Bagram torture of Afghans continuing

This video from the USA is called HRF’s Daphne Eviatar on CBS News – Bagram: The Other Guantanamo?

Another video from the USA is called Two Former Bagram Detainees Held Without Charge Describe Torture and Wrongful Imprisonment.

From the BBC:

Afghans ‘abused at secret prison’ at Bagram airbase

By Hilary Andersson
BBC News, Bagram

Afghan prisoners are being abused in a “secret jail” at Bagram airbase, according to nine witnesses whose stories the BBC has documented.

The abuses are all said to have taken place since US President Barack Obama was elected, promising to end torture.

The US military has denied the existence of a secret detention site and promised to look into allegations.

Bagram was the site of a controversial jail holding hundreds of inmates, who have now been moved to another complex.

The old prison was notorious for allegations of prisoner torture and abuse.

But witnesses told the BBC in interviews or written testimony that abuses continue in a hidden facility.

Sleep deprivation

“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 ex-prisoners said they were imprisoned at the secret jail before being taken to the main detention centre at the Bagram airbase, a new complex called The Detention Facility in Parwan.

Bagram‘s prisoners were moved to the Parwan complex from the old notorious Bagram prison site on the airbase earlier this year.

In 2002, two prisoners were killed in the Bagram prison while in US custody after being suspended from the ceilings of their cells and brutally beaten. …

The US military itself has admitted that about 80% of those at Bagram are probably not hardened terrorists. It is the process of giving every detainee an internal military trial of sorts, called a Detainee Review Board.

The prisoners are represented by soldiers who are not lawyers.

“To this date, no prisoner has ever seen a lawyer in Bagram”, said Tina Foster, who represents several of Bagram’s prisoners in cases she has filed in on their behalf in the US. Guantanamo Bay‘s prisoners are able to see their lawyers.

About 100 prisoners have been released through this process, but due to an increased intake, the number of prisoners at Parwan is now 800, up from about 650 in September 2009.

The BBC put the allegations of ongoing abuses as a secret site on the airbase to the US military at Bagram. The military categorically denied the existence of a secret detention site.

Every time I’ve written a post here on the subject of the secret U.S. prison at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan — a prison where, according to reports, at least one detainee has died as a result of harsh treatment — commenters here have pooh-poohed the notion. Today, they have to argue with the Red Cross and the BBC: here.

From Army Technology:

The Danish Government will cut the number of troops operating in Afghanistan in 2011 as part of country’s new disengagement strategy, according to Danish Foreign Minister Lene Espersen.

If the [Canadian] interrogator thought a detainee was lying, the military sent him to NDS for more questions, Afghan style. Translation: abuse and torture: here.

Afghan officials are refusing to release information about the fate of three Italian medics who were detained last week after they revealed the high civilian toll of Nato offensives in Helmand province: here.

A passionate young Afghan has dreams for her life, but her three brothers have another plan: Marry her off to an older cousin for $20,000. The scenario is not uncommon: here.

WASHINGTON, Apr 18, 2010 (IPS) – An opinion survey of Afghanistan’s Kandahar province funded by the U.S. Army has revealed that 94 percent of respondents support negotiating with the Taliban over military confrontation with the insurgent group and 85 percent regard the Taliban as “our Afghan brothers”: here.

USA: According to a formerly secret email message made public Thursday, Bush-era CIA head Porter J. Goss agreed to the destruction of about 100 videos depicting the repeated waterboarding and other torture of two alleged Al Qaeda prisoners at a secret Thailand prison: here.

8 thoughts on “Bagram torture of Afghans continuing

  1. WASHINGTON, April 16, 2009

    E-Mail: Ex-CIA Chief Backed Video Destruction

    Former Director Porter Goss Consented to Plan to Destroy Evidence of Waterboarding; White House “Livid” to Find Out

    The CIA director is to address his agency’s decision to destroy hundreds of hours of videotape that showed the interrogations of two suspected terrorists. Susan Roberts reports.

    (AP) Former CIA Director Porter Goss agreed with a 2005 decision to destroy interrogation videos showing waterboarding, but nobody told White House counsel Harriet Miers, who was “livid” to find out afterward, according to internal CIA e-mails.

    The documents released Thursday show that, despite Goss’ apparent agreement, officials almost immediately began worrying they’d done something improper, foreshadowing a controversy that has lingered for years and remains under FBI investigation.

    The videos showed CIA interrogators using waterboarding, a simulated drowning technique, on terrorism suspect Abu Zubaydah. The videos showed that interrogators did not follow the waterboarding procedures authorized by President George W. Bush’s administration, the documents show.

