Cat’s Eye: News on the Secret Thai Prison


AP: Ex-CIA Officer Accused Of Electric-Drill Torture Now Training CIA Operatives As A Contractor -, September 7, 2010
...Al-Nashiri was flown to still another secret CIA prison in Thailand, where he stayed briefly, then taken to the Poland prison on Dec. 5, 2002, just days after that facility was opened...

To keep program secret, CIA whisked 9/11 figures from Gitmo before court ruling - CP, August 8, 2010
...A jail in Thailand known as Cat's Eye closed in December 2002, and in the fall of 2003 the CIA was preparing to shutter its facility in Poland and open a new one in Romania. Human rights investigators and journalists were asking questions. The CIA needed to reshuffle its prisoners...

New evidence about prisoners held in secret CIA prisons in Poland and Romania -, August 3, 2010
...However, what can be stated with certainty is that three of the men who arrived on December 5, 2002, were the HVDs (HVDs) Abu Zubaydah, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri and Ramzi bin al-Shibh, who had all been held previously in a secret CIA prison in Thailand...

Key omission in memo to destroy CIA terror tapes -, July 25, 2010
...But when the CIA's top clandestine officer, Jose Rodriguez, told a colleague at the agency's secret prison in Thailand to destroy interrogation videos, he left the attorneys off the note.
The destruction of the tapes wiped away the most graphic evidence of the CIA's now-shuttered network of overseas prisons, where suspected terrorists were interrogated for information using some of the most aggressive tactics in U.S. history...

UN Secret Detention Report: CIA Prisons In Afghanistan And Iraq - Eurasia Review, June 16, 2010
...“before they were sent to the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, United States forces had tortured them in detention centers in Afghanistan, and supervised their torture in Pakistan and Thailand...”

UN Secret Detention Report: The CIA's 'High-Value Detainee' Program And Secret Prisons - Eurasia Review, June 16, 2010

UN pdf: Joint Study on Global Practices in Relation to Secret Detention in the Context of Counter-Terrorism
...Whisked by the CIA to Thailand where he was housed in a small, disused warehouse on an active airbase. There, his cell was kept under 24-hour closed circuit TV surveillance and his life-threatening wounds were tended to by a CIA doctor specially sent from Langley headquarters to assure Abu Zubaydah was given proper care, sources said. Once healthy, he was slapped, grabbed, made to stand long hours in a cold cell, and finally handcuffed and strapped feet up to a water board until after 0.31 seconds he begged for mercy and began to cooperate.
...In its submission for the present study, the Government of Thailand denied the existence of a secret detention facility in Thailand in 2002/03, stating that international and local media had visited the suspected places and found no evidence of such a facility. In the light of the detailed nature of the allegations, however, the experts believe it credible that a CIA black site existed in Thailand, and calls on the domestic authorities to launch an independent investigation into the matter...

28 nations helped U.S. detain terror suspects -, March 31, 2010
...THAILAND: One of the first CIA black sites known as "Cat's Eye" is located outside of Bangkok. Al-Qaeda operatives were flown there to be interrogated and tortured, including waterboarding. Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri were videotaped there. Some 92 videotapes were made and stored and subsequently destroyed by the CIA. In 2005 ABC News reported Zubaydah was held in an unused warehouse on an airbase where he was made to stand in a cold cell and waterboarded...

America's secret prisons -, March 16, 2010
...HRC's report revealed further evidence about front company flights from Bangkok, Thailand to Szymany on December 5, 2002 ("disguised under multiple layers of secrecy" to avoid US "fingerprints") and others from December 3 - 6, 2002...


A window into C.I.A.’s embrace of secret jails - NYT, August 12, 2009
...Early in the fight against Al Qaeda, agency officials relied heavily on American allies to help detain people suspected of terrorism in makeshift facilities in countries like Thailand. But by the time two C.I.A. officials met with Mr. Foggo in 2003, that arrangement was under threat, according to people briefed on the situation. In Thailand, for example, local officials were said to be growing uneasy about a black site outside Bangkok code-named Cat’s Eye. (The agency would eventually change the code name for the Thai prison, fearing it would appear racially insensitive.)...

2 U.S. architects of harsh tactics in 9/11’s wake - NYT, August 11, 2009
[A few more matter-of-fact reference to the Thai secret prison.]
...Whether they protested to C.I.A. bosses is uncertain, because the voluminous message traffic between headquarters and the Thailand site remains classified...

