Overseas Media Ask: Where Is the Secret CIA Prison?

European parliamentary officials moved yesterday to investigate The Post's report that the CIA operates a secret prison for suspected al Qaeda operatives in Eastern Europe. For the international online media, the top question is, Where is this prison?

Aljazeera.net cited a variety of sources reporting denials from officials in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Russia and Bulgaria.

The Times of London got a denial from a spokesman for the Polish defense ministry and a no comment from a Rumanian government spokesman.

If all the denials are accurate, it would seem the secret CIA prison is Romania.

A spokesman for U.S.-based Human Rights Watch told the Financial Times that Poland and Romania are among countries that allow the CIA to operate secret detention centers on their soil.

"We have a high degree of confidence that such facilities exist in at least Poland and Romania," said Tom Malinowski, Washington advocacy director. He cited the flight records of CIA aircraft transporting prisoners out of Afghanistan as evidence.

"If the allegations were confirmed," said the FT, "they would be likely to provoke serious concern in the European Union."

The Washington Post has identified the region where the facility is located, Eastern Europe, but not the specific country. Unidentified U.S. officials told Post editors that naming the specific location would compromise U.S. counterterrorism efforts and possibly expose the host country to retaliation.

By Jefferson Morley |  November 3, 2005; 10:45 AM ET  | Category:  Europe
Previous: First European Reactions to CIA Prison Story | Next: More on Secret Prison Location

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Romania is planning to join the EU in a little over a year. So, if it is in that country and if the current controversy continues to escalate they'll have to shut their prison.

Sadly America probably has several of these places of torture world wide so they'll just cart their untried and unconvicted prisoners elsewhere. And I don't think the EU will get so angry if the prisons are farther away from its borders.

Posted by: David Patrick, UK | November 3, 2005 10:53 AM

Why aren't the American Media asking the same question?

Why are people in America so afraid to openly disagree with a small group of Bush's 'elite'administration officials?

Reporters of today seems to be caught up in the glamour of being part of the White House press corp. moreso, than giving the "unbiased" news to the American Public

You would think they would had been some sort of retribution by reporters for the implant of that fake reporter, the story was run so loosily, that to this day many people still don't really understand it.

Shame on any reporter who put their own special interest before the job they were hire to do

Just go ask Judith Miller - three months ago she was hailed as a hero by her peers

Today, she is a shame and disgrace to her profession (by most)

Posted by: | November 3, 2005 12:16 PM

There are serious questions that need to be addressed, assuming that such 'black sites' exist in Eastern Europe, namely:

What are the legal ramifications of the exposure of the existence of such secret prisons if, as has been reported, they violate international treaties?

Could the consequences of such potential violations of laws and treaties put the US at risk of EU condemnation? Sanctions? Referral to the UN?

Steven Hadley, the national security advisor, said yesterday that "the test of your principles [is] what you do when no one is looking."

Soon everyone will be looking, and the US' reputation is - mark my words - going to plummet even further.

Posted by: corbett | November 3, 2005 12:27 PM

I hope that terrorists and other criminals attack these reporters and their families and rape and kill them all. This would help immoral reporters understand their responsibilities when exposing our country's servicemen, and civilians to threats and danger as this report does.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 3, 2005 12:28 PM

aren't secret prisons and dissapearings just the sort of thing we deride third world countries and terrorist states for doing? will we become a terrorist state to "protect" ourselves from terrorists?

Posted by: anonymous | November 3, 2005 12:36 PM

Anonymous is wrong to blame the reporter for 'exposing' anything except the truth. The fact remains that this Administration is bent on doing whatever it can to hide and extract information from detainees, whether or not it breaks international law and treaties to do so.

Posted by: corbett | November 3, 2005 12:42 PM

Tomorrow somebody in wherever_you_want took as prisioners some American people accussed of being terrorist. The 'Intelligence Agency' of that country, in the name of the peace and freedom, torture the prisioners and locate them in a secret jail, with absolutely no rights and laws that could protect them. What would be the difference? Something is going wrong with this practices.

Posted by: Secret Contributor | November 3, 2005 12:45 PM

Ouch! Anonymous really you don't mean that do you?

