UN Secret Detention Report (Part One): The CIA’s “High-Value Detainee” Program and Secret Prisons


To complement my recent article, “UN Human Rights Council Discusses Secret Detention Report,” in which I explained how, two weeks ago, the UN Human Rights Council had — after some delays — finally discussed the findings of the “Joint Study on Global Practices in Relation to Secret Detention in the Context of Counter-Terrorism,” a detailed, 186-page report issued in February (PDF), I’m posting the section of the report that deals with US secret detention policies since the 9/11 attacks, in the hope that it might reach a new audience — and provide useful research opportunities — as an HTML document.

I do, however, urge everyone to read the whole report, because the introduction and conclusions are important, as are the sections establishing the legal approach to secret detention and its historical context, the section detailing current practices in 25 other countries worldwide, and the annexes, which contain government responses to a questionnaire about secret detention, and a number of case studies.

Given the length of this section of the report (pp. 43-89), I’m publishing it in three parts. The first, published below, provides an introduction, and deals with “The ‘high-value detainee’ programme and CIA secret detention facilities,” the second looks at “CIA detention facilities or facilities operated jointly with United States military in battlefield zones,” and the third looks at “Proxy detention sites,” “Complicity in the practice of secret detention” and “Secret detention and the Obama administration.”

Please note that I have inserted hyperlinks where possible. However, the original report contains footnotes, and not all of these provide links to websites. In most cases, I have added the information contained in the footnotes in square brackets, but for full details, please see the original.

Excerpts from the UN “Joint Study on Global Practices in Relation to Secret Detention in the Context of Counter-Terrorism,” February 2010

Prepared by Martin Scheinin, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, Manfred Nowak, the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Shaheen Ali, the vice-chair of the Working Group on arbitrary detention, and Jeremy Sarkin, the chair of the Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances.


98. In spite of the prominent role played by the United States of America in the development of international human rights and humanitarian law, and its position as a global leader in the protection of human rights at home and abroad following the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. on 11 September 2001, the United States embarked on a process of reducing and removing various human rights and other protection mechanisms through various laws and administrative acts, including the Authorization for Use of Military Force, the USA Patriot Act of 2001, the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (which sought to remove habeas corpus rights), as well as various executive orders and memoranda issued by the Office of Legal Counsel that interpreted the position of the United States on a number of issues, including torture. It also sanctioned the establishment of various classified programmes much more narrowly than before [A/HRC/6/17/Add.3, para. 3].

99. The Government of the United States declared a global “war on terror”, in which individuals captured around the world were to be held neither as criminal suspects, put forward for federal court trials in the United States, nor treated as prisoners of war protected by the Geneva Conventions, irrespective of whether they had been captured on the battlefield during what could be qualified as an armed conflict in terms of international humanitarian law. Rather, they were to be treated indiscriminately as “unlawful enemy combatants” who could be held indefinitely without charge or trial or the possibility to challenge the legality of their detention before a court or other judicial authority.

100. On 7 February 2002, the President of the United States issued a memorandum [PDF] declaring that “common article 3 of Geneva does not apply to either Al-Qaida or Taliban detainees”, that “Taliban detainees are unlawful combatants and, therefore, do not qualify as prisoners of war under article 4 of Geneva”, and that “because Geneva does not apply to our conflict with Al-Qaida, Al-Qaida detainees also do not qualify as prisoners of war”. This unprecedented departure from the Geneva Conventions was to be offset by a promise that, “as a matter of policy, the United States Armed Forces shall continue to treat detainees humanely and, to the extent appropriate and consistent with military necessity, in a manner consistent with the principles of Geneva”. This detention policy was defended by the Government in various submissions to the United Nations [See for example CCPR/C/USA/CO/3/Rev.1/Add.1, p. 3; A/HRC/4/41, paras. 453 – 455; and A/HRC/4/40, para. 12], including on 10 October 2007, when the Government stated that the law of war, and not the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, was the applicable legal framework governing the detentions of “enemy combatants” [CCPR/C/USA/CO/3/Rev.1/Add.1, p. 3], and therefore such detentions did not fall within the mandate of the special procedures mandate holders [CCPR/C/USA/3, para. 456, and A/HRC/4/40, para. 12].

101. By using this war paradigm, the United States purported to limit the applicable legal framework of the law of war (international humanitarian law) and exclude any application of human rights law. Even if and when human rights law were to apply, the Government was of the view that it was not bound by human rights law outside the territory of the United States. Therefore, by establishing detention centres in Guantanamo Bay and other places around the world, the United States was of the view that human rights law would not be applicable there. Guantanamo and other places of detention outside United States territory were intended to be outside the reach of domestic courts for habeas corpus applications by those held in custody in those places. One of the consequences of this policy was that many detainees were kept secretly and without access to the protection accorded to those in custody, namely the protection of the Geneva Conventions, international human rights law, the United States Constitution and various other domestic laws. [In its October 2007 submission to the Human Rights Committee, the Government reaffirmed its long-standing position that “the Covenant does not apply extraterritorially” (CCPR/C/USA/CO/3/Rev.1/Add.1, p. 2)].

102. The secret detention policy took many forms. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) established its own secret detention facilities to interrogate so-called “high value detainees”. It asked partners with poor human rights records to secretly detain and interrogate persons on its behalf. When the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq started, the United States secretly held persons in battlefield detention sites for prolonged periods of time. The present chapter therefore focuses on various secret detention sites and those held there, and also highlights examples of the complicity of other States.

A.  The “high-value detainee” programme and CIA secret detention facilities

103. On 17 September 2001, President Bush sent a 12-page memorandum to the Director of the CIA through the National Security Council, which authorized the CIA to detain terrorists and set up detention facilities outside the United States [PDF]. Until 2005, when the United Nations sent its first of many communications regarding this programme to the Government of the United States, little was known about the extent and the details of the secret detention programme. Only in May 2009 could a definitive number of detainees in the programme be established. In a released, yet still redacted, memo, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stephen G. Bradbury stated that, to date, the CIA had “taken custody of 94 detainees [redacted], and had employed enhanced techniques to varying degrees in the interrogations of 28 of those detainees.” [PDF, footnote, p. 5]

104. In the report of 2007 on his country visit to the United States (A/HRC/6/17/Add.3), the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism described what was known at that time of these “enhanced techniques” and how they were regarded:

As a result of an apparent internal leak from the CIA, the media in the United States learned and published information about “enhanced interrogation techniques” used by the CIA in its interrogation of terrorist suspects and possibly other persons held because of their links with such suspects. Various sources have spoken of techniques involving physical and psychological means of coercion, including stress positions, extreme temperature changes, sleep deprivation, and “waterboarding” (means by which an interrogated person is made to feel as if drowning). With reference to the well-established practice of bodies such as the Human Rights Committee and the Committee against Torture, the Special Rapporteur concludes that these techniques involve conduct that amounts to a breach of the prohibition against torture and any form of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

