Afghan Video: CIA threatened Taliban prisoners with death

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Sat Dec 8 08:15:56 MST 2001

Video shows CIA threatened to let prisoner be killed
War on terrorism

By Andrew Buncombe in Washington
The Independent, 08 December 2001

Video evidence has emerged that CIA operatives were threatening 
Taliban prisoners they would be left to die if they did not 
co-operate under interrogation.

In an exchange captured on video by an Afghan cameraman, two officers 
threatened the American Taliban fighter John Walker, who was being 
held at a prison fortress near the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif 
two weeks ago. One of the officers is Mike Spann, a member of the 
special activities division of the agency's directorate of operations 
– the paramilitary wing of the agency's secret espionage branch – who 
was killed in an uprising at the prison only hours later. Nearly 400 
Taliban prisoners were also killed as the uprising was put down.

The precise nature of the threat – raised by Mr Spann and a CIA 
colleague called Dave – is unclear, but on the video Mr Spann, 32, 
wearing jeans and a black jumper and with an AK47 assault rifle 
strapped across his back, is seen nodding towards Mr Walker, 20, and 
then saying to Dave: "I explained to him what the deal is". The video 
shows Mr Walker kneeling on the ground, emaciated, filthy, wearing 
loose black trousers and a tunic, with his elbows tied behind his 
back, and cowering as Mr Spann remonstrates with him. Mr Walker 
stares at the ground throughout.

"Dave" then replies: "The problem is, he's got to decide if he wants 
to live or die. If he wants to die, he's going to die here. Or he's 
going to f****** spend the rest of his short f****** life in prison. 
It's his decision, man.

Louis Proyect, lnp3 at on 12/08/2001

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