I forgot to add my name to the second post (above) however, I just want them to have the same interest they probably had when they were going to college/unversity for their profession. I'm sure they had more zeal - what happen to it?

I admire the likes of some of the media/columnist people --- Anderson Cooper, Chris Matthews, Dan Froomklin and Andrea Mitchell hey I even like Keith Obberman

but...

I draw the line when they bring in the barbie dolls who looks braindead from the neck up. One came on one day dressed like she was at an after five dinner, I was too busy wondering why the producers let her go on TV with these long white eifer tower looking earrings. Talking about a distraction.

MSNBC does this a lot - those young ladies on they station keep their rating down, there is just nothing there, they voice monotone is bland as best,and they ain't all that pretty either!!

Posted by: | November 3, 2005 12:47 PM

Dear Anonymous,

Nice. Rape and kill their families huh? And you call THEM immoral?

It's like calling yourself pro-life and killing 25,000 Iraqis because you don't like their dictator. Oh, wait...

Funny kind of morality you people have.

Posted by: pffoie | November 3, 2005 12:53 PM

While some of the C.I.A.'s assets may be revealed, The existance of these secret prisons are not only illegal, but they have damaged our foreign policy and reputation. I don't particularly care how they closed, but they need to be closed. These prisoners need to brought to the U.S. as prisoners of war, or possibly for trial. This fiasco however has made convictions difficult under U.S. law, because basic civil rights were violated.

Posted by: P. J. Casey | November 3, 2005 01:27 PM

Has any administration brought more shame to America than this one? Certainly not in my lifetime.

I am so grateful for the EU for finally exposing these torture camps and if the exposure shreds the last of America's meagre reputation, so be it. This must stop.

Posted by: Mark Esposito | November 3, 2005 01:56 PM

Let's say, going out on a limb here, that this story turns out to be accurate in most aspects, and also that torture is taking place at these facilities. Is anyone in the administration or CIA in any danger of criminal prosecution? I'm guessing that the answer is no. While these sites probably constitute (or at least house) war crimes by the administration, it seems unlikely that Congress will hand Bush or Cheney over to UN tribunal. And nobody in power here will be subject to legal trouble over actions carried out beyond the US, no matter how horrific. Sad truths.
Annonymous (the 1st) is probably a troll in Ann Coulter drag out looking for amusement. Or maybe Dick Cheney. In either case s/he isn't worth taking seriously.

Posted by: james | November 3, 2005 02:01 PM

is there any trade off between the need of financial and expertise resources to keep safe and operating lots of ageing nuclear and sensitive military laboratories within the soviet fringes and the desperate bush's administration need to seek and find torturing heavens? it is widely acknowledge that billions of dollars have were poured in to guard and manage sensitive military sites in former soviet republic (which include some newly acquired EU member states). Nothing comes for free...

Posted by: daicacoddaus | November 3, 2005 02:21 PM

it is now clear..well, clearer, why this administration has so fiercely resisted to ratify the ICC treaty.
Following this copious amount of gross human rights violations they are unlikely to turn a listening hear for the next 50 years. I don't know about statute of limitations if there is any for this kind of violations...

Posted by: anglocalabro | November 3, 2005 02:29 PM

In all these comments there isn't one iota of concern about what some of these detainees had in mind for us. Is everyone so anxious to see them walking the streets again to they can plan their next attack? Does anyone remember September 11, 2001?

Posted by: ML | November 3, 2005 02:38 PM

ML: I don't think anyone is arguing that the detainees that are being kept secretly at these "black sites" are not bad people, or that they aren't responsible for terrorist acts, and the deaths of many people. But we ARE a nation governed by the "rule of law" (I put it in quotes since it's a phrase that Bush and others in the Administration trot out every time they can).

What does it say about us as a people when we violate the very principles that this country was founded upon?

Until this Administration, criminals like these detainees were either handed over to foreign intelligence services or brought to the US to stand trial for their crimes. Has the way we protect our national security changed so much that these practices are no longer options?

The State Department puts out list after list, year after year, devoted to the horrible human rights records of other nations, and we see here that rather than hold up to our lofty principles, this Administration has instead lowered itself the level of those we endlessly criticize.

