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    Repiglican Roast

    A spirited discussion of public policy and current issues

    Name:
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    I'm furious about my squandered nation.

    Saturday, May 17, 2008

    U.S. Planning Big New Prison in Afghanistan. Big Boost To War Profiteers.

    [...]

    Military officials have long been aware of serious problems with the existing detention center in Afghanistan, the Bagram Theater Internment Facility. After the prison was set up in early 2002, it became a primary site for screening prisoners captured in the fighting. Harsh interrogation methods and sleep deprivation were used widely, and two Afghan detainees died there in December 2002, after being repeatedly struck by American soldiers.

    [....]

    The Pentagon is planning to use $60 million in emergency construction funds this fiscal year to build a complex of 6 to 10 semi-permanent structures resembling Quonset huts, each the size of a football field, a Defense Department official said. The structures will have more natural light, and each will have its own recreation area. There will be a half-dozen other buildings for administration, medical care and other purposes, the official said.

    The new Bagram compound is expected to be built away from the existing center of operations on the base, on the other side of a long airfield from the headquarters building that now sits almost directly adjacent to the detention center, one military official said.

    It will have its own perimeter security wall, and its own perimeter security guards, a change that will increase the number of soldiers required to operate the detention center.

    The military plans to request $24 million in fiscal year 2009 and $7.4 million in fiscal year 2010 to pay for educational programs, job training and other parts of what American officials call a reintegration plan. After that, the Pentagon plans to pay about $7 million a year in training and operational costs.

    [...]

    But the senators, in a May 15 letter to the deputy defense secretary, Gordon England, demanded that the Pentagon explain its long-term plans for detention in Afghanistan and consult the Afghan government on the project.

    The population at Bagram began to swell after administration officials halted the flow of prisoners to Guantánamo in September 2004, a cutoff that largely remains in effect. At the same time, the population of detainees at Bagram also began to rise with the resurgence of the Taliban.

    Military personnel who know both Bagram and Guantánamo describe the Afghan site, 40 miles north of Kabul, as far more spartan. Bagram prisoners have fewer privileges, less ability to contest their detention and no access to lawyers.

    Some detainees have been held without charge for more than five years, officials said. As of April, about 10 juveniles were being held at Bagram, according to a recent American report to a United Nations committee.


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