Friday, January 30, 2009

Pentagon Keeps Mum On Who's At Bagram

Photo from The Atlantic.

From Huffington Post:

An untold portion of the 600 detainees at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan were captured outside the country while engaged in peaceful activities, lawyers and court documents say, and imprisoned alongside Afghan warriors. The U.S. government has argued that battlefield rules put the prisoners beyond the reach of civilian justice, even though they weren't captured in the Afghan war zone.
The total number of captives nabbed abroad and held at Bragram is redacted from this public court document.

A lawsuit by four Bagram detainees has revealed striking similarities between the prison in Afghanistan and the Guantanamo Bay facility. To determine the full measure of that resemblance, District Court Judge John D. Bates instructed government lawyers to turn over the total number of captives nabbed abroad. That crucial number was redacted from public court documents (PDF) filed in the case. Recently, Bates has turned to the Obama administration, which recently put the Gitmo military commissions on hold, for guidance.

Read more ....

My Comment: The problem of Bagram and its housing of detainees stems from the Afghan Government itself. Canadian forces in the south of the country now scrutinize the well being of detainees after they have passed them onto the Afghan Government .... this happened when it was learned that pass detainees were tortured .... and in some cases had disappeared .... when they had been transferred to the Afghan prison system.

The jailbreak out of Kandahar Prison last summer in which hundreds of hardened Taliban escaped also revealed the inadequacies of the Afghan penal system, and the need for Nato to supervise the prison care for the most dangerous detainees.

With the closing of Guantanamo now in the works, expect combatants and/or Al Qaeda leaders who are captured to now be housed in Bagram. The alternative of leaving them with Afghan and/or other country jurisdiction will just open a Pandora's box of abuse, unlawful conduct, and/or the release of dangerous men.

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