Ireland Facilitated CIA’s Torture Porn Program

All 54 countries that participated in the CIA’s rendition program (Anand Katakam and Vox)

For several centuries the physical and psychological abuse of captives, male and female, old and young was something experienced by almost every generation of Irish people during our island nation’s long struggle against colonial occupation. Even in the modern industrial era it was common for military and political prisoners in Ireland to be subject to inhumane and abusive treatment during periods of detention or incarceration by their British captors (though of course some individuals readily adopted the ways of their former tormentors when the opportunity presented itself). So it is with genuine disgust that one reads of the levels of co-operation provided by the Irish authorities to the Central Intelligence Agency’s so-called “rendition” program that enabled the (predictably commercialised) seizure, incarceration, transportation and torture of detainees across the globe. From the Irish Times:

“The Rendition Project and Reprieve have identified 27 aircraft used by the CIA in its rendition programme which they claim landed more than 200 times at Irish airports on global circuits that ferried al-Qaeda suspects around secret prisons or “black sites” between 2001 and 2006.

Some of these circuits included so-called “tech stops” at Shannon and involved stopovers at destinations known to be central to the CIA’s so-called rendition, detention and torture programme.

The use of Shannon or other Irish airports is not mentioned, at least not referred to by name, in the 525-report on the CIA torture and rendition programme released by a Senate intelligence committee.

On 11 occasions between July 2002 and October 2004, “available evidence points strongly towards Irish airports being used by the aircraft on the way to, or on the way back from, known rendition of detainees in the ‘war on terror,’” The Rendition Project and Reprieve say. The groups found that there were another 16 trips or “circuits” between September 2002 and August 2006 involving stopovers at Irish airports that involved earlier or later connections between two or more secret prisons, suggesting that these are more “rendition” operations.”

These revelations are made worse knowing that the United States’ used Britain’s systematic abuse of Irish political prisoners in the northern “torture centres” of the 1970s and ’80s as part of its 2002 legal justification for the CIA’s “enhanced” interrogation techniques. As for the so-called techniques themselves, Robert Beckhusen examines those over on War Is Boring:

“The report—which the Senate released on Dec. 9—describes Agency operatives holding prisoners in dungeons and dragging the men through corridors while beating them.

The spies also subjected their captives to “rectal feeding”—injecting hydrating fluids through prisoners’ rectums. They kept prisoners awake for more than week at a time. Some detainees went mad and mutilated themselves.

The report details the CIA’s use of torture in a worldwide network of secret prisons, or “black sites.” In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the CIA built a network of prison camps with the involvement of 54 countries, out of the sight of the public and even many within the United States government.”

Tim Mak has more over on the Daily Beast, focusing on one American internee centre in Afghanistan known variously as Cobalt, the Dark Prison or the Salt Pit:

“At the CIA’s detention site Cobalt, the lights were never turned on.

The site was blacked out at all times, with curtains and painted exterior windows.

One of the lead interrogators at Cobalt once said that it was an effective place for interrogations because it is the closest he has seen to a “dungeon.”

The CIA was alerted of allegations that anal exams at Cobalt were conducted with “excessive force.”

Agency records said that one of the detainees housed at Cobalt, Mustafa al-Hawsawi, was later diagnosed with chronic hemorrhoids, an anal fissure, and symptomatic rectal prolapse.

Nude prisoners were kept in a central area, and walked around as a form of humiliation. Detainees were hosed down while shackled naked, and placed in rooms with temperatures as low as 59 degrees Fahrenheit. Loud music was played constantly.

In one case a detainee was dragged naked along the dirt floor. Detainee Gul Rahman’s clothes were cut off, and CIA interrogators put a hood on Rahman’s head. They slapped and punched him, and when he fell, dragged him through the dirt. Rahman was later found dead, with hypothermia the suspected cause.

One senior interrogator said that detainees “could go for days or weeks without anyone looking at him,” and that his team found a detainee who had been chained in a standing position for 17 days, “as far as we could determine.”

