When Gina Haspel was nominated as the next head of the CIA in March, it re-opened debate on a murky period of recent US history – the use of secretive overseas prisons to torture terror suspects. As the BBC’s South East Asia correspondent Jonathan Head reports, the spotlight has fallen on Thailand, and one such “black site” which Haspel once ran.
In early April 2002, a plane took off from an undisclosed air base in Pakistan, en route to Thailand. On board was a special passenger.
Abu Zubaydah, a 31-year-old Saudi-born Palestinian, believed to be one of Osama Bin Laden’s top lieutenants, had been captured a few days earlier in a joint US-Pakistani raid on Al Qaeda safe houses in Faisalabad.
He was now in the hands of CIA agents, who had decided to make him the first “high-value detainee” to be subjected to what they called “enhanced interrogation techniques” – something human rights groups say amounts to torture.
But they needed somewhere to do it. In December 2014 the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) published an executive summary of a confidential 6,000 page report on these techniques.
The place where Abu Zubaydah and at least two other high-value detainees were interrogates is referred to only as Detention Site Green.