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Red Cross Provided with Location of Secret Somali Prison Used by CIA

July 13, 2011


Yves van Loo

spokesperson for International Committee of the Red Cross in Somalia

Jeremy Scahill

national security correspondent for The Nation magazine and author of the new Nation article, "The CIA’s Secret Sites in Somalia." He recently returned from Somalia. He is the author of the bestselling book Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army.

Democracy Now! correspondent and The Nation investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill provides an International Committee of the Red Cross spokesperson with the location of the secret prison used by the CIA he uncovered in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, which the Red Cross says it didn’t know existed. "There are scores of people that have been held without charge in this basement, some of them, as far as we can document, for more than 18 months," Scahill says. "The Red Cross should be insisting on access to this prison, which is actually within [a] Somali government compound." [includes rush transcript]


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Yves van Loo, since you are a spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Somalia, in our last segment, we were talking with investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill about the secret prison in Mogadishu and wondering whether the ICRC knows about it and is visiting the prisoners inside?

YVES VAN LOO: No, we are not visiting, and we’re not aware of any secret prison there. What I know is that, of course, in Somalia you have secret services, and you have also foreign intervention, like African Union there. So, of course, we suspect that some of the people there belong to intelligence. But now we do not conduct any activities with them. I saw that—I heard your correspondent refer to the arrest and the transfer of Mr. Warsame. But so far, I mean, we—yeah, we’ve been notified by the Department of State, but yeah, we do not have any detention activities so far in Somalia.

AMY GOODMAN: Jeremy Scahill?

JEREMY SCAHILL: Yeah, I’m happy to provide you with the location of the secret prison. Just go to where President Sheikh Sharif’s office is, and it’s right behind it in the basement of Somalia’s National Security Agency. And I think that the Red Cross should demand immediate access to this prison from both the United States government and the Somalia Transitional Federal Government, because, according to former prisoners, lawyers and Somali intelligence officials, there are scores of people that have been held without charge in this basement, some of them, as far as we can document, for more than 18 months. And the Red Cross should be insisting on access to this prison, which is actually within the TFG’s, the Somali government’s compound in Villa Somalia.

YVES VAN LOO: OK. So, just thank you for the information. What I suggest is maybe offline that you give me your contact. Then we can speak further on this matter. But I think—I mean, with no information from my side, it’s difficult to make any comment on that. But that’s very interesting.

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