Jordan Table of Contents
Internal security, intelligence, and counterintelligence matters were the concern of the police, the armed forces, and the GID, a civilian organization with principal responsibility for dealing with perceived domestic and foreign threats to security. The GID customarily was headed by a high-ranking army officer answerable directly to the prime minister and concurrently a close personal adviser of Hussein.
The GID was a large organization, although its personnel strength was not a matter of public knowledge. Its members were almost invariably persons of proven loyalty to the monarchy and of East Bank origin. It was generally regarded as an effective internal security agency, alert to any evidence of activity that might have subversive implications. Although Jordan had been the target of clandestine operations by other countries, the GID was not known to have a covert branch that engaged in clandestine activity against its Arab neighbors or Israel. The GID was particularly occupied with rooting out Palestinian militant groups and illegal or underground political organizations. It scrutinized activities in the mosques and among student groups. A GID office was located in each refugee camp. The GID's methods and oppressive tactics frequently have been the subject of criticism among Jordanians, although some of its measures, such as checkpoints to monitor domestic travelers, were less obtrusive during the 1980s than they had been in the tense period following the 1970-71 conflict with the PLO.
The widely employed system of identity documents facilitated GID control over the population. A passport was needed both for travel and to obtain employment. Passports could only be obtained by producing other identity documents issued by the Ministry of Interior and had to be authorized by the GID. In addition, a certificate of good conduct from the GID was required for public sector jobs, for many private sector jobs, and for study abroad. A young person studying in a communist country might, on returning for a visit to Jordan, find his or her passport confiscated if the GID harbored suspicions concerning the student's conduct abroad. Furthermore, GID approval was required for public gatherings or activities sponsored by private organizations.
The GID had authority under martial law to detain persons without trial for indeterminate periods, often lasting from several weeks to many months. Such security detainees normally were held incommunicado for interrogation at GID headquarters in Amman. According to the 1988 annual report of the human rights organization Amnesty International, various forms of torture or ill treatment were believed to have been inflicted at GID headquarters on detainees or arrested persons later transferred to ordinary prisons for trial by martial law courts.
Data as of December 1989