105. Several of the 28 detainees who, according to Mr. Bradbury, were subjected to “enhanced techniques to varying degrees” were also “high value detainees”. Fourteen people were transferred from secret CIA custody in an undisclosed location to confinement at the Defense Department’s detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, as announced by President Bush on 6 September 2006. They were:

  • Abu Zubaydah (Palestinian), captured in Faisalabad, Pakistan, on 28 March 2002
  • Ramzi bin al-Shibh (Yemeni), captured in Karachi, Pakistan, on 11 September 2002
  • Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri (Saudi), captured in the United Arab Emirates in October or November 2002
  • Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (Pakistani), captured in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, on 1 March 2003
  • Mustafa al-Hawsawi (Saudi), captured with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, on 1 March 2003
  • Majid Khan (Pakistani), captured in Karachi, Pakistan, on 5 March 2003
  • Waleed Mohammed bin Attash (Yemeni), also known as Khallad, captured in Karachi, Pakistan, on 29 April 2003
  • Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali (Pakistani) also known as Ammar al-Baluchi, captured with Waleed bin Attash in Karachi, Pakistan, on 29 April 2003
  • Mohammed Farik bin Amin (Malaysian), also known as Zubair, captured in Bangkok on 8 June 2003
  • Riduan Isamuddin (Indonesian), also known as Hambali, also known as Encep Nuraman, captured in Ayutthaya, Thailand, on 11 August 2003
  • Mohammed Nazir bin Lep (Malaysian), also known as Lillie, captured in Bangkok on 11 August 2003
  • Gouled Hassan Dourad (Somali), also known as Haned Hassan Ahmad Guleed, captured in Djibouti on 4 March 2004
  • Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani (Tanzanian), captured in Gujrat, Pakistan, on 25 July 2004
  • Abu Faraj al-Libi (Libyan), also known as Mustafa Faraj al-Azibi, captured in Mardan, Pakistan, on 2 May 2005 [A/HRC/4/40/Add.1. Pentagon biographies are available here (PDF)]

106. Beyond the transcripts of the Combatant Status Review Tribunals, held in 2007 [PDF], and the facts reported in opinion No. 29/2006 (United States of America), adopted by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on 1 September 2006 [A/HRC/4/40/Add.1], the only available source on the conditions in the above-mentioned facilities is a report by ICRC leaked to the media by United States Government officials [PDF]. In spite of the fact that the ICRC report was never officially published, the experts decided to refer to it since information on the 14 was scarce and the United States of America, in spite of requests to be allowed to speak to Guantanamo detainees, did not authorize them to do so. That report details the treatment that most of the 14 had described during individual interviews, and concluded that there had been cases of beatings, kicking, confinement in a box, forcible shaving, threats, sleep deprivation, deprivation/restriction on food provisions, stress positions, exposure to cold temperatures/cold water, suffocation by water and so on. It stressed that, for the entire detention periods, which ranged from 16 months to more than 3 and a half years, all 14 persons had been held in solitary confinement and incommunicado detention. According to the report, they had no knowledge of where they were being held, and no contact with persons other than their interrogators or guards.” ICRC concluded that:

Twelve of the fourteen alleged that they were subjected to systematic physical and/or psychological ill-treatment. This was a consequence of both the treatment and the material conditions which formed part of the interrogation regime, as well as the overall detention regime. This regime was clearly designed to undermine human dignity and to create a sense of futility by inducing, in many cases, severe physical and mental pain and suffering, with the aim of obtaining compliance and extracting information, resulting in exhaustion, depersonalization and dehumanization. The allegations of ill-treatment of the detainees indicate that, in many cases, the ill-treatment to which they were subjected while held in the CIA program, either singly, or in combination, constituted torture. In addition, many other elements of the ill-treatment, either singly or in combination, constituted cruel inhuman or degrading treatment.”

107. Despite the acknowledgement in September 2006 by President Bush of the existence of secret CIA detention facilities, the United States Government and the Governments of the States that hosted these facilities have generally refused to disclose their location or even existence. The specifics of the secret sites have, for the most part, been revealed through off-the-record disclosures.

108. In November 2005, for example, the Washington Post referred to “current and former intelligence officers and two other US Government officials” as sources for the contention that there had been a secret CIA black site or safe house in Thailand, “which included underground interrogation cells”. One month later, ABC News reported on the basis of testimonies from “current and former CIA officers” that Abu Zubaydah had been:

… whisked by the CIA to Thailand where he was housed in a small, disused warehouse on an active airbase. There, his cell was kept under 24-hour closed circuit TV surveillance and his life-threatening wounds were tended to by a CIA doctor specially sent from Langley headquarters to assure Abu Zubaydah was given proper care, sources said. Once healthy, he was slapped, grabbed, made to stand long hours in a cold cell, and finally handcuffed and strapped feet up to a water board until after 0.31 seconds he begged for mercy and began to cooperate.

The details of Abu Zubaydah’s treatment have been confirmed by his initial FBI interrogator, who has not confirmed or denied that the location where Abu Zubaydah was held was in Thailand. The Washington Post also reported that the officials had stated that Ramzi bin al-Shibh had been flown to Thailand after his capture. The New York Times again stated in 2006 that Abu Zubaydah was held in Thailand “according to accounts from five former and current government officials who were briefed on the case.” In January 2008, the Asia Times reported that political analysts and diplomats in Thailand suspected that the detention facility was “situated at a military base in the northeastern province of Udon Thani”.

109. The sources of the Washington Post stated that, after “published reports revealed the existence of the site in June 2003, Thai officials insisted the CIA shut it down”. The New York Times alleged later that local officials were said to be growing uneasy about “a black site outside Bangkok code-named Cat’s Eye” and that this was a reason for the CIA to want “its own, more permanent detention centers”.

110. In 2008, the Washington Post described on the basis of interviews with “more than two dozen current and former U.S. officials” how a “classified cable” had been sent between the CIA station chief in Bangkok and his superiors “asking if he could destroy videotapes recorded at a secret CIA prison in Thailand … from August to December 2002 to demonstrate that interrogators were following the detailed rules set by lawyers and medical experts in Washington, and were not causing a detainee’s death.” The newspaper also reported “several of the inspector general’s deputies traveled to Bangkok to view the tapes.” The Office of the Inspector General reviewed 92 videotapes in May 2003, 12 of which included “enhanced interrogation techniques” and identified 83 waterboarding sessions on Abu Zubaydah at a “foreign site”. From the OIG report it seems that Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri were detained and interrogated at the same place [PDF, paras. 74 and 91]. This information could not be verified, as the location of the interrogation is redacted in the report of the CIA Officer General, although independent sources informed the experts that the facility was indeed in Thailand and that it was known as the “Cat’s Eye”. The videotapes were however allegedly destroyed in November 2005 by the CIA and, according to the New York Times, the tapes had been held “in a safe at the CIA station in Thailand, the country where two detainees — Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri — were interrogated.”

