Bagram –The Cat's Slightly Out of the Bag

Harry Shearer

Investigative satirist

Posted: May 11, 2010

NEW ORLEANS — 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.

In this report, the Red Cross, responding to a BBC inquiry, confirms that there’s a second, secret detainment facility on the grounds of the base in addition to a publicly acknowledged prison. And of course the US continues to deny the existence of the facility.

I’ve been writing about Bagram because it stands as a rebuke to the president’s pledge to close Gitmo. What’s happened at Bagram — and you can Google it — is perhaps worse than our history at Guantanamo, and Bagram detainees are not covered by the Supreme Court’s habeas corpus decision re: Gitmo detainees. In other words, they remain in a lawless black hole where their captors can do literally anything.

And their captors are us.

UPDATE (FRIDAY): Marc Ambinder of The Atlantic has new reporting on the secret detention facility at Bagram. Note that the category of those chosen by DIA to be taken there–“high value detainees”–is a distinction unknown in law.–the-cats-slightly_b_571380.html


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