Red Cross given access to secret US detainees: NYT

The US military has begun to share with the International Committee of the Red Cross the identities of militants held in secret camps in Iraq and Afghanistan, The New York Times reported.
Citing three unidentified military officials, the Times said the policy would give the Red Cross access to dozens of suspected terrorists and foreign fighters captured in Iraq and Afghanistan detained in Special Operations camps overseas.

The new policy took effect this month with no public announcement.

The Obama administration has been reviewing US interrogation and detention practices. The Pentagon had previously maintained that providing information about these Special Operations detainees could jeopardize counterterrorism missions.

The Red Cross has been allowed access to most US military prisons and battlefield detention sites in Iraq and Afghanistan excluding these Special Operations locations.

A Department of Defense spokesperson, Bryan Whitman, declined to comment on the Special Operations camps.
“There are no hidden or unaccounted for detainees held by the department,” Whitman told Reuters.

“We make every effort to register detainees with the ICRC as soon as practicable after capture and that normally occurs within a two-week time.”

A Red Cross spokesperson declined to comment, citing its standing policy of not disclosing confidential discussions about detention issues.

The report provides new details about abuses that took place in the agency’s secret prisons. CIA officers conducted mock executions and threatened at least one prisoner with a gun and a power drill, in violation of a federal statute against threatening detainees with imminent death, the Times reported.

The US military maintains Special Operations camps, called temporary screening sites, in Balad, Iraq, and Bagram, Afghanistan. As many as 30 to 40 foreign prisoners have been held at the Iraq site at a time, the Times said citing military officials.

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