We Must Be the Voices of the Mothers for These Disappeared

Dafna Linzer, writing at ProPublica, reports that about 36 detainees whom the Bush administration had in custody inside secret CIA detention and interrogation centers in Eastern Europe and elsewhere around the globe are still unaccounted for, almost three years after Pres. Bush acknowledged the existence of the black site prisons:

Former President George W. Bush publicly acknowledged the CIA program in September 2006, and transferred 14 prisoners from the secret jails to Guantanamo. Many other prisoners, who had “little or no additional intelligence value,” Bush said, “have been returned to their home countries for prosecution or detention by their governments.”

Bush did not reveal their identities or whereabouts — information that would have allowed the International Committee for the Red Cross [5] to find them — or the terms under which the prisoners were handed over to foreign jailers. The U.S. government has never released information describing the threat that any of them posed.

Some of those prisoners have since been released by third countries holding them. But it is still unclear what has happened to dozens of others.

“Making the Justice Department memos on the CIA’s secret prison program public was an important first step, but the Obama administration needs to reveal the fate and whereabouts of every person who was held in CIA custody,” said Joanne Mariner, director of the Terrorism and Counterterrorism Program at Human Rights Watch. “If these men are now rotting in some Egyptian dungeon, the administration can’t pretend that it’s closed the door on the CIA program.”

Says Steve Hynd, “If former CIA director Michael Hayden was telling the truth when he said only about 100 detainees were ever held at CIA black sites, then over a third have been simply disappeared without trace.”

Steve also suggests that Sen. Patrick Leahy might want to add the fate of these three dozen human beings to the list of questions to be asked at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings he plans to convene.

Author: KATHY KATTENBURG