Global detention system
- "Secret prisons holding unnamed prisoners in underground cells in unnamed places for undetermined time periods out of reach of any country’s law or of international law without any oversight by human rights groups or anyone but the jailers. ... You read something as chilling as that and you want to squeeze your eyes tight shut and desperately avoid learning what you already know from the headlines." --The Next Hurrah, November 2, 2005.
- "The power of the Executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgement of his peers, is in the highest degree odious and is the foundation of all totalitarian government whether Nazi or Communist." --Sir Winston Churchill, November 21, 1943.
A secret global detention system is being operated by the Pentagon and the CIA to incarcerate non-U.S. citizens suspected of being terrorists. The system, which handles thousands of floating "ghost prisoners," is scattered throughout the world from Afghanistan to Guantánamo Bay in Cuba, although it is now believed that Afghanistan is at the hub of the system. 
- 1 The System
- 2 . . . and Systematic Detention
- 3 Rendition
- 4 The CIA Secret Prisons Leak
- 5 Stopping the Torture
- 6 Enemy Combatants & habeas corpus
- 7 Ghost Prisoners
- 8 Prisoner Data Base
- 9 Related SourceWatch Resources
- 10 External links
The operation was brought to light in a December 18, 2003, New York Times report by James Risen and Thom Shanker. At the time, they related that, according to U.S. government officials, Saddam Hussein had entered the "Post-9/11 Web of U.S. Prisons" as "prisoner No. 1." 
The "system," they wrote, was "a secretive universe, ...made up of large and small facilities scattered throughout the world that have sprouted up to handle the hundreds of suspected terrorists of Al Qaeda, Taliban warlords and former officials of the Iraqi government arrested by the United States and its allies" since the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, and the subsequent U.S.-led war in Iraq. 
. . . and Systematic Detention
A review of more "than a dozen documents and investigative statements obtained by The Washington Post" showed, despite claims by "senior defense officials" that the "CIA practice of hiding unregistered detainees at Abu Ghraib prison" was "ad hoc and unauthorized, ... that the agency's 'ghosting' program was systematic and known to [at least] three senior intelligence officials in Iraq." March 24, 2005. Also see Abu Ghraib: 'Ghost Detainees'.
Enemy Combatants & habeas corpus
- Eric Schmitt, "Senate Approves Limiting Rights of U.S. Detainees," New York Times, November 11, 2005.
- Liz Sidoti, "Senate Bars Detainees From Filing Lawsuits," Associated Press (Yahoo! News), November 11, 2005.
- hilzoy, "The Evil Amendment: Bad News; Still Hope," Obsidian Wings, November 11, 2005.
On March 19, 2005, the Guardian Unlimited/UK's Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark reported that they had learned from their investigation that Afghanistan is now the hub of the global network of detention centers, with as many as 10,000 floating ghost prisoners held incommunicado. "The secrecy surrounding them prevents any real independent investigation" and "arrest can be random and allegations of torture commonplace." 
The Guardian's Isabel Hilton wrote on July 28, 2004, that, under military order No. 1, issued by President George W. Bush "in November 2001, the president gave himself the right, in defiance of national and international law, to detain indefinitely any non-US citizen anywhere in the world. Many ended up in Guantánamo where at least some of their names were discovered. Others simply vanished. They became in the US euphemism, ghost prisoners, an unrecorded host held in secret, their detention denied, hidden from the Red Cross, legal or family access barred, their fate in the hands of unaccountable and unnamed US personnel." 
Prisoner Data Base
The names of prisoners detained in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is posted on the Washington Post website, with the most recent update November 1, 2005.
Related SourceWatch Resources
- civil liberties
- enemy combatant
- Enemy Prisoner of War
- Enemy Prisoner of War Camps in Iraq
- David S. Addington
- Guantanamo Camp Xray
- illegal immigration
- Independent Panel to Review Department of Defense Detention Operations
- Iraq War Crimes Tribunal
- James C. Ho
- John C. Yoo
- Jose Padilla
- Legal Arguments for Avoiding the Jurisdiction of the Geneva Conventions
- Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base
- Military Commissions Act of 2006
- New Iraq
- Posse Comitatus Act
- Post-war Iraq
- President's Military Order of November 13, 2001, Detention, Treatment, and Trial of Certain Non-Citizens in the War Against Terrorism
- prison-industrial complex
- tactical questioning
- war on terrorism
- Yaser Hamdi
- Worldwide Prisoner Abuse Watch website.
- FM 3-19.40 (formerly FM 19-40). Military Police Internment/Resettlement Operations, Headquarters, Department of the Army, August 1, 2001. Includes sections on "Protection of Captives and Detainees" and "Protection of Enemy Prisoners of War and Civilian Internees" as they pertain to a military operation.
