10/28/11: JURIST reports that lawyers for a Guantanamo Bay detainee and alleged al Qaeda facilitator on Thursday filed a case against Lithuania in the European Court of Human Rights for torture and secret detention at a CIA-run location in the Baltic state. The claimant, Abu Zubaydah, is a Palestinian who was captured in Pakistan in 2002 and taken to multiple CIA black sites. According to Zubaydah and supported by government intelligence reports, he was waterboarded approximately 83 times. It is alleged that he was also flown to a secret detention facility in Lithuania in February 2005, where he was tortured once again.
09/05/11: CNN reports that the human rights commissioner for the Council of Europe urged countries that have hosted secret CIA prisons to come clean Monday, as the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approaches. Thomas Hammarberg said Poland, Romania and Lithuania were among at least seven countries that hosted "black sites" for "enhanced interrogation" during the "war on terror." CIA officials have acknowledged the rendition program, but refused to discuss details and denied violating any laws. Efforts to challenge the agency and get details about it in US courts have been turned aside.
12/15/10: JURIST reports that the Center for Constitutional Rights and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights filed a joint expert opinion Tuesday urging a Spanish court to open an investigation into six former Bush administration officials for their roles in the torture of detainees.
11/16/10: JURIST report that the EU has failed to hold member states legally accountable for their involvement in the US Central Intelligence Agency extraordinary rendition program, according to a report published Monday by Amnesty International.
11/10/10: The AFP reports that Mikolaj Pietrzak, the lawyer of a Saudi Guantanamo detainee who claims he was held and tortured at a purported US "black site" in Poland, has given Polish prosecutors a list of names of people involved. Al-Nashiri is suspected by the United States of plotting the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole in the Yemeni port of Aden that killed 17 sailors. HT to The Lift.
09/09/10: The Washington Times reports that a former CIA officer accused of revving an electric drill near the head of an imprisoned terror suspect has returned to US intelligence as a contractor, training CIA operatives after leaving the agency. The CIA officer wielded the bitless drill and an unloaded handgun — unauthorized interrogation techniques — to menace suspected USS Cole bombing plotter Abdal-Rahim al-Nashiri inside a secret CIA prison in Poland in late 2002 and early 2003, according to several former intelligence officials and a review by the CIA's inspector general.
11/08/09: The Raw Story reports that the CIA relied on intelligence based on torture in prisons in Uzbekistan, a place where widespread torture practices include raping suspects with broken bottles and boiling them alive, according to Craig Murray, the former British ambassador to the central Asian country. (HT to Intelligence Daily)
11/01/09: The New York Times reports that FBI agents who arrived at a secret CIA jail overseas in September 2002 found prisoners “manacled to the ceiling and subjected to blaring music around the clock,” according to hundreds of pages of partly declassified documents released Friday by the Justice Department.
10/26/09: Jurist reports that Amnesty International USA, the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch on Friday turned down an opportunity to tour the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, citing lack of access to detainees.
10/17/09: The Miami Herald reports that a federal judge ruled Friday in a case on detainees at Guantanamo Bay that the government can maintain the secrecy of portions of some records that allegedly describe torture and abuse. In keeping some of the material secret, the government invoked exemptions in the FOIA that protect the identities of intelligence sources, intelligence methods and protect the confidentiality of records that have been properly designated as classified.
09/08/09: The Washington Post reports that from 2003 to 2006, the Bush administration quietly tried to relax the draft language of a treaty meant to bar and punish "enforced disappearances" so that those overseeing the CIA's secret prison system would not be criminally prosecuted under its provisions.
09/02/09: The New York Times reports that the Central Intelligence Agency is refusing to make public hundreds of pages of internal documents about the agency’s defunct detention and interrogation program, saying such disclosures would jeopardize national security by revealing classified intelligence sources and operations. Among the documents the agency is trying to keep classified are President George W. Bush’s September 2001 authorization for the CIA to begin secretly holding terrorism suspects; cables between CIA officers in the secret prisons, known as black sites, and their bosses in Washington; and assessments by CIA lawyers about the legality of the detention program.
08/27/09: The Wall Street Journal reports that "the outrage [about the CIA IG's report on interrogation] isn't that government officials used sometimes rough interrogation methods to break our enemies. The outrage is that, years later, when the political winds have shifted and there hasn't been another attack, our politicians would punish the men and women who did their best to protect Americans in a time of peril."
