Some 54 countries helped facilitate the Central Intelligence Agency’s secret detention, rendition and interrogation programme in years after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to a new human rights report that documents broad international involvement in the American campaign against al-Qaeda.
The report, titled Globalizing Torture and authored by Amrit Singh, daughter of Indian PM Manmohan Singh, was to be made public Tuesday by the Open Society Justice Initiative, a rights advocacy group. It is the most detailed external account of other countries’ assistance to the US, including things like permitting the CIA to run secret interrogation prisons on their soil and allowing the agency to use their airports for refuelling while moving prisoners around the world.
The report identifies 136 people held or transferred by the CIA, the largest list compiled to date, and describes what is known about when and where they were held. It adds new detail to what is known about the handling of both dedicated Qaeda operatives and innocent people caught up by accident in the global machinery of counter-terrorism.
Some of the harsh interrogation methods the CIA used on prisoners under President George W Bush remain the subject of fierce debate, with Bush administration officials asserting they were necessary to keep the country safe and critics saying the brutal interrogation techniques were illegal and ineffective. The debate has been renewed most recently with the release of Zero Dark Thirty, which portrays the use of torture in the hunt for Osama bin Laden.
When Obama took office in 2009, he rejected calls for a national commission to investigate such practices, saying he wanted to look forward.
Singh said she had found evidence that 25 countries in Europe, 14 in Asia and 13 in Africa lent some sort of assistance to the CIA, in addition to Canada and Australia.
“The moral cost of these programmes was borne not only by the US but also the 54 other countries it recruited to help,” Singh said.
AFGHANISTAN: Hosted at least three CIA prisons where detainees were secretly imprisoned, tortured, and abused. These prisons, located near Kabul, included a facility in the US air base in Bagram, the Dark Prison where detainees were held in total darkness, and an abandoned brick factory known as the Salt Pit. In all three locations, numerous detainees were held incommunicado, tortured, and abused for prolonged periods of time. Afghanistan also permitted the CIA to use its airports and airspace to transport detainees to and from Kabul.
PAKISTAN: Captured, detained, interrogated, tortured, and abused individuals subjected to CIA secret detention and extraordinary rendition operations. It also permitted its airspace and airports to be used for flights associated with these operations
SRI LANKA: Permitted use of its airspace and airports for flights associated with CIA extraordinary rendition operations
IRAN: Was involved in the capture and transfer of 15 individuals to the government of Afghanistan, which in turn transferred 10 of these individuals to the US government and were subjected to CIA secret detention
INDONESIA: Apprehended individuals who were extraordinarily rendered
MALAYSIA: Detained and assisted in the extraordinary rendition of Libyan nationals Abu Abdullah al-Sadiq (Abdul Hakim Belhadj) and his wife Fatima Bouchar in 2004 in Kuala Lumpur airport
THAILAND: Hosted a secret CIA prison where detainees were tortured and also apprehended individuals subjected to secret detention and extraordinary rendition. It also allowed the use of its airspace and airports for CIA secret detention and extraordinary rendition operations
HONG KONG: Captured, detained, interrogated and transferred custody of arrested Libyan national Sami al-Saadi (Abu Munthir) at Chek Lap Kok airport in March 2004 who was subsequently extraordinarily rendered to Libya
AMRIT SINGH is the youngest daughter of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. She is Senior Legal Officer, National Security and Counterterrorism, at the Open Society Justice Initiative, which she joined in 2009.
RIGHTS, RIGHTS LAW is her area of interest, and has been earlier involved in litigation that led the disclosure of thousands of documents concerning the abuse of prisoners held by the US overseas. She is co-author of Administration of Torture: A Documentary Record from Washington to Abu Ghraib and Beyond.
BEFORE beginning a career in law, Singh was an economist at the IMF in Washington, DC. She is a graduate of Cambridge University, Oxford University, and the Yale Law School.
Source: Open Society Foundations