- Army Regulation 210–35. Installations. Civilian Inmate Labor Program, Headquarters, Department of the Army, Washington, DC, January 14, 2005: "This regulation provides guidance for establishing and managing civilian inmate labor programs on Army installations. It provides guidance on establishing prison camps on Army installations. It addresses recordkeeping and reporting incidents related to the Civilian Inmate Labor Program and/or prison camp administration."
- Richard Norton-Taylor, "Europe-US terror treaty plan raises rights fears," Guardian Unlimited (UK), September 3, 2002.
- Jack Shafer, "POW TV. Why Rumsfeld should be careful about lecturing Saddam about the Geneva Conventions," Slate, March 24, 2003.
- James Risen and Thom Shanker "Pentagon, CIA operate elusive jail system. Al-Qaida, Taliban, Iraqi captives kept from public, media," New York Times (JS Online), December 17, 2003. Also posted on Common Dreams website.
- Tom Engelhardt, "Justice goes offshore and is imprisoned," Tom Dispatch, December 20, 2003.
- "Our Imperial Justice," Mother Jones, December 22, 2003.
- Alan Elsner, "If US plays global prison ratings game, it ought to play by its own rules," Christian Science Monitor, March 4, 2004.
- Tom Engelhardt, "Into the Shadows,", Tom Dispatch, April 5, 2004.
- Julian Borger, "Jailed Iraqis hidden from Red Cross, says US army," Guardian/UK, May 5, 2004.
- Bill Gertz, "Most prisoners in Iraq jails called 'threat to security'," Washington Times, May 6, 2004.
- Editorial: "Mr. Rumsfeld's Responsibility," Washington Post, May 6, 2004.
- Tom Engelhardt, "Postcards from the Edge," Mother Jones, May 10, 2004.
- Seymour M. Hersh, "The Gray Zone. How a secret Pentagon program came to Abu Ghraib," The New Yorker, May 15, 2004 (posted); May 24, 2004 (issue).
- Tom Engelhardt, "Chaos in Washington," Mother Jones, May 17, 2004.
- Dan Frosch, "Uncle Sam Wants You Anyway," AlterNet, May 24, 2004.
- Billmon, "Chapter and Verse," Whiskey Bar, May 31, 2004.
- "Ending Select Detentions," Human Rights First, June 2004.
- Bradley Graham, "Army Investigates Wider Iraq Offenses. Cases Include Deaths, Assaults Outside Prisons," Washington Post, June 1, 2004.
- Jamie McIntyre, "Pentagon: Iraqi held secretly at CIA request," CNN, June 16, 2004.
- "U.S. Holding Prisoners in More Than Two Dozen Secret Detention Facilities Worldwide, New Report Says," Human Rights First, June 17, 2004: "After Abu Ghraib and Bush Administration Memos, ICRC (Red Cross) Must Have Access to All Detainees Held In U.S. Custody."
- Julian Borger, "Rumsfeld ordered secret detention of Iraqi suspect," Guardian/UK, June 18, 2004.
- "Red Cross to study ghost prisoner," BBC, June 18, 2004.
- Nat Hentoff, "The Ghost Prisoners. Exposing our secret interrogation centers—around and outside our laws," Village Voice, June 19, 2004.
- Robert Gard and Deborah Pearlstein, "Justice and the War on Terrorism. Extend high court rulings to all U.S. detainees," SFGate, July 15, 2004.
- "Red Cross suspects U.S. is holding, hiding more 'ghost' prisoners," The New Standard, July 16, 2004.
- Nat Hentoff, "Bush Defies Supreme Court by Denying Due Process to Noncitizen Prisoners," Village Voice, July 23, 2004.
- Isabel Hilton, "The 800lb Gorilla in American Foreign Policy," Guardian/UK, July 28, 2004.
- Tom Engelhardt, "Attack Dogs," Tom Dispatch, August 2, 2004.
- John Hendren, "CIA May Have Held 100 'Ghost' Prisoners," Los Angeles Times, September 10, 2004.
- Eric Schmitt and Douglas Jehl, "Army Says C.I.A. Hid More Iraqis Than It Claimed," New York Times, September 10, 2004.
- "Rumsfeld's dirty war on terror," Guardian (UK) (Information Clearinghouse), September 13, 2004.
- "The United States' Disappeared. The CIA’s Long-Term Ghost Detainees," A Human Rights Watch Briefing Paper, October 2004.
- Marty Logan, "RIGHTS: 11 'Disappeared' in U.S. War on Terror - Report," Inter Press News Service, October 12, 2004.
- Daniel McGrory, "CIA secretly holds 11 of bin Laden's lieutenants," Times Online, October 13, 2004.