Posted by: corbett | November 3, 2005 04:00 PM

there was not iota of concern, but surely a concern of an idiot

Posted by: daicacoddaus | November 3, 2005 04:01 PM

ML, what you're saying then is that to defend Freedom and Liberty we must suspend both?

Do that and you achieve what no terrorist could - the destruction of the British and American way of life.

And that's putting aside totally the question of whether this is actually the best way to fight terrorism. A strong counter-argument could be made that by engaging in acts that ignore the rule of law and imprisoning without trial and torturing people you are very likely to push even more people into extremist action.

Posted by: David Patrick, UK | November 3, 2005 04:02 PM

So - to get this straight. You leftist moonbats out there find it highly disturbing when two liars like Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame are exposed after Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame have already "outed" Valerie's Plame's Non-Undercover job at the CIA - causing Valerie to get recognized by pimps a D.C. cocktail parties and "do the cover" of national magazines.

That kind of "leak" is reprehensible and warrents an independent investigator in your estimation.

However - REAL leaks that REALLY endanger the lives of REAL agents - like the one discussed above - are "the right thing to do", as long as it's only REAL CIA agents who are probably conservatives getting killed and you can make the Bush Administration "look bad" by causing increased risk to the REAL lives of REAL CIA agents.

Don't event THINK about lecturing ME on morality OR hypocrisy - because YOUR pictures are next to the dictionary definition.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 3, 2005 04:07 PM

corbett reasoning makes sense. beside, it is te only way to protect innocent people being prosecuted illegally and unfairly. how can anybody reasonably argue that there are not innocent people involved in this unorthodox rendition program?
not surprisingly, leak of secret prisons come from agency officer, notoriously not very keen on soft practices...but with a limit.
unnecessary arrogance has already done lot of harm to american people. does anybody question why the vast majority of arabic people doesn't question american values or economic and technologic achievements, but rather, its foreign policy? hearts and minds, this is how to win a war and make yourself admired more than feared.

Posted by: daicacoddaus | November 3, 2005 04:11 PM

To "Anonymous" I would recommend re-reading Dana Priest's story. The people who are concerned about the viability and morality of the secret prisons are CIA officials who, as Dana noted in her Live Online discussion today, mostly voted for Bush. In other words, at the heart of the debate about the secret prisons is a debate between very conservative people. Ad hominem denunciations of "leftist moonbats" don't really address the heart of the matter.

Posted by: Jefferson Morley | November 3, 2005 06:30 PM

To "Anonymous" I would recommend re-reading Dana Priest's story. The people who are concerned about the viability and morality of the secret prisons are CIA officials who, as Dana noted in her Live Online discussion today, mostly voted for Bush. In other words, at the heart of the debate about the secret prisons is a debate between very conservative people. Ad hominem denunciations of "leftist moonbats" don't really address the heart of the matter.

Posted by: Jefferson Morley | November 3, 2005 06:31 PM

Jefferson--the problem isn't who they voted for, the problem is that they spoke to the Post at all.

Let me get this straight, these (CIA sources) are the same people that we trust with the nation's most sensitive secrets and they're disclosing this kind of information to the Post? No wonder we have a problem with intelligence, pre-war and post-war.

Jim Hoagland was correct in his piece when he noted that Bush has been unable to contain the bureaucratic infighting within his cabinet and when that happens, people leak to gain a political advantage. Porter Goss really needs to clean house over there at Langley and bring in people who understand the meaning of "classified."

Posted by: KB | November 3, 2005 07:46 PM

To anonymous If you are so worried about our soldiers and marines safety why give the bad guys any excuse to abuse them if they are captured???

john mccain spent 5 years as a POW. he was beaten and tortured.He says torture is useless to get info. He knows better than Bush or Cheney and the other cowards who sign these orders. Read a book called The Nightengale's Song. Interesting profiles of Vietnam vets including Oliver North (no doubt one of your heroes). Our use of torture is only going to get more of OUR kids maimed and killed. I dont see any of the neocons or chicken hawks volunteering to show how tough they are. shame on them
and shame on you. who would Jesus torture?

