CIA Director Nominee — Gina Haspel and the ‘Black Site’ in Thailand (UPDATE : Udon Thani Site Officially Identified)

“Many experts believe it was situated at a former U.S. intelligence post in the remote northeastern province of Udon Thani. Some say it was at an air base southeast of Bangkok that U.S. forces have used as a refueling hub for flights into Afghanistan. Still others point to a section of Bangkok’s Don Mueang International Airport controlled by the Thai air force.”

Los Angeles Times — April 22 2018

“The Thai and English language press continue to highlight the story. Of greatest concern, one newspaper reported that the secret facility was housed on the grounds of the VOA facility in Udon Thani, in northeastern Thailand.”

US State Department cable — November 4 2005

“The decision was reached without input from the National Security Council at the White House, the State Department, the US ambassador in Thailand or even the CIA’s station chief in that country.”

Greg Miller and Adam Goldman –National Security Correspondents for The Washington Post (2004)

“The CIA’s use of its enhanced interrogation techniques was not an effective means of acquiring intelligence or gaining cooperation from detainees.”

 US Senate Intelligence Committee report (2014)

Udon Thani was the Asian Headquarters for Air America an American passenger and cargo airline covertly owned and operated by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). It supplied and supported covert operations in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War

April 30 2018 — Thailand was home to the agency’s first secret prison, or “black site,” after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Even the prison’s location — code-named Detention Site Green — remains cloaked in mystery. Follow us on Twitter: @Intel_Today

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UPDATE (May 4 2018) — A senior former Thai national security official has confirmed to the BBC that “Detention Site Green” was located inside the Royal Thai Air Force base in Udon Thani in the north-east. The site was just a CIA safe house on the base.

“Whenever someone was captured by the Americans, either in other countries or inside Thailand, they were brought through the site, and later sent off again in an American plane,” the official recalls.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Americans could operate there so long as the Thai government was kept informed.

The choice of Thailand, and Udon Thani, would have made sense for a number of reasons:

  • The two countries were treaty allies.
  • Close US-Thai cooperation in military and intelligence affairs went back to the early days of the Cold War.
  • In the 1960s Thailand allowed the US to use air bases on its territory to bomb communist targets in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.
  • Udon Thani was one of the main US bases, and was heavily used by the CIA at the time, which had its own fleet of aircraft.

The exact building used to detain and interrogate him in Udon Thani air base is still undisclosed. (BBC) — END of UPDATE

The secret American “black site” for interrogating suspected terrorists in Thailand is known as “Detention Site Green”. The exact location of this secret prison has never been revealed.

Quite possibly, the first CIA ‘Black Site’ was located inside a shortwave radio relay station built for broadcaster Voice of America in the northern province of Udon Thani.

The Thai site was reportedly established in haste after the arrest of Abu Zubaydah in Pakistan in March 2002.

Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times in August 2002, according to a memo from then-deputy assistant attorney-general Steven G Bradbury to John Rizzo, who was acting general counsel for the CIA.

The alleged mastermind of the USS Cole bombing, Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri, was reportedly sent to the secret Thai detention centre after his capture in Dubai. He  arrived around November 2002.

The secret facility was closed down in December 2002 and its prisoners moved to another black site in Poland. Both men remain in detention at Guantanamo Bay.

According to a former senior CIA official, Haspel arrived as Station Chief after the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, but was chief during the waterboarding of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.

TIMELINE

Gina Haspel is single and she has no presence on social media. Foreign language: French

1956 October 1 — Gina Haspel was born in Ashland, Kentucky, the oldest of five children. Her father served in the Air Force, having joined at 17, and she grew up on military bases overseas.

— After graduating from high school in England, Gina Haspel returned home to attend the University of Kentucky, where she studied languages and majored in journalism.

—  she moved to Louisville her senior year for an internship and graduated with honors from the University of Louisville.

— After college, Gina Haspel worked as a contractor with the 10th Special Forces Group at Ft. Devens in Massachusetts. She ran the library and foreign language lab.

1985 — She joins the CIA

About 1988 —  First overseas assignment as a case officer in  Addis Abeba (Ethiopia), then run by Waldimir Skotzko.

1990 — (August) Second Secretary at the US Embassy in Ankara, Turkey

1999 — Executive assistant to James Pavitt, Director of Clandestine Operations (DDO)

2001 — (In the wake of 9/11) Haspel joins the Counter-Terrorism Center at the request of José Rodriguez

2002 — Between October and December 2002, Haspel was assigned to oversee a secret CIA prison in Thailand, code-named Cat’s Eye, that housed persons suspected of involvement in Al-Qaeda. The prison was part of the U.S. government’s extraordinary rendition program after the September 11 attacks, and used enhanced interrogation techniques such as waterboarding that are considered by many to be torture. According to a former senior CIA official, Haspel arrived as Station Chief after the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, but was chief during the waterboarding of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.

