international intelligence sources who spoke to Haaretz are considered experts in surveillance and analysis of Al-Qaida and are involved in interrogating the detainees. Most of the Al-Qaida detainees who were arrested in Afghanistan in the course of the war or its aftermath were transfered to the American base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. A minority were held in Pakistan, where some had been picked up, and were later moved to Jordan.

It is not known where precisely in the Hashemite kingdom they are being held, but they are thought to be at a secret facility belonging to Jordanian intelligence or at a secret base. Their detention outside the U.S. enables CIA interrogators to apply interrogation methods that are banned by U.S. law, and to do so in a country where cooperation with the Americans is particularly close, thereby reducing the danger of leaks.

According to the Human Rights Watch report, the CIA was granted special permission by the U.S. law enforcement authorities to operate "other laws" at the secret facility with regard to interrogation methods. Detainees are subjected to physical and psychological pressure that includes the use of simulated drowning, loud music, sleep deprivation, and sensory deprivation. Some of these methods were exposed with the revelation of torture techniques used by American interrogators at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

The CIA's prisoners at the facility in Jordan include Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, considered Al-Qaida's head of operations and number three in the Al-Qaida hierarchy after Osama bin Laden and Aiman al-Zawahiri, who have eluded capture. Mohammed, of Kuwaiti origin, was captured in a safe house in Pakistan in 2002, along with the Yemeni Ramzi bin al-Shibh, considered a close bin Laden associate who was kept from being one of the 9/11 pilots because he was denied a U.S. visa. The two men were interrogated for awhile in Pakistan by Pakistanis and Americans and later flown to the undisclosed facility.

Also at the secret facility are Abu Zubaydah, described as Al-Qaida's "recruitment officer," and Riduan Isamuddin, also known as Hambali, who was captured in Thailand a year ago. The Indonesian Hambali was the only non-Arab Muslim participant in Al-Qaida's supreme military council. He served as the operations chief for Jemaah Islamiya, which was behind attacks in the Philippines before 9/11 and for the attack on the Bali night club in October 2002 that killed over 200 people.

Haaretz was unable to obtain the identities of the other detainees in Jordan.

The 46-page Human Rights Watch report levels harsh criticism at the U.S. administration for using "undisclosed locations" and "disappearing" prisoners. The report charges that the U.S. thereby is in breach of all international conventions, including the Geneva Convention on prisoners of war, by refusing prisoners access to the Red Cross or their families.

The report contends that American operatives detained Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's children to serve as "hostages" through which to pressure their father into cooperating.

The prisoners were subjected to severe torture, the report states.
 

Richa333

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I think there's a huge leap of logic taking place here -- not regards what is actually, physically happening; but that the CIA is somehow "in charge" and that CIA staff are conducting torture.

What I believe far more likely, is that the Jordanian intelligence service is doing the actual torture while the CIA staff take notes.

Why do I say this? Because in the late 1970's and early 1980's, Congress passed laws that not only prohibit CIA staff from directly torturing people, Congress also created several audit / oversight / whistleblower functions to catch such activities.

But the article does bring up a good question: should the CIA even be taking notes as the Jordanians conduct their torture? Or is that too high a moral price, & Americans should simply take a higher risk of another 9/11 massacre?

Good post.
 

Morgoth Bauglir

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The age-old dilemma, does the end justify the means? It is easy to write a report without hard facts and to accuse the CIA (anybody notice as well they're always getting blamed for everything?) if you're not responsible for intelligence gathering.

People in the intelligence community however sometimes find themselves in this shadowy area between the moral high-ground and the day-to-day reality of warfare and organized terrorism.

What one observer calls "torture", another might simply call "applying increased physical and psychiatrical pressure". Just a question of opinion really.

In the end, as usual, those who are victorious will write the historical footnote (if any) on this one.
 

Kraut

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From the New York Times of today:

Broad Use of Harsh Tactics Is Described at Cuba Base
By NEIL A. LEWIS

Published: October 17, 2004



WASHINGTON, Oct. 16 - Many detainees at Guantánamo Bay were regularly subjected to harsh and coercive treatment, several people who worked in the prison said in recent interviews, despite longstanding assertions by military officials that such treatment had not occurred except in some isolated cases.