111. In its submission for the present study, the Government of Thailand denied the existence of a secret detention facility in Thailand in 2002/03, stating that international and local media had visited the suspected places and found no evidence of such a facility. In the light of the detailed nature of the allegations, however, the experts believe it credible that a CIA black site existed in Thailand, and calls on the domestic authorities to launch an independent investigation into the matter.

112. In June 2007, in a report submitted to the Council of Europe, rapporteur Dick Marty stated that he had enough “evidence to state that secret detention facilities run by the CIA did exist in Europe from 2003 to 2005, in particular in Poland and Romania.” [PDF. In its response to the report, Romania contested the evidentiary basis of the findings concerning Romania]. The report drew on testimony from over 30 current and former members of intelligence services in the United States and from Europe. According to the Rapporteur, the Romanian “black site” was allegedly in force from 2003 to the second half of 2005. He also noted that “the majority of the detainees brought to Romania were, according to our sources, extracted ‘out of [the] theater of conflict’. This phrase is understood as a reference to detainee transfers originating from Afghanistan and, later, Iraq”. In August 2009, former United States intelligence officials disclosed to the New York Times that Kyle D. Foggo, at that time head of the CIA’s main European supply base in Frankfurt, oversaw the construction of three CIA detention centres, “each built to house about a half-dozen detainees”. They added that “one jail was a renovated building on a busy street in Bucharest”.

113. While the identities of many detainees who were held in these facilities have not been revealed yet, it is known that on or around 24 April 2004, Mohammed al-Asad (see para. 133 below) was transferred with at least two other people from Afghanistan to an unknown, modern facility apparently run by United States officials, which was carefully designed to induce maximum disorientation, dependence and stress in the detainees. Descriptions of the facility and its detention regime were given by Mr. al-Asad to Amnesty International, which established that he had been held in the same place as two other Yemeni men, Salah Ali and Mohammed Farag Ahmad Bashmilah. Research into flight durations and the observations of Mr. al-Asad, Mr. Ali, and Mr. Bashmilah suggest that the facility was likely located in Eastern Europe. Mr. al-Asad was held in a rectangular cell approximately 3.5 x 2.5 m, in which he was chained to the floor in the corner. The first night, Mr. al-Asad was kept naked in his cell. The cell included a speaker, which played noise similar to an engine or machine, and two cameras. For most of his time in the facility, the light in his cell was kept on all night. At one point, Mr. al-Asad met with a man who identified himself as the prison director and claimed that he had just flown in from Washington, D.C. Similarly, Mr. Bashmilah described how the facility where he was held was much more modern than the one in Afghanistan. White noise was blasted into his cell, the light was kept on constantly, and he was kept shackled. The guards in the facility were completely dressed in black, including black face masks, and communicated to one another by hand gestures only. The interrogators spoke to each other in English and referred to information arriving from Washington, D.C. [Declaration of Mohamed Farag Ahmad Bashmilah in support of plaintiffs’ opposition to the motion of the United States to dismiss or, in the alternative, for summary judgement, Civil Action No. 5:07-cv-02798 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Division. See also “Surviving the Darkness”, a report by the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at NYU School of Law (PDF), pp. 34-35]. On 5 March 2005, the United States informed Yemen that Mr. Bashmilah was in American custody. On 5 May 2005, Mr. Bashmilah was transferred to Yemen, along with two other Yemeni nationals, Mr. al-Asad and Salah Nasser Salim Ali Darwish.

114. In Poland, eight high-value detainees, including Abu Zubaydah, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Tawfiq [Waleed] bin Attash and Ahmed Khalfan [al-]Ghailani, were allegedly held between 2003 and 2005 in the village of Stare Kiejkuty [PDF, p. 25. In his report, Dick Marty also noted that “a single CIA source told us that there were ‘up to a dozen’ high-value detainees in Poland in 2005, but we were unable to confirm this number”]. According to the leaked ICRC report, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed knew that he was in Poland when he received a bottle of water with a Polish label. According to ABC News, in 2005, Hassan Ghul and Mohammed Omar Abdel-Rahman were also detained in the facility in Poland [also see Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, opinion No. 29/2006 (United States of America) (A/HRC/4/40/Add.1, para. 15., and this March 2003 Fox News report]. The Polish press subsequently claimed that the authorities of Poland — during the term of office of President Aleksander Kwaśniewski and Prime Minister Leszek Miller — had assigned a team of “around a dozen” intelligence officers to cooperate with the United States on Polish soil, thereby putting them under exclusive American control and had permitted American “special purpose planes” to land on the territory of Poland [Edyta Żemła, Mariusz Kowalewski, “Polski wywiad w służbie CIA”, Rzeczpospolita, 15 April 2009]. The existence of the facility has always been denied by the Government of Poland and press reports have indicated that it is unclear what Polish authorities knew about the facility.

115. While denying that any terrorists had been detained in Poland, Zbigniew Siemiątkowski, the head of the Polish Intelligence Agency in the period 2002-2004, confirmed the landing of CIA flights [Adam Krzykowski , Mariusz Kowalewski, ‘Politycy przeczą’ Rzeczpospolita, 15 April 2009]. Earlier, the Marty report had included information from civil aviation records revealing how CIA-operated planes used for detainee transfers landed at Szymany airport, near the town of Szczytno, in Warmia-Mazuria province in north-eastern Poland, and at the Mihail Kogalniceanu military airfield in Romania between 2003 and 2005. Marty also explained how flights to Poland were disguised by using fake flight plans.

