CIA hid terrorism prisoners from US Supreme Court



The Central Intelligence Agency purposefully concealed at least four terrorism detainees from the US legal system, including the Supreme Court, according to an exclusive report by the Associated Press. The news agency has revealed that the CIA secretly transported the four to Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp on Cuba in 2003, two years before it publicly admitted their capture. It then secretly transferred them again to other sites in its black site prison network in various countries around the world, just three months before their prolonged stay at Guantánamo would entitle them to legal representation. While at Guantánamo, the four prisoners, Abd al-Nashiri, Mustafa al-Hawsawi, Ramzi Binalshibh and Abu Zubaydah, were kept at a facility known as ‘Strawberry Fields’, which is detached from the main prison site at the bay. By hiding the four, the Bush Administration managed to keep them under CIA custody while denying them legal representation for two years longer than allowed by US law. It also concealed their detention from national and international human rights monitoring bodies and from the US justice system, including the Supreme Court. According to the Associated Press, the case of the four concealed terrorism detainees highlights the Bush Administration’s determination to keep the CIA extralegal detention program outside the US legal system, and to prevent any oversight or meddling by observers not directly associated with the US intelligence community. Commenting on the Associated Press revelations, Nancy Hollander, Abd al-Nashiri’s lawyer, argued that the secrecy around the detentions discloses “a fear that everything that had been done to [the detainees] might come out”. The American Civil Liberties Union called the secret detentions “a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions” and urged that “the officials who authorized the CIA’s secret prisons and torture program should be held accountable”. But, speaking for the CIA, spokesman George Little called the “[t]he so-called black sites and enhanced interrogation methods […] a thing of the past”.

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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