The U.S. Special Operation Forces continues to detain prisoners in torture centers in Afghanistan and disallowing them access to the Red Cross. Rachel Maddow’s summary at msnbc – 30 Nov 09 (1:30):
A U.S. military detention center run by the Special Operations Forces at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, known as a “black jail” to detainees, “is still holding inmates, sometimes for weeks at a time, without access to the International Committee of the Red Cross”, according to human rights groups and former detainees, Alissa Rubin reported at The New York Times last weekend. The jail “consists of individual windowless concrete cells, each illuminated by a single light bulb glowing 24 hours a day. In interviews, former detainees said that their only human contact was at twice-daily interrogation sessions”.
President Barack Obama ordered the closure of all secret prisons, known as “black sites”, used for the interrogations of detainees by the Central Intelligence Agency, but not those used by the military.
“Military officials said as recently as this summer that the Afghanistan jail and another like it at the Balad Air Base in Iraq were being used to interrogate high-value detainees,” Ms. Rubin reports. “And officials said recently that there were no plans to close the jails.”
In August, the Obama Administration limited the military to hold prisoners in its jails for longer than two weeks. A man known as Hamidullah alleges he was held for five to six weeks before the order, Ms. Rubin reports, but two others detained this year relay similar accounts.
“All three detainees were later released without charges. None said they had been tortured,” she continues. “Though they said they heard sounds of abuse going on and certainly felt humiliated and roughly used. ‘They beat up other people in the black jail, but not me,’ Hamidullah said. ‘But the problem was that they didn’t let me sleep. There was shouting noise so you couldn’t sleep.'”
Two Afghan teenagers—Issa Mohammad, 17, and Abdul Rashid, who said he is younger than 16—said they were detained this year and “were beaten by American guards, photographed naked, deprived of sleep and held in solitary confinement in concrete cells for at least two weeks” at the ‘black jail’, Joshua Partlow and Julie Tate report at The Washington Post.
“That was the hardest time I have ever had in my life,” Mr. Rashid said of his interrogation. “It was better to just kill me. But they would not kill me.”
WaPo reports of an interview with the young woodcutter, last Wednesday:
At the beginning of his detention, he was forced to strip naked and undergo a medical checkup in front of about a half-dozen American soldiers. He said that his Muslim upbringing made such a display humiliating and that the soldiers made it worse.
They touched me all over my body. They took pictures, and they were laughing and laughing,” he said. “They were doing everything.”
He said he lived in a small concrete cell that was slightly longer than the length of his body. Food was tossed in a plastic bag through a slot in the metal door. Both teenagers said that when they tried to sleep, on the floor, their captors shouted at them and hammered on their cells.
When summoned for daily interrogations, Rashid said, he was made to wear a hood, handcuffs and ear coverings and was marched into the meeting room. He said he was punched by his interrogators while being prodded to admit ties to the Taliban; he denied such ties. During some sessions, he said, his interrogator forced him to look at pornographic movies and magazines while also showing him a photograph of his mother.
“I was just crying and crying. I was too young,” Rashid said. “I didn’t know what a prison looks like or what a prison is.”
Last month, Human Rights Watch released a 53-page report on “black jails” in China. Congratulations, President Obama, for giving China a run for their money in something.