Devil’s island

Diego Garcia, map 

Go read Scott Horton on the role of Central Intelligence Agency black sites (particularly the one located on the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean) and torture in the ongoing confrontation between CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden and CIA Inspector General John Helgerson. Read this October 11 New York Times article for some useful background, and as further reading, Scott’s post links to a Guardian article on an investigation into Diego Garcia now being initiated by an all-party foreign affairs committee of British MPs. A couple of paragraphs not quoted in Scott’s post give the grim flavour:

One [additional] possibility which the foreign affairs committee may explore is that suspects have been held on a prison ship off the coast of Diego Garcia. The UN special rapporteur on torture, Manfred Nowak, has said that he has heard from reliable sources that the US has held prisoners on ships in the Indian Ocean. There have also been second-hand accounts from detainees at Guantánamo of prisoners being held on US naval vessels.

One detainee told a researcher from Reprieve: “One of my fellow prisoners in Guantánamo was at sea on an American ship with about 50 others before coming to Guantánamo. He told me that there were about 50 other people on the ship; they were all closed off in the bottom. The people detained on the ship were beaten even more severely than in Guantánamo.”

Reprieve (mentioned above) is a British charity that “provides frontline investigation and legal representation to prisoners denied justice by powerful governments across the world”. Its submission to the foreign affairs committee on the question of human rights abuses in British overseas territories can be found here.

Also quoted in the Guardian article is “Andrew Tyrie, Tory MP for Chichester and a campaigner against the CIA’s use of detention without trial”. Tyrie established in 2005 the All Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition; the group’s own submission to the committee can be found on its website.

And if you simply can’t face such depressing reading on a Friday night, by all means schedule it for Saturday evening instead, and in the meantime read Jeet Heer’s analysis of what “meritocracy” means to the Podhoretz household.

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