"Hotel California" is the CIA nickname of a secret base used to keep and interrogate "VIP" terrorists. A US intelligence source said the name was taken from the Eagles
song because "you can check in any time, but you can never leave". Unlike Camp X-Ray
, which the International Red Cross
monitors to ensure that the US government isn't torturing people (though Red Cross reports state the conditions subjected are "tantamount to torture") , there is no oversight.
Among the al-Qaeda VIPs thought to be held at the base is Abu Zubaydah; a senior lieutenant of Osama bin Laden, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, with the possibility of his family as well. There is no word on how many are detained there. In September last year, testifying before the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, Cofer Black, the US State Department's co-ordinator for counterterrorism, said that the number of people who have been detained worldwide was about 3,000. So, again, there is no exact count of suspected terrorists in custody.
Although its location is a guarded secret, Hotel California is presumably a facility in another co-operative nation, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, the British Indian Ocean territory of Diego Garcia, or perhaps a specially designed prison aboard an aircraft carrier. There is no oversight, so it is possible the prisoners there are being tortured. (Before you bite my head off for suggesting that Americans would do such a thing, then you haven't heard what some US military minds have been quoted as saying. Don't forget, a number of deaths of prisoners in Afghanistan were ruled homicides and there have been 30+ suicide attempts in Camp X-Ray.) At least two of the top al-Qaeda figures captured since the Sept. 11 attacks - Abu Zubaydah and Ramzi bin al-Shibh - were held for a time in a secure location in Thailand. They were later moved to another country, US officials said. I don't know if that's an indication that Hotel California is there or not.
Will any of these people be released? Who knows, since it is out of the reach of international oversight, conditions are probably far worse than Camp X-Ray. Now that the US regime has designated terrorists as "enemy combatants," their rights are subject to whether its convenient for the government to provide them. We have no idea when they will receive a trial, if ever. Many have been arrested and the story didnt break until later. The arrest of the senior al-Qaeda figure Abu Anas Liby, in Sudan in February 2002, was not made public until a month later, when US efforts to transfer him to custody in Egypt were leaked to a newspaper.
I wish I could provide more, but it's a secret, so there is little fanfare about it. The media occasionally covers Camp X-Ray, now titled "Camp Delta," so this is pretty much off the radar. VIPs like Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden are destined to go to Hotel California if caught.
There seems to be indications that there is torture performed, or if one wants to give it a more sterilized term, methods of coercion to force detainees to reveal secrets that may be vital to national security. This is known as "Stress and Duress" and many officials have been quoted as saying the use of force and pain is condoned at the highest levels of government. These techniques involve sleep deprivation, psychological torture, forcing a victim in painful handcuffed positions for days, sensory deprivation, and various other techniques that seem to match those found at the former Camp X-Ray (now Camp Delta in Guantanamo Bay) and Abu Ghraib. In the case of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, a high-level detainee who is believed to have helped plan the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, C.I.A. interrogators used graduated levels of force, including a technique known as "water boarding," in which a prisoner is strapped down, forcibly pushed under water and made to believe he might drown. This goes on for possibly hours, and the victim may pass out from lack of air, and then is resuscitated and the procedure is repeated.
The movie Face/Off had their own version of Hotel California, known in the film as Erewhon Prison. "Amnesty International has no idea we exist," was what the warden said to the new inmates. The movie had the prison on an offshore Oil platform, where they were in international waters and outside of any government control.