At least 20 CIA prisoners still missing

In 2009, ProPublica identified more than thirty prisoners once held by the CIA who weren't accounted for. Since then, a few have resurfaced and many remain missing

In one of President Barack Obama first acts in the White House, he ordered the closure of the CIA’s so-called “black-site” prisons, where terror suspects had been held and, sometimes, tortured.  The CIA says it is “out of the detention business,” as John Brennan, Obama’s pick to head the agency, recently put it.

But the CIA’s prisons left some unfinished business.  In 2009, ProPublica’s Dafna Linzer listed more than thirty people who had been held in CIA prisons and were still missing.

Some of those prisoners have since resurfaced, but at least twenty are still unaccounted for.

Last week the Open Society Foundations’ Justice Initiative released a report pulling together the most current information available on the fates of the prisoners. A few emerged from foreign prisons after the turmoil of the Arab Spring. One has died. (The report relied exclusively on media accounts and information previously gathered by human rights groups. The Open Society Foundations also donate to ProPublica.)

The report counts 136 prisoners who were either held in a CIA black site or subject to so-called extraordinary rendition, in which detainees were secretly shipped to other countries for interrogation.

Many of the prisoners were tortured, either under the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation techniques” program or by other countries after their transfer. The report also lists 54 countries that assisted in some way with detention and rendition. The U.S. has not disclosed the countries it worked with, and few have acknowledged their participation.

The CIA declined our request to comment.

Here are the fates of a few of the prisoners we listed as missing back in 2009:

  1. Ayoub al-Libi, also known as Mustafa Jawda al-Mahdi, is a Libyan who was allegedly interrogated and detained by US personnel in Pakistan and Afghanistan in 2004. The next year he was returned to Libya, where he was sentenced to death as member of LIFG, an Islamist anti-Gaddafi group (designated a terrorist organization by the U.S.) He was released when uprisings began against Gaddafi in February 2011. Human Rights Watch interviewed him in 2012.
  2. Hassan Rabai, also known as Mohamed Ahmad Mohamed Al Shoroieya, is a Libyan who was captured in Pakistan in 2003 and later transferred to Afghanistan – where he alleges that he was waterboarded by U.S. personnel. Bush administration officials have repeatedly said that only three terror suspects were ever subjected to waterboarding; Rabai would be the fourth.  He was eventually transferred to prison in Libya, where he remained until February 2011. Human Rights Watch interviewed himlast year.
  3. Khaled al-Sharif, also known as Abu Hazam, was picked up with fellow Libyan and LIFG member Hassan Rabai and also held in Afghanistan. He remained in Libyan prison until March 2010, according to interviews he gave to Human Rights Watch.
  4. Mohammed Omar Abdel-Rahman is an Egyptian who was captured in Pakistan in 2003 and  considered a “senior Al-Qaeda operative.” He was transferred to prison in Egypt and was released in late 2010. He gave an interview in 2011 in which he admitted to running training camps in Afghanistan prior to 2001 but saying he had renounced violence.
  5. Mustafa Setmariam Nasar, also known as Abu Musab al-Suri, was tied to the bombings in Madrid and London in 2004 and 2005. Picked up by the CIA in 2005, he was transferred to prison in his native Syria. According to Syrian media, he was released by Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad in February 2012.
  6. Ali Abdul-Hamid al-Fakhiri, also known as Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi, was a Libyan detained shortly after the 9/11 attacks. He was reportedly held in CIA as well as Egyptian custody over the next several years. According to a Senate Intelligence Committee report, he provided information about links between Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction and Al Qaeda – information he later said he had fabricated. He was transferred to Libyan prison in 2005 or 2006, and was found dead in his cell in May 2009.

The whereabouts (and in some cases identities) of many more remain unknown or uncertain.

In 2007, then-CIA director Michael Hayden said that “fewer than 100 people had been detained at CIA’s facilities.” But only 16 have been officially identified by the U.S. government. President George W. Bush acknowledged the CIA’s detention program in September 2006 and announced the transfer of 14 “high-value” detainees to Guantanamo Bay prison. Two other high-value detainees were subsequently acknowledged.


Much else about the CIA program is still unknown. President Barack Obama closed the black-site prisons on entering office, but preserved the ability to render and to hold people for the “short-term.”

Obama banned torture, but announced that no one would be prosecuted for previously sanctioned harsh interrogations. A Justice Department investigation into deaths of detainees in CIA custody ended without charges.