- Inigo Gilmore and Robin Gedye, "Jordan 'ghost' jail 'is holding senior al-Qa'eda leaders'," Telegraph (UK), October 14, 2004.
- "CIA's ghost prisoners tracked down to Jordan jail," smh.com.au, October 15, 2004.
- "CIA 'took detainees out of Iraq'," BBC, October 24, 2004.
- Editorial: "The CIA's Disappeared," Washington Post, October 26, 2004.
- Dana Priest and Scott Higham, "At Guantanamo, a Prison Within a Prison. CIA Has Run a Secret Facility for Some Al Qaeda Detainees, Officials Say," Washington Post, December 17, 2004.
- Kevin Johnson, "On the trail of 400,000 fugitives," USA Today, January 5, 2005.
- James Meek, "In America's secret prison network," Guardian (UK) (Salon), January 14, 2005: "A German car salesman says that a year ago he was kidnapped in Europe, beaten and flown to a U.S. jail in Afghanistan. Now his government is collecting evidence to back up his story."
- Nat Hentoff, "Life sentences without charges or evidence," The Daily Dunklin Democrat, January 18, 2005.
- "CIA's 'ghost prisoners' spark rights concerns," ABC News (Australia), January 28, 2005.
- Stephen Grey, "CIA prisoners 'tortured' in Arab jails," BBC, February 8, 2005.
- Editorial: "Injustice, in Secret," Washington Post, February 21, 2005.
- Kathleen T. Rhem, "Army Improving Procedures for Handling Detainees," DefenseLINK, February 24, 2005.
- Michael Hirsh, Mark Hosenball and John Barry, "Aboard Air CIA," Newsweek, February 28, 2005: "The agency ran a secret charter service, shuttling detainees to interrogation facilities worldwide. Was it legal? What's next?"
- Deborah Pearlstein and Priti Patel, "Behind the Wire. An Update to Ending Secret Detentions," Human Rights First, March 2005.
- Josh White, "Army, CIA Agreed on 'Ghost' Prisoners," Washington Post, March 11, 2005.
- "US seeks to transfer Gitmo detainees (to prisons in Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Yemen)," antiwar.com, March 12, 2005.
- "CIA agents 'do not use torture'," BBC, March 18, 2005.
- Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark, "'One huge US jail'," Guardian/UK, March 19, 2005. Report is lengthy and detailed.
- Josh White, "Army Documents Shed Light on CIA 'Ghosting'. Systematic Concealment Of Detainees Is Found," Washington Post, March 24, 2005.
- "U.S. Held Prisoners in Secret Detention Facility in Pakistan. Recently Released Government Document Shows Previously Unknown U.S. Facility in Peshawar," Human Rights First, March 25, 2005.
- Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark, "Afghanistan: 'One Huge US Jail'," Axis of Logic, March 29, 2005.
- "U.S. Detention Facilities Hold More Than 11,000 in Iraq and Afghanistan. Increasing Numbers Held in Trailers and Barbed Wire Where Abuse is More Likely," Human Rights First (Global Exchange), March 30, 2005.
- barra, "Global Prison Network," Indymedia Ireland, April 19, 2005.
- Matthew Davis, "Soldier lifts lid on Guantanamo 'abuse'," BBC, May 9, 2005.
- "Senator Says U.S. Needs to Close Shameful Guantanamo Prison," The Progress Report, June 5, 2005.
- "Shut down Guantánamo," New York Times (International Herald Tribune), June 6, 2005.
- Dan Isaacs, "US suspects 'face torture overseas'," BBC, June 14, 2005.
- Editorial: "Un-American by Any Name," New York Times, June 15, 2005.
- "Human Rights Group: Durbin Was Correct," Human Rights Watch (Talk Left), June 22, 2005.
- "Italy seeks 'CIA kidnap agents'," BBC, June 24, 2005.
- Douglas Meher, "U.N. Allegations of U.S. Secret Prison Ships Surface," All Headlines News, June 28, 2005.
- "Report: U.S. Held 2 In Secret Jail," CBS News/Associated Press, August 3, 2005.
- "US challenged over 'secret jails'," BBC, August 4, 2005.
- "Italy orders further CIA warrants," BBC, September 30, 2005.
- Billmon, "The Dirty War," Whiskey Bar, November 2, 2005.
- "CIA 'running secret terror jails'," BBC, November 2, 2005.
- "EU to look into 'secret US jails'," BBC, November 3, 2005.
- "Sen. Graham Introduces Amendment to End Habeas for Detainees," Talk Left, November 9, 2005.
- Liz Sidoti, "Senate Bars Detainees From Filing Lawsuits," Associated Press (Yahoo! News), November 11, 2005.
