US President George W. Bush believes that secret CIA prisons abroad made it possible to prevent large-scale terrorist attacks with the use of biological weapons, such as anthrax spores. New prisoner-treatment instructions do not allow US servicemen to torture suspects with electric shock, to strip them naked during interrogation or to stage execution. Guantanamo prisoners will be judged on the base of a new set of rules too.
Making a speech at the White House, US President Bush for the first time surprisingly acknowledged the existence of CIA secret prisons. Bush believes that such penitentiary institutions are “vital” abroad.
"This program has been, and remains, one of the most vital tools in our war against the terrorists," Bush said. "Were it not for this program, our intelligence community believes that al-Qaida and its allies would have succeeded in launching another attack against the American homeland,” the US President emphasized on the threshold of the 5th anniversary of 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Read more on the subject: The United States of Torture
George W. Bush did not specify where the prisons were situated. Judging upon the results of several investigations conducted by journalists, the terrorist suspects are jailed in Eastern Europe, although there is no direct evidence to prove it.
The US president said that the prisons had been established to interrogate the suspects in a secret place. Bush added that the prisons were empty now. The US president is certain, though, that they should not be closed. Officials of the US administration said that there were not more than 100 terrorist suspects held in those prisons in total.
According to Bush, 14 suspects have been recently transferred from secret prisons to Guantanamo base. Two of them are believed to be 9/11 suspects. The US president insists that those 14 individuals must face war crimes trial. They are allowed to communicate with lawyers and Red Cross officers.
George W. Bush said that US special services were using tough and reliable methods when working with the terrorists. The president insisted that the CIA agents did not use tortures in the secret prisons. Bush stressed out that he never allowed such methods and was not going to change his mind.
The US president stated earlier that the US Army would use new prisoner-treatment instructions. All kinds of tortures or other activities humiliating human dignity or jeopardizing prisoners’ health will be forbidden.
The Pentagon published the new set of military instructions to make it coincide with Bush’s speech. The manual particularly outlaws all methods used in the notorious Iraqi Abu Ghraib prison.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the accused September 11 mastermind, supposedly said during interrogations that al-Qaida was trying to get hold of biological weapons for conducting a terrorist attack with the use of anthrax spores, Bush stated. According to the US president, the secret prisons program helped the USA neutralize potential maniacs before they could start killing.
He said that suspects would be called into account as soon as the US Congress approves the adequate legal procedure. At the end of June the US Supreme Court acknowledged that Guantanamo courts were illegal. The judges thus disagreed with the US administration which insisted that Guantanamo prisoners were “hostile combatants” deprived of all rights, but not war prisoners.
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov