[Marxism] U.S. secretly detaining prisoners in 24 facilites worldwide

Steven L. Robinson srobin21 at comcast.net
Mon Jun 21 08:04:40 MDT 2004

U.S. Holding Prisoners in More Than Two Dozen Secret Detention Facilities Worldwide, New Report Says 


[Click on link for list of detention locations and for full report in pdf]

After Abu Ghraib and Bush Administration Memos, ICRC (Red Cross) Must Have Access to All Detainees Held In U.S. Custody

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 17) - A new report from Human Rights First (the new name of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights) outlines the scope of the global network of U.S. detention facilities holding suspects in the "war on terror." The report lists more than two dozen facilities that have been reported by Human Rights First sources and the media; at least half of these operate in total secrecy. 

In addition to listing known detention facilities - including prisons at Guantanamo Bay, Bagram Air Force Base, and Abu Ghraib - the report, "Ending Secret Detentions" provides an accounting of U.S. military detention facilities reported in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Jordan, and aboard U.S. ships at sea (see attached list).

"The abuses at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib cannot be addressed in isolation," said Deborah Pearlstein, the Director of Human Rights First's U.S. Law and Security Program. "The United States government is holding prisoners in a secret system of off-shore prisons beyond the reach of adequate supervision, accountability, or law."

Human Rights First is calling for a comprehensive global response by U.S. authorities to end secret detentions, to investigate abuses, and to put necessary corrective measures in place. 

The report, called "Ending Secret Detention," concludes that the secrecy surrounding this network of detention facilities, as it has been constructed and operated by the United States, makes "inappropriate detention and abuse not only likely, but inevitable." Human Rights First calls on the Administration to give the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) immediate access to all those it is holding in custody in the "war on terror."

The report outlines what is known about this global detention system and finds that it is, to varying degrees in different locations, failing to meet existing obligations under U.S. and international law. 

These obligations include: 

Affording the ICRC unfettered access to all detainees held in the course of armed conflict 

Providing every individual in custody some recognized legal status 

Disclosing the names of all individuals detained to their families and friends

In a chapter called "The Purpose Behind the Law," the report argues that the United States' illegal treatment of detainees puts U.S. forces abroad at greater risk of the same kinds of torture and ill treatment. It also describes how these illegal practices seriously undermine the United States' ability to forge alliances throughout the international community - a goal essential to defeating terrorism over the long term. "The United States' practices in its global network of detention facilities also has a deeply negative effect on the U.S. ability to combat the threat of terrorism," the report finds, "which depends critically on a visible demonstration that U.S. deeds match its words in supporting democracy and human rights."

To come into compliance with the law and to prevent future abuse, Human Rights First calls on the Administration to take a series of steps, including:

(1) Granting the ICRC unrestricted access to all U.S.-controlled detention facilities around the world.

(2) Disclosing to Congress and the ICRC the location of all U.S.-controlled detention facilities worldwide, and providing a regular accounting of the number and nationality of all held.

(3) Ordering a thorough, comprehensive, and independent investigation of all U.S.-controlled detention facilities, and submitting the findings of the investigation to Congress.

(4) Taking all necessary steps to inform the immediate families of those detained of their relatives' capture, location, legal status, and condition of health.

# # #

"Ending Secret Detentions" is part of Human Rights First's "End Abuse" campaign. Information about the "End Abuse" Campaign can be found at www.humanrightsfirst.org. Human Rights First (the new name of Lawyers Committee for Human Rights) works in the United States and abroad to create a secure and humane world by advancing justice, human dignity and respect for the rule of law. In 2003, we published two in-depth and well-received reports on the erosion of civil liberties and human rights in the U.S. since September 11. Imbalance of Powers and Assessing the New Normal are widely cited, and relied on by journalists, policy-makers and advocates. The reports have shaped the public debate and agenda on how to enhance security and protect rights post 9/11. Last year, our legal representation program won 103 asylum cases for men and women fleeing rape, torture and political and religious persecution in their home countries.

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