[News] Secret CIA Prisons Moved From Europe to North Africa

Anti-Imperialist News News at freedomarchives.org
Wed Dec 7 14:23:53 EST 2005

Secret CIA Prisons Moved From Europe to North Africa
Barbara Ferguson, Arab News

WASHINGTON, 7 December 2005 ­

The United States held captured Al-Qaeda suspects 
at two secret CIA prisons in eastern Europe until 
last month when the facilities were shut down 
after media reports of their existence, ABC News 
reported Monday, citing current and former CIA agents.

Eleven Al-Qaeda prisoners who were held in 
Eastern Europe were relocated “to a CIA site 
somewhere in North Africa,” say reports, adding 
that the US scrambled to get all of the suspects 
off European soil before US Secretary of State 
Condoleezza Rice arrived in Europe yesterday.

Germany, Hungary, Italy, Morocco, Norway, Poland, 
Portugal, Romania, Spain and Sweden have all been 
used as prison “transit camps.” The US has 
neither confirmed nor denied the existence of the 
secret prisons, as reported by the Washington Post last month.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice defended 
US treatment of terrorism suspects before leaving 
for Europe, but would not respond to allegations 
that the CIA has run secret prisons in Eastern 
Europe. She insisted, however, that the US does not use torture.

The underlying question to all this remains: Why 
was this information of secret CIA prisons and flights leaked?

“Leaks usually happen for one of two reasons, 
either there is a deliberate effort to manipulate 
public opinion, so it’s done with the full 
sanction of the government authorities, or there 
is a fundamental policy disagreement on an issue, 
and those who think that the policy is wrong leak 
it,” said Larry Johnson, a former CIA 
intelligence officer and State Department Counter 
Terrorism officer. Johnson, who spoke to Arab 
News by telephone, said he believes the CIA 
officers involved with the secret prisons fear 
they may ultimately be held accountable for their actions.

“Valerie Plame’s leak is an example of the first 
kind; the CIA prison leak is an example of the 
second. Clearly some of those involved in this 
link are CIA officers who fear that they will 
ultimately be blamed as the master minds and implementers of this policy.

“The CIA does not set the policy. The president, 
the secretary of defense, and the vice president 
set the policy,” said Johnson. “The CIA 
implements the policy, but when they carry out a 
policy that runs afoul of international law, they feel vulnerable.”

The problem is accountability, he said. “Nobody 
in the White House or the Department of Defense, 
at a senior level, is being held responsible for these actions.”

Johnson said their vulnerability is not without 
reason: “The lesson of Abu Ghraib is: Don’t trust 
these guys to stand by their men.”

Recently the former commander of Abu Ghraib 
Prison in Iraq, Brig Gen Janis Karpinski was 
demoted. Nine junior US soldiers also have been 
charged in connection with the abuse at the 
prison in late 2003, and seven of them have 
already been convicted. The verdict came at the 
end of a hearing in Kaiserslautern, Germany.

Another top US commander at Abu Ghraib also was 
recently reprimanded and fined $8,000. The US 
Army found Col. Thomas Pappas guilty of two 
counts of dereliction of duty, including that of 
allowing dogs to be present during 
interrogations. Col Pappas was in charge of 
military intelligence at the prison near Baghdad.

Aside from the vulnerability of CIA officers, 
Johnson said what is going on in prisons there “is reprehensible.”

Asked to comment on reports that the CIA prisons 
in eastern Europe have been closed and moved to 
North Africa, Johnson slammed the secret detainee prison policy.

“Shifting these prisons to Africa is 
reprehensible. It is incumbent upon the CIA 
officers to determine through interrogation on 
whether a person has knowledge or is a mere foot 
soldier who got caught up in the battle. If we 
start saying all things are justified, it would 
be difficult for us to make the moral argument 
that we are somehow different from the former 
Soviet Union or Communist China.”

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