    Jose Rodriguez, the agency’s top clandestine officer, worried the 92 tapes would be “devastating” to the CIA if they ever surfaced, the documents show. Rodriguez approved the destruction of the tapes.

    Rodriguez told Goss and others he “felt it was extremely important to destroy the tapes and that if there was any heat, he would take it,” according to a November 2005 e-mail. Goss laughed, according to the e-mail, and said he’d be the one to take the heat.

    The e-mail then states: “PG, however, agreed with the decision.”

    The author’s name is blacked out. The e-mail amounts to an after-the-fact summary and does not prove that Goss approved destroying the tapes. Current and former intelligence officials have said he did not, and was angry to find out about it. Rodriguez’s lawyer has disputed that. Goss has not discussed the matter publicly.

    The e-mails, released late Thursday by the Justice Department under a Freedom of Information Act request by the American Civil Liberties Union, showed that Bush’s top lawyer, Miers, and her CIA counterpart, John Rizzo, didn’t find out the tapes were destroyed until two days later and were both angry.

    “Rizzo is clearly upset because he was on the hook to notify Harriet Miers of the status of the tapes because it was she who had asked to be advised before any action was taken,” reads a November 2005 e-mail from an unidentified CIA officer to the agency’s No. 3 official, Kyle “Dusty” Foggo. “Apparently, Rizzo called Harriet this afternoon and she was livid.”

    Miers’ predecessor, Alberto Gonzales, and Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, David Addington, had told CIA lawyers in 2004 not to destroy the tapes.

    A year later, Rodriguez sent a memo approving the destruction, saying the agency had no legal requirement to keep the tapes.

    It’s unclear who told Rodriguez that, but a subsequent e-mail suggest that either someone lied to Rodriguez or that Rodriguez lied about having received approval.

    The e-mail correctly predicts: “Rizzo does not think this is likely to just go away.”

    Years later, prosecutor John Durham is still investigating whether any crime was committed.

    “These documents provide further evidence that senior CIA officials were willing to risk being prosecuted for obstruction of justice in order to avoid being prosecuted for torture,” ACLU lawyer Ben Wizner said. “If the Department of Justice fails to hold these officials accountable, they will have succeeded in their cover-up.”

    CIA spokesman George Little said the agency continues to cooperate with that investigation.

    “We hope that this issue is resolved soon,” Little said.

    The tapes were destroyed in Thailand. The agency’s former top officer there has not responded to repeated messages seeking comment.



    BBC Claims Secret Torture Facility is Operating in Afghanistan; Amnesty International Calls for Investigation

    PR Newswire

    NEW YORK, April 16

    NEW YORK, April 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The disturbing report by the BBC that a secret detention facility is still operating at Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan and that inmates are being subjected to abusive treatment that far exceeds the limits set in President Obama’s January 2009 Executive Order Ensuring Lawful Interrogations demonstrates all too vividly that the United States cannot so easily turn the page on the torture and other abuses unleashed as part of the global war on terror.

    Tom Parker, Amnesty International USA’s Policy Director for Terrorism, Counterterrorism and Human Rights, said: “Executive orders and prohibitions are meaningless unless they are backed up by the full force of law. The failure of the Obama administration to prosecute any of the individuals responsible for the abuses that were committed under the previous administration contributes to a culture of impunity in which abuses of the sort alleged by the BBC can flourish.

    “This is the moment of truth for the Obama administration. The treatment and activities outlined in the BBC report, if true, would constitute criminal offenses under both U.S. and international law. Amnesty International is calling on President Obama to launch an immediate investigation into the BBC’s allegations. If there is any substance to these reports, administration officials should ensure that any individuals associated with the abuse of detainees in U.S. custody are brought to justice.”

    SOURCE Amnesty International


  3. Two Dutch soldiers killed in Afghanistan by roadside bomb

    Sunday 18 April 2010

    Two Dutch soldiers were killed in an explosion caused by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan on Saturday, the defence ministry has confirmed.

    The two men, aged 29 and 23, were killed during a military operation, the ministry said.

    A 21-year-old soldier was injured in the blast. His condition is said to be stable.

    The deaths bring the total number of Dutch soldiers killed in Afghanistan to 23.

    The Netherlands has some 1,800 soldiers and support staff in Afghanistan, mainly in the southern region of Uruzgan. They are due to begin returning home in August as the Netherlands withdraws from the Nato operation.



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