Posted by: mccainfan | November 3, 2005 07:58 PM

Anonymous: However - REAL leaks that REALLY endanger the lives of REAL agents -

Wilson's wife's name and position was specifically leaked.

Which agent's name and position was leaked for a purpose?

Posted by: | November 3, 2005 09:34 PM

'One of them made cuts in my penis. I was in agony'

Tuesday August 2, 2005 The Guardian

Benyam Mohammed travelled from London to Afghanistan in July 2001, but after September 11 he fled to Pakistan. He was arrested at Karachi airport on April 10 2002, and describes being flown by a US government plane to a prison in Morocco. These are extracts from his diary.
They cut off my clothes with some kind of doctor's scalpel. I was naked. I tried to put on a brave face. But maybe I was going to be raped. Maybe they'd electrocute me. Maybe castrate me.

They took the scalpel to my right chest. It was only a small cut. Maybe an inch. At first I just screamed ... I was just shocked, I wasn't expecting ... Then they cut my left chest. This time I didn't want to scream because I knew it was coming.

One of them took my penis in his hand and began to make cuts. He did it once, and they stood still for maybe a minute, watching my reaction. I was in agony. They must have done this 20 to 30 times, in maybe two hours. There was blood all over. "I told you I was going to teach you who's the man," [one] eventually said.

New Swedish Documents Illuminate CIA Action
Probe Finds 'Rendition' Of Terror Suspects Illegal
By Craig Whitlock
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, May 21, 2005; A01

[snip]
The Swedish police said they were also perplexed by a demand from U.S. agents that they be allowed to strip-search the prisoners, even though the two men had already been searched and were in handcuffs. The Swedes relented after the captain of the plane said he would refuse to depart unless the Americans were allowed to do things their way, the documents show.

The prisoners were taken into the airport police station, one by one, to be searched.

One agent quickly slit their clothes with a pair of scissors and examined each piece of cloth before placing it in a plastic bag. Another agent checked the suspects' hair, mouths and lips, while a third agent took photographs from behind, according to Swedish officers who witnessed the searches.

As the prisoners stood there, naked and motionless, they were zipped into gray tracksuits and their heads were covered with hoods that, in the words of one Swedish officer, "covered everything, like a big cone."

Swedish police later marveled that the whole search procedure took less than 10 minutes. "It surprised me," one officer told investigators. "How the hell did they dress him so fast?"

Paul Forell, a Swedish airport police officer who was on duty that night, added: "Everything was very smooth, professional. I mean, I thought, they have done this before."

Zery later complained to his lawyers that the CIA agents tranquilized him by inserting suppositories in his anus during the search and that the two prisoners were forced to wear diapers. Swedish police officers said they couldn't recall if the Egyptians had been forcibly medicated.


They beat me from all sides
Friday January 14, 2005
The Guardian

[snip]

"I heard the door being closed," says el-Masri. "And then they beat me from all sides, from everywhere, with hands and feet. With knives or scissors they took away my clothes. In silence. The beating, I think, was just to humiliate me, to hurt me, to make me afraid, to make me silent. They stripped me naked. I was terrified. They tried to take off my pants. I tried to stop them so they beat me again. And when I was naked I heard a camera." El-Masri breaks down as he recalls the moment when the men carried out an intrusive anal search.

He was dressed in a nappy, a short-sleeved, short-legged suit and a belt. His feet were shackled and his hands were chained to the belt. His ears were plugged and ear defenders placed over them and a clip put on his nose. A hood was put over his blindfold. With his arms raised painfully high behind his back, he was driven to an aircraft where he was thrown down on to a bare metal floor, chained and bound, and given an injection. He was dimly aware of a landing and takeoff and a second injection before the plane landed again and he was put into the boot of a car.

Posted by: | November 3, 2005 09:48 PM

TO All

Gasp....You mean the CIA is roughly handling people who kill innocent finve year old girls for a living? Oh NO!!!!

What will the American people think?!!!

What is wrong with this country that we offend the sensibilities of terrorists, by accidentally sprikling a few drops on their Koran.

OH SHAME ON US SHAME ON US.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!

God you liberals really crack me up!

