The Bagram air base, 40 miles north of Kabul, became a central cog in United States military operations in Afghanistan following the American-led invasion in October 2001. Since 2002, it has been the site of a large, makeshift military detention center as well as other, less-visible detention sites operated by the Central Intelligence Agency and military special forces, United States officials have said.
Though lesser known than the detention center at Guantánamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba, the legal disputes over detainees there have begun to play out over Bagram's larger population, and on April 2, 2009, a federal judge ruled that the two groups have "virtually identical" rights.
The main military detention center was initially designated the Bagram Collection Point, or B.C.P. By the spring of 2002, it had become a primary screening post in the global fight against Islamist terrorists. Prisoners were brought there from as far away as central Africa and Southeast Asia. Scores of detainees were held at Bagram after being captured in neighboring Pakistan. Many were delivered there after being held at secret C.I.A. prisons around the world, according to American officials and former prisoners, and some detainees were taken from Bagram by C.I.A. teams and "rendered" to intelligence services in countries around the Middle East and elsewhere.
The detention center at Bagram was built into the cavernous shell of an aircraft-repair shop that was built in the 1960s and later used by the Soviet forces that occupied Afghanistan during the 1980s. In 2002 and 2003, most prisoners were held in crude pens fashioned from coils of razor wire piled in stacks reaching above their heads. They were often shackled to the metal gates at the front of those pens as punishment for offenses like talking or spitting at guards. In December 2002, two Afghan detainees at the B.C.P. were killed within a week of each other. Although the United States military command at Bagram initially reported that they died of "natural causes," a subsequent Army investigation indicated that the two deaths followed several days in which the men were punished by being shackled to the ceilings of isolation cells to keep them from sleeping, and repeated beatings by guards. After a prolonged investigation, the cases were finally prosecuted in 2005 and 2006. Investigators recommended criminal charges against 27 military police and intelligence personnel. Of those, 14 soldiers and one officer were prosecuted. Five soldiers pleaded guilty to assault and other crimes, and a sixth soldier was convicted at trial. The longest sentence any of them received was five months in a military prison.
|A Russian hulk left over from the war of 1989.|
The detention center was later renamed the Bagram Theatre Internment Facility. Military officials and human rights groups have reported that the treatment of prisoners there has improved since 2003, when the military command restricted the use of extended sleep-deprivation and so-called stress positions. But crude conditions still remain and the number of detainees held there has risen steadily, sometimes to more than 650. In mid-2007, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the only outside group allowed into the detention center, formally complained to the Defense Department about what it described as the harsh treatment of other military prisoners at Bagram. The Red Cross said that those detainees were held incommunicado for weeks or months at a time in a separate area of isolation cells on the base before eventually being moved into the main detention center. The population at Bagram has increased nearly sixfold over the past four years, driven not just by the deepening conflict in Afghanistan but also by the fact that the Bush administration in September 2004 largely halted the movement of prisoners to Guantánamo, leaving Bagram as the preferred alternative to detain terrorism suspects. Human rights advocates pressed the Bush administration to revamp the review process for releasing or transferring the 630 Bagram detainees, all but about 30 of whom are Afghans.
On January 22, 2009, Judge John D. Bates of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia gave the Obama administration until Feb. 20 to "refine" the government's legal position with respect to four men who are seeking to challenge their detention at Bagram under habeas corpus, a right that the Supreme Court has granted for detainees at Guantánamo. The Obama administration responded by essentially upholding the Bush administration's position. On April 2, Judge Bates ruled that the three detainees at Bagram are "virtually identical" to detainees at Guantánamo, and so they have the same legal rights that the Supreme Court granted prisoners held there. The 53-page ruling closely tracked the Supreme Court's reasoning that prisoners at Guantánamo have a constitutional right to habeas corpus. The judge asked for additional briefings on the fourth detainee involved in the case.
|The existence of this prison camp proves that we have moved beyond ‘moving towards fascism.’ This is the face of fascism. The time has come to put an end to this style of government. I’m of the opinion that this can be done from the bottom up without resorting to violence, study the methods of the Civil Rights movement in the 1950’s and ’60s embellish on that, move to separate local government from the Federal. Secession, yes, they can send out the National Guard, for anyone interested contact the webmaster on this site, we’ll have to play this by ear. For me, this shows we are only an iota away from where Germany was in 1938.|
|Type in the coordinates at Google Maps for a satellite view. Install Google Earth and view pictures the troops there have uploaded.||Tuesday, April 14, 2009 0:01 AM|