Topic: Accuracy in Media
An April 25 Accuracy in Media column by Cliff Kincaid and a related AIM press release claim that Washington Post reporter Dana Priest's article revealing the existence of secret CIA detention facilities overseas, for which Priest won a Pulitzer Prize, is "false" and that Priest should resign and give back her Pulitzer. But Kincaid's evidence for making that claim is far from definitive on the subject.
Kincaid's claimed evidence is a report by the Council of Europe, which, he wrote, "after a major investigation, declared that 'At this stage of the investigations, there is no formal, irrefutable evidence of the existence of secret CIA detention centers' in Europe." Gijs de Vries, the counterterrorism chief of the European Union, has said that he had not been able to prove that secret CIA prisons "does not appear to be proven beyond reasonable doubt." But as the International Herald Tribune reported, that conclusion has been criticized:
But Mr. de Vries came under criticism from some legislators who called the hearing a whitewash. "The circumstantial evidence is stunning," said Kathalijne Buitenweg, a Dutch member of Parliament from the Green Party, even if there is no smoking gun.
"I'm appalled that we keep calling to uphold human rights while pretending that these rendition centers don't exist and doing nothing about it," she said.
A number of legislators challenged Mr. de Vries for not taking seriously earlier testimony before the committee by a German and a Canadian who gave accounts of being kidnapped and kept imprisoned by foreign agents.
The committee also heard today from a former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, who said, "I can attest to the willingness of the U.S. and the U.K. to obtain intelligence that was got under torture in Uzbekistan.
"If they were not willing, then rendition prisons could not have existed," he added.
(Daily Kos notes some editing done by the New York Times, owner of the IHT, to this story.)
Kincaid also did not report another claim made in the report that director of central intelligence Porter Goss "did not deny the existence of CIA secret prisons in various parts of the world where people suspected of terrorism were held."
What we seem to have here is something that nobody is explicitly admitting to -- but nobody is denying either. All of the statements Kincaid quotes are qualified -- "no formal, irrefutable evidence," "not ... proven beyond reasonable doubt" -- which indicates that there is indeed evidence to support the claim of secret prisons.
In other words, despite what Kincaid says, Priest's article hasn't been proven false.
Posted by Terry K. at 12:45 AM EDT