The US Central Intelligence Agency has, according to multiple investigative reports from both mainstream media outlets and human rights organizations, operated numerous “black sites” across the world. These locations, according to the reports, are secret prisons used to house “ghost prisoners.” Those sent to these places are held captive without being charged with any crime and are not allowed any form of legal defense.
Ghost prisoners are subject to what the CIA calls “enhanced interrogation tactics”; most others call it torture. The CIA and their operatives’ methods allegedly include waterboarding, sleep deprivation, humiliation, physical beatings, electric shocks, and worse.
These secret prisons, dotted all over the world, might just be the most terrifying places on Earth.
10 Diego Garcia – Indian Ocean
Photo via Wikimedia
Diego Garcia is an atoll in the Indian Ocean located around 1,600 kilometers (1,000 mi) south of India and 3,200 kilometers (2,000 mi) east of Tanzania. The locale is claimed by the United Kingdom as part of their British Indian Ocean Territory.
In the 1960s and 1970s, the UK deported the native people of the atoll to Mauritius and the Seychelles in order to allow the United States to construct a large naval and military base now known as Camp Thunder Cove. The installation is currently home to roughly 4,000 military personnel and independent contractors.
Although the UK has long claimed that “ghost prisoners” haven’t been held at Diego Garcia, in a 2015 interview with Vice News, Lawrence Wilkerson (US Secretary of State Colin Powell’s former chief of staff) revealed that terrorism suspects were abducted and brought to the ocean base for special interrogations. Wilkerson stated that this was done by the CIA in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.
9 Temara Interrogation Centre – Morocco
The Temara Interrogation Centre can be found in a forest 14 kilometers (9 mi) outside of Rabat, Morocco. The facility is operated by a Moroccan government unit known as the Directorate for the Surveillance of the Territory (DST).
In 2003, Morocco was examined by the UN Committee against Torture. The UN considered evidence presented by the Moroccan government as well as by Amnesty International. Their findings were that, although human rights had generally improved in Morocco over recent years, there was also an increase in reported torture cases in the North African nation.
In 2004, Amnesty International alleged that the DST is a recurrent and flagrant abuser of human rights and that many of these offenses have occurred at Temara. Amnesty International’s report stated that Moroccan interrogators had repeatedly beaten, humiliated, electrocuted, burned, and waterboarded inmates at Temara. The alleged goal of the DST torturers was to extract confessions or information from detainees or to have them sign or thumbprint statements (the content of which the detainee may have no knowledge).
In 2010, the Associated Press reported that several US officials had confirmed that the facility was operated by Moroccans but was financed by the CIA. Morocco officially denies that the facility exists.
8 Mihail Kogalniceanu Airport – Romania
Photo credit: Crispas
Mihail Kogalniceanu Airport is the main airport for Romania’s southern Dobrogea region, located just a stone’s throw away from popular tourist resorts on the Black Sea coast. In 2015, the airport managed 2,227 flights involving over 63,000 passengers. However, some have alleged that a number of these flights were used to traffic ghost prisoners to and from a secret prison on the airport’s premises.
Romania claims that Mihail Kogalniceanu Airport is only used as a transfer point for CIA prisoners and not for actual detainment or interrogations. However, in 2008, USA Today quoted an unnamed Romanian official who claimed that the military portion of the airport contained three buildings which were strictly off-limits to Romanian officials but were frequented by US agents.
More evidence supporting the airport’s role in CIA detentions arose in 2010 whenDer Spiegel reported that the Swiss intelligence agency’s Onyx satellite surveillance system had intercepted a fax between an Egyptian foreign minister and his ambassador in London. The communique described the detention of 23 Iraqi and Afghan captives at the airport.