PM: No secret prison in Thailand - Bangkok Post, July 21, 2009

Secret prison report discredits country - Bangkok Post, July 21, 2009
..."The report may aim to discredit Thailand, as the chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean)," Mr Vitavas said.
Foreign Affairs Minister Kasit Piromya's secretary Chavanond Intarakomalyasut also insisted the country had no secret prison and the Thai government had never let the United States build a torture chamber in the country...

[The contention that reports about the secret prison are coming out now to discredit the government are ridiculous. The recent reports are part of grand jury hearings in the U.S. that have been going on for some time concerning the destruction of tapes documenting the torture of detainees at the prison. The Thai government has been denying the existence of a prison since the Thaksin years.]

PM: No secret prison in Thailand - Bangkok Post, July 21, 2009

Internal Rifts on Road to Torment - Washington Post, July 19, 2009
...In August 2002, as the first anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks approached, officials at CIA headquarters became increasingly concerned that they were not learning enough from their detainee in Thailand. When the interrogators concluded that Abu Zubaida had no more to tell, Langley scolded them: "You've lost your spine..."

Grand jury hears from top C.I.A. officers on destruction of tapes - NYT, July 2, 2009
...She is said by former agency officers to have helped carry out Mr. Rodriguez’s order to destroy the tapes.
The tapes had been kept in a safe at the C.I.A. station in Thailand, the country where the interrogations took place...

American - British democracies sexual torture -, May 25, 2009
...Encep Nuraman (aka Hambali) – kept naked for four or five days in Thailand and a week in Afghanistan, followed by intermittent periods of being clothed and naked.
...Mohammed Nazir Bin Lep – kept naked three to four days in Thailand and nine days in Afghanistan...

Udon Thani: US crimes and secret prison unpunished - WFOL.TV, March 31, 2009
However, it is confirmed that Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri were incarcerated, beaten and tortured by US officials with the help of Thai officials at Udon Thani, this after Thai and US officials denied the very existence of the prison...

Thai-US relations: Skeletons in the closet - The Nation, March 6, 2009
...Of course, no Thai leader or senior official who was in office during the first term of former leader Thaksin Shinawatra would say anything on the matter.
Since the whole rendition operation occurred in 2005 under Thaksin's nose, he must be held responsible. He had a penchant to do things on his own, and to make decisions without consulting any person.
Thai-US relations, and many other bilateral ties, were often exploited by Thaksin alone. As a former business leader, he knew what the US government really wanted and was willing to accommodate it at all times. When he first came to power in 2001, he displayed an ambiguous attitude toward US involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq. After that he picked up on things quickly and changed his non-committal stance to one of close cooperation with the US on its anti-terrorism campaign...

US admits to torture at secret jail inside Thailand - Bangkok Post, March 4, 2009
The United States government has admitted for the first time that it had a secret jail in Thailand where suspected al-Qaeda operatives were flown in to be interrogated, including being subjected to "waterboarding"...

Anupong: No secret jails inside Thailand - Bangkok Post, March 4, 2009
...Army chief Anupong Paojinda reiterated Wednesday that there is no US secret jail in Thailand where suspected al-Qaeda operatives are flown in to be interrogated.
... "I can confirm you that there is no such place in Thailand," he told reporters. "I can take my post on the line that such place does not exist..."


Secret prison on Diego Garcia confirmed: Six “high-value” Guantánamo prisoners held, plus “ghost prisoner” Mustafa Setmariam Nasar - Mindanao Examiner, August 2, 2008

Inside a 9/11 mastermind's interrogation - IHT, June 22, 2008
...The agency, desperate to keep him alive, flew in a Johns Hopkins Hospital surgeon to consult. Within a few days, Abu Zubaydah was flown to Thailand, to the first of the "black sites," the agency's interrogation facilities for major Qaeda figures.
Thailand, which had long faced Muslim insurgents in its south, became the first choice because CIA officers had a very close relationship with their counterparts in Bangkok, according to one American intelligence official. At first, the official said, "they didn't even tell the prime minister."
Inside a 'Black Site'
It was at the Thai jail, not far from Bangkok, that Martinez first tried his hand at interrogation on Abu Zubaydah, who refused to speak Arabic with his captors but spoke passable English. It was also there, as previously reported, that the CIA would first try physical pressure to get information, including the near-drowning of waterboarding...