116. In research conducted for the present study, complex aeronautical data, including “data strings” retrieved and analysed, have added further to this picture of flights disguised using fake flight plans and also front companies [Data strings are exchanges of messages or digital data, mostly in the form of coded text and numbers between different entities around the world on aeronautical telecommunications networks]. For example, a flight from Bangkok to Szymany, Poland, on 5 December 2002 (stopping at Dubai) was identified, though it was disguised under multiple layers of secrecy, including charter and sub-contracting arrangements that would avoid there being any discernible “fingerprints” of a United States Government operation, as well as the filing of “dummy” flight plans. The experts were made aware of the role of the CIA chief aviation contractor through sources in the United States. The modus operandi was to charter private aircraft from among a wide variety of companies across the United States, on short-term leases to match the specific needs of the CIA Air Branch. Through retrieval and analysis of aeronautical data, including data strings, it is possible to connect the aircraft N63MU with three named American corporations, each of which provided cover in a different set of aviation records for the operation of December 2002. The aircraft’s owner was and remains “International Group LLC”; its registered operator for the period in question was “First Flight Management”; and its registered user in the records of the Eurocontrol Central Route Charges Office, which handles the payment of bills, was “Universal Weather”. Nowhere in the aviation records generated by this aircraft is there any explicit recognition that it carried out a mission associated with the CIA. Research for the present study also made clear that the aviation services provider Universal Trip Support Services filed multiple dummy flight plans for the N63MU in the period from 3 to 6 December 2002. In a report, the CIA Inspector General discussed the interrogations of Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. Two United States sources with knowledge of the high-value detainees programme informed the experts that a passage revealing that “enhanced interrogation of al-Nashiri continued through 4 December 2002” and another, partially redacted, which stated that:

However, after being moved, al-Nashiri was thought to have been withholding information”, indicate that it was at this time that he was rendered to Poland. The passages are partially redacted because they explicitly state the facts of al-Nashiri’s rendition — details which remain classified as “Top Secret” [PDF, paras. 76 and 224].

117. Using a similar analysis of complex aeronautical data, including data strings, research was also able to demonstrate that a Boeing 737 aircraft, registered with the Federal Aviation Administration as N313P, flew to Romania in September 2003. The aircraft took off from Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C. on Saturday 20 September 2003, and undertook a four-day flight “circuit”, during which it landed in and departed from six different foreign territories — the Czech Republic, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Poland, Romania and Morocco — as well as Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Focus was also placed on a flight between the two listed European “black site” locations — namely from Szymany (Poland) to Bucharest — on the night of 22 September 2003, although it was conceivable that as many as five consecutive individual routes on this circuit — beginning in Tashkent, concluding in Guantanamo — may have involved transfers of detainees in the custody of the CIA. The experts were not able to identify any definitive evidence of a detainee transfer into Romania taking place prior to the flight circuit.

118. In its response to the questionnaire sent by the experts, Poland stated that:

On 11 March 2008, the district Prosecutor’s Office in Warsaw instituted proceedings on the alleged existence of so-called secret CIA detention facilities in Poland as well as the illegal transport and detention of persons suspected of terrorism. On 1 April 2009, as result of the reorganization of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the investigation was referred to the Appellate Prosecutor Office in Warsaw. In the course of investigation, the prosecutors gathered evidence, which is considered classified or secret. In order to secure the proper course of proceedings, the prosecutors who conduct the investigation are bound by the confidentiality of the case. In this connection, it is impossible to present any information regarding the findings of the investigation. Once the proceedings are completed and its results and findings are made public the Government of Poland will present and submit all necessary or requested information to any international body.

While the experts appreciate the fact that an investigation has been opened into the existence of places of secret detention in Poland, they are concerned about the lack of transparency into the investigation. After 18 months, still nothing is known about the exact scope of the investigation. The experts expect that any such investigation would not be limited to the question of whether Polish officials had created an “extraterritorial zone” in Poland, but also whether officials were aware that “enhanced interrogation techniques” were applied there.

119.  In its response to the questionnaire sent by the experts, Romania provided a copy of the report of the Committee of Enquiry of Parliament concerning the investigation of the statements on the existence of CIA imprisonment centres or of flights of aircraft hired by the CIA on the territory of Romania.

120. With regard to Europe, ABC News recently reported that Lithuanian officials had provided the CIA with a building where as many as eight terrorist suspects were held for more than a year, until late 2005, when they were moved because of public disclosure of the programme [also see this statement by Dick Marty]. More details emerged in November 2009 when ABC News reported that the facility was built inside an exclusive riding academy in Antaviliai. Research for the present study, including data strings relating to Lithuania, appears to confirm that Lithuania was integrated into the secret detention programme in 2004. Two flights from Afghanistan to Vilnius could be identified: the first, from Bagram, on 20 September 2004, the same day that 10 detainees previously held in secret detention, in a variety of countries, were flown to Guantanamo; the second, from Kabul, on 28 July 2005. The dummy flight plans filed for the flights into Vilnius customarily used airports of destination in different countries altogether, excluding any mention of a Lithuanian airport as an alternate or back-up landing point.

121. On 25 August 2009, the President of Lithuania announced that her Government would investigate allegations that Lithuania had hosted a secret detention facility. On 5 November 2009, the Lithuanian Parliament opened an investigation into the allegation of the existence of a CIA secret detention on Lithuanian territory. In its submission for the present study, the Government of Lithuania provided the then draft findings of this investigation, which in the meantime had been adopted by the full Parliament. In its findings, the Seimas Committee stated that the State Security Department (SSD) had received requests to “equip facilities in Lithuania suitable for holding detainees”. In relation to the first facility, the Committee found that “conditions were created for holding detainees in Lithuania”. The Committee could not conclude, however, that the premises were also used for that purpose. In relation to the second facility, the Committee found that:

The persons who gave testimony to the Committee deny any preconditions for and possibilities of holding and interrogating detainees … However, the layout of the building, its enclosed nature and protection of the perimeter as well as fragmented presence of the SSD staff in the premises allowed for the performance of actions by officers of the partners without the control of the SSD and use of the infrastructure at their discretion.

The report also found that there was no evidence that the SSD had informed the President, the Prime Minister or other political leaders of the purposes and contents of its cooperation with the CIA regarding these two premises.

122. While the experts welcome the work of the Seimas Committee as an important starting point in the quest for truth about the role played by Lithuania in the secret detention and rendition programme, they stress that its findings can in no way constitute the final word on the country’s role. On 14 January 2010, President Dalia Grybauskaite rightly urged Lithuanian prosecutors to launch a deeper investigation into secret CIA black sites held on the country’s territory without parliamentary approval.

123. The experts stress that all European Governments are obliged under the European Convention of Human Rights to investigate effectively allegations of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment [See for example Assenov et al v. Bulgaria, judgement of 28 October 1998]. Failure to investigate effectively might lead to a situation of grave impunity, besides being injurious to victims, their next of kin and society as a whole, and fosters chronic recidivism of the human rights violations involved. The experts also note that the European Court of Human Rights has applied the test of whether “the authorities reacted effectively to the complaints at the relevant time” [Labita v Italy, application no. 26772/95, judgement of 6 April 2000, para. 131]. A thorough investigation should be capable of leading to the identification and punishment of those responsible for any ill treatment; it “must be ‘effective’ in practice as well as in law, in particular in the sense that its exercise must not be unjustifiably hindered by the acts or the omissions of the authorities” [See Aksoy v. Turkey, judgement of December 1996, para 95; and Kaya v. Turkey, judgement of 19 February 1998, para 106]. Furthermore, according to the European Court, authorities must always make a serious attempt to find out what happened [See Timurtas v. Turkey, judgement of 13 June 2000, para. 88] and “should not rely on hasty or ill-founded conclusions to close their investigation or as the basis of their decisions” [Assenov v. Bulgaria, op. cit., para. 104].