The people, military guards, intelligence agents and others, described in interviews with The New York Times a range of procedures that included treatment they said was highly abusive occurring over a long period of time, as well as rewards for prisoners who cooperated with interrogators.

One regular procedure that was described by people who worked at Camp Delta, the main prison facility at the naval base in Cuba, was making uncooperative prisoners strip to their underwear, having them sit in a chair while shackled hand and foot to a bolt in the floor, and forcing them to endure strobe lights and screamingly loud rock and rap music played through two close loudspeakers, while the air-conditioning was turned up to maximum levels, said one military official who witnessed the procedure. The official said that was intended to make the detainees uncomfortable, as they were accustomed to high temperatures both in their native countries and their cells.

Such sessions could last up to 14 hours with breaks, said the official, who described the treatment after being contacted by The Times.

"It fried them,'' the official said, who said that anger over the treatment the prisoners endured was the reason for speaking with a reporter. Another person familiar with the procedure who was contacted by The Times said: "They were very wobbly. They came back to their cells and were just completely out of it.''

The new information comes from a number of people, some of whom witnessed or participated in the techniques and others who were in a position to know the details of the operation and corroborate their accounts.

Those who spoke of the interrogation practices at the naval base did so under the condition that their identities not be revealed. While some said it was because they remained on active duty, they all said that being publicly identified would endanger their futures. Although some former prisoners have said they saw and experienced mistreatment at Guantánamo, this is the first time that people who worked there have provided detailed accounts of some interrogation procedures.

One intelligence official said most of the intense interrogation was focused on a group of detainees known as the "Dirty 30'' and believed to be the best potential sources of information.

In August, a report commissioned by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld found that tough techniques approved by the government were rarely used, but the sources described a broader pattern that went beyond even the aggressive techniques that were permissible.

The issue of what were permissible interrogation techniques has produced a vigorous debate within the government that burst into the open with reports of abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad and is now the subject of several investigations.

Since the Sept. 11 attacks and the war in Afghanistan, the administration has wrestled with the issue of what techniques are permissible, with many arguing that the campaign against terrorism should entitle them to greater leeway. Alberto R. Gonzales, the White House counsel said, for example, in one memorandum that the Geneva Conventions were "quaint" and not suitable for the war against terrorism.

David Sheffer, a senior State Department human rights official in the Clinton administration who teaches law at George Washington University, said the procedure of shackling prisoners to the floor in a state of undress while playing loud music - the Guantánamo sources said it included the bands Limp Bizkit and Rage Against the Machine, and the rapper Eminem - and lights clearly constituted torture. "I don't think there's any question that treatment of that character satisfies the severe pain and suffering requirement, be it physical or mental, that is provided for in the Convention Against Torture,'' Mr. Sheffer said.

Pentagon officials would not comment on the details of the allegations. Lt. Cmdr. Alvin Plexico issued a Defense Department statement in response to questions, saying that the military was providing a "safe, humane and professional detention operation at Guantánamo that is providing valuable information in the war on terrorism.''

The statement said: "Guantánamo guards provide an environment that is stable, secure, safe and humane. And it is that environment that sets the conditions for interrogators to work successfully and to gain valuable information from detainees because they have built a relationship of trust, not fear.''

The sources portrayed a system of punishment and reward, with prisoners who were favored for their cooperation with interrogators given the privilege of spending time in a large room nicknamed "the love shack'' by the guards. In that room, they were free to relax and had access to magazines, books, a television and a video player and some R-rated movies, along with the use of a water pipe to smoke aromatic tobaccos. They were also occasionally given milkshakes and hamburgers from the McDonald's on the base.

The Pentagon said the information gathered from the detainees "has undoubtedly saved the lives of our soldiers in the field,'' adding: "And that information also saves the lives of innocent civilians at home and abroad. At Guantánamo we are holding and interrogating people that are a clear danger to the U.S. and our allies and they are providing valuable information in the war on terrorism.''

Although many critics of the detentions at Guantánamo have said that the majority of the roughly 590 inmates are low-level fighters who have little intelligence to impart, Pentagon and intelligence officials have insisted that the facility houses many dangerous veteran terrorists and officials of Al Qaeda.

The intelligence official said that many of those imprisoned at Guantánamo had valuable information but that it was not always clear what their standing in Al Qaeda was. The official said the first four detainees now facing war crimes charges before a military tribunal at the base were specifically chosen because they had not been harshly treated and therefore would be less likely to make any embarrassing allegations.

