A Brief History of Secret Prisons in the United States

by Will Potter on December 3, 2015

in Terrorism Prisoners

history of secret prisons in the united statesMy latest for TED is an expansion of my recent TED Talk, about Communications Management Units, and a look at a dark history in the United States that has been either ignored or forgotten.

Here’s an excerpt:

Secret prisons are operating in the United States today. Many Americans I speak with don’t believe this could possibly be true, and think that such human rights abuses only occur in foreign countries. But the reality is that the United States has a dark history of disproportionately punishing people because of their political views, a history that has largely been ignored or forgotten.

Today, under the ever-growing banner of national security and the “War on Terrorism,” that trend has continued in secrecy.

Let me be clear about the term “secret prisons,” though. I don’t mean facilities the public has absolutely zero knowledge about. After all, even Soviet gulags were known both within the country and internationally. Secret prisons are those that operate under a separate standard from traditional prisons. They reflect a parallel legal system for prisoners who, whether because of their race, religion, or political beliefs, are denied access to communications, deprived of their due process rights, and hidden from public scrutiny.

Here, then, is a brief look at that history, from institutions started in the 1940s to those that are operating today.

You can read the full article at TED.


Previous post:

Next post: