Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Torture continues in Afghanistan

Afghans protest civilian killings.

Usually when I suggest the United States should get out of Afghanistan, I focus the maiming and deaths of Afghans, various internationals and U.S. troops. But there's another reason to end this imperial adventure. The United States is still using its Afghan outpost as a torture site.

According to the BBC:

The US airbase at Bagram in Afghanistan contains a facility for detainees that is distinct from its main prison, the Red Cross has confirmed to the BBC.

Nine former prisoners have told the BBC that they were held in a separate building, and subjected to abuse. ...In recent weeks the BBC has logged the testimonies of nine prisoners who say they had been held in the so-called "Tor Jail".

They told consistent stories of being held in isolation in cold cells where a light is on all day and night. The men said they had been deprived of sleep by US military personnel there.

The BBC has provided a podcast of an interview with a man who claims to have been abused at the site.

We don't get to hear accounts like that very often -- but of course, Afghans do. No wonder many of them want us simply out of their country, whatever future horrors that may lead to.
Nor do revelations like this help legitimize U.S. prisoner detention practices in general. At Guantanamo -- still very much open for business, despite President Obama's betrayed promises -- our mickey-mouse Military Commissions grind on. Last week the administration found a pretext to bar some of the best informed reporters from their proceedings, again raising the question whether these are anything better than theatrics of justice, show trials with pre-determined outcomes.

Adam Server has a great idea how the Military Commission could try to win some respect:

Personally, I've thought for a while now that the act that would most "legitimize" the commissions would be to broadcast them on television or over the Web. For some reason, the administration doesn't think that's a good idea.


Darlene said...

There are two things that have really disappointed me in Obama. This is one of them and the lack of transparency that he promised is another.

I am deeply disappointed that Obama is continuing some of Bush's worst programs. It is counter productive.

libhom said...

Barack Bush strikes again!

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