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U.S. to Build Another Gitmo in Afghanistan

The Financial Times reports today that the U.S. is planning to build a high-security prison in Afghanistan to which it will transfer an unknown number of Guantanamo detainees.

The site selected for the jail is Pol-e-Charki, a rundown prison near Kabul dating from the Soviet era. Some of the base’s prison facilities have recently been refurbished as part of a European Union-financed criminal justice reform programme backed by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

The transfer of prisoners of Afghan origin from Guantánamo to Afghanistan is intended to take pressure off the US administration, which continues to face strong international criticism for holding detainees without trial or other legal recourse.

So they can be tortured in an Afghan-run, U.S. jail and Bush can still say, "We don't torture." As if we should close our eyes because it's not happening on our soil.

The U.S. is currently holding around 500 prisoners at Bagram and Kandahar. This does not include the terror suspects who are in secret jails in Afghanistan.

How have these non-terrorists been treated? Here are some of their accounts:

I can try to highlight the most profound parts of my incarceration including being held by the Americans in Kandahar, in Bagram, and ultimately in Guantanamo for 2 years. During my time there, I witnessed things that I would have never perceived the United States would be capable of. With my own eyes, I witnessed the killing of at least two detainees by military police with their own hands.

Dilawar was a taxi driver who appears to have driven past a US military base soon after a rocket attack. Habibullah was handed over to the US by an Afghan warlord, and was identified as the brother of a Taliban commander. Both men were seized in late 2002, interrogated, beaten and killed in a hangar used for holding detainees who were being vetted for dispatch to Guantánamo Bay.

The two were chained to the ceilings of their cells for days at a time and beaten on the legs. They had been subjected to a blow known as the "common peroneal strike", aimed at a point just below the knee and intended to disable. Coroners in the Habibullah case said his legs "had basically been pulpified" and looked as though they had been run over by a bus.

How many times have we heard there is no torture at Guanatanamo? Tell that to Tarek Dagoul, a British citizen, now released, tells of Guantanamo torture caught on videotape:

Dozens of videotapes of American guards allegedly engaged in brutal attacks on Guantanamo Bay detainees have been stored and catalogued at the camp, an investigation by The Observer has revealed. The disclosures, made in an interview with Tarek Dergoul, the fifth British prisoner freed last March, who has been too traumatised to speak until now, prompted demands last night by senior politicians on both sides of the Atlantic to make the videos available immediately. They say that if the contents are as shocking as Dergoul claims, they will provide final proof that brutality against detainees has become an institutionalised feature of America's war on terror.

Here's just one of Dergoul's allegations:

Dergoul tells of one assault by a five-man ERF in shocking terms: 'They pepper-sprayed me in the face, and I started vomiting. They pinned me down and attacked me, poking their fingers in my eyes, and forced my head into the toilet pan and flushed.

'They tied me up like a beast and then they were kneeling on me, kicking and punching. Finally they dragged me out of the cell in chains, into the rec[reation] yard, and shaved my beard, my hair, my eyebrows.'

Bagram is a torture facility. Why should we expect the new U.S. prison there to be any different? It will just be further out of view.

Building prisons overseas to house Guantanamo detainees has been in the works for a long time. I wrote a detailed post about the plans last January. As I said then,

America. From Prison Nation to Torture Nation. If we can't torture them at Guantanamo because the courts are watching, send them to Egypt or Thailand or Bagram or Diego Garcia where even the Red Cross can't find them.

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  • Re: U.S. to Build Another Gitmo in Afghanistan (none / 0) (#1)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Jan 05, 2006 at 05:24:19 PM EST
    Somewhere in the world, someone is awakening from a coma that lasted the better part of a decade to the dystopian nightmare that is today in complete disbelief. Wouldn't that be a 2 x 4 to the noggin?

    Re: U.S. to Build Another Gitmo in Afghanistan (none / 0) (#2)
    by ras on Thu Jan 05, 2006 at 06:47:33 PM EST
    Why not? It lets the POWs serve out their time closer to home where their relatives can visit them, as well as be judged by fellow Afghans.

    Re: U.S. to Build Another Gitmo in Afghanistan (none / 0) (#3)
    by Edger on Thu Jan 05, 2006 at 07:01:06 PM EST
    Are they selling franchises yet?

    Re: U.S. to Build Another Gitmo in Afghanistan (none / 0) (#4)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Jan 05, 2006 at 08:05:46 PM EST
    ras, since when are the detainees "POWs"? And why do you think they'll get their day in court, let alone judged by some damn furriners?

    Re: U.S. to Build Another Gitmo in Afghanistan (none / 0) (#5)
    by Darryl Pearce on Thu Jan 05, 2006 at 08:50:30 PM EST
    When my nation has sacrificed its compassion, humanity, and grace..., it's hard for me to be a patriot. Only the forlorn hope that I'm living in the early days of a better nation.

    Re: U.S. to Build Another Gitmo in Afghanistan (none / 0) (#6)
    by ras on Fri Jan 06, 2006 at 12:15:48 AM EST
    Alopex, Did you follow the links before asking your q's? The answers are all there, you know.

    Re: U.S. to Build Another Gitmo in Afghanistan (none / 0) (#7)
    by Sailor on Fri Jan 06, 2006 at 03:16:24 PM EST
    ummm ras? Please provide links to how these prisoners suddenly gained POW status? I followed the links above and couldn't determine that.

    Re: U.S. to Build Another Gitmo in Afghanistan (none / 0) (#8)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Fri Jan 06, 2006 at 03:48:29 PM EST
    There we go, winning hearts and minds again. What are we going to do with all these hearts and minds we've got?

    Re: U.S. to Build Another Gitmo in Afghanistan (none / 0) (#9)
    by soccerdad on Fri Jan 06, 2006 at 04:30:53 PM EST
    There we go, winning hearts and minds again. What are we going to do with all these hearts and minds we've got?
    Put them with the rest of the corpse.

    Re: U.S. to Build Another Gitmo in Afghanistan (none / 0) (#10)
    by Che's Lounge on Sun Jan 08, 2006 at 09:29:59 AM EST
    I wonder which impending terror attack was prevented by murdering these men? You saved us. Thank you Mr. Torture Man.