The people who worked at the prison also described as common another procedure in which an inmate was awakened, subjected to an interrogation in a facility known as the Gold Building, then returned to a different cell. As soon as the guards determined the inmate had fallen into a deep sleep, he was awakened again for interrogation after which he would be returned to yet a different cell. This could happen five or six times during a night, they said.

Much of the harsh treatment described by the sources was said to have occurred as recently as the early months of this year. After the scandal about mistreatment of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq became public in April, all harsh techniques were abruptly suspended, they said.

The new accounts of mistreatment at Guantánamo provide fresh evidence about how practices there may have contributed to the abuses at Abu Ghraib. One independent military panel said in a report that the approach used at Guantánamo had "migrated to Abu Ghraib.

The vigorous debate within the administration about what techniques were permissible in interrogations was set off when the Justice Department provided a series of memorandums to the White House and Defense Department providing narrow definitions of torture. In February 2002, Mr. Bush ordered that the prisoners at Guantánamo be treated "humanely and, to the extent appropriate with military necessity, in a manner consistent with'' the Geneva Conventions.

In March 2002, a team of administration lawyers accepted the Justice Department's view, concluding in a memorandum that President Bush was not bound by either the Convention Against Torture or a federal antitorture statute because he had the authority to protect the nation from terrorism. When some of the memorandums were disclosed, the administration tried to distance itself from the rationale for the harsher treatment.

At the request of military intelligence officials who complained of tenacious resistance by some subjects, Mr. Rumsfeld approved a list of 16 techniques for use at Guantánamo in addition to the 17 methods in the Army Field Manual in December 2002. But he suspended those approvals in January 2003 after some military lawyers complained they were excessive and possibly unlawful.

In April 2003, after a review, Mr. Rumsfeld issued a final policy approving of 24 techniques, some of which needed his permission to be used.

But the approved techniques did not explicitly cover some that were used, according to the new accounts. The only time that using loud music and lights seems to appear in the documents, for example, is as a proposal that seems never to have been adopted. The April 16 memorandum allows interrogators to place a detainee "in a setting that may be less comfortable'' but should not "constitute a substantial change in environmental quality.''

Officials said the guards' patience was often stretched, especially when inmates threw human waste at the military police officers, a frequent occurrence. The guards, for their part, had their own tricks, including replacing the prayer oil in little bottles given to the inmates with a caustic pine-smelling floor cleaner.

An August 2004 report by a panel headed by James R. Schlesinger, the former defense secretary, said the harsher approved techniques on Mr. Rumsfeld's list were used on only two occasions. In addition, the report said, there were about eight abuses by guards at Guantánamo that occurred and were investigated.

In guided tours of Guantánamo provided to the news media and members of Congress, the military authorities contended that the system of rewards and punishments affected only issues like whether the inmates could be deprived of books, blankets and toilet articles. The interrogation sessions themselves, the officials consistently said, did not employ any harsh treatment but were devised only to build a trusting relationship between the interrogator and the detainee.
 

B5C

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Terrorists are not protected so I dont care what we do too them to get information. Terrorists are animals and should be treated like animals.
 

Bariman

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B5C said:
Terrorists are not protected so I dont care what we do too them to get information. Terrorists are animals and should be treated like animals.

Yeah, but then they'll get PETA on their case.
 

Kraut

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B5C said:
Terrorists are not protected so I dont care what we do too them to get information. Terrorists are animals and should be treated like animals.
...and you would be the first to cry if they did the same to captured US soldiers. Does anybody remember the outcry just because the faces of US POWs were shown on TV? Now imagine if the Iraqis did the same to them that you are doing to these people.

Oh, and by the way, the last time I heard somebody speak of Untermenschen was 60 years ago, guess we are back there again, hmm ? :eek: :kotz:
 

B5C

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Kraut said:
...and you would be the first to cry if they did the same to captured US soldiers. Does anybody remember the outcry just because the faces of US POWs were shown on TV? Now imagine if the Iraqis did the same to them that you are doing to these people.

Oh, and by the way, the last time I heard somebody speak of Untermenschen was 60 years ago, guess we are back there again, hmm ? :eek: :kotz:

The difference is that AQ are not considered POWs. Their enemy combatets(SP?). They have no rights.
 

