Follow Barack Obama prior and during his tenure as the 44th President of the United States. Read about my personal observations along with every day facts as they happen. This blog will only submit factual information about the first black President, now in his 2nd term of office.


Send E-mail to the Editor at:

Search This Blog

Afghan Prison Poses Problem in US Detainee Prison Policy

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Guantanamo prison is not the only prison issue facing President Obama. You don't hear much about the 600 prisoners packed into a cavernous, makeshift prison on the American air base in Afghanistan called Bagram. Supposedly it is a much tougher base, and occupants have fewer privileges and no access to lawyers. Journalists or human rights advocates were never allowed inside. So, in another move to be put front and center soon, President Obama will continue to may his 'accountability law' become evident in Afghanistan. Most of the detainees there are considered Taliban fighters,and considered extreme terrorists. Some of the detainees that were released are have known to rejoin their terrorist groups.
Now President Obama has a decision to make. How will he continue to hold these men in Bagram? Because they are held as prisoners of war, they are held without charge. A new prison must be built to hold these men at a cost of approximately $60 million dollars to offer better conditions for these detainees, but if he does, it would signal to the world, especially in the middle east that Obama plans on a longer-term commitment to the American detention mission. This could ultimately work against him. So President Obama is looking at the issue more intently as you might think. He has directed a task force lead by the attorney general and the defense secretary to study Americas policy on detainees and report to him is six months. At that time, the President most likely will make a definite decision with the Bagram facility.
One of the reasons why tackling this problem sooner than later would be because of President Obama's stated intentions, dating all the way back to his campaign for President. He vows to  shift the military force eventually from Iraq, to Afghanistan, and he will need a place to put prisoners that are caught during that time. The present facility in Bagram does not suit the President's needs. So a prison complex at Bagram is surely to come in the near future.
One thing is for sure. Compared to Bush, Obama will have accountability in the prisons that we use for terrorists and other criminals local and abroad. Mr Bush on the other hand, was directly responsible for the activities in Bagram and other prisons throughout the middle east holding war criminals, and he supported 'no accountability' at all even though he claims his actions regarding terrorism have been totally vindicated. He tried to cover up his policy on these prisons when the issue of torture came up at Abu Ghraib prison outside of Baghdad as well as allegations of torture of other Iraqis by British soldiers.But when Abu Ghraib surfaced, it proved that U.S. soldiers were using torture with inmates, and President Bush promptly dismissed any guilt or knowledge that such actions existed. That was our illustrious 43rd President George Bush. Now, President Obama must now deal with Iraq directly regarding Ghraib, as Iraq plans to reopen the facility soon.
The population in Bagram has increased 6 times in four years, mainly because of an order by President Bush in 2004 halting the shipment of prisoners to Guantanamo, leaving Bagram the preferred place to hold terrorist suspects. Various separate issues exist with the prisoners at Bagram including the fact that at least 4 of these inmates who seek to challenge their detention through  habeas corpus, a right that the Supreme Court has granted for detainees at Guantánamo. have been imprisoned there without access to any legal process, many of them for over 6 years. But for now, don't expect that anything would change at Bagram until the 6 month review process is completed and President Obama is ready to make a decision. It is a crucial decision and obviously it must be the right one. There are several elements that must be accounted for in the review process, including the rights of terrorists captured and imprisoned in Iraq must be afforded legal protections under the Geneva Convention.
“The tragedy is, the U.S. is spending tens of millions of dollars building better detention facilities, but still has no process in place to handle these guys,” said Sam Zarifi, director of Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific program, which is based in London.


  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by 2008

Back to TOP