The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

Charges of Abuse at Bagram Highlight Ongoing Problem With ‘Obama’s Gitmo’

This weekend’s news that inmates at the part of the prison at the U.S. Air Base in Bagram, Afghanistan, run by Special Operations forces had suffered abuse

Dexter Cooke
News
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Nov 30, 2009

This weekend’s news that inmates at the part of the prison at the U.S. Air Base in Bagram, Afghanistan, run by Special Operations forces had suffered abuse sounded eerily reminiscent of the charges we’ve heard from previous prisoners victimized by interrogators at Guantanamo Bay. Joshua Partlow and Julie Tate at The Washington Post reported that two Afghan teenagers detained at Bagram this year “said they were beaten by American guards, photographed naked, deprived of sleep and held in solitary confinement in concrete cells for at least two weeks while undergoing daily interrogation about their alleged links to the Taliban.” Alissa Rubin at The New York Times reports that detainees in the “black jail” live in “windowless concrete cells, each illuminated by a single light bulb glowing 24 hours a day,” and are not allowed visits from the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Both of the newspapers cautioned that none of the reports could be independently corroborated. But the stories emphasize the point I’ve been making for a while now that even if President Obama manages to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center in the next several months (he’s already conceded he’s not going to meet his original January deadline), that’s not going to completely solve the United States’ image problem when it comes to prisoner mistreatment and abuse — because we still have Bagram.

Bagram has already been called “Obama’s Gitmo,” and “The Next Guantanamo” given that the administration is holding about 700 terror suspects there indefinitely without charge, with little meaningful opportunity to challenge their detention, no right to habeas corpus, and in conditions far more secretive than at Guantanamo Bay. We know that several detainees died from abuse at Bagram during the Bush administration, and conveniently, the Defense Department just stopped reporting detainee deaths in Afghanistan sometime in 2006.

So the latest reports of abuse shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. Just last summer inmates were protesting their indefinite detention at Bagram, refusing to leave their cells or even speak to family members. That supposedly led to a military review and overhaul of the U.S. detention center in Afghanistan, and recently the United States opened a new and improved prison facility on the air base, designed to improve inmates’ living conditions and quiet some of the complaints. The former detainees interviewed by the Times and Post reporters may not have had the benefit of those reported improvements. But given the secrecy that still surrounds the Bagram facility and its inmates, and the fact that the wing of the prison operated by Special Operations forces is even more secretive and closed to the ICRC, the Obama administration is going to have a hard time answering these latest claims.

Dexter Cooke | He is an orthopedic surgeon who insists that a physician's first priority should be patient care. He specializes in minimally invasive complete knee replacement surgery and laparoscopic procedures that reduce pain and recovery time. He graduated from the Medical University of South Carolina with a medical degree and a postdoctoral fellowship in orthopedic medicine.

Related

$1.89 billion given to states to fight HIV

The federal government Monday announced more than $1.89 billion in funding to states to fight the HIV epidemic with access to care and with more cash for the failing AIDS Drug Assistance Program. According to an HHS press release , $813 million of that money will go directly to the ADAP programming. An additional $8,386,340 will be issued as a supplement to 36 states and territories currently facing a litany of unmet needs and access issues.

Army Data Shows Constraints on Troop Increase Potential

If President Obama orders an additional 30,000 to 40,000 troops to Afghanistan, he will be deploying practically every available U.S. Army brigade to war, leaving few units in reserve in case of an unforeseen emergency and further stressing a force that has seen repeated combat deployments since 2002.

1. Brian Schweitzer

As governor of Montana, Schweitzer doesn’t represent one of the most highly populated, high-profile electoral states in the country. But this

$1.3 Million for Brown

The GOP’s candidate in the Massachusetts special election raised more than one million dollars -- double the goal -- in a 24-hour moneybomb on the Ron Paul

$1.3 trillion in federal spending unaccounted for, report finds

Despite calls for independent bodies to keep government accountable, the Sunlight Foundation’s most recent Clearspending report has found the federal

#1 in Conspiracy Theories

Andrew Young’s tell-all biography of John Edwards, hitting shelves next week, is surging in one Amazon.com category in particular. #1 in Conspiracy

1 Brigade and 1 Battalion

ISTANBUL – It’s 10 p.m. in the lowest level of the Istanbul airport. In 20 minutes I’ll be allowed to board my plane to Kabul, bringing me to the

$1 Million for Toomey

Pat Toomey, the former Club for Growth president and leading Republican candidate in Pennsylvania’s 2010 Senate race, has announced a $1 million haul in the

1. Lindsey Graham

Sen. Graham (R-S.C.) is typically regarded as a reliable vote for his party, but he took the bold step of breaking with his fellow Republicans to join Kerry

Bachmann uncomfortable over earmarks ban

Republicans appear to have boxed themselves into a corner with their portrayal of earmarks as wasteful spending, as many of them have backed a moratorium on

Troubled mine holds hope for U.S. rare earth industry

China currently controls 97 percent of the world’s rare earth production. The Mountain Pass Mine could change that -- if it can overcome serious environmental concerns.

© Copyright 2021 The Washington Independent All Rights Reserved

Terms & Privacy | twi.news@washingtonindependent.com