John Sifton details ‘grotesque’ C.I.A. torture at secret prisons as models for prisons in Iraq, Afghanistan and other military detention centers. (11:01):
John Sifton, human rights lawyer and executive director of One World Research, investigates human rights abuses worldwide. He told Anastasia Churkina at Russia Today that C.I.A. agents kept detainees alive just to keep torturing them.
He found the C.I.A. “set up extensive detention programs around the world” that started in Thailand and expanded to Afghanistan, Jordan, Poland, Romania and another unknown. The third European site, he was told, bordered Poland and many C.I.A. flights went in and out of Lithuania.
Though, the C.I.A. detention program was smaller than that of the military, Mr. Sifton found it was “the one that saw the biggest abuses and most serious forms of torture” and was exponentially clandestine. The Agency’s secret prisons are commonly known as “black sites” which served as a “model” for the military’s.
He added that the Obama Administration has prevented the C.I.A. from detaining people and using “black sites”, but are still permitted to interrogate detainees.
“In the military, there was actually a larger number of deaths than with the C.I.A.,” Mr. Sifton said. “The C.I.A. engaged in some horrendous abuses, but they appear to have taken precautions to have actually prevented people from dying—which might sound humanitarian, but in fact was kind of sickening. They were torturing them at the same time trying to maintain their health so that they keep torturing them.
“The military wasn’t so careful. The military subjected a lot of people to the same techniques, but without the precautions, and as a result a large number of detainees in military custody died—several in Iraq, some in Afghanistan.”
The extremely redacted C.I.A. Inspector General report found detainees faced mock executions, threats to kill and rape family members, waterboarding, extensive pressure point restriction, forced stress positions, sleep and light deprivation in custody. Not redacted was a case where a detainee was beaten to death by a private contractor.
Between 2002 and 2006, over 100 detainees died in U.S. custody, Human Rights First reported. Since that year—Daphne Eviatar reported at The Washington Independent—deaths from Iraq and Afghanstan were no longer disclosed. Of the U.S. detainees who’ve died post-rendition to countries that torture regularly, the amount is unknown.
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