124. According to two high-ranking Government officials at the time, revelations about the existence of detention facilities in Eastern Europe in late 2005 by the Washington Post and ABC News led the CIA to close its facilities in Lithuania and Romania and move the Al-Qaida detainees out of Europe. It is not known where these persons were transferred; they could have been moved into “war zone facilities” in Iraq and Afghanistan or to another black site, potentially in Africa. The experts were not able to find the exact destination of the 16 high-value detainees between December 2005 and their move to Guantanamo in September 2006. No other explanation has been provided for the whereabouts of the detainees before they were moved to Guantanamo in September 2006.

125. Other locations have been mentioned as the venues for secret detention facilities outside territories under United States control (or operated jointly with the United States military). The first is Guantanamo, which was mentioned by the United States officials who spoke to the Washington Post in 2005, when it was reported that the detention facility had existed “on the grounds of the military prison at Guantanamo Bay”, but that “some time in 2004, the CIA decided it had to give [it] up … The CIA had planned to convert it into a state-of-the-art facility, operated independently of the military [but] pulled out when US courts began to exercise greater control over the military detainees, and agency officials feared judges would soon extend the same type of supervision over their detainees”. More recently, former Guantanamo Bay guards have described “an unnamed and officially unacknowledged” compound located out of sight from the main road between two plateaus, about a mile north of Camp Delta, just outside Camp America’s perimeter with the access road chained off. The unacknowledged “camp no” is described as having had no guard towers and being surrounded with concertina wire, with one part of the compound having “the same appearance as the interrogation centers at other prison camps”. At this point, it is unclear whether this facility was run by the CIA or the Joint Special Operations Command. The experts are concerned about the possibility that three Guantanamo detainees (Salah Ahmed al-Salami, Mani Shaman al-Utaybi and Yasser Talal al-Zahrani) might have died during interrogations at this facility, instead of in their own cells, on 9 June 2006.

126. There have also been claims that the United States used two military bases in the Balkans for secret detention: Camp Bondsteel, in Kosovo, and Eagle Base, in Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina. In November 2005, Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Alvaro Gil-Robles told Le Monde that the United States military ran a Guantanamo-type detention centre in Camp Bondsteel. He said he had been “shocked” by conditions at the centre, which he witnessed in 2002, and which resembled “a smaller version of Guantanamo”. In December 2005, the United Nations Ombudsman in Kosovo, Marek Antoni Nowicki, also spoke about Camp Bondsteel, saying “there can be no doubt that for years there has been a prison in the Bondsteel base with no external civilian or judicial oversight. The prison looks like the pictures we have seen of Guantanamo Bay”. Mr. Nowicki said that he had visited Camp Bondsteel in late 2000 and early 2001, when it was the main detention centre for Kosovo Force (KFOR), the NATO-led peace-keeping force, but explained that he had had no access to the base since 2001. The United States base in Tuzla was allegedly used to “process” eight detainees, including Nihad Karsic and Almin Hardaus. Around 25 September 2001, Karsic and Hardaus were arrested at work and taken to Butmir Base, then to Eagle Base, Tuzla, where they allegedly were held in secret detention [PDF]. The men say that they were held in solitary confinement, stripped naked, forcibly kept awake, repeatedly beaten, verbally harassed, deprived of food and photographed.

127. Further developments were witnessed in 2009. In October, three of the experts sent a letter to the Governments of the United States, the United Kingdom [United Kingdom response included in A/HRC/13/39/Add.1], Pakistan and the Syrian Arab Republic regarding Mustafa Setmariam Nassar, aged 42, a Spanish citizen of Syrian origin and author of a number of books and other publications on Islam and jihad. They pointed to allegations received that, on an unknown date in October 2005, he had been apprehended in Pakistan by forces of the Pakistani intelligence on suspicion of having been involved in a number of terrorist attacks, including the 11 September 2001 attacks against the United States and the 11 March 2004 bombings in Madrid. He was detained in Pakistan for a certain period of time accused of involvement in both incidents. He was then handed over to authorities of the United States. While no official news of Mr. Nassar’s whereabouts has been received since his apprehension in October 2005, it is alleged that, in November 2005, he was held for some time at a military base facility under United States authority in Diego Garcia. It is now assumed that he is currently being held in secret detention in the Syrian Arab Republic. Official United States documents and web postings, as well as media reports, indicate that the United States authorities had been interested in Mr. Nassar before his disappearance in 2005. In June 2009, in response to a request made through Interpol by a Spanish judge for information relating to Mr. Nassar’s whereabouts, the FBI stated that Mr. Nassar was not in the United States at that time. The FBI did not, however, address whether Mr. Nassar was in United States custody elsewhere or whether it knew where he was then held. Following queries by non-governmental organizations regarding the whereabouts of Mr. Nassar, the CIA responded on 10 June 2009, stating that “the CIA can neither confirm nor deny the existence or nonexistence of records responsive to your request” and that, even if the CIA was in a position to answer the request, the records would be classified and protected from disclosure by United States laws. According to Reprieve, Mr. Nassar may have been transferred to Syrian custody. According to the Government of the United Kingdom, it has received assurances from the United States that it has not interrogated any terrorist suspect or terrorism-related detainee in Diego Garcia in any case since 11 September 2001, and that the allegations of a CIA holding facility on the island are false. The Government was therefore confident that the allegations that Mr. Nassar had been held on Diego Garcia were inaccurate.

128. Following the transfer of the 14 high-value detainees from CIA custody to Guantanamo, President Bush, in a delivered speech on 6 September 2006, announced the closure of the CIA’s “high-value detainee programme”. He stressed that, “as more high-ranking terrorists are captured, the need to obtain intelligence from them will remain critical — and having a CIA programme for questioning terrorists will continue to be crucial to getting life-saving information”. Later in 2006 and in 2007 [PDF], he indicated that “the CIA interrogation and detention program” would continue. Subsequent events support this claim as the Department of Defense announced in 2007 and 2008 the transfer of high-value detainees from CIA custody to Guantanamo.

129. On 27 April 2007, the Department of Defense announced that another high-value detainee, Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi, described as “a high-level member of Al-Qaida”, had been transferred to Guantanamo. On the same day, Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, stated that the detainee had been transferred to Defense Department custody that week from the CIA although he “would not say where or when al-Iraqi was captured or by whom”. However, a United States intelligence official stated that al-Iraqi “had been captured late last year in an operation that involved many people in more than one country”. Another high-value detainee, Muhammad Rahim, an Afghan described as a close associate of Osama bin Laden, was transferred to Guantanamo on 14 March 2008. In a press release, the Department of Defense stated that, “prior to his arrival at Guantanamo Bay, he was held in CIA custody”. According to reports in Pakistani newspapers, he was captured in Lahore in August 2007.