08/26/09: The New York Times reports that the Central Intelligence Agency’s secret interrogation program operated under strict rules, and the rules were dictated from Washington with the painstaking, eye-glazing detail beloved by any bureaucracy.
08/26/09: The Council on Foreign Relations reports that the decision by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to appoint a special prosecutor to review past CIA interrogations revives robust debate over whether such a move is healthy or harmful to the United States in its counterterrorism efforts.
08/26/09: The LA Times reports that for months, former Vice President Dick Cheney has argued that the worth of the Bush administration's aggressive interrogation program was proved in two secret CIA memos that he urged be released. But those documents, and others that were finally unsealed Monday, are at best inconclusive -- attesting that captured terrorism suspects provided crucial intelligence on Al Qaeda and its plans, but offering little to support the argument that harsh or abusive methods played a key role.
08/25/09: The Central Intelligence Agency's Office of the Inspector General's report on counterterrorism and detention activities was released yesterday.
08/25/09: The Miami Herald reports that the Obama administration is setting strict new standards for treatment of terror suspects, as the Justice Department launches a criminal probe of past interrogation tactics during President George W. Bush's war on terrorism. A newly declassified version of a CIA report revealed Monday that CIA interrogators once threatened to kill a Sept. 11 suspect's children and suggested another would be forced to watch his mother sexually assaulted.
08/25/09: The Washington Post reports that when the CIA OIG report concluded in May 2004 that "unauthorized, improvised, inhumane, and undocumented" interrogation methods had been used on suspected al-Qaeda members, the predominant reaction within the Bush administration was not revulsion but frustration that the agency's efforts inside a network of secret prisons had not been more effective, former senior intelligence and White House officials recall.
08/25/09: The Washington Times reports that the Obama administration Monday appointed John Durham as special prosecutor to pursue criminal charges against CIA employees who interrogated some of al Qaeda's hardest core members, while releasing documents showing individuals subjected to the tactics provided life-saving intelligence that disrupted numerous terror plots ranging from an anthrax attack on Westerners to a massive bombing of US troops in Africa.
08/24/09: The New York Times reports that The Justice Department’s ethics office has recommended reversing the Bush administration and reopening nearly a dozen prisoner-abuse cases, potentially exposing Central Intelligence Agency employees and contractors to prosecution for brutal treatment of terrorism suspects, according to a person officially briefed on the matter. The recommendation by the Office of Professional Responsibility, presented to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in recent weeks, comes as the Justice Department is about to disclose on Monday voluminous details on prisoner abuse that were gathered in 2004 by the CIA’s inspector general but have never been released.
08/24/09: Jurist reports that Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe rapporteur Dick Marty on Friday called on European countries to show accountability for their role in assisting the Central Intelligence Agency in using secret prisons. Marty called for all European countries to come forward regarding their involvement with the prisons.
08/23/09: The Washington Post reports that a CIA officer who allegedly used a gun to intimidate a captured al-Qaeda suspect was formally disciplined for violating the agency's rules for conducting interrogations, but Bush administration Justice Department officials ultimately declined to file charges against him, according to two former intelligence officials familiar with the case.
08/22/09: The Washington Post reports that CIA interrogators used a handgun and an electric drill to try to frighten a captured al-Qaeda commander into giving up information, according to a long-concealed agency report due to be made public next week, former and current US officials who have read the document said Friday. The tactics -- which one official described Friday as a threatened execution -- were used on Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, according to the CIA's inspector general's report on the agency's interrogation program.
08/21/09: ABC News reports that a third European country has been identified as providing the CIA with facilities for a secret prison for high-value al Qaeda suspects: Lithuania, the former Soviet state. Former CIA officials directly involved or briefed on the highly classified program claim that Lithuanian officials provided the CIA with a building on the outskirts of Vilnius, the country's capital, where as many as eight suspects were held for more than a year, until late 2005 when they were moved because of public disclosures about the program. HT to, and comment on the report at, CQ.
08/14/09: The Lift reports that Ikrom Yakubov, a self-declared former major in the National Security Service (SNB) is the first Uzbek intelligence officer to escape to the West. Yakubov has been granted political asylum in the UK. He told the BBC that the US rendered terrorist suspects to Uzbekistan for questioning.
08/13/09: The New York Times reports that new details of the CIA's foreign jails have emerged, including the construction of three detention centers, each built to house about a half-dozen detainees. The jails, in Bucharest, Romania, a remote site in Morocco and a third outside another former Eastern bloc city. They were designed to appear identical, so prisoners would be disoriented and not know where they were if they were shuttled back and forth.
