The secret prison was set up on a secure U.S. Naval base outside the U.S. and so beyond the slightest recourse to legal oversight. It was there that the CIA clandestinely brought its "suspects" to be interrogated, abused, and tortured.
That description might indeed sound like Guantanamo 2002, but think again. According to New York Times reporter Tim Weiner's new history of the Central Intelligence Agency, Legacy of Ashes -- a remarkable treasure trove of grim and startling information you hadn't known before -- this actually happened first in the Panama Canal Zone in the early 1950s. It was there, as well as at two secret prisons located in Germany and Japan, the defeated Axis powers (and not, in those days, in Thailand or Rumania), that the CIA brought questionable double agents for "secret experiments" in harsh interrogation, "using techniques on the edge of torture, drug-induced mind control, and brainwashing." This was but a small part of "Project Artichoke," a 15-year, multi-billion dollar "search by the CIA for ways to control the human mind."
No book in recent memory has done such a superb job of illuminating the roiling, disastrous, thoroughly destructive path through history of America's top covert-operations agency over the last six decades, what Chalmers Johnson has often called "the president's private army." On first arrival at the Agency's "campus" in Langley, Virginia, Johnson reminds us, CIA Director James Schlesinger, in the typically highhanded fashion of CIA heads, immediately announced, "I am here to see that you guys don't screw Richard Nixon"