130. The Government of the United States provided no further details about where the above-mentioned men had been held before their transfer to Guantanamo; however, although it is probable that al-Iraqi was held in another country, in a prison to which the CIA had access (it was reported in March 2009 that he “was captured by a foreign security service in 2006” and then handed over to the CIA), the Department of Defense itself made it clear that the CIA had been holding Muhammad Rahim, indicating that some sort of CIA “black site” was still operating.

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed (and I can also be found on Facebook and Twitter). Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in January 2010, details about the new documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, currently on tour in the UK, and available on DVD here), and my definitive Guantánamo habeas list, and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.

For a sequence of articles dealing with the use of torture by the CIA, on “high-value detainees,” and in the secret prisons, see: Guantánamo’s tangled web: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Majid Khan, dubious US convictions, and a dying man (July 2007), Jane Mayer on the CIA’s “black sites,” condemnation by the Red Cross, and Guantánamo’s “high-value” detainees (including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed) (August 2007), Waterboarding: two questions for Michael Hayden about three “high-value” detainees now in Guantánamo (February 2008), Six in Guantánamo Charged with 9/11 Murders: Why Now? And What About the Torture? (February 2008), The Insignificance and Insanity of Abu Zubaydah: Ex-Guantánamo Prisoner Confirms FBI’s Doubts (April 2008), Guantánamo Trials: Another Torture Victim Charged (Abdul Rahim al-Nashiri, July 2008), Secret Prison on Diego Garcia Confirmed: Six “High-Value” Guantánamo Prisoners Held, Plus “Ghost Prisoner” Mustafa Setmariam Nasar (August 2008), Will the Bush administration be held accountable for war crimes? (December 2008), The Ten Lies of Dick Cheney (Part One) and The Ten Lies of Dick Cheney (Part Two) (December 2008), Prosecuting the Bush Administration’s Torturers (March 2009), Abu Zubaydah: The Futility Of Torture and A Trail of Broken Lives (March 2009), Ten Terrible Truths About The CIA Torture Memos (Part One), Ten Terrible Truths About The CIA Torture Memos (Part Two), 9/11 Commission Director Philip Zelikow Condemns Bush Torture Program, Who Authorized The Torture of Abu Zubaydah?, CIA Torture Began In Afghanistan 8 Months before DoJ Approval, Even In Cheney’s Bleak World, The Al-Qaeda-Iraq Torture Story Is A New Low (all April 2009), Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi Has Died In A Libyan Prison , Dick Cheney And The Death Of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, The “Suicide” Of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi: Why The Media Silence?, Two Experts Cast Doubt On Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi’s “Suicide”, Lawrence Wilkerson Nails Cheney On Use Of Torture To Invade Iraq, In the Guardian: Death in Libya, betrayal by the West (in the Guardian here), Lawrence Wilkerson Nails Cheney’s Iraq Lies Again (And Rumsfeld And The CIA) (all May 2009) and WORLD EXCLUSIVE: New Revelations About The Torture Of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi (June 2009), The Logic of the 9/11 Trials, The Madness of the Military Commissions (November 2009), UK Judges Compare Binyam Mohamed’s Torture To That Of Abu Zubaydah (November 2009), UN Secret Detention Report Asks, “Where Are The CIA Ghost Prisoners?” (January 2010), Binyam Mohamed: Evidence of Torture by US Agents Revealed in UK (February 2010), Torture Whitewash: How “Professional Misconduct” Became “Poor Judgment” in the OPR Report (February 2010), Judges Restore Damning Passage on MI5 to the Binyam Mohamed Torture Ruling (February 2010), What Torture Is, and Why It’s Illegal and Not “Poor Judgment” (March 2010), Abu Zubaydah’s Torture Diary (March 2010), Seven Years of War in Iraq: Still Based on Cheney’s Torture and Lies (March 2010), Protests worldwide on Aafia Siddiqui Day, Sunday March 28, 2010 (March 2010), Abu Zubaydah: Tortured for Nothing (April 2010), Mohamedou Ould Salahi: How a Judge Demolished the US Government’s Al-Qaeda Claims (April 2010), Judge Rules Yemeni’s Detention at Guantánamo Based Solely on Torture (April 2010), How Binyam Mohammed’s Torture Was Revealed in a US Court (May 2010), What is Obama Doing at Bagram? (Part One): Torture and the “Black Prison” (June 2010), New Report Reveals How Bush Torture Program Involved Human Experimentation (June 2010). Also see the extensive archive of articles about the Military Commissions.

53 Responses

  1. U.N. Secret Detention Report « Little Alex in Wonderland says...

    […] Part I: “The C.I.A. ‘High-Value Detainee Program and Secret Prisons“ […]

  2. UN Secret Detention Report: CIA Prisons In Afghanistan And Iraq « freedetainees.org says...

    […] length of this section of the report (pp. 43-89), I’m publishing it in three parts. The first, published here, provided an introduction, and dealt with “The ‘high-value detainee’ programme and CIA secret […]

  3. Harry Potter at Guantánamo ? « prisons of shame says...

    […] cart and go cell to cell.” In September 2006, just a week after President Bush announced that 14 “high-value detainees” had been moved to Guantánamo from secret CIA prisons whose existence the President had, until that […]

  4. LT Saloon |  Abu Zubaydah and the Case Against Torture Architect James Mitchell says...

    […] the men in question, including Zubaydah, are now held in Guantanamo, and this is not only because the whereabouts of 13 others are unknown (and one, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, died in mysterious circumstances last May, having been returned to […]

  5. ANDY WORTHINGTON: Introducing the Definitive List of the Remaining Prisoners in Guantánamo | My Catbird Seat says...

    […] prisoners who were tortured — including Mohammed al-Qahtani, for whom Guantánamo’s version of the CIA’s torture program was devised in the fall of 2002, and approved by then-defense secretary Donald […]

  6. Barbaric: 86-Year Sentence for Aafia Siddiqui | The Muslim Justice Initiative says...

    […] that, if she was indeed regarded as an al-Qaeda operative, it would not be surprising if, like many dozens of other “high-value detainees,” she suffered years of torture in U.S. custody, and then, somehow, had to be disposed […]

  7. In the Case of Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, Torture Apologists Are Everywhere « Margot B. News says...