Detainees there were subject to sleep deprivation, shackled to bars with their hands above their heads. In fact, four of 20 cells at Cobalt were found to have bars across the cell to allow this,

Detainees were described, in graphic detail, being rectally fed against their will. One detainee was bent over for a rectal feeding that involved Ensure, the protein shake. And in perhaps the most graphic detail of the report, a detainee had his lunch—consisting of hummus, pasta, nuts and raisins—puréed and rectally infused”

What is eerily familiar about all this is the key role of medical personnel, doctors and nurses, in the supervision of prisoners before, during and after their interrogations. In effect they ensured that the tortured captives remained alive and in good enough health to continue being questioned (or punished). This of course was the same function served by British military doctors in the north-east of Ireland during the 1970s and ’80s.

Some things, it seems, never change.

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7 comments

  1. man’s inhumanity to man never changes – a modicum of power and violence suffices to unleash untold horrors on fellow human beings
    funny how the release of this report almost coincides with the request to open the hooded men’s allegations of torture – which since they weren’t torture (only inhumane and degrading treatment) opened the door even wider for this type of behaviour worldwide.

    1. This Fox News response is mind-boggling:

      “The United States of America is awesome, we are awesome,” she said. “The reason they want to have this discussion is not to show how awesome we are. This administration wants to have this discussion to show us how we’re not awesome.”

  2. I like the part where in the report they say the torture was ineffective. Of course they have said that of Americans being tortured by their enemies in WWII and the cold war. So if they have known that for some 60 years in advance, I wonder why they did this in the first place. Only really leaves one, very horrible, answer. I wonder if anyone is going to be shot or hung for that, like those that were shot and hung for that by the Americans. I think we know the answer. About as many as of the Brits that did this same sordid thing to Irish “detainees.” The absence of probable cause and due process guaranteed by the respective constitutions is also notable. “But these are more enlightened days, no room for all these savage ways, leave them, let them go, now every man may walk his road in peace, for all are free” “Alabama 58.” Lukey’s version was a good listen while reading this.

    1. Of course torture is ineffective.
      Torturers will hear what they want to hear – not the truth.

      Torture me long enough and I’d say anything to make it stop.

  3. I wonder if the irish free state establishment prempted this report by cynically taking on the ‘hooded men’ case once more? I am continuosly told by my clan i am too cynical for my own good but I can’t shake off such affliction: )

  4. The policies of successive Irish governments, tend to reflect the corporate media’s view of the world. Not because they’re afraid of the media (though they usually are), but because both they and the media work for the same people. The media in a sense line-manage the politicians, not on behalf of the public, but on behalf of the global elite. In this context, it’s worth remembering that many of the ex-Workers Party cabal of the 1970s-1980s that staffed and still staff RTE, The Sindo, The Irish Times, the Murdoch rags, etc., now tend to be ardent supporters of Anglo-American militarism. Prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall they were of course vocal cheerleaders for Soviet communism. Now they support the Anglo-American neo-con vision of constant war, with equal ardour. The question is though, was the Soviet communism of the WP ever authentic or was all the class war rhetoric and the very frequent WP visits to communist countries to “explain the real situation in Northern Ireland” really a sophisticated propaganda offensive carried out on behalf of British intelligence? If the WP were not British agents, why did the supposedly virulently anti-Communist Thatcher government actively facilitate the huge criminal empire of the Workers Party/Official IRA in Northern Ireland? And why did so many of the Workers Party leading lights suddenly convert to the cause of Anglo-American constant war in the early 1990s? Why did newspapers with long proven links to British intelligence employ so many Workers Party hacks? And above all, why did so many of these formerly Stalinist hacks, progress, without missing a beat, from championing revisionist anti-nationalism/neo-Unionism in the south, to fanatical support for criminal wars carried out by Anglo-America in the middle east and elsewhere? I think the answers to these questions provide the key to understanding the bigger question of why the Irish media and political class in general have colluded so shamefully with the corrupt Anglo-American warmongers.

  5. You have to arm yourselves and fight the torturers! Don’t procrastinate any longer. It’s war against British imperialism. Get up and resist it! Get up, Irish people, and defend your people.

    signed by Ronnie Austin

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