The Senate Intelligence Committee recently completed a 6,000-page report on the CIA’s detention program. At Brenan’s confirmation hearings, Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.), said the report shows the interrogation program was run by people “ignorant of the topic, executed by personnel without relevant experience, managed incompetently by senior officials who did not pay attention to detail, and corrupted by personnel with pecuniary conflicts of interest.” Rockefeller is one of the few to have read the report, which remains classified.




Madras Cements overcomes difficulties; posts 22% increase in net sales

Madras Cements (one of our Street Beat picks) has posted decent third quarter results, amidst difficult economic conditions and survived a cement dealers’ strike. We had recommended the stock on 8 May 2012 at Rs 107.10. The stock closed at Rs242.65 today, up by 126.78% in over eight months

We had recommended Madras Cements in our Street Beat section last year ( In an otherwise tough economy, characterised with sluggish infrastructure sector, decision paralysis at the Centre and a dealers’ strike in Kerala, Madras Cements posted decent results. It reported net sales of Rs904.95 crore for the quarter ended 31 December 2012, up 22% year-on-year (y-o-y), when compared to Rs744.07 crore for the same period last fiscsal. Operating profit grew 12% y-o-y, from Rs210.49 crore to Rs234.71 crore. Net profit was Rs83.60 crore for the quarter ending 31 December 2012 as against Rs76.84 crore for the corresponding period last year, up 9.21%. Even though the results were generally above expectations, it was blighted by the cement dealers’ strike in Kerala.

Earlier, the company was impacted by the Competition Commission of India’s (CCI) decision to penalize it for alleged cartelization. The CCI levied a fine of Rs258.63 crore on 20 June 2012. This hit the company hard but it seems to have recovered a lot since then, and even posting positive results, after it filed an appeal before the Competition Appellate Tribunal (CAT) which stated that “no coercive steps should be taken for recovery of penalty. “

An in-depth look into Madras Cements numbers reveals that the company has been living up to expectations. Its net sales growth rate of 22% for the December 2012 quarter nearly matched its three-quarter average growth rate of 24%. Also, the results aren’t too bad considering that the infrastructure segment as a whole has been hit by poor decision making and bureaucracy. Further, the cement dealers’ strike in Kerala which lasted 16 days in November 2012 had affected sales volumes of the company. Its operating profits grew 12% y-o-y which is less than the three-quarter average of 18%. Its return on networth stood at 21%, which is above average while valuations remain depressed. The company is quoting a market capitalisation of six times its operating profit, which is on the lower end of the valuation scale. This is due to the general decision paralysis by the government on the infrastructure segment. Cement is largely cyclical and tends to perform during non-monsoon periods when construction usually picks up with full pace. So far it hasn’t happened.

The company is involved in two segments: cement and windmills. Nearly all the revenues arise from the cement segment. However, the latter made a loss of Rs7.30 crore which is too small to make a dent and affect the company’s overall numbers.

Madras Cements Limited has also declared a second interim dividend of Re1 per share of Re1 each for 2012-2013 fiscal to its shareholders.

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Suiketu Shah

4 years ago

Another wonderful pick by

Performed much better than competitors Shree Cement and Ultratech Cement reflected in the results for shareholders.

IRDA’s health insurance guidelines: Key consumer centric points ignored

IRDA came out with numerous initiatives last year including draft health insurance guidelines. While these will help to confine the role of TPA to claims processing and not settlement, there are vital issues that have been ignored

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) came out with landmark draft health insurance guidelines on 31st May 2012. While it addressed numerous important issues like lifelong renewal, claims settlement within 30 days of receiving all documents, refund on pre-insurance medical check-ups, separate grievance cell for senior citizens and so on, there are several other issues which have vexed mediclaim policyholders. On 16th May 2012, Moneylife Foundation had submitted a Health Insurance memorandum to IRDA chairman, J Hari Narayan, who was the chief guest at the event.

Here are some of the points from the Moneylife Foundation memorandum that are not taken up in the health insurance guidelines:

        Senior citizens disallowed increase in Sum Insured (SI) - Survivors of critical illness like cancer are also denied increase in SI by the insurance company. This is easily managed by the insurance company under the garb of “Right to Underwrite”.

Action required - There should be mandatory allowance for inflation-linked            increase in sum insured irrespective of past claims history. 

         Need to cover prosthetics and artificial limbs for disabled – The Challenging Ones NGO gave a memorandum to the IRDA chairman on 16th May 2012 requesting him to ensure that all insurance providers be mandated by regulations to offer mediclaim and accident cover policies to cover the cost of provision of prosthesis/artificial limbs to the insured person, up to the sum insured and without any artificial cap. At the moment, not all insurance companies cover the cost of prosthetics.            