    […] headline writers were referring to the federal court trial, in New York, of Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a former CIA “ghost prisoner” (for two years and two months), who was then held at Guantánamo for two years and eight months […]


    […] prisoners who were tortured — including Mohammed al-Qahtani, for whom Guantánamo’s version of the CIA’s torture program was devised in the fall of 2002, and approved by then-defense secretary Donald […]

  9. On Bush’s Waterboarding Claims, UK Media Loses Its Moral Compass « Dandelion Salad says...

    […] of the coercive interrogation technique,” to which three supposed “high-value detainees” — Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri — were subjected, and “denied that waterboarding, […]

  10. All Guantánamo Prisoners Were Subjected to “Pharmacological Waterboarding” by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    […] an illegal war, it has also become apparent that the detention program in Guantánamo, and in the “high-value detainee” program in the CIA’s secret prisons, involved human experimentation. This came to light prominently in […]

  11. WikiLeaks: Numerous Reasons to Dismiss US Claims that “Ghost Prisoner” Aafia Siddiqui Was Not Held in Bagram + Bring Aafia Home « Dandelion Salad says...

    […] of supposed “high-value detainees” who were subjected to “extraordinary rendition” and torture in a variety of secret prisons, including, in many cases, a secret facility within Bagram. Whether accurately or not, it has been […]

  12. More Evidence of Medical Experimentation at Guantánamo « Dandelion Salad says...

    […] to a growing body of work demonstrating that the detention program in Guantánamo, and in the “high-value detainee” program in the CIA’s secret prisons, involved human experimentation, of which medical experiments like […]

  13. Dr. Aafia Siddiqui – The Punishment Does Not Fit the Crime | MuslimMatters.org says...

    […] that, if she was indeed regarded as an al-Qaeda operative, it would not be surprising if, like many dozens of other ‘high-value detainees,’ she suffered years of torture in U.S. custody, and then, somehow, had to be disposed […]

  14. Former CIA “Ghost Prisoner” Abu Zubaydah Recognized as “Victim” in Polish Probe of Secret Prison « Eurasia Review says...

    […] one of 14 “high-value detainees” transferred to Guantánamo from secret CIA prisons in September 2006, was held for four and a half […]

  15. Obama’s Collapse: The Return of the Military Commissions « Dandelion Salad says...

    […] most troubling case is that of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, one of 14 “high-value detainees” transferred to Guantánamo in September 2006, after being held in secret CIA prisons for nearly […]

  16. Compelling New Evidence About Aafia Siddiqui’s Detention by the ISI, and Her Rigged Trial in the US « Eurasia Review says...

    […] Ali], was arrested in connection with 9/11. The two men were taken to Guantánamo Bay, then to various CIA-run secret prisons known as “black sites” for torture, before being returned to Guantánamo […]

  17. Compelling New Evidence About Aafia Siddiqui’s Detention by the ISI, and Her Rigged Trial in the US « Dandelion Salad says...

    […] Ali], was arrested in connection with 9/11. The two men were taken to Guantánamo Bay, then to various CIA-run secret prisons known as “black sites” for torture, before being returned to Guantánamo […]

  18. George W. Bush, War Criminal, Is Not Welcome in Europe « Eurasia Review says...

    […] — I understand concerns that it will go the way of a similar investigation in Lithuania, where another secret CIA prison also existed, but where an investigation fizzled out just a month […]

  19. The Year of Revolution: The “War on Tyranny” Replaces the “War on Terror” by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    […] of Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Syria and Uzbekistan, and also establishing its own torture prisons in Thailand, Poland, Romania and Lithuania, and in Afghanistan and […]

  20. Compelling New Evidence About Aafia Siddiqui’s Detention by the ISI, and Her Rigged Trial in the US By Andy Worthington | Sailan Muslim - The Online Resource for Sri Lanka Muslims says...

    […] Ali], was arrested in connection with 9/11. The two men were taken to Guantánamo Bay, then tovarious CIA-run secret prisons known as “black sites” for torture, before being returned to Guantánamo […]

  21. The Unjustifiable Defense of Torture and Gitmo by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    […] — began with the interrogation of the “high-value detainee” Khalid Sheikh Mohammed during his long detention in secret CIA prisons, from March 2003 to September 2006, involved the interrogation in 2004 of a “ghost prisoner,” […]

  22. The Only Way Out Of Guantánamo Is In A Coffin - OpEd says...

    […] Al-Baqi, more commonly known as Abd Al-Hadi Al-Iraqi, and Muhammad Rahim, an Afghan, and they join the 14 “high-value detainees” sent to Guantánamo from secret CIA prisons in September 2006, who include Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, […]

  23. The 14 Missing Guantánamo files says...

    […] This is how they were described in the United Nations’ “Joint Study on Global Practices in Relation to Secret Detention in the Context of Counter-Terrorism,” a detailed report issued in February 2010 (PDF, or see here): […]

  24. US Justice Department Finally Allows Attorneys to See Leaked Guantánamo Files, But Not To Download, Save Or Print Them - OpEd says...

    […] a collection of allegations derived from extremely dubious witnesses, both in Guantánamo and in the secret torture prisons run by the CIA — to defend their clients in their ongoing habeas corpus […]

  25. WikiLeaks and the Guantánamo Prisoners Released from 2002 to 2004 … » WeNewsIt says...

    […] “high-value detainees,” themselves tortured in CIA prisons in Afghanistan, Thailand, Poland, Romania, Lithuania and elsewhere, or in proxy facilities in other countries, including Egypt, Jordan and Morocco, also turn up […]

  26. Former CIA Interrogator Speaks Out Against Torture - OpEd says...

    […] after 9/11, which were part of a UN report on secret detention that was published last year: UN Secret Detention Report (Part One): The CIA’s “High-Value Detainee” Program and Secret Pris…, UN Secret Detention Report (Part Two): CIA Prisons in Afghanistan and Iraq and UN Secret Detention […]

  27. Torture Whitewash: Probe Of Two CIA Murders Ends Obama Administration’s Investigation Of Bush’s Global Torture Program - OpEd says...

    […] some cases, murder, in the Bush administration’s “high-value detainee” program. This involved the creation of secret torture prisons in Thailand, Poland, Romania and Lithuania, and, for a while, in Guantánamo, as well as others in […]

  28. Congress And The Dangerous Drive Towards Creating A Military State says...

    […] at Guantánamo, throughout the war zones in Afghanistan and Iraq, and around the world in a network of secret prisons, but although it should have died as an enduring concept when President Obama took office, it took […]

  29. Guantánamo: Las comisiones militares y la ilusión de justicia | Comunicacion Popular says...

    […] a someterse a juicio hubieran sido torturados, los debates sobre el período que pasaron en las prisiones secretas de la CIA, donde el uso de la tortura estaba muy extendido, se van a ver seriamente […]

  30. SILVIU CRAESCU says...

    Silviu Craescu disclosures about unlawful activity of CIA prisons in Romania and U.S. support for regime Basescu

    Wikileaks -Conform notei clasificată “secret”, din 30 noiembrie 2009, la raportul ambasadorului SUA la Bucureşti, Mark H. Gitenstein, trimis centralei de la Washington DC, a contribuit si Silviu Craescu, consilierul sau personal.

