A group of journalists and a human rights watchdog in the UK have put forth an unprecedented array of data on the CIA’s notorious secret detention centers, where terrorist suspects were kept and tortured in the early-2000s.
The investigation reveals the real names of detainees for the first time, as well as the locations they were kept in at the behest of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) around the world and the exact dates of events connected to their detention and torture.
In late 2014, a 480-page-long summary on the CIA detention centers was published by the US Senate Intelligence Committee after having been heavily redacted by the secret service. It is only a prelude to the original 6,000-page report, which remains secret.
It took nine months for the independent UK-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, in cooperation with The Rendition Project to reveal what was cut off from the government report using open sources and investigative techniques. All the data they discovered is available online.
“Although many published accounts of individual journeys through the black site network exist, this is the first comprehensive portrayal of the system’s inner dynamics from beginning to end,” the Bureau of Investigative Journalism stated.
The testimonies of former prisoners, flight records, commercial contracts, court cases, declassified government documents, information leaks and NGO reports, along with media coverage, were put together and compiled into accessible interactive databases and maps revealing the locations of the CIA black sites.
The countries that participated in the CIA’s terrorist detainee interrogation and transfer program had full knowledge of what was being done within their borders, former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell told Sputnik earlier this year.
In May, the European Court of Human Rights forced the government of Poland to pay approximately $250,000 in reparations to two terrorist suspects who had reported being tortured at a CIA black site in Poland.
According to reports, the United States gave Poland and other countries millions of dollars to allow the CIA to operate a detention center within their borders in 2002 and 2003.
Morell noted that the countries hosting CIA sites supported the program “”because they thought that we would be able to keep all of this secret.”
“This was facilitated, supported and was very closely monitored at the highest level of the United States government, up to and including the White House,” former senior executive at the National Security Agency (NSA) and whistleblower Thomas Drake commented to Sputnik earlier.
The 2014 report produced by the US Senate provided official documentation of numerous incidents of torture, and so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” used against enemy combatants in US-controlled detention facilities. Little has been revealed about the foreign sites or the practices there.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, then the chair of the Intelligence Committee, released the report’s 480-page executive summary, over objections from CIA and White House officials.
After the release in December, the US government publicized 27 pages of interview notes compiled by lawyers for Guantanamo detainee Majid Khan in which he described his torture.
Khan said interrogators poured ice water on his genitals, videotaped him naked and repeatedly touched his “private parts” – details which were not described in the Senate report.
A month after the summary’s release, in January 2015, the government said it had issued new classification rules that permitted only the release of “general allegations of torture,” and “information regarding the conditions of confinement.”
But, they said, the names of CIA employees and locations of secret CIA “black sites” could not be released.
Later, the US government blocked the release of 116 pages of notes detailing the torture another Guantanamo Bay detainee, Abu Zubaydah, says he endured while in CIA custody, defense lawyers said in September.
Zubaydah, a 44-year-old Saudi national, has been held in Guantanamo for nine years despite not ever being charged with a crime.