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JeremyScott said:
PETA...... People Eating Tasty Animals

I have a T shirt that says that!

Another one is:

"Animals have a place in this world with us. Right next to the mashed potatoes."
 

Stage

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Kraut said:
...and you would be the first to cry if they did the same to captured US soldiers. Does anybody remember the outcry just because the faces of US POWs were shown on TV? Now imagine if the Iraqis did the same to them that you are doing to these people.:

Well Kraut, since you are once again playing the Devils advocate, can you tell me how you can possibly compare our soldiers (not yours, obviously) and the terrorists? Do we kidnap civilians and decapitate them, then send a video out on the web so the world can watch?

Actualy, I can't ask you what the diference is because you have no idea what what our soldiers do over there.
 

Kraut

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Stage said:
Well Kraut, since you are once again playing the Devils advocate, can you tell me how you can possibly compare our soldiers (not yours, obviously) and the terrorists? Do we kidnap civilians and decapitate them, then send a video out on the web so the world can watch?
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Article 5.

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Terrorists or not, they are human beeings and should be treated as such.
 

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I guess it's just too damn bad for us that they don't play by our rules, huh?

But at least we aren't sinking down to their level, huh?

I bet Ken Bigley was thinking that very thing, ....right before they cut his head off.
 

Kraut

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Stage said:
I guess it's just too damn bad for us that they don't play by our rules, huh?

But at least we aren't sinking down to their level, huh?

I bet Ken Bigley was thinking that very thing, ....right before they cut his head off.
Well, than whats your point, really? Person A has cut off the head of a hostage, that gives us the right to ignore the human rights and torture person B ?? Whats kind of sick logic is that ? Gang A from Harlem has killed an innocent bystander in a shootout and therefore you can now torture all imprisoned gang members ?? Oh yeah, that makes sense (not!) :nuts:
 

trauth116

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...and you would be the first to cry if they did the same..
I like the if part; what exactly makes anyone think they don't and haven't?

-I heard the same sort of human rights morality loogic from a buddy of mine that lives in Dortmund - now I never got him to agree with me - but I did make the case that while debating morality is all well and good - the fact is that these people - the terrorists couldn't care less about debating morality - or morailty debators- and no mater what your point is as an advocate for strictly following morality and having a clear conscious - if you in fact were in the terrorists way to an objective - you would still be just as dead as anyone else.

The argument becomes moot when it happens to you -and it also becomes more personal. If there is someone out there that wants me dead because of what is on my passport - I would hope that my govt would try anything in its power to stop it.

Or another way of putting it - is it is nice to be able to debate a topic - but that topic becomes much different when same happens to you.
 
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pp(est)

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Torture is wrong in all circumstances and there is no excuse for it. Since torturing at best gives unreliable intel there is no considerable intelligence benefit from this either.

There are however borderline issues as to what amounts to torture that are more difficult to answer. Lengthy interrogations and causing uncomfort can be ok, but somewhere there is a line and those responsible should make where the line is very clear to themselves.


The difference is that AQ are not considered POWs. Their enemy combatets(SP?). They have no rights.
B5C, I am sure the supreme court would disagree with you on this.
 

nemo

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pp(est) said:
Torture is wrong in all circumstances and there is no excuse for it. Since torturing at best gives unreliable intel there is no considerable intelligence benefit from this either.
Agreed 100%. Much to our army's shame, torture was used in Algeria during the late fifities and early sixties with exactly the same reasoning : extract information from less-than-human terrorists to prevent further bombings and win the war. You probably know the result...
 

trauth116

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Which Supreme Court? The US Supreme Court? If so I find it curious that no group like the ACLU has gotten a case heard in front of the Supreme Court - however the Supreme Court's purpose in the US is to interpret the U S Constitution.

Which is probably why these fine moralistically pure terrorists maybe are being held outside the U S Supreme Court's jurisdiction.

I am pretty sure that the Russians are not going to care a flying fig about any moralistically pure method of information gathering when it comes to their own terrorist situation anymore than any other nation that is serious about combatting terrorism is.
 

Temujin

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B5C said:
Their wrong then. Because the terroists are not US citizens so they should not have the same rights as we.
Well then they should have the rights their citizenship gives them. Plus how do you know they are terrorists, really you people should wake up to yaselves!
 
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