Posted by: Andrew | November 3, 2005 11:40 PM

Yeah, sure, Andrew, go ahead and mock those "liberals" but when our allies have all abandoned us in disgust and we stand alone, isolated, scorned and hated the world over, are we really more secure? You and your president would seem to think so, or at least not to care how these thuggish tactics reflect on our nation or its standing in the world. But hey, why reflect on these issues when you can swat people with labels like "liberal."

Posted by: Tony Comper | November 4, 2005 01:32 AM

Hey Tony, guess what--some of us care less about what other countries think and more about whether fewer American civilians are killed in the homeland.

I can live with "thuggish tactics" far more than I can watching innocent Americans leap from highrises because some terrorist sets them on fire. Say what what you want, but we have thus far succeeeded in preventing any further attacks on the U.S., more than we can say for the U.K. or Spain. I'd say that means we are more secure.

Posted by: KB | November 4, 2005 02:12 AM

As most Europeans I really love America. We all admired it's high moral and the fight for the freedom of other people around the world! What would Europe be if it wasn't for the heroes of the great American army under WW I and WW II? They saved us from the war, torture and prison camps of the nazi's! We all have seen those horrible images that came to peoples attentions after the war.

Unfortunately today I feel more and more lonely as a pro American defending American values in Europe. I'am trying to tell that DON't ever forget how they helped Europe. What makes me loose this argument is the following answer: We all now what they did and how they helped us. We all appreciate that, of course! But that was a totally different America back then!
So what should my answer be!? Look they have no prison camps, no Quantamo bay, no Abu prison etc. etc.. So with my litle thiny voice I say to you. Don't let me loose this battle defending you guys in Europe. And to you guys with the moral still intact. WAKE UP and stop this shame of your country!!!

Posted by: Gulag | November 4, 2005 04:15 AM

As most Europeans I really love America. We all admired it's high moral and the fight for the freedom of other people around the world! What would Europe be if it wasn't for the heroes of the great American army under WW I and WW II? They saved us from the war, torture and prison camps of the nazi's! We all have seen those horrible images that came to peoples attentions after the war.

Unfortunately today I feel more and more lonely as a pro American defending American values in Europe. I'am trying to tell that DON't ever forget how they helped Europe. What makes me loose this argument is the following answer: We all now what they did and how they helped us. We all appreciate that, of course! But that was a totally different America back then!
So what should my answer be!? Look they have no prison camps, no Quantamo bay, no Abu prison etc. etc.. So with my litle thiny voice I say to you. Don't let me loose this battle defending you guys in Europe. And to you guys with the moral still intact. WAKE UP and stop this shame of your country!!!

Posted by: Michell | November 4, 2005 04:16 AM

Dear Jefferson, I appreciate your point of you. But what it surprise me, as european, is the absolute capability or willingnes by a vast majority of the american audience to elevate themselves from this kind of primordial eye for eye - teeth for teeth. this exactly one of the outdated pillars of the culture this Administration has decided to clash with. isn't that a catch22 policy?
We've all suffered and cry for the atrocities of the 9/11, but it is simply stupid to consider that event as a natural calamity that came from nowhere. there is a difference between Katrina and the al-qaeda attacks. this is not intended any way to justify the barbarian terrorists that managed such an even, still we cannot deny the course of history and the consequences of an hazardous american foreign policy. but the main difference between katrina and 9/11 is that one was not predictable either evitable.

Posted by: daicacoddaus | November 4, 2005 08:15 AM

Fortunately there are people in the CIA who still know right from wrong. Fortunately there are a few papers in the US that dare oppose the administration. But, you should have revealed the exact locations. By not doing this you're buying into the administration's argument that these secret camps are necessary to protect America. Possibly also prolonging the torture for some. To the Americans who assume these are guilty of terrorism: hundreds have been released from Guantanamo because there were no proof. Don't forget that.

Posted by: Anonymous, EU | November 4, 2005 01:22 PM

KB writes: "some of us care less about what other countries think and more about whether fewer American civilians are killed in the homeland..."
Ah, but there's the rub: if we're hated the world over, we as a nation are in greater danger -- both at home and abroad -- than if we're admired and respected.
Just proclaiming that you "couldn't care less" what other nations think might make you feel a little better, but it won't make your community or mine any safer, and it certainly won't make Americans who travel overseas any safer, and it won't ultimately make our nation any stronger.
Wouldn't you rather our nation be loved and admired than hated and despised, as it is now under Bush? And wouldn't you feel safer?
Do you really think setting up secret prisons, jailing people without trial, torturing people till they spit out bogus confessions, waging "pre-emptive" wars on false pretenses, violating international law and pissing off all our allies is really a smart way to make America safe?

