The CIA trains and supervises Palestinian torturers of Hamas prisoners

by Yaniv Reich on December 17, 2009

I recently found myself in an argument with my father, who failed to believe a simple fact I was presenting him. The easily verifiable argument I was putting forth was that Fatah tried to overthrow militarily the new, democratically elected Hamas government in Gaza, and that this coup attempt was being done with US guns, ammunition, and training. A quick Google search provided all the factual evidence I needed to make that point.

It turns out US (para)military cooperation with the Palestinian Authority reaches even more shocking, and condemnable, levels. The CIA has, in fact, been training and supervising two branches of the Palestinian Authority (the Preventative Security Organization and the General Intelligence Service), both of which are documented to have used systematically torture on their prisoners, according to human rights groups.

The Guardian UK reports:

According to PA officials, between 400 and 500 Hamas sympathisers are held by the PSO and GI.

Some of the mistreatment has been so severe that at least three detainees have died in custody this year. The most recent was Haitham Amr, a 33-year-old nurse and Hamas supporter from Hebron who died four days after he was detained by GI officials last June. Extensive bruising around his kidneys suggested he had been beaten to death. Among those who died in GI custody last year was Majid al-Barghuti, 42, an imam at a village near Ramallah.

The relationship between these two agencies is open, but the full extent of the relationship has been unclear until now. But many western officials believe the CIA’s involvement in the torture is so great that the US essentially supervises the Palestinian agencies:

One senior western official said: “The [Central Intelligence] Agency consider them as their property, those two Palestinian services.” A diplomatic source added that US influence over the agencies was so great they could be considered “an advanced arm of the war on terror”.

Nice language, isn’t it? The CIA considers two collaborationist agencies and all their well-documented torturers to be “their property.”

And then Israelis and Americans throw a temper tantrum when Hamas or Hezbollah (or anyone else for that matter) alleges the US is not an unbiased actor in the region.

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