Secret CIA Prisons Opposed
By Pentagon Lawyers
New Special Counsel To Investigate?

By Wayne Madsen
The network of secret prisons established by the CIA and increasingly being run by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's parallel paramilitary and intelligence force, were opposed by top Pentagon lawyers. The entire gamut of Bush administration policies on prisoners runs afoul of U.S. and international law claim the military counsels. In Eastern Europe alone, there are 100 or more prisoners being held in dozens of facilities the Bush administration considers being within "law free zones," according to officials. Defense Department attorneys also disagreed strongly with Vice President Dick Cheney's Chief Counsel David Addington' s favorable position on torturing prisoners. The lawyers concluded that international law to which the United States is a party applies even in cases where the status of prisoners is debatable. They argue that the Geneva Conventions applies to those captured on foreign battlefields, including the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and foreign fighters in Iraq.
The Pentagon lawyers also generally oppose the "ticking bomb" scenario used to justify torture. Two high level Defense Department lawyers said the "ticking bomb" justification is being used to legitimize unlawful conduct and all interrogation actions. Some government attorneys favor the appointment of a Special Prosecutor with the same powers as Patrick Fitzgerald to investigate whether senior government officials knowingly violated US law when they approved the rendition (kidnapping), abuse, and torture of prisoners by US authorities or by foreign governments where prisoners were sent by the US with the foreknowledge that they would be tortured. In cases where torture led to death, the Special Prosecutor would also be able to add accessory to murder to any criminal charges against Bush administration officials.
The lawyers' comments came amid new reports about the network of secret prisons in Eastern Europe. Human Rights Watch has identified two of the secret prisons: Szymany Airport in Poland (located nearby Polish Military Intelligence headquarters) and Mihail Kogalniceanu military airfield in Romania near the seaport of Constanta. The probable increased involvement of the Pentagon in the secret bases is highlighted by the fact that Rumsfeld visited Mihail Kogalniceanu base in October 2004. Rumsfeld made it a point of playing down the importance of the base to journalists accompanying him at the time. Before arriving in Romania, Rumsfeld visited Macedonia, another country mentioned as a possible location of secret prisons.
The road to the Szymany prison camp (photo) in northeast Poland run by the Bush neo-cons (Hitler and Himmler would be so proud that these "ostlands" are back in business)
A CIA Boeing 737 touched down at both the Polish and Romanian airports in September 2003 after logging a flight plan from Washington, DC via Ruzyne, Czech Republic and Tashkent, Uzbekistan, to Kabul, Afghanistan and then to Szymany, Kogalniceanu, Sale, Morocco and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The European Commission has requested reports on secret prisons from three of the countries identified by yesterday's WMR: Croatia, Romania, and Bulgaria.



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