    Cititi :
    Dezvlăuirile lui Silviu Craescu despre activitatea ilegală a inchisorilor CIA din Romania si sprijinul SUA pentru regimul Băsescu.



    Silviu Craescu – Protocol Officer and Senior Advisor of U.S. Ambassador’s in Romania



    Silviu Craescu disclosures about unlawful activity of CIA prisons in Romania, secret sales of uranium and US support for regime Basescu.



    Silviu Craescu – CI , about unlawful activity of CIA prisons in Romania, secret sales of uranium and U.S. illegal support for modern dictatorial regime of Traian Basescu – President of Romania.

  33. Ten Years of Torture: On Anniversary of Abu Zubaydah’s Capture, Poland Charges Former Spy Chief Over “Black Site” « Dandelion Salad says...

    […] years ago, on the evening of March 28, 2002, the Bush administration officially embarked on its “high-value detainee” program in the “war on terror” that had been declared in the wake of the terrorist attacks on September […]

  34. The Hidden Horrors of WikiLeaks’ Guantánamo Files | Amauta says...

    […] Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, who arrived in Guantánamo from secret CIA prisons in September 2006, some of the ten others transferred to Guantánamo from secret prisons in […]

  35. Rita Maran says...

    To this unique and invaluable website, may I contribute the resolution on Guantanamo adopted by the City of Berkeley on 25 October 2011, with the support of Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D CA 9th CD); Carole Nagengast, Chair, Amnesty International USA; Sister Marianne Farina CSC, Dominican School of Theology & Philosophy, Berkeley; and duly communicated to President Obama, Attorney General Holder, Senators Feinstein and Boxer, and Judge Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, among others.
    With appreciation and gratitude, and continued determination to stop torture.
    Rita Maran

  36. Andy Worthington says...

    Rita, yes, please do. I have been meaning to post it!

  37. Why No Trials for Abu Zubaydah and Seven Other “High-Value Detainees” in Guantánamo? « Stop Making Sense says...

    […] total, 16 “high-value detainees” have been sent to Guantánamo — 14 in September 2006, one in 2007, and another in 2008. […]

  38. “Pragmatism Over Ideology”: Obama’s Failure to Close Guantánamo, and His Love of Drones by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    […] early in Bush’s “war on terror,” before the CIA became mired in its own messy business of running its own secret prisons. As the Times explained, the day before the executive orders were issued, John A. Rizzo, the […]

  39. Congress and the Dangerous Drive Towards Creating a Military State by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    […] at Guantánamo, throughout the war zones in Afghanistan and Iraq, and around the world in a network of secret prisons, but although it should have died as an enduring concept when President Obama took office, it took […]

  40. Hiding Horrific Tales of Torture: How Guantanamo Fuels Injustice (Andy Worthington) says...

    […] of Abu Zubaydah, who was touted as a significant figure in al-Qaeda, and flown to Thailand, to the first of a series of secret prisons in other countries that were used by the CIA to torture “high-value detainees.” On August 1, […]

  41. Militant Libertarian » On Terrorism, America Has Lost Its Way says...

    […] to point out the elephant in the room — the fact that all the men were held for many years in “black sites” run by the CIA, where they were subjected to torture, approved at the highest levels of the government during the […]

  42. On Terrorism, America Has Lost Its Way | FreeWestRadio.com says...

    […] to point out the elephant in the room — the fact that all the men were held for many years in “black sites” run by the CIA, where they were subjected to torture, approved at the highest levels of the government during the […]

  43. America’s Disappeared by Andy Worthington | Dandelion Salad says...

    […] 94 men were part of the “high-value detainee” program, and were held in secret prisons run by the CIA in Thailand, Poland, Lithuania, Romania and […]

  44. America’s Disappeared: US State Terrorism | Hebrew Vision News says...

    […] 94 men were part of the “high-value detainee” program, and were held in secret prisons run by the CIA in Thailand, Poland, Lithuania, Romania and […]

  45. Las Injusticias de Estados Unidos: Los torturados, los rendidos*, los desaparecidos | Moncadista says...

    […] 94 hombres formaban parte del programa de “detenidos de alto valor”, y se mantuvieron en prisiones secretas llevadas por la CIA en Tailandia, Polonia, Lituania, […]


    […] al-Kazimi, Sharqawi Abdu Ali al-Hajj, Ahmed al-Darbi,Mohammed al-Qahtani, Hassan bin Attash and Mustafa al-Hawsawi (a “high-value detainee”), who were all tortured, and Yasim Basardah, the most notorious […]

  47. Newly Revealed Portions Of CIA Torture Manual: Doctoring Tapes, Foreign Detentions & Interrogating ‘Defectors’ | The Socialist says...

    […] holding prisoners in other countries. (It is widely known that post-9/11, the CIA held prisoners at secret prisons in Thailand, Poland, Romania, and Lithuania, while rendition to torture sent kidnapped detainees to […]

  48. Obama’s Collapse: The Return of the Military Commissions | Dandelion Salad says...

    […] most troubling case is that of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, one of 14 “high-value detainees” transferred to Guantánamo in September 2006, after being held in secret CIA prisons for nearly […]


    […] that, if she was indeed regarded as an al-Qaeda operative, it would not be surprising if, like many dozens of other ‘high-value detainees,’ she suffered years of torture in U.S. custody, and then, somehow, had to be disposed […]

  50. Guantánamo, Torture and the Trump Agenda by Andy Worthington – Dandelion Salad says...

    […] — over 2,000 articles, a film, the Close Guantánamo campaign, the We Stand With Shaker campaign, work with the United Nations and WikiLeaks and other organizations — all to end up, after eight disappointing years under […]

  51. “Pragmatism Over Ideology”: Obama’s Failure to Close Guantánamo, and His Love of Drones by Andy Worthington – Dandelion Salad says...

    […] early in Bush’s “war on terror,” before the CIA became mired in its own messy business of running its own secret prisons. As the Times explained, the day before the executive orders were issued, John A. Rizzo, the […]

  52. Dr. Aafia Siddiqui - The Punishment Does Not Fit the Crime says...

    […] that, if she was indeed regarded as an al-Qaeda operative, it would not be surprising if, like many dozens of other ‘high-value detainees,’ she suffered years of torture in U.S. custody, and then, somehow, had to be disposed […]

  53. Trump and FBI – News Review from Michael_Novakhov (10 sites): Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (51 sites): Eurasia Review: Reflections On ‘Guantánamo: 20 Years After’: Online Conference On Nov. 12 And 13 – OpEd | All News And Times - all says...

    […] CIA “black site” program, including the role I had played in exposing it as the lead author of a 2010 UN report into secret […]

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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