Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Repurposing Stalinist prisons

Dana Priest has a stunning article in today's Post, CIA Holds Terror Suspects in Secret Prisons:
The CIA has been hiding and interrogating some of its most important al Qaeda captives at a Soviet-era compound in Eastern Europe, according to U.S. and foreign officials familiar with the arrangement.

The secret facility is part of a covert prison system set up by the CIA nearly four years ago that at various times has included sites in eight countries, including Thailand, Afghanistan and several democracies in Eastern Europe, as well as a small center at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, according to current and former intelligence officials and diplomats from three continents.
The Post kept the name of the Eastern European countries secret.

People who lived in these countries probably remember these facilities like Iraqis remember Abu Ghraib. We have an archipelago of secret prisons spread out across the world, some of them probably were actual parts of the Soviet gulag. Our soldiers and intelligence officers are acting under orders that almost certainly involve behavior that anyone but the sick bastards who run the country would consider torture.

You honestly have to wonder how far the mind that wrote this would be willing to let interrogators go:

At age ten the madam put the child in a cage with a bear trained to couple with young girls so the girls would be frigid and not fall in love with their patrons. They fed her through the bars and aroused the bear with a stick when it seemed to lose interest.
Or as the Washington Post puts it:
CIA interrogators in the overseas sites are permitted to use the CIA's approved "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques," some of which are prohibited by the U.N. convention and by U.S. military law. They include tactics such as "waterboarding," in which a prisoner is made to believe he or she is drowning.
In January, I pointed out how angry Theodore Roosevelt got when it turned out that waterboarding went on in the American held Philippines. From that post (and Theodore Rex by Edmund Morris):

Amid mounting cries of revulsion, the President swung into action [upon being informed about the waterboarding]. He … demanded a full briefing on the Philippine situation. [Secretary of War] Root said defensively that one officer accused of water torture had been ordered to report for trial. Roosevelt was not satisfied.
These practices are un-American, and I hope Harry Reid gets on the Armed Services Committee to investigate this

"Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana from the album Nevermind (1991, 5:01).

Update: Ms. TfK points out that I shouldn't assume the prisons are Stalinist. They could have been build by Nazis.