September 22nd, 2006

The Bush administration had to empty its secret prisons and transfer terror suspects to the military-run detention centre at Guantnamo this month in part because CIA interrogators had refused to carry out further interrogations and run the secret facilities, according to former CIA officials and people close to the programme.

The former officials said the CIA interrogators refusal was a factor in forcing the Bush administration to act earlier than it might have wished.

When Mr Bush announced the suspension of the secret prison programme in a speech before the fifth anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks, some analysts thought he was trying to gain political momentum before the November midterm congressional elections.

The administration publicly explained its decision in light of the legal uncertainty surrounding permissible interrogation techniques following the June Supreme Court ruling that all terrorist suspects in detention were entitled to protection under Common Article Three of the Geneva Conventions.

But the former CIA officials said Mr Bushs hand was forced because interrogators had refused to continue their work until the legal situation was clarified because they were concerned they could be prosecuted for using illegal techniques. One intelligence source also said the CIA had refused to keep the secret prisons going.

Senior officials and Mr Bush himself have come close to admitting this by saying CIA interrogators sought legal clarity. But no official has confirmed on the record how and when the secret programme actually came to an end.

John Negroponte, director of national intelligence, who was interviewed by Fox News on Sunday, said in response to a question of whether CIA interrogators had refused to work: I think the way I would answer you in regard to that question is that theres been precious little activity of that kind for a number of months now, and certainly since the Supreme Court decision.

In an interview with the Financial Times, John Bellinger, legal adviser to the state department, went further, saying there had been very little operational activity on CIA interrogations since the passage last December of a bill proposed by Senator John McCain outlawing torture and inhumane treatment of prisoners.

Mr Bellinger said the secret prisons remained empty for the moment. But he defended the US position that use of such prisons did not contravene international conventions as some in Europe have argued. He also said that, theoretically, the Pentagon as well as the CIA had the legal right to run such facilities. The CIA declined to comment.

Key figures among the 14 prisoners transferred to Guantnamo, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, had been held in secret centres for three years or more. […]

Financial Times

“You do not know these men. You may have looked at them, but you did not see them. They are the wind that blows newspapers down a gutter on a windy night… and sweeps the gutter clean.”

If only….

The truth is, these CIA torturers KNEW that they could be sacrificed to placate the international community should the whole facade fall to pieces. Bush would get away with ordering the war crimes because all presidents give unconditional pardons to their predecessors. Someone would have to pay, and that would be the people who did the dirty work.

This means that they (the CIA) believe that it is possible that everything can change and that civilization can indeed re-assert itself and that the USA will be made to back down.

They are frightened.

We can win!

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