08/07/09: The Atlantic reports that new research from psychologists and criminologists suggests that jurors tend not to discount evidence obtained from rough interrogations even though there's plenty of evidence to suggest that those claims aren't reliable. Writing in Psychology, Crime & Law, 2009, the authors conclude that jurors' expert bias -- their penchant to view expert testimony as more reliable -- overrides their perceptions and evaluations of the situation under which an interrogation was conducted.
07/23/09: The Washington Post reports that the Obama administration has declined requests from UN human rights investigators for information on secret prisons and for private interviews with inmates at the US military detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, UN officials said, dampening their hopes of greater US cooperation on human rights issues.
07/01/09: CNN reports the names and alleged crimes of the 14 individuals held in secret overseas prisons before being transferred to Guantanamo Bay in 2006.
04/15/09: The Lift reports that attorneys for Guantanamo detainee Abd Al-Rahim Hussain Mohammed al-Nashiri sent CIA Director Leon Panetta a letter urging him to preserve for documentation and inspection water boards and other evidence from the black sites the CIA no longer operates.
04/10/09: In the New York Review of Books, Mark Danner argues in the second of a two article series that former Vice President Dick Cheney's brazen political use of secrecy has created, contrasted with President Obama's efforts to reconcile Constitutional principles with national security interests, a half-submerged but potent counter-narrative that might return to prominence after the next successful terrorist attack on American soil occurs.
04/07/09: The New York Times reports that an International Committee of the Red Cross report on detainee abuse at Guantanamo, recently made public by the New York Review of Books, notes that medical experts at Guantanamo participated in interrogations and torture, committed acts that amounted to a "gross breach of medical ethics."
03/18/09: Slate reports that all the techniques in the accounts of torture by the International Committee of the Red Cross, as reported Monday, collected from 14 detainees held in CIA custody, fit a long historical pattern of Anglo-Saxon modern. The ICRC report apparently includes details of CIA practices unknown until now, details that point to practices with names, histories, and political influences.
03/16/09: Newsweek features an opinion piece by Philip Shenon in which he argues that the 9/11 Commission appears to have ignored obvious clues throughout 2003 and 2004 that its account of the 9/11 plot and Al Qaeda's history relied heavily on information obtained from detainees who had been subjected to torture, or something not far from it. HT to LIFT.
03/15/09: In the New York Times, journalism professor Mark Danner summarizes the excerpts of interviews collected by the International Committee of the Red Cross, which interviewed detainees allegedly held at US Government black sites overseas. Danner argues that the similar details of the detainees' stories suggest their veracity.
02/22/09: The BBC reports that Tom Ridge told the BBC that the report's attacks on extended detention and torture were justified. But he also said the US had been dealing with a new kind of threat. In an interview with the BBC's World Today program he said that regardless of what terrorism suspects had done, the US still needed "to afford them some sense of due process." He went on to say that, "It has taken a while for us to get to that point but we are certainly there now."
01/29/09: John Yoo argues in the Wall Street Journal that President Barack Obama's executive orders to close Guantanamo Bay detention camp and terminate the CIA's special interrogation authority will seriously handicap US intelligence agencies' efforts to prevent future terrorist attacks.
01/22/09: CNN reports that President Barack Obama issued three executive orders Thursday to demonstrate a clean break from the Bush administration -- including one requiring that the Guantanamo Bay detention facility be closed within a year. A second executive order formally bans torture by requiring that the Army field manual be used as the guide for terror interrogations. The third executive order establishes an interagency task force to lead a systematic review of detention policies and procedures and a review of all individual cases.
01/22/09: The New York Times reports that President Obama is expected to sign executive orders Thursday directing the CIA to shut what remains of its network of secret prisons and ordering the closing of the Guantanamo detention camp within a year, government officials said. They would require an immediate review of the 245 detainees still held at the naval base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to determine if they should be transferred, released or prosecuted. And the orders would bring to an end a Central Intelligence Agency program that kept terrorism suspects in secret custody for months or years, a practice that has brought fierce criticism from foreign governments and human rights activists.
01/08/09: Opinio Juris discusses Philippe Sands' interview with NPR's Fresh Air. Sands argues that torture has occurred as a part of U.S. detention policy at GTMO and that high level officials are responsible for these acts.
Thread: Torture and US detention policy / secret prisons