US and Thailand: Allies in torture - Asia Times, January 25, 2008
... Political analysts and diplomats in Thailand suspect that the prison was, and perhaps still is, situated at a military base in the northeastern province of Udon Thani from where the US launched its bombers during the Vietnam War and is currently believed to monitor regional radio communications, including inside China.
Wherever the CIA-run interrogation facilities are situated, the torture of suspects in Thailand apparently represents the latest US violation of the Geneva Conventions and also controversially violates Thai law and sovereignty. The US congressional revelations about the facility also raises hard new questions about the role and possible complicity of Bangkok-based senior US officials, including previous US ambassadors Darryl Johnson and Ralph "Skip" Boyce.
The interrogations captured on the destroyed CIA tapes took place in 2002, during Johnson's term as the top US official in Bangkok; Boyce, recently retired from the foreign service, meanwhile recently admitted to a former Thai legislative aide of having knowledge of the facility but declined to give any details...

No CIA prisoners brought here since 2003 - Bangkok Post, January 22, 2008
...Thaksin Shinawatra, the prime minister at the time of the interrogations, has always denied that there was any CIA "base" or "prison" in Thailand. Foreign sources have told the Bangkok Post that the denials were technically correct.
The interrogations - or torture - of al-Qaeda suspects were carried out at so-called safe houses on a military base in Thailand, the sources said...

Waterboarding in Thailand: Station chief made appeal to destroy CIA tapes - Washington Post, January 16, 2008
In late 2005, the retiring CIA station chief in Bangkok sent a classified cable to his superiors in Langley asking if he could destroy videotapes recorded at a secret CIA prison in Thailand that in part portrayed intelligence officers using simulated drowning to extract information from suspected al-Qaeda members...


Thailand's "secret prisons" - June 13, 2007
The Council of Europe released a report today on secret prisons: ‘High-value’ detainees were held in secret CIA detention centres in Poland and Romania, says PACE committee

This report also had references to the reported Thai secret prison:
...we have been told that Thailand hosted the first CIA “black site,” and that Abu Zubaydah was held there after his capture in 2002. CIA sources indicated to us that Thailand was used because of the ready availability of the network of local knowledge and bilateral relationships that dated back to the Vietnam War.
One CIA source told us: “in Thailand, it was a case of ‘you stick with what you know’;” however, since the allegations pertaining to Thailand were not the direct focus of our inquiry, we did not elaborate further on these references in our discussions. The specific location of the “black site” in Thailand has been publicly alleged to be a facility in Udon Thani, near to the Udon Royal Thai Air Force Base in the north-east of the country. This base does have long-standing connections to with the approach of most US partner countries, the Thai Government has denied these allegations outright.


COMMENTARY: What the US could learn from Thailand - Asia Times, April 7, 2006
...Ralph "Skip" Boyce, the garrulous US ambassador to Thailand, has maintained that Washington has in no way assisted Thaksin's controversial counter-insurgency efforts, which, similar to US military operations in Iraq, have been attended by allegations of torture and abuse of Muslim detainees.
Bangkok-based European and Asian diplomats, however, beg to differ, claiming that the United States' behind-the-scenes role in the conflict is an open secret in diplomatic circles.
...Thaksin's Thailand plays host to a joint top-secret US Central Intelligence Agency-run counter-terrorism center, charged with managing covert operations throughout Southeast Asia, according to a senior Thai intelligence official attached to the National Intelligence Agency. Those ties appear to have paved the way for the CIA to establish a secret prison in Thailand, where abducted terror suspects were allegedly held and interrogated. Ambassador Boyce has repeatedly declined to comment on the specifics of the secret detention center. (The facility was closed down in 2003, according to the Washington Post.)...


From the Thai-language press - Matichon editorial: The accusation about a secret prison and criticism of Matichon - November 8, 2005

Location of the "secret prison"? - November 7, 2005
Ban Dung is here. Is this the VOA complex?

No presence of secret CIA prison in Thailand, PM confirms - TNA, November 5, 2005
...The prime minister said the report by the Washington Post, which claimed that the Voice of America (VOA) relay transmitting station in Ban Dung district of the country's northeastern province of Udon Thani was used as holding center for top al-Qaeda suspects, was groundless because the radio station relayed short-wave frequency broadcasts; and therefore, must have several tall antennas, he said.
The more than 3,000 rai of land, on which the radio station sits, is occupied and has been leased for a long time with tight security being provided to the station...

