The Skeletons of the CIA’s Secret Prisons

Langley’s notorious “black sites” are forgotten, but not gone.
  1. Reading the book “Negative Publicity: Artefacts of Extraordinary Rendition” is painful.
  2. Its chilling images are the collaborative effort of counterterrorism investigator Crofton Black and photographer Edmund Clark.
    Many of the War on Terror’s grimiest underbellies have already been scrubbed clean, but Black and Clark are on a mission to catalogue what remains.
  3. “It won’t stop these events, of course, it won’t bring accountability either, but it adds to the discourse about them now and in the future,” writes Clark.
  4. Clark and Black met through a British human rights organization called Reprieve — while Clark was working on a different project about Guantanamo Bay.
    Black recommended Clark visit a former CIA black site in Lithuania.
  5. After speaking with the people who lived near the site, Clark realized a chilling truth.
    Guantanamo wasn’t an isolated case of clandestine brutality.
  6. As he says, “[T]he progressive society and culture I come from in post World War II Europe and America was proving to be fragile.”
  7. The ordinary become ominous— like this county airport, which was also a hub for the CIA’s secret rendition flights.
  8. Even swimming pools felt sinister.
    At this Mallorca hotel, secret agents dined on shrimp cocktails and bottles of fine wine after hauling suspected terrorists to Afghanistan.
  9. Some sites, like this Libyan interrogation chamber, seemed more in character.
  10. Or this prison in northeast Kabul, known as the “Salt Pit”.
  11. But most former black sites are already fading back into obscurity— and not by accident. Clark and Black hope to shock people back into consciousness.
  12. Writes Black: “[I] can see a slow disquiet spreading. There are pages of stuff that looks innocent, banal, unthreatening and then sudden flashes which switch these into a different, more terrible perspective.”