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US Allegedly Using Navy Ships As Secret Prisons

The US allegedly has used 17 ships as floating prisons to detain suspects in the war on terror, according to US military statements, the Council of Europe, European Parliaments, and prisoners themselves.

Human Rights group Reprieve is set to publish its findings, which also include 200 cases of rendition, a polite term for kidnapping and secret detention, since 2006, the year President Bush maintained the practice had ended.

One prisoner, released from Guantanamo, told the group:

One of my fellow prisoners in Guantanamo was at sea on an American ship with about 50 others before coming to Guantanamo. . . . he was in the cage next to me. [. . . ] 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 Guantanamo.

Even if the words of prisoners cannot be trusted, the US admits that it detains enemy combatants without trial. Recently the US released an uncharged cameraman after holding him for six years.

Imagine you were picked up and brought to a secret prison — none of your friends or family knew where you were, and you were being held without a trial and with no way to defend yourself. I think I would feel like a victim of terrorism.


Join The Conversation
sexylibrarian sexylibrarian 9 years
First of all let me say welcome Eilonwy!! You will love it here. Thanks for the link to the post Liberty. Glad I didn't get involved on that one. Looks like it was pretty heated.
gigill gigill 9 years
I really hope this story about the floating prison ships isn't true. I find it appalling that the US government thinks they can get away with crap like this.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
Well Guantanamo is only so big, so why not out of site out of mind. As for the act being equated to terrorism the Bush administration has already proven that when the U.S. has a ritious cause definitions some how loose their meaning in the wake of our powerful intent.
stephley stephley 9 years
Dave, We don't know that these people are enemy combatants - THEY HAVEN'T BEEN CHARGED IN YEARS! And with this administration, where there's a whiff of smoke, they've more than proved, there's a damned inferno. These people aren't POWs, because POWs have rights protected by international law. And if the one's who are released pick up guns and come after us, who in good conscience can blame them?
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
I have to disagree Harry. Enemy combatants are like POWs. You don't release POWs until the end of hostilities, because the only thing those released POWs will do is grab a gun and fight again. As far as floating prisons, let's make sure there's an ounce of truth to the story before we vote to burn the administration at the stake.
Harry-D Harry-D 9 years
"I do think it's horrible that we are holding enemy combatants without charge. At the same time there might be lives being saved by doing it."-HF This is the blurring of the line or the false connection that I was talking about. People should not be held without trial no matter whether they can hurt us or not. It becomes a very slippery slope to justify this.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
"none of your friends or family knew where your were" -- should be "where you were" Anyway, Harmony I loved reading your perspective on this. All most of us can rely on is what we hear and read and most often the sources we get that information from are sources that we generally agree with what they write/say anyway. We all know that it's often not accurate.
harmonyfrance harmonyfrance 9 years
I guess the problem I see is what's to keep them from lying on the stand? I understand that false info and confessions can result from torture. So how do we get the truth out of these people? I wish there was a full-proof truth serum like in the movies.
Eilonwy Eilonwy 9 years
Libertysugar, that is beyond sad :( and to think there are unnumbered captives who may never even see their friends or experience their former life again, let alone their family...what a bittersweet reunion.
Eilonwy Eilonwy 9 years
I think we're on the same page harmonyfrance :) What upsets me, however, is that it has been documented again and again by psychologists, psychiatrists and so forth, that under pressured circumstances (even without torture) false information and confessions run rampant among captives. I would never endorse or condone *any* form of torture. Period. That the ends to this horrific means is most likely fallacious is just so disheartening.
LibertySugar LibertySugar 9 years
I think we draw the line by charging them, and having a trial. If they did something wrong, let's lock them up. If they didn't then why are we holding them without a charge? An innocent man just was released after 6 years at Gitmo. He had to go home and see his 7 year old son, he left when he was 1. We might be saving lives, but we're definitely ruining others.
harmonyfrance harmonyfrance 9 years
Oh absolutely eilonwy....I agree that it's a dangerous thing to start...or rather continue. Where do we draw the line? I'm just saying that no one knows what kind of intelligence has been gleaned from this sort of thing. I'm also curious as to what the torture consists of.
Eilonwy Eilonwy 9 years
HarmonyFrance, I understand your feeling conflicted; however, pre-emptive captivity (and torture no less!) sets dangerous precedent, one based on a premise to which I reject wholly: based on that practice, one could imprison all citizens who fit certain demographics...this is entirely counter to the tenets and practices which a free nation should uphold...
stephley stephley 9 years
Lives MIGHT be saved if police could pick up every nasty looking character on the street.
stephley stephley 9 years
I'm not rejecting her personal testimony, but this isn't a brand new story and it has been an issue with the Brits. We have five years of confirmed practices that could cause a great deal of trouble for individual members of the military - how long should people/voters wait until we're absolutely, positively, no kidding certain about absolutely everything that may be going on before we press Congress and anyone else we can to stop it?
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
To me, it's sort of annoying when someone with real life experience offers their opinion when they differ with my world view. :cake: WHY A FREAKING CAKE???? WHAT DOES THAT MEAN???
harmonyfrance harmonyfrance 9 years
I do think it's horrible that we are holding enemy combatants without charge. At the same time there might be lives being saved by doing it. This is one of those topics that I go back and forth on what I think is the lesser evil. War is just horrible.
Eilonwy Eilonwy 9 years
cabaker27, I definitely took was HF said seriously. I did not receive the impression that anyone was blowing her off. I find it so refreshing when someone with real-life connection to the topic at hand shares their story.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
I completely agree that a confirmed practice of holding enemies without charge warrants discussion... I would just prefer to keep the conspiracy theories at bay (no pun intended :)) until we have some evidence, or at least until we don't have someone who was there saying that it doesn't exist.
LibertySugar LibertySugar 9 years
OK, secret floating prisons aside — the US government admits to holding enemy combatants without charge. Confirmed practices still give us a lot to discuss.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
Ok I'm a lil annoyed that everyone is blowing off what HF said... she was in intelligence, she was there for over a year. Can we please take her comments a little more seriously? Are we really so committed to believing this, whether it pans out to be factual or not (and that is STILL not determined) that we'd reject personal testimony from someone in intelligence who was actually there?!?
harmonyfrance harmonyfrance 9 years
Oh I'm not necessarily saying that I don't believe in the scattered prisons. I'm saying that I don't believe they were at Diego Garcia. I mean I don't think I can explain how tiny this island is. You can walk it in 3 hours. The gossip on the island was clearances or not...there is no way they could have held that kind of secret from everyone on the island. AND I was stationed at the communication center where all (top secret) information went to and from the island. I never heard a peep about that. I heard plenty of other crazy stuff but NOTHING about prison ships. I think it's really crazy that it's my little island that's being accused of this. I'm kind of in shock.
stephley stephley 9 years
Here's from the article Liberty linked - the one about apologizing to Parliament cuz oops, yes it happened: David Miliband has admitted two US "extraordinary rendition" flights landed on UK territory in 2002. The foreign secretary said in both cases US planes refuelled on the UK dependent territory of Diego Garcia. He said he was "very sorry" to have to say that previous denials made in "good faith" were now having to be corrected. The renditions - the transport of terror suspects around the world for interrogation - only came to light after a US records search, he said. BBC world affairs correspondent Paul Reynolds said the revelations were "a serious embarrassment for the British government".
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
Thanks for your insights HF! Its always nice to hear from someone who was ACTUALLY THERE.
stephley stephley 9 years
HF, this story and reports of secret prisons scattered throughout the world aren't new. And I never would have believed we'd run a place like Guantanamo.
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