Bagram “worse than Guantanamo,” says rights attorney

Some surprisingly good CBS reporting on Bagram Airbase as the new legal black hole, secret prison of the Obama administration:

There are now 3,000 detainees in Bagram, up from 1,700 since June (!) and five times the amount there when Barack Obama took office. Many of them have not been charged, have seen no evidence against them and do not have the right to be represented by a lawyer, aren’t given fair trials, and the U.S. claims it is not even obligated to explain why these people are caged. Ah, change.

Note the comment by Daphne Eviatar, an attorney for Human Rights First, who investigated Bagram detainees and their rights (lack thereof?). She said “It’s worse than Guantanamo, because there are fewer rights.” Antiwar Radio host Scott Horton interviewed Eviatar in June, listen here.

And we shouldnt forget that it doesn’t end there. This report released about a year ago now from the Open Society Institute had human rights researcher Jonathan Horowitz investigate a little-known black site run by U.S. Special Operations forces adjacent to the Bagram facilities. The report detailed “sleep deprivation, holding detainees in cold cells, forced nudity, physical abuse, detaining individuals in isolation cells for longer than 30 days, and restricting the access of the International Committee of the Red Cross.” Add to that further the two teenagers, Issa Mohammad, then 17, and Abdul Rashid, then 16,  told the Washington Post that they were subjected to all of these abuses, including being punched and slapped in the face. One prisoner at this site, which the US military denied even existed, lost an entire row of teeth from being hit in the face with the butt of gun by an American soldier while in custody.

Eviatar’s most important piece of wisdom was of course the following: “We’re not going to win this war by making enemies of the local population, and unfortunately sweeping people up and putting them in prison without a fair hearing makes enemies of the local population,” Eviatar said. “And the problem with holding thousands of people, a large number of whom probably do not pose a danger, is that you create tremendous resentment among not only those people but their families, their extended families, their villages, the families they left behind who now don’t have a bread winner.”

Another report by the Open Society Institute reported that Obama’s use of night raids has more than tripled in Afghanistan. “An estimated 12 to 20 night raids now occur per night,” according to the report, “resulting in thousands of detentions per year, many of whom are non-combatants.” And many of the associated tactics, like “mass detention operations, holding entire villages for questioning on site for prolonged periods of time,” may violate international law. I would venture to guess many of these thousands of prisoners being treated like cattle in Bagram were originally picked up in night raids, which senior commanders in the Joint Special Operations Command said get the wrong guy about 50 percent of the time.

I wonder how much we’ll hear about this in the upcoming election debates. The Republicans candidates have been openly advocating torture, so we know they’ll only applaud Obama’s stripping of basic human rights. Smells like bipartisanship.

  • Thanks for this post Mr. Glaser. Here's another detailed accounting of Bagram – http://www.merip.org/mer/mer260/bagram-obamas-git….

  • shirley

    WHEN ARE USELESS ATI WAR AMERICANS GOING TO GET IT ALL OF YOUR POLOTICIANS SUPPORT TORTURE RUNNING BACK AND FORWARD BETWEEN THE MISERABLE NAZIS IS WASTE OF TIME THEY GET OFF ON IT LIKE YOUR MILITARY WAR CRIMINALS WHAT HAPPENED TO OBOMBERS BIG CERAMONY US DOSENT TORTURE BUT HE QUIETLY WITHDREW THAT WHILE WORLD WASNT WATCHING WITH CLAPS FROM PELOSI CLINTON ETC RED CROSS HAS ALREADY CONFRONTED US MONTHS AGO ABOUT BAGRHAM AND WHATS THE GARBAGE ABOUT COMBATANTS TALIBAN HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH 9/11 AAS NATO HAS ADMITTED SO WHAT S THEE GARBAGE ABOUT CIVILLIANS AND COMBATANTS TALIBAN ARE CIVILLIANS WHO TOOK UP ARMS TO DRIVE YOU LYING BASTARDS OUT AND FIGHTING WONT STOP UNTIL YOU LEAVE THEIR COUNTRY JUST LIKE LIES TOLD TO INVADE AND DESTROY LIBYA AND DONT RUN TO AMNESTY OR HRW BOUGHT OUT BY SOROS AMNSTY KNEW TRUTH ABOUT LIBYA BUT CAVED IN AND SHUT UP AND DID NOT RELEASE THEIR REPORT HRW IS JUST A ZIONIST ORG THAT LIED AND MAKES A PATHETIC COMMENT SAYING TNC TORTUERES SHOULD INVESTIGATE THEMSELVES AND HAS NOT SAID ONE WORD ABOUT NATO WAR CRIMES TNC ARE BEHEADING PEOPLE IN TRIPOLI ONLY DAYS AGO IT IS TIME TO GATHER ACADEMICS AND REAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYERS TOGETHER TO FORM REAL COORDINATED VOICE AND PUT REAL PRESSURE ON ABOUT TORTURE BAGRAM GITMO CLOSURE AND LIBYA AND LEAVE AFGHANISTAN

  • liveload

    In my youth, I was a serious student of the second world war. The depravity and misery that the German war machine subjected occupied populations to were well documented in many historical tomes I pored over. I recall the revulsion which all their deeds were recounted by my contemporaries, my colleagues, and friends.

    Those same people, 20-30 years later, are cheering onwards a war machine whose power and depravity could have only been imagined in those days. What is the distinction between them and us, except for better technology for occupation and more efficient killing? They hung them at Nuremburg for a LOT less than what we commit on a DAILY basis across the globe.

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  • I wonder how much we’ll hear about this in the upcoming election debates. The Republicans candidates have been openly advocating torture, so we know they’ll only applaud Obama’s stripping of basic human rights. Smells like bipartisanship.spring holiday limo

  • I wonder how much we’ll hear about this in the upcoming election debates. The Republicans candidates have been openly

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