Posted by: Tony Comper | November 6, 2005 11:47 PM

To those who believe that torturing suspected terrorists makes us safer (and, yes, I'm an American):

First, go ask Sen. John McCain if this really makes us safer. He has actual experience with and knowledge of torture and interrogation, both from having it practiced on him and from studying it as a soldier and a senator. He's truly an expert in the field. And, like the vast majority of experts, particularly those who truly value the lives of our citizens, and our men and women in uniform, he denounces torture as worthless for information-gathering, demeaning to our own country and our fellow Americans, inimical to our professed values, and dangerous in the extreme.

Does the idea of torturing repulsive, disgusting terrorists, of having them experience, here on Earth, some of the pain and suffering they so willingly and happily -- nay, *joyfully* -- inflict, does this forceful, vengeful concept appeal to people? Of course it does. Naturally. After all, we are human.

However ...

What Sen. McCain knows (and, apparently, some of my fellow Americans seem to forget) is that, under such duress, even innocent people will confess to heinous crimes. This is precisely why the Constitution prohibits "cruel and unusual punishment" -- including torture. We *know* that torture will condemn innocent people. We have known this for over 200 years. Why do we think people suddenly changed?

What Sen. McCain and the other 89 senators (including Sen. Graham -- not exactly a leftie, he) also know is that, if we inflict this torture on people, we lose credibility in the world -- and that DIRECTLY jeopardizes the safety of our troops. I am, frankly, disgusted and revolted by the people who try to claim that this torture somehow does good, by those who say we can pretend we're the only country in the world that we need to care about -- because those people are the ones who are most likely to put in place the conditions causing our soldiers to *die.* It's a demented, unpatriotic, anti-American stance to favor this torture, this abuse. No, it's not likely to cause a new terrorist to spring up; there are other forces at work to produce those cretins. However, our public rejection of our own values, our own morals, our own ethics *will* sway public opinion in other countries, meaning that people who might have taken a risk to help America (say, by warning some of our soldiers in Iraq that there is an IED up ahead) ... well ... why, exactly, should they help us again? We don't see other nationalities as having rights; why should they risk their lives, and their families lives, to help our soldiers? So some Americans die; their families stay safe.

This is dangerous. This is disgusting. This is utterly, totally reprehensible. And those that promote our use of inhumane tactics promote these dangerous, disgusting, reprehensible ideas and endanger our troops.

Posted by: Thomas, NC, USA | November 7, 2005 10:06 AM

To all of the neocon, preadolescent cowards that have supported the actions of the Bush administration in this thread: Join the military and go fight. If the military won't have you (mental defectives aren't allowed to enlist - maybe you could serve at one of the secret prisons as a torturer), pay your own way to whichever country you accuse of harboring terrorists (you need not have evidence, only righteous anger and a small intellect), strap a bomb to yourself, and take a bunch of terrorists out (innocent men, women, and children don't live in such countries, so you need not have morel qualms - Jesus will still love you).

You know why your type doesn't do this? Because you don't have the courage of your stated convictions. You are little boys with big mouths. You are cowards and pussies - just like the neocons running our government (and they had the audacity to question John Kerry's patriotism).

A strong and just nation doesn't torture people. Tyrants, facists, Nazis (nationalists), dictators and sickos do.

It takes more strength to do the right thing. Didn't your mama ever teach you that?

Cowards all - you make me sick. Please stop calling yourselves Americans.

Posted by: smafdy | November 7, 2005 06:45 PM

Well put, Smafdy!
Not satisfied with dragging us into war based on a lie, hese armchair chickenhawks are now busy advocating torture.
Unfortunately, however, these advocates of torture ARE American. Like it or not, theirs are the values of our president; this is what America stands for in the world today.
And they wonder why we are so hated.

