There’s a bigger prison than Guantanamo out there, run by the US military, which has been holding 1,700 detainees for years without charge, despite an official report that many of them have no reason to be there.
I know, right?
It’s at a place called Bagram, in Afghanistan. It’s detaining more people than have ever been at Gitmo, with no apparent public accountability whatsoever, and no recourse for anyone locked up who might want to protest their innocence.
There was a damning report put out by a human rights organisation recently, which nobody seems to have really noticed except other human rights organisations and activists.
Despite the number of ways that things have improved since the Obama administration took over, the report still concluded, among other things:
The current U.S. detention policy in Afghanistan does not provide detainees the minimum level of due process required by international law, including the right to see and effectively challenge the evidence, and to have their rights determined by an independent authority, empowered to order release.
So, that sucks.
And what else is going on out there which we don’t know about?
The first commenter on that Nieman Watchdog article claims that the detainees are prisoners of war. He doesn’t expand on this point except to be obnoxious and inane, but there’s an implicit argument there to be addressed. The context of war does add layers of complication to all kinds of situations. Sometimes, on the battlefield, questions may arise about whether the important aims of maintaining security and saving lives would best be served by circumventing some of the usual standards of behaviour.
“Prisoners of war” may be a different matter than just “prisoners”. But these people are citizens of a country we’ve invaded and attacked, who are being forcibly imprisoned and mistreated for years on end, with no hope of being able to help themselves, and who may not have ever done a thing wrong. If you think that slapping them with the magic label “prisoner of war” solves all the problems that matter, then your opinions of humanity are so at odds with mine I don’t think I could even talk to you.
I hadn’t heard about any of this until reading a post on annarky’s blog. Score another one for the anti-statists.