Monday, February 23, 2009

Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan

Unconfirmed reports say that as many as 600 "enemy combatants" are being held in detention at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. The BBC reports on the Justice Department ruling which came down last Friday stating that these prisoners have no constitutional rights. (h/t to Jeralyn at Talk Left)
The move has disappointed human rights lawyers who had hoped the Obama administration would take a different line to that of George W Bush.

On the ACLU site there's even stronger talk.

"The Obama administration did the right thing by ordering Guantánamo closed. But a restoration of the rule of law and American ideals cannot be achieved if we allow 'other Gitmos' to be maintained around the globe," said Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU. "Detainees at Bagram, like at Guantánamo, are under U.S. control and custody. It is therefore the responsibility of the U.S. to ensure that basic fundamental rights apply there. As its review of detention facilities continues, we strongly urge the Obama administration to reconsider this position."

What's your opinion? Should prisoners in military detention centers receive the same human-rights treatment as their counterparts do in the States? Do you think this Bagram development indicates some back peddling on the part of Obama's team? If you were the President, wouldn't you make sure to steer clear of this kind of problem?

Does anyone, besides me, know what the motto of the Department of Justice is, and more importantly what it means? This is at the heart of the problem. When politicians take there marching orders from on high, whether that be "Domina Justitia" or God Himself, terrible excesses can be easily justified.

Please feel free to leave a comment.


  1. I think US Civil prisons should be more like military Prisons. When your prison cell is nicer than your inner city slum apartment, bad things happen.

    I'm curious if anybody thought Obama wasn't going to cave on this issue too. Camp X-Ray was nothing more than a rallying point for protestors. I deeply suspect Obama will simply play a shell game, and close one prison down, and open more up.

    The scary part is I wouldn't be suprised if the oponants of these detention facilites looked the other way simply because their guy is in office...


    On topic article for yon grist mill!

  3. my feelings is that it is only a month into his administration and to expect him to review and reverse all policies which I have problems with in such a short legnth of time is unrealistic.
    Case in point: Binyam Mohammed, the UK Janitor who ended up in Guantanamo because he admitted under torture to have viewed a web site which contained a satirical article from Rolling Stone magazine about how to build an Atomic Bomb in your was written by the food editor and was totally fantasy....
    But he ended up in Guantanamo and in the process was subjected to medieval torture... we are talking documented genital mutilation.
    Two weeks ago, the official line was that if any of the evidence against him was revealed in a British Court, the CIA thrteatened to stop sharing terrorist info with Britain...I listened to the discussion on BBC4 in their nightly parliamentary highlights...
    Yesterday, the unthinkable happened.
    Binyam was released and flown back to Britain. He is a free man and the truth is being talked about and the details will be revealed.
    Let's talk about the progress of human rights under the Obama administration in another month.

    After all, quite a few Americans still have to get used to the idea thast they can sleep peacefully with out people being tortured.

  4. Camp Bucca in Iraq has been operating for several years in much the same manner as BAFB in Afghanistan. They are essentially gulags, modeled after the Nazi and East-European ones.

    It seems that the Pentagon has talked Obama into maintaining these gulags 'for our safety' and he has kowtowed to their demands.

    Weerd- did you read the same post as Microdot and I? Or was yours something about totally different?

  5. the power of the military industrial complex at work!!It is difficult to maintain an Empire and to maintain all the civil rights Americans were originally given by the founding fathers. The more important question Americans should be asking is how long are these bases going to remain open and if these bases in Iraq and Afghanistan do anything for the security of the US.

  6. Weer'd, The yon grist mill thinks that's the most biased article it's ever run accross. And around here we know something about bias.

  7. Is no one curious about that motto?

  8. Mike,

    Hate to tell you this but in many cases when presented with something that I don't know..I research it.

    Some people tend to do that when they encounter something they don't know anything about....others simply start blogging about it.


    fox investigates vulpine henhouse-watching standards; concludes no wrong been done on this farm.

  10. Bob said, "Hate to tell you this but in many cases when presented with something that I don't know..I research it.

    Some people tend to do that when they encounter something they don't know anything about....others simply start blogging about it."

    I say research is for sissies. I just shoot from the hip about things I know nothing about.

  11. Finally starting to tell the truth now Mike.