Thai army chief denies existence of secret American prison

Thai army chief General Anupong Paochinda on Wednesday strongly denied reports that a secret United States prison existed in Thailand where suspected terrorists were held.

   The denial followed a report in the Bangkok Post newspaper that documents supplied to the American Civil Liberties Union under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that a secret jail existed in Thailand, where some suspects were tortured for information.

   ‘I can say 1 million per cent that a secret jail like this has not existed in Thailand,’ General Anupong said.

   The US Justice Department has admitted that 92 tape recordings of aggressive CIA interrogations – far more than previously known – were destroyed after news reports of CIA torture in secret prisons appeared four years ago, news reports said earlier this week.

   In November 2005 the Washington Post newspaper and ABC News ran stories saying that prominent terrorist suspects linked to al-Qaeda were brought to Thailand on ‘rendition’ flights and were subjected to aggressive interrogation, including so-called ‘water boarding.’

   Thai authorities denied these accusations at the time. Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said Wednesday he thought it was ‘impossible’ for such a prison to have existed even at the height of the US ‘war on terror,’ but added he would check with the relevant authorities since he was not in office during this period.

   Federal prosecutors have admitted that 92 videotapes on interrogations made and stored in Thailand were destroyed on the orders of the then CIA head Jose A Rodriguez, the Bangkok Post said.

   The suspect al-Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah was flown to Thailand after his capture in Pakistan in March 28, 2002, according to the Washington Post’s 2005 story.

Asia-Pacific News