The commander of the International Security Assistance Force said he was aware of allegations that some detainees may have been tortured, but he said he wasn't aware of any "specific incidents" in which Afghan detainees were tortured or abused by Afghan interrogators.Pehraps because the ongoing reports of torture by US forces in Bagram prison are keeping him too busy.
On Saturday, the New York Times published interviews with three former inmates who also spoke of the black prison near Bagram. Each informant “was interviewed separately and described similar conditions,” the Times notes, and “[t]heir descriptions also matched those obtained by two human rights workers who had interviewed other former detainees at the site.” One of the three men was arrested months after Obama’s inauguration as US president, as were the two teenage boys interviewed by the Post.Or maybe he's denying the claims because, well, he has a history of lying.
All of those interviewed by the Times and the Post maintained that they were not “Taliban.” Without being charged with a crime, they were seized by US soldiers, then bound, gagged, and hooded, and taken to the “black prison.”
The jail, according to the Times’ sources, “consists of individual windowless concrete cells, each illuminated by a single light bulb glowing 24 hours a day.” The cells are small; one prisoner said his was only slightly longer than the length of his body. US soldiers throw food into the cells through slots in the door.
Prisoners are exposed to extreme cold and sleep deprivation. The teenage boys told the Post that when they attempted to sleep on the hard floor, US soldiers “shouted at them and hammered on their cells.” Prisoners’ only respite from this extreme solitary confinement are twice-a-day interrogations, during which some are beaten or humiliated.
I must say that I was quite surprised to hear Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh say on CBC's Power and Politics show today that he'd never heard of 'black sites' in Afghanistan. He definitely needs to get up to speed about what's happening there.
(I'll be putting up a separate post about Richard Colvin's rebuttal letter to the Special Committee on Afghanistan once I've had a chance to read through it.)