Wednesday, February 28, 2007
One strong memory I have is seeing Joan Baez in concert and hearing her speak about her trip to South America where she met with mothers whose sons had been taken by the governments of various countries. These young people had simply vanished; their families could get no information as to what had happened to them. Of course, many of these individuals were killed. I thought that in the modern world things like this could not be happening.
But apparently they are and it looks like our country is leading the way. In the wake of 9/11 the Washington Post and specifically Dana Priest has done an excellent job of detailing the CIA's secret "black site" prisons in foreign countries and its program of "rendition" in which foreign governments hold American captures.
Today, Dafna Linzer and Julie Tate of the Washington Post detail the experience of one man, Marwan Jabour, who was recently set free from a black site prison. Here is part of what he went through:
Jabour said he was often naked during his first three months at the Afghan site, which he spent in a concrete cell furnished with two blankets and a bucket. The lights were kept on 24 hours a day, as were two cameras and a microphone inside the cell. Sometimes loud music blasted through speakers in the cells. The rest of the time, the low buzz of white noise whizzed in the background, possibly to muffle any communication by prisoners through cell walls. Daily interrogations were conducted by a variety of Americans. Over two years, Jabour said he encountered about 45 interrogators, plus medical staff and psychologists. He was threatened with physical abuse but was never beaten.The details of the CIA prison system are still secret and no one knows how many people it involves and whether they are still being held captive.
Once, he was shown a small wooden crate his interrogators called a "dog box" and was told he would be put in it if he didn't cooperate. He was told that Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the suspected architect of the Sept. 11 attacks who was among the 14 moved to Guantanamo Bay last year, became cooperative after he had been put in the box. But Jabour said he was not subjected to the crate. He was, however, chained up and left for hours in painful positions more than 20 times and deprived of sleep for long periods. Sometimes he would have one hand chained to a section of his cell wall, making it impossible to stand or sit.