Tags: secret | prisons

EU Slams U.S. Over Secret Prisons

Wednesday, 14 Nov 2007 05:10 PM

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A Socialist member of the European Parliament (EP) accused the United States on Wednesday of illegally detaining terrorist suspects in a former nuclear weapons site in Ukraine, Newsmax has learned from sources at the European Parliament.

Italian EP member Claudio Fava claimed that in August 2005, the United States asked the head of the Ukrainian army, Sergey Kirichenko, to personally supervise the construction of a secret prison for CIA detainees at a former nuclear weapons site located outside the capital, Kiev.

“As a matter of course, we don't comment one way or the other on such allegations, regardless of how far-fetched they might be,” CIA spokesman Mark Mansfield told Newsmax.

The Makarov-1 military garrison, where former Soviet nuclear weapons once were stored, was selected for the secret prison because it had deep underground galleries and a “huge territory protected by barbed wire,” Fava told reporters on Wednesday in Strasbourg, France.

Secret Detention Center

The Americans asked the Ukrainian army to build a secret detention center in the underground base large enough to hold 10 prisoners and 10 guards, Fava said.

The terrorist suspects held at the Ukraine facility had mostly likely been “transferred from Poland and Romania,” Fava said, following public revelations about the secret prisons that embarrassed the Polish and Romanian governments and led them to cut off cooperation with the CIA.

It’s not the first time that Fava has made dramatic allegations regarding the CIA’s terrorist detention and interrogation program.

In my new book, "Shadow Warriors: The Untold Story of Traitors, Saboteurs, and the Party of Surrender," I detail how Fava used his skills as a former reporter to gather information from classified and open sources and package it for journalists who were too lazy or too busy to do the research themselves. [Editor's Note: Get Ken Timmerman's book — Go Here Now.]

Fava’s first “data dump” on the press was in June 2006, when he dropped a thick file on the media he modestly called “Research on the Planes Used by the CIA.”

It exposed the involvement of 21 companies and one bank — Wells Fargo — in the covert CIA network used to abduct terrorist suspects and transport them to secret interrogation and detention centers around the world.

As I reported in "Shadow Warriors," Fava was following a long-standing tradition among the left: “[Fava] was naming names, just as former CIA renegade Philip Agee before him. Agee had exposed the names of hundreds of CIA undercover operatives in the 1970s and 1980s, some of whom were assassinated by left-wing terrorist groups not long afterwards. Fava was now naming their operations.”

Many of the companies Fava named last year were dummy corporations established and operated by the CIA in order to disguise U.S. government involvement.

As outlined in "Shadow Warriors," the role of these dummy corporations was “to manage the aircraft, provide flight crews, and file flight plans with the appropriate authorities.”

Some of the CIA fronts exposed by Fava were typical inside jokes. Among these were Premier Executive Transport Service (PETS), Rapid Air Trans (RAT), and Devon Holding and Leasing (DHL).

“As a former journalist, Fava knew that most reporters were lazy, and didn’t have the time or the inclination to do this type of research themselves,” I wrote.

The press jumped on Fava’s reports because they provided aircraft registration information, the identities of CIA front companies, and extensive flight logs he managed to compile with help from EUROCONTROL, an air safety organization in Brussels.

Democrats in Congress also welcomed Fava’s revelations, as did the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and Human Rights first, all of whom were either suing the Bush administration on behalf of former detainees or were otherwise involved in exposing the extraordinary rendition program.

Fava told me last year that he met in Washington, D.C. with Rep. Ed Markey, D, Mass., who told him that he planned to criticize the Bush administration “for the rendition of his constituent, Mr. Arar.”

Maher Arar, a Canadian engineer born in Syria, was arrested in New York on Sept. 26, 2002 by U.S. immigration officials and sent back to Syria, where he claimed he was tortured for several months before being released.

When I pointed out to Fava that Arar was a Canadian citizen he was perplexed; he could not explain why Markey would have called him a “constituent.”

By exposing these CIA proprietaries, Fava did tremendous damage to the ability of the United States to conduct covert operations, former intelligence operatives told me.

“These [proprietaries] cost us a fortune to set up. And now it’s going to cost us a fortune to replace them,” one former CIA officer told me.

Blacklisted Terror Suspects

On Wednesday, Fava attempted to embarrass a staunch U.S. ally in the war on terror by alleging Ukrainian government aid in helping the CIA to “disappear” suspected terrorists into previously-undisclosed secret prisons in Ukraine.

Fava also alleged that a Gulfstream IV aircraft, previously known to have been used for secret CIA flights, landed at a military airport in Ukraine on Aug. 6, 2005 bringing the first of several CIA “ghost detainees” to the new secret prison.

According to Fava, the executive jet, with the registration number N85VM, made at least five deliveries to the military airport at Oziornie, Ukraine during August 2005.

Fava claimed that the plane was owned by Assembly Point Aviation Inc, and operated by Richmor Aviation, a company based at the Columbia County airport in Hudson, New York.

Richmor Aviation’s owners “have admitted leasing the plane to the CIA, but said it is not used exclusively by the agency,” Fava has said.

Also this week, a Swiss lawyer working for the Council of Europe slammed the United States for the way it blacklisted terrorist suspects after the Sept. 11 attacks.

“The person or group concerned is usually neither informed of the request, nor given the possibility to be heard, nor even necessarily informed about the decision taken — until he or she first attempts to cross a border or use a bank account,” lawyer Dick Marty wrote in a report to the Council on Tuesday.

“A serial killer in Europe has a lot more rights,” he added.

In his statement before a military tribunal at Guantanamo on March 10, 2007, the planner of the 9/11 attacks, Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, boasted that he also had been planning a “second wave” of attacks aimed at destroying the Sears Tower in Chicago, the Library Tower in Los Angeles, the Plaza Bank building in Seattle, and the Empire State Building in New York.

Mohammed was placed on a U.S. blacklist after the 9/11 attacks as an international terrorism suspect. But according to Marty, the United States should have informed him first of the allegations and sent lawyers to discuss them with him.

As I reveal in "Shadow Warriors," Sen. Carl Levin, D, Mich., blasted the White House for not disclosing the identity of Mohammed in September 2002, claiming that the Bush administration was engaging in a coverup because the intelligence community had known his identity “since 1995.”

Levin’s move “would have compromised efforts then under way by the CIA and Pakistani intelligence to capture Mohammed in Pakistan,” I argued.

The 9/11 planner was ultimately captured in Pakistan in January 2003 and his photograph released almost immediately to the media.

[Editor's Note: Get Ken Timmerman's book — Go Here Now.]

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