Bagram torture prison inmates’ list published


These two videos from the USA say about themselves:

7 October 2009

Speech given at National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance rally

As the U.S. led war in Afghanistan begins its ninth year this week, 61 were arrested bringing a strong message to the White House that war, torture and drone bombing are outrageous, unacceptable and must end immediately. National anti-war groups and people from around the country joined together to say No to War in Afghanistan. No to Torture and Vengeance.

Bush administration’s torture policies.

Hundreds of people gathered in McPherson Square for song, poetry and rousing speeches to kick off a day of action. This is the reflection that Liz McAlister gave to those gathered, who would soon be processing to the White House led by the Mourn the dead, heal the wounded, end the wars banner. Those gathered then marched to the White House in a solemn procession, carrying large photographs of war victims, signs and banners. …

Members of Witness Against Torture, a group committed to the shuttering of Guantanamo and the quickly enlarging Bagram air base in Afghanistan … chained themselves to the fence.

From Al Jazeera:

US releases Bagram prisoner names

ACLU has welcomed the move, but demanded greater transparency about Bagram

The United States has published the names of 645 prisoners held at a controversial US-run prison in Afghanistan following a freedom of information lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Despite previous refusals to identify those held in the jail at Bagram, the ACLU received the list of names on Saturday after their request for documents related to the detention and treatment of prisoners at the base was partially accepted.

Melissa Goodman, a lawyer for ACLU, said the publication of the list was “an important step toward transparency and accountability at the secretive Bagram prison” but that vital information was still missing.

“Full transparency and accountability about Bagram requires disclosing how long these people have been imprisoned, where they are from and whether they were captured far from any battlefield or in other countries far from Afghanistan,” she said.

A separate letter released by the US defence department on Friday said a “very small number” of prisoners were under 16 years of age, the Associated Press news agency reported.

‘Unprecedented’

Ramzi Kassem, a law professor at City University of New York, told AP that the decision to release the names was significant. “This is completely unprecedented, we’ve never had access to the list,” he said.

Kassem represents Amin al-Bakri, a Yemeni national, who was captured in Thailand and then sent to Bagram. In his case, a federal judge in Washington ruled that only those Bagram prisoners captured outside Afghanistan could file suit in the US.

US President Barack Obama’s administration is appealing against the decision.

Bagram, north of the Afghan capital, Kabul, has been used as a detention facility by the US-led coalition in Afghanistan since the ouster of the Taliban government in December 2001.

The list is here. It says “redacted list”, so probably United States authorities have not divulged all information.

THE HISTORY OF WOMEN IN AFGHANISTAN: here.

U.S. Marines shoot at stick wielding Afghan protester: here.

Afghans ‘do not hide their hatred’ of Canadian troops: here.

British soldiers in Afghanistan are to be issued with [US] guns inscribed with references to passages from the Bible – risking handing a propaganda victory to Muslim extremists: here. And here.

According to a new report, “self-immolation is being used by increasing numbers of Afghan women to escape their dire circumstances”: here.

Psychologists and psychiatrists should not be expected to participate in torture as they do not have the expertise to assess individual pain or the long-term effects of interrogation, says an expert on bmj.com today: here.

6 thoughts on “Bagram torture prison inmates’ list published

  1. NZ SAS Afghanistan presence questioned

    NZPA

    Last updated 10:15 20/01/2010

    An attack which killed a dozen people in Kabul on Monday shows the presence of the New Zealand Special Air Service (SAS) in Afghanistan is not the solution to the country’s problems, Opposition MPs say.

    Prime Minister John Key yesterday confirmed a small group of SAS soldiers were at the scene of the attack, where Taliban gunmen and suicide bombers struck the heart of Kabul.

    It triggered a battle that left three members of the Afghan security forces and two civilians dead, and 71 people wounded. Seven militants were also killed, either by blowing themselves up or by being shot dead by the security forces.

    Several children were also briefly taken hostage, a security official said, in the most dramatic strike on Kabul since the Taliban laid siege to government buildings in February 2009, killing at least 26 people.

    No members of the SAS were injured during their limited involvement while responding to the assault in the Pashtunistan Square at about 9.30am local time, Mr Key said.

    The Labour Party did not support the latest SAS deployment, though it had sent troops to Afghanistan three times before, saying military action would not affect the outcome.