- Vicki Allen, "Senate demands report on 'CIA prisons'," Reuters (Yahoo! News), November 10, 2005.
- "Frist concerned more about leaks than secret prisons," Associated Press (CNN), November 10, 2005: "Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist says he is more concerned about the leak of information regarding secret CIA detention centers than activity in the prisons themselves."
- "Senate call for 'CIA jail' report," BBC, November 11, 2005.
- Molly Ivins, Who have we become as a nation?, Charleston Gazette, November 12, 2005.
- "EU urged to probe 'CIA prisons'," BBC, November 15, 2005.
- "Spain probes 'secret CIA flights'," BBC, November 15, 2005.
- "Nordic states probe 'CIA flights'," BBC, November 18, 2005.
- "Former CIA director accuses Cheney of overseeing torture," Agence France Presse, November 18, 2005: "Admiral Stansfield Turner, a former CIA director, accused US Vice President Dick Cheney of overseeing policies of torturing terrorist suspects and damaging the nation's reputation, in a television interview."
- "EU to query US 'secret prisons'," BBC, November 22, 2005.
- Katherine Baldwin, "EU to quiz US on reports of CIA detention camps," Reuters, November 24, 2005.
- "EU warned on 'secret CIA jails'," BBC, November 28, 2005.
- "MPs want 'torture flights' answer," BBC, December 1, 2005.
- "Full text: Rice defends US policy," BBC, December 5, 2005: "US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has defended the use of 'rendition' to transport terror suspects between countries, but refused to address claims that the CIA runs secret prisons abroad."
- "US 'shifts' position on torture," BBC, December 7, 2006: "The US secretary of state says the UN treaty on torture applies to American interrogators in the US and overseas, in an apparent shift in US policy."
- "US attacks UN official on 'jails'," BBC, December 8, 2006: "Washington has rebuked UN human rights commissioner Louise Arbour for criticising its anti-terror tactics as the alleged secret jails row goes on."
- Paul Reynolds, "Rendition report adds to terror debate," BBC, January 24, 2006.
- "Europe 'knew about' CIA flights," BBC, January 24, 2006.
- "Amnesty accuses US on rendition," BBC, April 5, 2006.
- "EU Lawmaker: Over 1,000 Secret CIA Flights Crossed Europe," Deutsche Welle, April 26, 2006.
- Jan Sliva, "EU Cites CIA Kidnapping, Secret Flights," Associated Press (Guardian Unlimited (UK)), April 26, 2006.
- "CIA 'kidnapped terror suspects on EU territory'," The Scotsman, April 26, 2006.
- "European governments 'helped US with rendition'," Expatica (Germany), April 26, 2006.
- "Euro MPs damn CIA prison flights," BBC, April 26, 2006.
- "European governments condoned CIA activities, EU report says," Monsters and Critics (UK), April 26, 2006.
- Farah Stockman, "Prisoners say they were sent to nations known for torture," Boston Globe (The Times Argus (Vermont)), April 26, 2006.
- Brian Urquhart, "The Outlaw World," The New York Review of Books, May 11, 2006 (issue).
- Peter Baker and Michael Abramowitz, "A Governing Philosophy Rebuffed. Ruling Emphasizes Constitutional Boundaries," Washington Post, June 30, 2006.
- Michael Isikoff and Stuart Taylor Jr., "The Gitmo Fallout. The fight over the Hamdan ruling heats up—as fears about its reach escalate," Newsweek, July 17, 2006 (issue).
- Walter Pincus, "Waterboarding Historically Controversial. In 1947, the U.S. Called It a War Crime; in 1968, It Reportedly Caused an Investigation," Washington Post, October 5, 2006.
- Jonathan Marcus, "Heated debate over use of torture," BBC, October 19, 2006: "Can the so-called "ticking bomb" defence - the argument that using some degree of torture may save lives - ever be a justification for mistreating suspects?"
- "Interrogation method's use confirmed," McClatchy-Tribune (Baltimore Sun), October 26, 2006.
- "Bush enters Cheney 'torture row'," BBC, October 28, 2006: "US President George Bush has reiterated his position that the US administration does not condone torture, following comments by Vice-President Dick Cheney."
- Dan Eggen, "CIA Acknowledges 2 Interrogation Memos. Papers Called Too Sensitive for Release," Washington Post, November 14, 2006.
- Dafna Linzer and Julie Tate, "New Light Shed on CIA's 'Black Site' Prisons," Washington Post, February 28, 2007.
- Scott Horton, "19,000 Iraqis Disappear Into U.S.-Run Prisons," Harper's Magazine, May 13, 2007.
- Stephen Grey, "CIA ran secret prisons for detainees in Europe, says inquiry," The Guardian (UK), June 8, 2007. re confirmation to Council of Europe