For sale: CIA “black site”, where persons suspected of terrorism were tortured in Lithuania | Lithuania

An ominous steel barn near Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, where CIA terrorism suspects were once kept in solitary confinement, bombarded with constant light and loud noises, will soon be on sale.

The government’s real estate fund, which manages assets no longer needed by the state, said on Monday it was preparing to sell the infamous former “black site” known as Project No. 2 or place of detention Purple.

Part of Washington’s secretive “special rendition” program, in which suspected Islamist militants from the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq were captured and held in prisons outside the United States, the 10-room building was used in 2005 and 2006. was a detention center.

In the windowless and soundproof rooms, “you can do whatever you want,” Arvydas Anušauskas, who led the Lithuanian parliamentary investigation into this place in 2010, told Reuters. “We have not determined what exactly happened there.

The biggest tourist attraction in Lithuania is the former Russian KGB prison in the center of Vilnius, where 767 people were executed during the anti-Soviet uprising in the 1940s and thousands were tortured, but there are no plans to replace it. the CIA facility, which has its own electricity generator and water supply, to the museum.

“We’re not pushing any buttons so we don’t accidentally turn anything on,” a real estate agent said of the facility, which is now dominated by fluorescent lighting and the hum of air conditioning in empty rooms.

In 2018, the European Court of Human Rights examined that prisoners in this place, which was used as a training facility by Lithuanian intelligence from 2007 to 2018, were shaved, blindfolded or hooded, and their legs shackled upon arrival.

Earlier this month it was revealed that the Lithuanian government paid Abu Zubaydah, the so-called “eternal prisoner”100,000 euros ($113,319) in compensation for the treatment he received there, following a court ruling that the government had violated European laws against torture.

Zubaydah was captured in Pakistan six months after 9/11, accused of being a senior member of al Qaeda, and has been held without charge since then. He hardly experienced the worst tortures in Lithuania that the CIA used elsewhere – in one month in Thailand he was bathed 83 times, but he experienced sensory and sleep deprivation, isolation, loud noise and harsh light. .

Summary about US Senate Report in 2014 the CIA’s published torture program mentioned the “Purple Site”, although it concealed the identity of the country where the building was built.

The creation of the site caused tension between different elements of the Bush administration, with the US ambassador to Lithuania complaining bitterly that the State Department had been left out of the planning process and kept in the dark.

The Senate report also noted that by the time the black site was up and running, CIA personnel were experiencing “mission fatigue from interacting with the program,” a reference to the trauma agents suffered from participating in the torture.

Detainees brought there had also already been subjected to so much “enhanced interrogation” — the CIA’s euphemism for torture — that many “lacked adequate intelligence.”

The CIA and Bush administration lawyers tried to justify the torture of Zubaydah by claiming that he was a very high-ranking member of al-Qaeda, but it turned out that he was not a member of the organization.

Other prisoners held there included Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who turned himself in in 2001. September 11 mastermind of the attacks.

The facility was closed in 2006 after Lithuania refused to admit a third prisoner, Mustafa al-Hawsawi, to the hospital. All three men are still being held at the US detention center at Guantanamo Bay.

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