Saturday, May 23, 2009
The Disappeared: Dozens of CIA ‘Ghost Prisoners Missing'
" ... The CIA spent weeks during the summer of 2006—shortly before Mr. Bush acknowledged the CIA prisons and suspended the program—transferring prisoners to Pakistani, Egyptian and Jordanian custody. ... 'If these men are now rotting in some Egyptian dungeon, the administration can't pretend that it's closed the door on the CIA program.' ... "
By William Fisher
May 21, 2009
NEW YORK (IPS/GIN) - At least three dozen detainees who were held in the CIA's secret prisons overseas appear to be missing—and efforts by human rights organizations to track their whereabouts have been unsuccessful.
The story of these "ghost prisoners" was comprehensively documented by Pro Publica, an online investigative journalism group.
In September 2007, Michael V. Hayden, then director of the CIA, said, "fewer than 100 people had been detained at CIA's facilities." One memo released recently confirmed that the CIA had custody of at least 94 people as of May 2005 and "employed enhanced techniques to varying degrees in the interrogations of 28 of these."
Former President George W. Bush publicly acknowledged the CIA program in September 2006, and transferred 14 prisoners from the secret jails to Guantanamo. Many other prisoners, who had "little or no additional intelligence value," Mr. Bush said, "have been returned to their home countries for prosecution or detention by their governments."
But Mr. Bush did not reveal their identities or whereabouts—information that would have allowed the International Committee for the Red Cross to find them—or the terms under which the prisoners were handed over to foreign jailers. ...
Pro Publica reported that former officials in the Bush administration said that the CIA spent weeks during the summer of 2006—shortly before Mr. Bush acknowledged the CIA prisons and suspended the program—transferring prisoners to Pakistani, Egyptian and Jordanian custody.
The organization said the population inside the program had been shrinking since the existence of the prisons was detailed in a Washington Post article in November 2005. Renewed diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Libya in May 2006 made it possible for the CIA to turn over Libyan prisoners to Muammar Gadhafi's control.
Joanne Mariner, director of the Terrorism and Counterterrorism Program at Human Rights Watch, said, "If these men are now rotting in some Egyptian dungeon, the administration can't pretend that it's closed the door on the CIA program."