The Obama Administration has ordered the construction of new units at the detention center of the U.S. air base in Bagram.
The detention center at the U.S. military’s Bagram Air Base has been called ‘The Other Guantánamo” and it’s expanding, Nathan Hodge reports at Wired today.
In a solicitation issued today, the U.S. military put out a request for a contractor to build three new detention housing units next to the existing facility, known formally as the Afghan National Detention Facility at Parwan (Bagram is in the southwest corner of Parwan Province). As of last September, 645 prisoners were held there….
Presumably, these new buildings are in addition to Bagram’s separate and previously clandestine detention facility, revealed by the International Committee of the Red Cross yesterday. Nine former prisoners say they were abused there, according to the BBC….
Back in 2002, two Bagram detainees died in a prisoner-abuse scandal. And last year, The New York Times reported the existence of a “black jail” at Bagram that was kept off limits to the Red Cross. The military has maintained that there is no separate facility at Bagram: In a bloggers’ roundtable earlier this year, Navy Vice Adm. Robert Harward emphasized that there were “no black jails” at Bagram, but he did clarify that there was a short period of detention at undisclosed “field-detention sites,” where Afghan and U.S. authorities hold individuals to determine who they are and whether they have any actionable intelligence….
It’s worth emphasizing here that humane treatment of prisoners is considered a cornerstone of effective counterinsurgency. The idea is to prevent further radicalization of detainees, and turning detention facilities into recruiting centers for the insurgency.
In the roundtable, Harward borrowed a phrase from counterinsurgency guru David Kilcullen. The goal is to prevent the “accidental guerrillas” from filling up the facility.
Damien Corsetti, known as “Monster” and “King of Torture”, was stationed at Bagram and has been documented as having been a executor of extremely inhumane policy during his assignment.
Sergeant Joshua Claus testified last week that while stationed at Bagram in 2002, he told then-15-year old Omar Khadr he would likely be raped in an American prison. Mr. Khadr, a born Canadian citizen, is being tried in a military commission—charged with the war crime after being kidnapped by the U.S. military and confessing to killing a U.S. serviceman with a grenade. The confession, his lawyers contend, was a result of torture and should be inadmissible. Also, there is no evidence said serviceman died from a grenade and the report on his death was altered.
Sgt. Claus identified himself as one of Mr. Khadr’s interrogators in a 2008 interview, where he denied torturing the young boy. He did not incriminate himself in is testimony this week.
He pleaded guilty in 2005 after being charged with assault, prisoner maltreatment and lying to investigators. He was the last reported man to have interrogated Dilawar—the innocent 22-year-old, 5’9″, 122 lbs. Afghan taxi driver—who was tortured to death while in U.S. detention at Bagram. The U.S. at the air base in Afghanistan was brought to the public eye in the 2007 Oscar-winning documentary Taxi to the Dark Side.
“Dilawar’s last interrogation eroded into more abuse and assault and he was returned to his cell and re-shackled,” according to an amicus brief submitted by the Project to Enforce the Geneva Conventions.
“Dilawar was found dead the next morning.”
The Red Cross recently documented many confirmations of Bagram’s existence, but has long requested access and also has excessive documentation toward alleged abuses and the perpetuity of that abuse during the Obama Administration.