2003 June — Published reports reveal the existence of the CIA Detention Green site. Thai officials insist the CIA shut it down, and the two terrorists were moved elsewhere, according to former government officials involved in the matter. (CIA Holds Terror Suspects in Secret Prisons)

2003-2005(?) — Haspel heads the CIA «Renditions and Interrogations Group» inside the Counter-Terrorism Center

2005 — Haspel was the chief of staff to Jose Rodriguez, Director of the National Clandestine Service. In his memoir, Rodriguez wrote that Haspel had drafted a cable in 2005 ordering the destruction of dozens of videotapes made at the black site in Thailand in response to mounting public scrutiny of the program. (“Haspel was the chief of staff when I (Robert Richer is a former associate deputy director of operations for the CIA) was the No. 2 person in the agency’s clandestine service in 2004 and 2005.”)

2005 October 31 —   CIA General Counsel John Rizzo raised concerns that a congressional proposal for an independent commission to investigate detainee abuse “would serve to surface the tapes’ existence,” and suggested trying to get permission from the CIA director to destroy them.

2005 November 2 — The Washington Post reports: “Then the CIA captured its first big detainee, in March 28, 2002. Pakistani forces took Abu Zubaida, al Qaeda’s operations chief, into custody and the CIA whisked him to the new black site in Thailand, which included underground interrogation cells, said several former and current intelligence officials. Six months later, Sept. 11 planner Ramzi Binalshibh was also captured in Pakistan and flown to Thailand.”

2005 November 4 — After the Washington Post broke the ‘CIA Thailand black site’ story, Thaksin issued heated denials and briefly threatened to sue the newspaper, according to a leaked State Department cable.

2005 November 9 — Jose Rodriguez writes: “The field (CIA station in Thailand?) sent in a cable reporting that the shredder had done its work.

2005 November 10 — CIA email appears to refer to Haspel’s role in the tapes destruction

2009-2011 — Haspel serves as the CIA’s Station Chief in London. Prestigious position traditionally held by very senior CIA officers. (Vaughn Bishop de 2007 à 2009, and later by Timothy Buch until Haspel.)

2011 – 2013 — Haspel serves as the CIA’s Station Chief in New York

2013 — (February 28, 2013 – May 7, 2013) John Brennan, then the director of Central Intelligence, named Haspel as acting Director of the National Clandestine Service, which carries out covert operations around the globe. However, she was not appointed to the position permanently due to criticism about her involvement in the Rendition, Detention and Interrogation program. Her permanent appointment was opposed by Dianne Feinstein and others in the Senate. Francis Archibald — Former COS in Malaysia and Pakistan — is picked to run the NCS.

2013 – 2017 — Haspel is back in London

2017 February 8 — Haspel is named Deputy Director of CIA

2018 March 13 — Gina Haspel named by Trump to be CIA director, replacing Mike Pompeo, who will replace Tillerson at State

2018 April 26 — Mike Pompeo has been confirmed as the new US Secretary of State. Deputy Director Gina C. Haspel is assuming the role of Acting Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Worst Secret CIA Prisons  

Number 5 – Detention Site Green, Thailand

Thailand has denied the existence of any secret prisons, however several leaked reports over the years have suggested the location of Detention Site Green being somewhere near the province of Udon Thani or just outside of the capital, Bangkok.

Even the CIA themselves admitted to destroying 92 tapes of interviews of terror suspects that had been safeguarded somewhere in Thailand.

One of the detainees of Detention Site Green was that of Saudi Arabian national, Abu Zubaydah and it is believed that he lost his left eye as a result of extensive interrogations involving torture conducted by the CIA. During his time in CIA custody, Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times, so severely to the point of bubbles rising from his open mouth or vomiting and blacking out.

REFERENCES

Torture and secrecy in Thailand — ABC

US and Thailand: Allies in torture By Shawn W Crispin — Asia Times

The CIA closed its original ‘black site’ years ago. But its legacy of torture lives on in Thailand — LA Times (April 22 2018)

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CIA Director Nominee — Gina Haspel and the ‘Black Site’ in Thailand

CIA Director Nominee — Gina Haspel and the ‘Black Site’ in Thailand (UPDATE : Udon Thani Site Officially Identified)

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