Disbelief at Thai terror centre denial - AAP, November 5, 2005
...The Thai PM's Office spokesman, Suranand Vejjajiva, insisted no such prison existed at the station and says everyone he has spoken to, including the Udon Thani governor, the VOA station manager and the US embassy, have assured him nothing out of the ordinary was going on...

US Gov't: No hidden jail in Thailand for al-Qaeda suspects - TNA, November 4, 2005
...He further said that the Washington Post is obliged to publish a correction of its news report which identified Thailand and several other countries as alleged havens for CIA 'black sites' and protected several Eastern European nations from being identified for similar allegations.
The foreign minister declined to comment on rumours that the alleged 'black site' is located in Baan Dung district of Udorn Thani province, as a fact-finding probe has not yet been done...

CIA Holds Terror Suspects in Secret Prisons - Debate Is Growing Within Agency About Legality and Morality of Overseas System Set Up After 9/11 - Washington Post, November 2, 2005
...About 30 are considered major terrorism suspects and have been held under the highest level of secrecy at black sites financed by the CIA and managed by agency personnel, including those in Eastern Europe and elsewhere, according to current and former intelligence officers and two other U.S. government officials. Two locations in this category -- in Thailand and on the grounds of the military prison at Guantanamo Bay -- were closed in 2003 and 2004, respectively.
...By mid-2002, the CIA had worked out secret black-site deals with two countries, including Thailand and one Eastern European nation, current and former officials said. An estimated $100 million was tucked inside the classified annex of the first supplemental Afghanistan appropriation.
Then the CIA captured its first big detainee, in March 28, 2002. Pakistani forces took Abu Zubaida, al Qaeda's operations chief, into custody and the CIA whisked him to the new black site in Thailand, which included underground interrogation cells, said several former and current intelligence officials. Six months later, Sept. 11 planner Ramzi Binalshibh was also captured in Pakistan and flown to Thailand.
But after published reports revealed the existence of the site in June 2003, Thai officials insisted the CIA shut it down, and the two terrorists were moved elsewhere, according to former government officials involved in the matter. Work between the two countries on counterterrorism has been lukewarm ever since...

The government denies this: NEWSPAPER REPORT: Secret jail report 'untrue' - The Nation, November 3, 2005
..."This is a completely groundless story. There is no secret al-Qaeda detention site here in Thailand," Government spokesman Surapong Suebwonglee said in response to the report...


Thailand not mentioned in secret detention center report - June 18, 2004
Last week we pointed out the Guardian story mentioning Thailand as part of of U.S.'s secret prison system. Today, a press release and report from Human Rights First makes no mention of Thailand as a holding point for U.S. prisoners.

Earlier: Thailand part of US's "secret worldwide prison system"? - The Guardian, June 13, 2004
The United States government, in conjunction with key allies, is running an 'invisible' network of prisons and detention centres into which thousands of suspects have disappeared without trace since the 'war on terror' began... Terrorists have also been sent to facilities in Baku, Azerbaijan, and to unidentified locations in Thailand. Scores more are thought to be at a US airbase in the Gulf state of Qatar, and a large number are believed to have been sent to Saudi Arabia, where CIA agents are allowed to sit in on some of the interrogations... American officials are unrepentant. 'You have to break eggs to make omelettes,' said one last week."
...Khaled Sheikh Mohammed and Ramzi bin al-Shibh, who both helped plan the 11 September attacks, were also transferred to American custody soon after their capture by Pakistani security forces in September 2002 and March 2003 respectively. They are believed to have been interrogated in Thailand...


Saddam in Thailand? - December 16, 2003
Sources have long contended that most high level prisoners from Afghanistan and Iraq were first interrogated in Thailand (Thai officials deny this). Thus, rumors started to swirl as Saddam's capture was announced that Saddam himself was either on his way to Thailand or was already here. On Sunday night, the Associated Press reported that Saddam had been moved out of Iraq. CNN reported that Saddam was in Qatar, but the next day this was denied. This is the usual pattern: 'sources' tell various news outlets about the whereabouts of a high-ranking POWs and then the next day this is matter-of-factly denied.

Also: Saddam Whereabouts Still a Mystery - Reuters
Update - December 18, 2003: CNN is now quoting Iraqi officials as saying Saddam is still in Iraq and has never left...

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