Torture Goes on at Bagram

By Debra Sweet
Join a World Can't Wait conference call moderated by War Criminals Watch advisory board member Ray McGovern, featuring Josh Herlands, on the International Justice Network's team, which is doing crucial work exposing the on-going use  of "enhanced interrogation techniques" at Bagram prison --while the Obama administration fights against the right for all Bagram prisoners to habeas corpus.  
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There is a secret prison within the larger Bagram prison run by the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) that continues Bush-era "techniques," that is, torture.  Obama signed an order on his second day in office saying the Army Field Manual interrogation rules must be followed.  However, there is an "Appendix M" to this manual that allows torture and this is being applied. 

Find out the latest information on the crimes occurring at Bagram in Afghanistan. The situation for detainees is becoming more dire as the Obama administration continues Bush policies which have become infamous at Guantanamo. See the excerpts below from the May 21, 2010 NYT editorial:

One of the most vital jobs of the federal courts is to check excessive claims of presidential power. The courts have stepped up to the task at important times since President George W. Bush embarked on a campaign after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to create an imperial presidency. Sadly, a recent ruling by a federal appeals court on the American military prison at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan was not one of those times.

What makes the ruling especially distressing is that the extravagant claim of executive power upheld by the court - to create a law-free zone at the Bagram lockup - was dreamed up by Mr. Bush and subsequently embraced by President Obama. The appellate court ruled that there was no right to federal court review for the detainees, who say they were captured outside of Afghanistan, far from any battlefield, and then shipped to Bagram to be held indefinitely in harsh conditions.

The appellate panel found that the process for sorting prisoners at Bagram as even flimsier than the one at Guantánamo, which the Supreme Court said was inadequate. To justify overruling Judge Bates, the appellate judges overestimated the practical difficulty of affording court access and underestimated American control in Bagram. They also dusted off a precedent from 1950 to suggest that granting habeas corpus rights to a small number of Bagram detainees would somehow "hamper the war effort, and bring aid and comfort to the enemy."
About Josh Herlands:
Josh Herlands is a Harvard Law School Public Interest Fellow at the International Justice Network (IJNetwork), focusing on litigation and advocacy on behalf of clients detained at Bagram prison in Afghanistan. Specifically, Josh is part of the legal team in *Maqaleh v. Gates*, the lead case filed by IJNetwork on behalf of Bagram detainees. His other work at IJN has focused on advocacy and coalition building to end human rights violations such as torture, extraordinary rendition, arbitrary detention, and extrajudicial killing.

Prior to law school, Josh spent several years working in finance and renewable energy development. During that time, he focused on the wind energy sector, helping project developers raise capital and bring projects to completion. Josh has also worked in wilderness therapy, leading backpacking trips for at-risk youth. Josh holds B.A. and M.A. degrees in International Policy Studies from Stanford University.

Background Information about Bagram Prison in Afghanistan from Andy Worthington: Part 1   Part 2

Major props to Elaine Brower for leading the protests against the Army Experience Center in Philly and everyone who came out to protest several times last year. Elaine writes:

After almost two years of glorifying the "Army experience" and U.S. wars through video and war games, the Army Experience Center at Franklin Mills Malls announced it will shut down on July 31, 2010. The $13 million, 14,500 square foot Army Experience Center at Franklin Mills Mall boasts dozens of video game computers and X-Box video game consoles with various interactive, military-style shooting games.
The facility has sophisticated Apache helicopter and Humvee simulators that allow teens to simulate the killing of Arabs and Afghans. Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Rob Watson compared the Army Experience Center to "a heavy dose of candy cigarettes."

I am in New Orleans with the Emergency Committee to Stop the Gulf Oil Disaster this week.

See: Photographers Will Risk Felony Charges to Photograph Oil


World Can't Wait mobilizes people living in the United States to stand up and stop war on the world, repression and torture carried out by the US government. We take action, regardless of which political party holds power, to expose the crimes of our government, from war crimes to systematic mass incarceration, and to put humanity and the planet first.