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26 Jan, 2022 16:38

New owner wanted for abandoned CIA black site

The shadowy facility in Lithuania was used to detain terrorism suspects
New owner wanted for abandoned CIA black site

A large steel barn once used by the CIA to host suspected terrorists outside of US jurisdiction as part of its “extraordinary rendition” program is up for sale by the government of Lithuania.

The Baltic state’s national real-estate fund, which handles assets that have gone out of use, announced this week that the facility will go on the market at an as-yet-undecided price. The 10-room building, which is located in a forest outside Vilnius, the capital, was used by America’s top spy agency from 2005 to 2006, when it was known as ‘Project No. 2’ or ‘Detention Site Violet’.

The building contains a long corridor and windowless rooms with carpets and soundproof doors. Arvydas Anusauskas, who led a Lithuanian parliamentary investigation into the site in 2010, told Reuters that it was a heavily guarded facility “where one could do whatever you want. What exactly was going on there, we did not determine.”

The European Court of Human Rights determined in 2018 that inmates had been held there in solitary confinement with constant light and high-intensity noise, shackled and continually blindfolded or hooded. The court ordered Lithuania to pay 100,000 euros ($113,000) to Abu Zubaydah, a high-ranking Al-Qaeda figure who the court said was subjected to human rights violations while jailed there.

The site closed in 2006. Zubaydah and other former prisoners – including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who has been named as “the principal architect of the 9/11 attacks” – are currently held by the US at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba.

Lithuania previously turned a former Russian KGB jail, where hundreds were murdered and thousands tortured in the 1940s, into a popular museum. The state has no such plans for the former CIA facility, however, which has stood empty since the real estate fund took it over from the Lithuanian intelligence service, which used it as a training site from 2007 to 2018.