Posted by: Disgusted | November 7, 2005 08:36 PM

Well "smafdy" and "disgusted," your righteous indignation may make you feel better, but you are ill-served by your overarching stereotypes. I have served in the Army and was recalled to duty for the first Gulf War. In addition I have spent most of 2003-2005 in the Middle East, to include Iraq. I can't speak for others, but I know that I have the courage of my convictions. Let's see if you do:

Suppose a ship is heading into U.S. waters with a nuclear device aboard, a device sufficient enough to destroy a city. The ship is headed for New York. It is stopped and disabled by Navy SEALs, acting on an intelligence tip, in the Atlantic before it can complete its mission. The intelligence came from an unlawful detainee at a secret CIA detention facility that had been subjected to "torture" (however you want to define it). Additionally, 150 other unlawful detainees were tortured in the drive for this information. Was it worth it? That is a judgment call that someone may have to make. I happen to think that 151 unlawful detainees tortured by the CIA to save 8 million lives is worth it. You may not and I can respect that, but then have the courage to state that you would be willing to condemn 8 million people to death to uphold your "high" morals.

What is really lacking in this debate amid all the emotion is clarity. First, define what torture is--and not in legalese. Do you think subjecting unlawful detainees to 4 hours of sleep per night is torture? I don't happen to think so. How about electric shock? Well, yes, I would agree with you on that one. Is it degrading to have a Muslim male interrogated by a female? Not in my opinion.

Once you've defined "torture," then you need to decide if it is effective. Many people say it is not, but others disagree. French commanders concluded that it was essential for tactical intelligence during their battle for Algiers. Or consider this from Slate (http://www.slate.com/id/2106702) referring to Seymour Hersh's book--and he is no fan of the present administration:

"Hersh quotes a "former intelligence official" on what Stephen Cambone, the assistant secretary of defense in charge of the operation, did in response in mid-2003: Cambone says, I've got to crack this thing and I'm tired of working through the normal chain of command. I've got this apparatus set up--the black special-access program--and I'm going in hot. So he pulls the switch, and the electricity begins flowing last summer. And it's working. We're getting a picture of the insurgency in Iraq and the intelligence is flowing into the white world. We're getting good stuff."

So would you be willing to subject 151 unlawful detainees to 4 hours of sleep per night for two months if it meant saving 8 million lives? Would you be willing to engage in harsher "torture" tactics to save those 8 million. These are tough questions that pull at many of us, but someone has to be able to make that call. Would it have been justified to shoot down a hijacked civilian airliner with innocent Americans on board to prevent the attack on the World Trade Center? Do the ends sometimes justify the means? Difficult questions for difficult times.

Posted by: KB | November 8, 2005 03:11 AM

KB's remarks might make sense if torture were a proven successful means of extracting information from detainees. It is not.
In fact, 'confessions' extracted under torture tend to provide inaccurate information. Aside from the obvious moral considerations, torture is also bad strategy.
But all this is lost on the likes of Dick Cheney and George W. Bush. This is not an administration that makes evidence-based decisions.

Posted by: | November 8, 2005 11:12 AM

First, everyone's flinging around the word "torture" as if it's a fact. They're talking about "secret prisons" as if that's a fact. Second, torture means different things to different people, and no, humiliation does not mean torture - to me; perhaps it does for you. Torture is a relative term. I think the radical Islams were tortured through incessant brainwashing by their Imams and mullahs from childhood through adulthood. This part of the Islamic religion is extreme cultism, and no different than many of the fundamentalist religions in this country. That's why it's possible to respect the Islam religion, but not the radical Islamic. They're fanatical and apparently do not, and will not listen to reason. Putting them in "secret prisons" and isolating them from their fellow fanatics may loosen the social bonds and perhaps may clear their minds a bit. I am sure no one's finger nails have been pulled out, or their bones tweaked with needles. I am sure the "torture" is much more refined, and much more mentally directed. I think the most evil thing we could do to them is take away their Koran. Would the idealists among you consider that torture? Or, perhaps they let them keep their Koran and then have an Islamic minister teach them the real meaning of their religion. Since you're all guessing, these are my guesses.

Posted by: Ken | November 8, 2005 09:01 PM

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