Topic: War on Terror
While things in Iraq spin out of control, more so than usual, in Afghanistan a prison revolt at Kabul's main prison has turned into a stand off between government troops and about 2,000 inmates. The AP reports that, "The area now under the inmates' control includes a wing that houses 70 women prisoners and about 70 children who live with them."
My first question would be, why the hell are there children in one of Afghanistan's most notorious prisons, known for torture and summary executions in the Soviet occupation days? Well, we kept children prisoners at Gitmo, so I guess it's not that much of a biggie, right?
AP: "A man claiming to be a spokesman for the Block One inmates called The Associated Press and demanded retrials for all the prisoners, saying many were innocent while others were serving unfairly harsh sentences. The man, who identified himself only as Maqsodi, said the riot would continue until the government met prisoners' demands. 'Two-thirds of the prisoners here are innocent. The courts were unfair,' he said."
Meanwhile, the U.S. has its own gulag at Bagram airbase where prisoners are served cherries and cream every morning. The NYT reports:
"The U.S. military on Sunday defended its detention of about 500 inmates at its main base in Afghanistan, saying they are treated humanely and provided the 'best possible living conditions.' The New York Times on Sunday reported that inmates are held by the dozen in wire cages at the Bagram Air Base, north of Kabul -- some for as long as two or three years without access to lawyers or the chance to hear the allegations against them. The report, citing unnamed military officials and former detainees, said that inmate numbers had grown sharply, partly because 'enemy combatants' caught during the hunt for al-Qaida and Taliban militants in Afghanistan were no longer being transferred to the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba."
Gosh, I wonder why? Could it be there's too much of a spotlight on that particular gulag right now? No one pays any attention to Bagram, so it's an ideal locale.
The military assures everyone that these are all bad people who mean us harm, all the way over in Afghanistan, but a 2004 Human Rights Watch report about Bargram says:
"U.S. forces sometimes take into custody all men of military age found within the vicinity of an operation. Other times, it seems persons are targeted for arrest because U.S. officials have determined they are a security risk or are useful for intelligence purposes—for instance, clerics or local tribal leaders who might be politically involved with the Taliban, or civilians spotted near the site of a recent attack. Human Rights Watch has interviewed many Afghans who were arrested for simply being at the wrong place at the wrong time."
Hmmm...where have I heard that before? But, naturally, they're all lying because that's the way they're trained at Jihad University. Of course, it it were true that most of the people we've been holding on to for years on end weren't really that valuable as sources of Intel or anything else, one might wonder why were wasting our time and resources on them.