Action required IRDA chairman had given positive feedback and immediately acknowledged the need for mediclaim to cover prosthesis. He was going to advice companies about it as there is increasing need for various types of implants. Unfortunately, even after reminders there is no action taken by IRDA.

          24 hour hospitalisation used as an excuse to reject claims - Today technological advancement does not necessitate hospitals to keep the insured for more than 24 hours in many cases. Insurance companies are rejecting claims under the garb of 24 hours hospitalisation.       

Action required More day-care procedures need to be added to mediclaim. IRDA should make insurance companies’ needs realistic rather than mechanically rejecting claims just because the stay in hospital was less than 24 hours.

         Lack of infrastructure to receive hospitalisation intimation - Many insurers have a strict 24/48 hour intimation rule for hospitalisation intimation and seven days for claim submission. There are other issues too. For instance, TPAs deny having received hospitalisation intimation. Sometimes they do not have 24-hour helpline, are closed on public holidays and weekends, or are short-staffed leading to endless wait time to get connected to a person. This prevents genuine hospitalisation intimation and is often exploited to reject claims mechanically.                                                                       

Action required - IRDA should take tough stand on such frivolous claims rejection. All insurers should have a 24-hour toll-free phone number, fax, email and SMS facility for customers or agents to intimate hospitalisation. Technology makes this both inexpensive and easy to provide. Email/internet and SMS should have an auto confirmation facility. It is not acceptable that genuine intimation within the timelines end up rejected with TPA’s denying receipt of intimation. 

         Cashless facility is restricted to preferred-provider-network (PPN) which does not include majority of high-end hospitals for government insurers. This issue is only for retail and not for corporate mediclaim policies.                                                                      

Action required If cashless is offered for corporate mediclaim, the same insurance company cannot disallow retail mediclam policies from getting same benefit. Just because individuals have less bargaining power, insurance companies can get away with it. Cashless facility must be re-started for retail consumers, at all Quality Council of India (QCI) accredited hospitals and nursing homes.  

At the Bombay High Court hearing (12 February 2013) of a public interest litigation filed by social activist Gaurang Damani,  IRDA legal representative stated that health insurance draft regulations have been approved by its board and it is now pending approval of Parliament. It means that there is less scope of the above-mentioned issues to be considered even though IRDA should have been proactive about it.

In the next article we will discuss pending issues that IRDA needs to address to improve life insurance customer satisfaction.

Read – IRDA’s consumer redress system -1: Lot of scope for improvement?

IRDA chairman makes war heroes happy; says “Insurance companies should cover essential implants

IRDA comes up with landmark draft health insurance regulations




4 years ago

please help me Email:[email protected]



In Reply to pratik 4 years ago

Pl contact moneylife Insurance helpline for guidence.

arun adalja

4 years ago

nowdays due to modernisation 24 hours is not required for medical treatment and claim cannot reject by insurance rejecting claim one has to do wrong things by staying more than 24 hours and increase in claim has to treat the things in practical way.

Ubaldo C DSouza

4 years ago

The IRDA is a somnolent body as I have pointed out in a previous post. Now they are stirring a bit to "pass the buck" to the TPAs who are progressively (if not altogether) being deregistered by hospitals, at least as far as cashless hospital treatment is concerned.


4 years ago

• 24 hour hospitalization used as an excuse to reject claims - Today technological advancement does not necessitate hospitals to keep the insured for more than 24 hours in many cases. Insurance companies are rejecting claims under the garb of 24 hours hospitalization.

One of my claim is REJECTED by MD India/New India Assurance-in spite of CLEAR Intimation given well in advance with complete diagnosis details from treating surgeon and Day care procedure.Hospitalisation was not done due to cost saving / reduction of medical expanses and was done at a small hospital.

I repent my decision of getting treated at a small hospital.I should have done the surgery at most expensive hospital with a stay of 2/3 days with almost 10/15 times cost !!!!!
( Sum assured was Rs.1,50,000/- while cost of surgery at a small hospital came to around Rs.12000/-)

In spite of ABOVE FACTS- my surgery claim is rejected both by New India/MD India and IRDA -( under excuse of HOSPITALISATION LESS THAN 24 hours ).My case is pending with Ombudsman-Mumbai since Dec 2011.

Insurance Ombudsman post at Mumbai is Vacant since Oct 2012 with OVER one year's backlog of cases.

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