Black site

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In military terminology, a black site is a location at which an unacknowledged black operation or black project is conducted.[1] A 2021 Associated Press news story defined black sites as "clandestine jails where prisoners generally are not charged with a crime and have no legal recourse, with no bail or court order."[2]


Black sites are widespread within China and a Chinese black site has been alleged to exist in Dubai by a former detainee.[2] Black sites in China are also known as "black jails."[3]


Black sites are used extensively by the Egyptian security services. During the Egyptian Crisis (2011–2014) hundreds of protesters alleged that torture occurred at these black sites. The Egyptian security service also operated black sites involved with the CIA's counter-terror black site program.[4]


Rights groups have documented abuse in clandestine detention centers. Sources cited by CNN noted in 2023 that black-site torture appeared to increase during the Mahsa Amini protests.[5]


The government officially acknowledges the existence of a special training facility close to Alghero in Sardinia, in the vicinity of Capo Marrargiu. The facility was used in the past to train special forces and clandestine operatives for Operation Gladio.[6] The CAG, which stands for Centro addestramento guastatori or Special Forces Training Center is used jointly by the Italian military as well as by the Italian intelligence agencies to train special forces operatives as well as intelligence operators on behalf of the Italian government. Thanks to its secluded position and scarcely populated area, the facility is used also to train special forces operators of other NATO militaries.


In Chechnya, gay men have allegedly been tortured at black sites by Chechen security forces.[7] Gay men in other parts of Russia have been kidnapped and transported to sites in Chechnya, where over 100 have been tortured, and some killed.[8] Chechen authorities have thwarted attempts by the Russian LGBT Network to help gay people in Chechnya escape to safe locations in Russia, and inhibited investigations by the Kremlin's human rights commissioner Tatyana Moskalkova. Despite protests in major Russian cities against the situation in Chechnya, Vladimir Putin, wanting to maintain good relations with Kadyrov, has denied that any abuses of homosexuals in Chechnya have occurred. Chechnya is arguably the most homophobic area in Russia, with 95% of its population adhering to Orthodox (Sunni) Islam. It remains the only district of Russia where homosexuality is outlawed and punishable with jail time.[9][10]


United States[edit]

CIA controlled black sites are used by the U.S. government in its War on Terror to detain enemy combatants.[1] US President George W. Bush acknowledged the existence of secret prisons operated by the CIA during a speech on September 6, 2006.[11][12] A claim that the black sites existed was made by The Washington Post in November 2005 and before this by human rights NGOs.[13]

A European Union (EU) report adopted on February 14, 2007, by a majority of the European Parliament (382 MEPs voting in favor, 256 against and 74 abstaining) stated the CIA operated 1,245 flights and that it was not possible to contradict evidence or suggestions that secret detention centers where prisoners have been tortured were operated in Poland and Romania.[1][14] After denying the fact for years, Poland confirmed in 2014 that it has hosted black sites.[15]

In January 2012, Poland's Prosecutor General's office initiated investigative proceedings against Zbigniew Siemiątkowski, the former Polish intelligence chief. Siemiątkowski was charged with facilitating the alleged CIA detention operation in Poland, where foreign suspects may have been tortured in the context of the War on Terror. The involvement of Leszek Miller, Poland's Prime Minister from 2001 to 2004, is also considered possible.[16][17]

A 2022 United Press International story cited former Polish President Aleksander Kwaśniewski as admitting in 2014 that his country had provided "a quiet location" for the CIA to operate a black site to torture accused 9/11 terrorists.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "EU endorses damning report on CIA". BBC News. February 14, 2007. Retrieved February 14, 2007.
  2. ^ a b "Detainee says China has secret jail in Dubai, holds Uyghurs". Taiwan News. August 16, 2021. Retrieved August 16, 2021.
  3. ^ LANGFITT, FRANK. "For Complainers, A Stint In China's 'Black Jails'". NPR. Retrieved August 16, 2021.
  4. ^ Rosenfeld, Jesse (June 19, 2014). "Egypt's Black Site Torture Camps". The Daily Beast. Retrieved August 16, 2021.
  5. ^ "How Iran used a network of secret torture centers to crush an uprising". 2023. Retrieved March 20, 2023.
  6. ^ "GLADIO E SOLO, ECCO LA PROVA". la Repubblica (in Italian). Retrieved August 17, 2023.
  7. ^ Krupkin, Taly. "Gay Men in Chechnya Tell of Black Sites Where They're Tortured, Some to Death". Haaretz. Retrieved August 16, 2021.
  8. ^ "Chechen police 'kidnap and torture gay men' - LGBT activists". BBC News. April 11, 2017. Retrieved February 6, 2022.
  9. ^ De Bruyn, Piet (June 8, 2018). "Persecution of LGBTI people in the Chechen Republic (Russian Federation)" (PDF). Doc. 14572 Report. Council of Europe (Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination). 1: 15 – via ECOI.
  10. ^ "Russia: New Anti-Gay Crackdown in Chechnya". Human Rights Watch. May 8, 2019. Retrieved February 6, 2022.
  11. ^ "Bush: Top terror suspects to face tribunals". CNN. Associated Press. September 6, 2006. Archived from the original on September 6, 2006. Retrieved September 6, 2006.
  12. ^ "Bush admits to CIA secret prisons". BBC News. September 7, 2006. Retrieved April 15, 2007.
  13. ^ Priest, Dana (November 2, 2005). "CIA Holds Terror Suspects in Secret Prisons". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 19, 2007.
  14. ^ Key excerpts of the February 2007 report adopted by the European Parliament
  15. ^ Williams, Carol (May 10, 2015). "Poland feels sting of betrayal over CIA 'black site'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 16, 2021.
  16. ^ Matthew Day (March 27, 2012). "Poland ex-spy boss 'charged over alleged CIA secret prison'". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on January 12, 2022. Retrieved March 28, 2012.
  17. ^ Joanna Berendt, Nicholas Kulish (March 27, 2012). "Polish Ex-Official Charged With Aiding the C.I.A." The New York Times. Retrieved March 28, 2012.
  18. ^ "Supreme Court rejects Guantánamo prisoner's request to interview torturers". United Press International. March 3, 2022. Retrieved February 2, 2022.

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