Sunday, February 26, 2006

Guantanamo in Afghanistan

The New York Times (requires subscription) is reporting that the U.S. military has established another detention camp holding "enemy combatants" in Bagram, Afghanistan at the site of a former machine shop on an American military base.

These detainees have been charged with no crimes, have no access to legal representation, or to hear the allegations against them. Their living conditions are bleak.

The population of the prison has grown from 100 in 2004 to over 600 at times. The population has grown rapidly because such prisoners are no longer being moved to Guantanamo--not since the Supreme Court ruled that Gitmo prisoners has basic rights to due process, according to the NYTimes.

One particular paragraph from the NYTimes is striking: "Military officials with access to intelligence reporting on the subject said about 40 of Bagram's prionsers were Pakistanis, Arabs, and other foreigners; some were previously held by the C.I.A. in secret interrogation centers in Afghanistan and other countries. Officials said the intelligence agency had been reluctant to send some of those prisoners on to Guantanamo because of the possibility that their C.I.A. custody could eventually be scrutinized in court."

For me, the take away of this is that the United States government, military, and spy agencies fail to work within the proscribed dictates of U.S. law. Fearful that their actions are unlawful, they've now established a detention camp in a foreign country that is, theoretically outside of the boundaries of that law.

When does this stop?

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