Seen as crucial to the ability of US and other intelligence agencies in the fight against ‘terrorism’, many thousands of those caught in the course of the ‘War on Terror’ have been detained, interrogated and even tortured. Despite the publicity afforded to Guantanamo Bay, detainees held there without charge represent less than one percent of detainees held worldwide, at least according to official records.
Holding and dealing with such a vast number of detainees necessitated the setting up of a largely covert network of prisons – stretching well outside the theatres of the large-scale military operations. This has involved the complicity of eastern governments known for their atrocious violations of human rights, who duly ‘soften up’ detainees for the extraction (or fabrication) of information deemed useful.
The existence and continued persistence of the Global Detention Network represents a gross affront to human rights. Citizens of the US and UK, in particular, should pressure their governments to end this unacceptable situation, and not fan the flames of terrorism by adding to its list of grievances.
The Global Detention ‘machine’ does not consist of a single standard of facility, but rather includes a number of different types, as afforded by the situation, so that their existence and the details of any illegal activities can be kept as secret as possible. Facilities are either:
Confirmed facilities, whose complicity in holding detainees has been established- either by those who have been held there or by admission from officials of the government concerned. Their precise names and location are not always known
Suspected facilities, whose involvement in illegal detentions cannot be ascertained with complete certainty. They are subject to varying degrees of suspicion, as according to the success of investigations by journalists and human rights workers
Within these two, there are four broad categories of detention facilities:
Black Sites- exceptional facilities, run exclusively or almost entirely by the CIA, and used to handle those deemed as high value detainees. Their existence was admitted by George Bush, but their level of secrecy and the ‘ghost’ status of those held means that little else can be determined for certain
Department of Defence Facilities- facilities that have sprung up to hold those caught in the wake of military offensives carried out in the name of the ‘War on Terror’. They include military bases (such as Guantanamo Bay), commandeered prisons (such as Abu Ghraib), and prison ships used to both hold and transport detainees for extended periods of time
Proxy Detention Facilities- facilities under the authority of foreign governments, who are known to use torture to extract information from those being imprisoned there. There are three forms (differing in their degree of collusion with western intelligence agencies) - those run in complete conjunction with the host nation (such as the Al Jafr prison in Jordan), those where external agencies play a lesser role in procedures (such as the Adiala jail in Pakistan), and those where the external agencies are not physically present, but assist the local agencies with information and other needs. Foreign governments have met requests to torture both their own citizens and those of other nationalities- including those of western citizenship
Constructive Detention Facilities- facilities commandeered by intelligence agencies, most often for the purpose of interrogating and torturing detainees. They include schools, hotels and residential housing. Run in a non-systematic nature, those kept in them are even withheld from official records, rendering them almost completely ‘invisible’
How they violate Human Rights
The Global Detention Network, along with all the means and methods that establish and maintain it, completely contravene international human rights agreements. These violations include:
Use of torture, inhuman/degrading treatment & punishment (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 5)
Use of arbitrary arrest, detention & exile (Article 9)
Detention without trial- either not at all or by an independent tribunal (Article 10)
Over 30,000 detainees officially held
Over 100 prisons confirmed/suspected worldwide
5 continents used in the process of detention
Confirmation of 34 countries used as sites for outsourcing detention
At least 72 prisons have confirmed significant indications of involvements by US military or intelligence officials
Download a Cageprisoners leaflet on Secret Detention from the link below.
Read 3154 times | Like this? Tweet it to your followers!
International human rights breaches - State accountability v State immunity
Legal seminar: Preserving the rule of law: taking a risk
Extradited to a future of torture: the reality of solitary confinement in America
Spying and Entrapment
Starving for justice
Are Muslims active enough in the fight against Guantanamo?
Guantanamo: 100 days of hunger strike - Template Khutba
Muslim students discriminated against in the UK
Help Lynne Stewart, civil rights lawyer for Muslim defendants, stay alive
How your Schedule 7 swab could help get your family arrested
Why haven't you signed the Shaker Aamer petition?