    Party leader Phil Goff said he was confident in the competency and the discipline of the SAS, but it would be the competency and effectiveness of Afghanistan itself that will make a difference.

    “As long as you are dealing with a regime that suffers from endemic corruption and doesn’t deliver to its people, then combat forces will not be what determines the outcome in Afghanistan.”

    Green MP Keith Lock said the attack in Kabul poses two questions, whether SAS troops should be part of a military solution and whether risking Kiwi soldiers’ lives in a commitment that isn’t justified in politically-military terms.

    “I think those questions are being posed more by the developments in Kabul.”

    “We don’t want to see SAS troops killed in a deployment that isn’t supported by half of the New Zealand population.”

    The Green Party was not in support of SAS deployment either.

    New Zealand remains determined to see through its commitment in Afghanistan, Mr Key said.

    He said he was commenting on the incident because the SAS involvement had been reported by journalists at the scene but he would not be making a habit of it unless similar cases arose or there were injuries.

    Mr Key said New Zealand was playing a role in preventing global terrorism spreading out from Afghanistan.

    New Zealand personnel in Afghanistan as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) were at a military base at the time and were not involved in the fighting.
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    The SAS is on its fourth deployment, which started in September last year and a commitment has been made to maintain about 70 personnel for up to 18 months, in three rotations.

    The Government intends over time to withdraw the Defence Force’s 140-strong provincial reconstruction team (PRT), which has been in Bamyan province since 2003.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/3245056/NZ-SAS-Afghanistan-presence-questioned

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  2. Bribes are key in Afghan dealings
    Noting the corruption, the U.N. said Afghans paid out $2.5 billion in just one year.

    By Sylvia Hui

    Associated Press
    LONDON – Half of all Afghan adults paid at least one bribe to a public official over the course of a year to cut through red tape or get help with poor service, the United Nations said yesterday in a report that documents the extraordinary depth of corruption in Afghanistan.

    Afghans paid nearly $2.5 billion in bribes – worth almost a quarter of the country’s GDP – in the 12-month period ending last autumn.

    The average bribe cost $160, a hefty sum in a country with a per-capita income of nearly $500, according to the report based on interviews with thousands of people across Afghanistan.

    Most of those surveyed said they could not expect a single public service without paying favors. Many felt it was “normal” to pay extra for services, better treatment, or avoiding fines.

    Bribes were requested and taken by politicians, prosecutors, tax officers – anyone with even the most modest level of power to yield, from the humblest clerk at the office in charge of driver’s licenses to, by many accounts, the highest levels of government.

    Most of the payments went to police, judges, and other local officials, but Afghans were also asked to bribe teachers in public schools and doctors and nurses in government hospitals.

    The report by the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime comes as the United States and its partners develop plans to bolster President Hamid Karzai so he can restore public trust and turn back a resurgent Taliban. American officials have long maintained that public outrage over government corruption and inefficiency has driven many Afghans into the ranks of the insurgents.

    “The Afghans say they don’t have anybody to go to,” the program’s executive director, Antonio Maria Costa, said as he presented the report in London. “Law enforcement officials are by and large the main culprits.”

    Karzai has acknowledged that corruption exists but says the problem has been exaggerated abroad and occurs in many countries. He has maintained that the international community in Afghanistan is also guilty of corruption, wasting aid money on overpriced consultants and kickbacks.

    The issue took on new urgency after the Aug. 20 presidential election, which U.N.-backed auditors said was marred by widespread fraud in favor of Karzai. He was proclaimed president two months later after his last challenger dropped out of a planned runoff, saying the vote would not be fair.

    The United States and other countries contributing troops and aid are meeting in London next week for a major conference aimed at increasing support for the Afghan government as the United States and its NATO allies ramp up their military commitment. The report seemed timed to influence the policymakers and to remind them of the importance of addressing the problem.

    The report was based on interviews conducted last year from August to October with 7,600 Afghans in 12 provincial towns, or about one-third of the provincial capitals, and more than 1,600 villages around Afghanistan. The United Nations said one in two adults reported paying at least one kickback to a public official. More than half the time, the officials made explicit demands for cash. On average, victims of bribery reported having to pay almost five favors a year.

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  3. Pingback: Investigate Bush’s war crimes, Canadian lawyers say | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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