Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Images reportedly depict black sites in Afghanistan, Thailand, Poland, Lithuania, and Romania, as well as torture devices. (Photo: Prachatai/cc/flickr)

Images reportedly depict black sites in Afghanistan, Thailand, Poland, Lithuania, and Romania, as well as torture devices. (Photo: Prachatai/cc/flickr)

Defense Attorneys Demand Release of Thousands of CIA Black Site Photos

"Who knows what is still out there?" defense attorneys ask. "What else is there? That’s what is appalling."

A recently unearthed cache of photographs of CIA black sites is threatening to further complicate the proceedings of the 9/11 military commission as attorneys for the men detained at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility are demanding the release of the documents as evidence of the U.S. torture program.

U.S. officials told the Washington Post that the roughly 14,000 photographs were discovered earlier this year by military prosecutors reviewing documents on the intelligence agency's interrogation program ahead of the Senate Intelligence Committee report.

The classified materials reportedly depict "external and internal shots of facilities where the CIA held ­al-Qaeda suspects after 9/11" —including the infamous "Salt Pit" in Afghanistan—as well as sites in Thailand, Poland, Lithuania, and Romania. While the images don't explicitly show the interrogations, there are pictures of naked detainees stripped naked for transport, as well as of torture devices, such as a waterboard and confinement boxes.

Stop!

We Interrupt This Article with an Urgent Message!

Common Dreams is a not-for-profit news service. All of our content is free to you - no subscriptions; no ads. We are funded by donations from our readers.

Our critical Mid-Year fundraiser is going very slowly - only 1,334 readers have contributed so far. We must meet our goal before we can end this fundraising campaign and get back to focusing on what we do best.
If you support Common Dreams and you want us to survive, we need you now.
Please make a tax-deductible gift to our Mid-Year Fundraiser now!

The collection also reportedly contains images of CIA officers and others perpetrators of the torture program, including torture program architects Bruce Jessen and James Mitchell. The U.S. government is expected to resist attempts to turn over the images, arguing that by doing so would endanger the personal security of those pictured.

"If the government does provide these photos to the defense—which is still an ‘if’ at this point—it would be better late than never," said Air Force Capt. Michael Schwartz, attorney for Waleed bin Attash, one of the five defendants in the 9/11 military commission.

James Connell, who represents 9/11 defendant Ammar al-Baluchi, agreed. "If pictures from black sites exist," Connell said, "they are crime scene photographs."

"Why is it we are still learning about this stuff?" added Joe Margulies, attorney for Abu Zubaydah, who has been held for more than 12 years without ever being charged with a crime. "Who knows what is still out there? What else is there? That’s what is appalling."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
We need your help.

Support progressive journalism.

Common Dreams is not your average news site. We don't survive on clicks or advertising dollars. We rely entirely on your support. And without it, our independent progressive journalism simply wouldn’t exist. Every gift of every amount matters.

Join the fight and support our common dreams today.

Summit Participants Embrace 'Vaccine Internationalism' to End Pandemic

"Our goal is simple: to end the pandemic as quickly as possible by securing Covid-19 vaccines for all," says the coordinator of Progressive International's four-day virtual summit.

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·


As Iran Elects New President, Experts Urge Biden to Rejoin Nuclear Deal, Lift Sanctions

"The Biden administration must remain resolute and seek a break from the disastrous conditions that helped contribute to this result."

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·


UN General Assembly Condemns Myanmar Junta Violence, Urges Arms Embargo

Member nations voted 119-1 in favor of the resolution, which also calls for a return to the country's fragile democracy.

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·


Dems Introduce Abolition Amendment to Scrap Constitution's 'Slavery Clause'

"The loophole in our Constitution's ban on slavery not only allowed slavery to continue, but launched an era of discrimination and mass incarceration that continues to this day," said Sen. Jeff Merkley.

Julia Conley, staff writer ·


'Surreal' and 'Distressing': Climate Experts' Predictions Come True With US Heatwave

"The current heatwave and drought leave no doubt, we are living the dangerous effects of the climate crisis."

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·