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Very Bad News: Afghanistan's Bagram Air Base Will Be Obama's Guantanamo


US Politics & Gov't  (tags: u.s., usa, war, americans, government, obama, military, Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, torture, afghanistan, war on terror, guantanamo, abu ghraib, barack obama, pakistan, taliban, red cross )

Madalena
- 3360 days ago - alternet.org
The Afghan air base is to undergo a $60 million expansion, allowing it to hold five times as many prisoners as remain at Gitmo.



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Madalena Lobaotello (448)
Saturday April 11, 2009, 2:20 pm
...Now, human rights groups say they are becoming increasingly concerned that the use of extra-judicial methods in Afghanistan could be extended rather than curtailed under the new U.S. administration. The air base is about to undergo a $60 million expansion that will double its size, meaning it can house five times as many prisoners as remain at Guantanamo.

Apart from staff at the International Red Cross, human rights groups and journalists have been barred from Bagram, where former prisoners say they were tortured by being shackled to the ceiling of isolation cells and deprived of sleep.

The base became notorious when two Afghan inmates died after the use of such techniques in 2002, and although treatment and conditions have been improved since then, the Red Cross issued a formal complaint to the U.S. government in 2007 about harsh treatment of some prisoners held in isolation for months....
 

Madalena Lobaotello (448)
Saturday April 11, 2009, 2:20 pm
...While the majority of the estimated 600 prisoners are believed to be Afghan, an unknown number -- perhaps several dozen -- have been picked up from other countries.

One of the detainees who passed through the Afghan prison was Binyam Mohamed, the British resident who is expected to return to the UK this week after his release from Guantanamo Bay. Mr. Mohamed's lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, head of a legal charity called Reprieve, called President Obama's strategy "the Bagram bait and switch," where the administration was trumpeting the closure of a camp housing 242 prisoners, while scaling up the Bagram base to house 1,100 more.

"Guantanamo Bay was a diversionary tactic in the 'War on Terror'," said the lawyer. "Totting up the prisoners around the world -- held by the U.S. in Iraq, Afghanistan, Djibouti, the prison ships and Diego Garcia, or held by U.S. proxies in Jordan, Egypt and Morocco -- the numbers dwarf Guantanamo. There are still perhaps as many as 18,000 people in legal black holes. Mr. Obama should perhaps be offered more than a month to get the American house in order. However, this early sally from the administration underlines another message: it is far too early for human rights advocates to stand on the USS Abraham Lincoln and announce, 'Mission Accomplished.'"........
 

Madalena Lobaotello (448)
Saturday April 11, 2009, 2:21 pm
Mr. Obama has pushed out the wider questions about the U.S. policy on detaining terror suspects and supporters of the Taliban in Afghanistan until the summer, ordering a review that will take six months to complete.

The administration is weighing the likely increase in prisoners from an expanded fight against the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, against the international perception that it is embedding extra-judicial detention into its policies for years to come.
 

Madalena Lobaotello (448)
Saturday April 11, 2009, 2:23 pm
"People have been tortured to the point that they have died; it is a rallying cry for those who oppose the U.S. actions in Afghanistan; it is not strategic for the U.S.; and, more importantly, holding people indefinitely, regardless of who they are and regardless of the facts, is completely inconsistent with everything we stand for as a country."
 
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