Sunday, August 23, 2009

US military disclosing list of secret prisoners

US military disclosing list of secret detainees

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The Pentagon plans to give the Red Cross access to a list of terror suspects held in secret prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan, US military officials say.

In another shift of policy made by the US President Barack Obama, the Pentagon will give the Red Cross access to dozens of suspected terrorists and militants held in what it calls the Special Operations camps, The New York Times reported on Saturday, citing three unidentified military officials.

Besides the ominous Guantanamo detention facility in Cuba, the US military continues to hold detainees in the Special Operations camps, in Iraq's Balad, and Afghanistan's Bagram bases.

Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) voiced concern over the US military's refusal to provide the names and nationalities of about 600 detainees held at the Bagram base, just north of Kabul.

The military had been insisting that disclosing such details would jeopardize counter-terrorism missions.

The Red Cross has been given access to most of the US military's overseas prisons and battlefield detention sites except for the Special Operations camps.

A Spokesman for the Department of Defense, Bryan Whitman, on Saturday declined to comment on the secret Special Operations camps. "There are no hidden or unaccounted for detainees held by the department," he was quoted by Reuters as saying.

"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," Whitman said.

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