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And, yes, I DO take it personally: Floating U.S. black-site prisons and more on Diego Garcia
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Sunday, June 01, 2008

Floating U.S. black-site prisons and more on Diego Garcia

i posted just the other day on the possible existence of u.s. prison ships...

here's some more 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.

diego garcia is a busy little place with a lot of covert activity... it's also about as far away from nosy reporters and prying eyes as it's possible to get (with the possible exception of antarctica, where i fully expect there's some pretty black stuff going on as well)...

here are some google earth shots of and a bit of background on diego garcia... note the ships in the harbor...

The above shows the entire Diego Garcia
atoll surrounding the lagoon. Although
you can't see them very well in this shot,
there are 7 ships in the lagoon and 2
in port.

The above is a closer-in shot of the
airbase. The port is in the middle left
and the housing area is on the extreme
upper left.

from wikipedia... i've highlighted particularly interesting facts in bold...
Diego Garcia (-7.317, 72.417) is an atoll located in the heart of the Indian Ocean, some 1,000 miles (1,600 km) south off Colombo, Sri Lanka's southern coast. Diego Garcia is the largest atoll by land area of the Chagos Archipelago. It is part of the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), a British overseas territory.

Since the enforced depopulation of Diego Garcia in the years leading up to 1973, it has been used as a military base by the United States and the United Kingdom. Diego Garcia hosts one of three ground antennas (others are on Kwajalein and Ascension Island) that assist in the operation of the Global Positioning System (GPS) navigational system. GEODSS that tracks satellites optically along with the other GEODSS sites at White Sands Missle Range and on top of Mt. Kilauea in Hawaii. The Scripps Institute maintains Project IDA/IRIS sesmic montitors used there to correlate worldwide sesmic events for locating and underground nuclear testing for the US Govenment. Project ECHELON is also hosted there to provide worldwide reception of electronic signals. SNOOPY planes out of Offut AFB in Omaha regularly stop there as they skirted foreign countries intercepting SIGNET from their borders. The Anotonov-225 jet flys there providing cargo heavy lift for the island. B-1's from Ellsworth AFB still launch daily from there for OIF and OEF, as well as B-2's, and formerly B-52's were launched from there against Iraq during the Gulf War. To this day Navy P-3 Orion Subhunters operate out of there. The Navy Submarine Warfare Center is located there. The island is outfitted with sonophone microphones capable of detecting ship Screws turning 5000 miles away. The SR-71 Blackbird flew out of BIOT during the Cold War. The island's shape (similar to that of a human footprint) has led the US Navy to refer to Diego Garcia as "The Footprint of Freedom." You must have a US security clearance to even visit the island. Flights are provided by AMC out of Paya Lebar AB in Singapore.

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