US Prison Ships

From The Guardian:

The United States is operating “floating prisons” to house those
arrested in its war on terror, according to human rights lawyers, who
claim there has been an attempt to conceal the numbers and whereabouts
of detainees.

Details of ships where detainees have been held and
sites allegedly being used in countries across the world have been
compiled as the debate over detention without trial intensifies on both
sides of the Atlantic. The US government was yesterday urged to list
the names and whereabouts of all those detained.

Information
about the operation of prison ships has emerged through a number of
sources, including statements from the US military, the Council of
Europe and related parliamentary bodies, and the testimonies of
prisoners.

The analysis, due to be published this year by the
human rights organisation Reprieve, also claims there have been more
than 200 new cases of rendition since 2006, when President George Bush
declared that the practice had stopped.

It is the use of ships
to detain prisoners, however, that is raising fresh concern and demands
for inquiries in Britain and the US.

According to research carried out by Reprieve, the US may have used
as many as 17 ships as “floating prisons” since 2001. Detainees are
interrogated aboard the vessels and then rendered to other, often
undisclosed, locations, it is claimed.

Ships that are understood
to have held prisoners include the USS Bataan and USS Peleliu. A
further 15 ships are suspected of having operated around the British
territory of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, which has been used as a
military base by the UK and the Americans.

Reprieve will raise
particular concerns over the activities of the USS Ashland and the time
it spent off Somalia in early 2007 conducting maritime security
operations in an effort to capture al-Qaida terrorists.

At this
time many people were abducted by Somali, Kenyan and Ethiopian forces
in a systematic operation involving regular interrogations by
individuals believed to be members of the FBI and CIA. Ultimately more
than 100 individuals were “disappeared” to prisons in locations
including Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Guantánamo Bay.

Reprieve
believes prisoners may have also been held for interrogation on the USS
Ashland and other ships in the Gulf of Aden during this time.

The Reprieve study includes the account of a prisoner released from
Guantánamo Bay, who described a fellow inmate’s story of detention on
an amphibious assault ship. “One of my fellow prisoners in Guantánamo
was at sea on an American ship with about 50 others before coming to
Guantánamo … he was in the cage next to me. He told me that there
were about 50 other people on the ship. They were all closed off in the
bottom of the ship. The prisoner commented to me that it was like
something you see on TV. The people held on the ship were beaten even
more severely than in Guantánamo.”

For the rest

8 thoughts on “US Prison Ships

  1. Beat me to it, dr2chase. I just hope there isn’t a U.S.S. Auschwitz.

  2. We seem to be getting more and more like the old Argentine Junta every day…

  3. I can remember too well the day when Bush looked into the eyes of ex-KGB head, Putin and…learned how a true despot acts. That lesson has been put to use. I think the time has come to give many members of the Bush administration, including his pocket justices of the supreme court, a personal demonstration of water boarding. Detention on the U.S.S. Auschwitz would be appropriate too.

  4. A lot of us from outside the US would find these sorts of things considerably less sickening would Bush and everyone behind him just (please, for the love of pete) stop braying constantly about how wonderful the US is, and what a great moral exemplar it is, and so on. Last I checked, my country wasn’t making any such great claims, and neither was it torturing and murdering people while running black ops in more countries than I can count…
    It all makes me very, very sad. The Americans I know (and there are many of you) aremuch better than that.

  5. Shades of The Hulks! In Dickens'”Great Expectations” the convict Magwitch escaped from such a prison ship.
    We’re running the gamut of the Dickensian horrors.

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