Monday, April 19, 2010

Torture continues at U.S. base at Bagram

Or so Hilary Andersson from BBC News reported last week from Afghanistan. I can't read her report any other way. Some excerpts:

"They call it the Black Hole," said Sher Agha who spent six days in the facility last autumn.

"When they released us they told us we should not tell our stories to outsiders because that will harm us."

Sher Agha and others we interviewed complained their cells were very cold.

"When I wanted to sleep and started shivering with cold I started reciting the holy Koran," he said.

But sleep, according to the prisoners interviewed, is deliberately prevented in this detention site.

"I could not sleep, nobody could sleep because there was a machine that was making noise," said Mirwais, who said he was held in the secret jail for 24 days.

"There was a small camera in my cell, and if you were sleeping they'd come in and disturb you," he added.

The prisoners, who were interviewed separately, all told very similar stories.

Most of them said they had been beaten by American soldiers at the point of arrest before being taken to the prison.

Mirwais had half a row of teeth missing, which he said was from being struck with the butt of a gun by an American soldier.

No-one said they were visited by the International Committee of the Red Cross during their detention at the site, and they all said that their families did not know where they were.

In the small concrete cells, the prisoners said, a light was on all the time. They said they could not tell if it was night or day and described this as very disturbing.

Mirwais said he was made to dance to music by American soldiers every time he wanted to use the toilet.

The BBC also got access to the new prison that is supposed replace the Bagram facility.

In the new jail, prisoners were being moved around in wheelchairs with goggles and headphones on. The goggles were blacked out, and the purpose of the headphones was to block out all sound. Each prisoner was handcuffed and had their legs shackled.

Prisoners are kept in 56 cells, which the prisoners refer to as "cages". The front of the cells are made of mesh, the ceiling is clear, and the other three walls are solid.

Guards can see down into the cells above.

This story has not broken in the mainstream U.S. media as far as I can tell. Maybe the big news outfits are working on their own copycat stories? Or maybe they want to cover up for the U.S. military and government? Let us hope it is the former.

I also find no denials from U.S. authorities. That seems understandable. After the record of the last nine years, who would believe them?
H/t to Steve Hynd at Newshoggers for this story. Photo of Bagram base via BBC.

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