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February 1, 2010 5:45 AM   Subscribe

America's Secret Afghan Prisons. Meanwhile Vice Admiral Robert Harward states: There are no black-jail secret prisons.
The Washington Independent reports that Vice Admirals Robert Howard and William McRaven (commander of the Joint Special Operations Command) both have deep ties to Gen. Stanley McChrystal and influential with Jim Jones, Obama’s national security adviser.
posted by adamvasco (53 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
On my browser, at least, this link is easier to read. YMMV.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:24 AM on February 1, 2010


Seen through the eyes of a US soldier, Afghanistan is a scary place. The men are bearded and turbaned. They pray incessantly.

We keep hearing that ours is the greatest military in the world. But I'm not so sure.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:35 AM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Beards don't frighten you?
posted by shakespeherian at 6:44 AM on February 1, 2010


Explain to me again why most Americans don't trust big government?
posted by orthogonality at 6:46 AM on February 1, 2010


"Explain to me again why most Americans don't trust big government?"

I don't think the word "big" is necessary there. Most people I know don't trust anything the government says, regardless of whether it's federal, state, or local.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 6:54 AM on February 1, 2010


There are no black-jail secret prisons,” Harward said. “We do have field detention sites we do not disclose, but they’re held there for very short periods, and then they’re moved — if they’re determined to need additional internment, they’re moved to the detention facility at Parwan or released.”

I can see where one man's "secret prison" is another's "field detention site." But this deserves a closer look. The Admiral insists the International Red Cross has access to all of the detainees in his command. Wonder what the IRC has to say about the field sites. Is there any additional reporting from them?
posted by Ironmouth at 6:57 AM on February 1, 2010


Seen through the eyes of a US soldier, Afghanistan is a scary place. The men are bearded and turbaned. They pray incessantly.

Its a war zone. Of course its scary. I suspect it is the combat and suicide bombings that are the thing that scares them.

I had a friend who was stationed there in 2005. She was a civilian employee of a U.S. government agency (non-secret, non-military). I would get these phone calls from her. The phone number was always 000001. I interrupted a deposition once to take one of those calls. Anyway, one day I heard on the news "IED hits U.S. Embassy convoy." A feeling from way inside me said "oh no, S____."

Next time I heard from her I told her that. She said that's funny because I was in that convoy. It was the Humvee behind me, people were seriously injured and killed. I've never had that feeling, before or since.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:01 AM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Explain to me again why most Americans don't trust big government?

“To watch the courageous Afghan freedom fighters battle modern arsenals with simple hand-held weapons is an inspiration to those who love freedom. Their courage teaches us a great lesson—that there are things in this world worth defending. To the Afghan people, I say on behalf of all Americans that we admire your heroism, your devotion to freedom, and your relentless struggle against your oppressors.”

- Ronald Reagan, March 21, 1983.
posted by three blind mice at 7:06 AM on February 1, 2010 [34 favorites]


Seen through the eyes of a US soldier, Afghanistan is a scary place. The men are bearded and turbaned. They pray incessantly.

We keep hearing that ours is the greatest military in the world. But I'm not so sure.


I'm pretty sure that there isn't such a thing as the 'greatest military in the world.' But if there is, I would expect it to be as imperfect and flawed as we are.

I mean, really, we all sit here, on our asses, doing our regular everyday things. They are out there risking their lives because the leaders we elected decided to send them there. That makes us responsible. And they get the short end of the stick on that.

More importantly, it reminds me of a conversation I had with a roommate when we were graduate students back in the day. He was from Ireland and we talked about all of the terrible things that the US has done. He said Ireland has never done those things.

I said to him, if Ireland was as big as the US and was thrust into the role it plays now, did he think the Irish wouldn't do bad things too?

He said "I guess your right. I never thought of it that way."
posted by Ironmouth at 7:07 AM on February 1, 2010


Ironmouth: "I said to him, if Ireland was as big as the US and was thrust into the role it plays now, did he think the Irish wouldn't do bad things too?""

Gosh darn it. Here we were trying to mind our own p's and q's. And then somehow we got stuck with military bases in 130 countries.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:13 AM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm still looking for that Ironmouth. I did find this document (pdf) which describes the IRC's mission and procedure in monitoring detention facilities around the world.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 7:14 AM on February 1, 2010


Explain to me again why most Americans don't trust big government?

Oh, American's trust big government, despite what they might say to the contrary. Especially the parts of government that use guns, prisons and surveillance apparatus.

It's poor people they don't trust, and all those pesky, wimpy institutions of government that don't require the use of guns, prisons or surveillance apparatus.

Anybody who tells you he/she doesn't trust "big government" while at the same time pushing as relentlessly as possible to give the government more police power and military funding is either a liar or an idiot.

That said, I tried to parse these articles out, and didn't really find anything more substantial here than some speculation. I mean, yeah, you can close-read anybody's statements until you find a way to see ambiguity in them. If nothing else, you'd think Post Modernism would have taught us that language is inherently ambiguous and that all positive claims of fact can be unpacked in ways that make them seem self-contradictory.

Even taken with a healthy dose of skepticism, a denial from Pentagon officials that we continue to operate Black Sites isn't itself proof that we continue to operate black sites, and I don't see any evidence of continued wrongdoing presented here that isn't purely speculative (which is fine, just not especially decisive). Of course new detainees in any battle zone have to be temporarily detained in undisclosed field detention locations before being transferred to the big facilities. What's the alternative? Every time the military takes a prisoner, they have to stop ongoing operations and transport them however many hundred miles to the nearest major detention center? That's ridiculous.

The second link acknowledges that it isn't clear there's any evidence of anything more than the use of undisclosed short-term field detention centers (which it makes sense can't be disclosed, as they are presumably being operated by combat troops located and operating in particular combat zones, and the positions of those combat troops would be sensitive for obvious security reasons). I just don't see anything new here, unless I'm missing it, other than some vague suspicions based almost entirely on skeptical close-readings of certain senior military officials' remarks on the record denying the continued operation of black sites.

Where's the crap in this crap sandwich?
posted by saulgoodman at 7:23 AM on February 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ironmouth: "I said to him, if Ireland was as big as the US and was thrust into the role it plays now, did he think the Irish wouldn't do bad things too?""

Gosh darn it. Here we were trying to mind our own p's and q's. And then somehow we got stuck with military bases in 130 countries.


Generally that's what happens when Germany tries to take over the world, Britain gets bankrupted fighting him and Stalin has hundreds of divisions and the most powerful armored force the world has ever seen at the end of it, and you get in a long cold war with him and his successors, and then there's nobody left but you to defend the sea lanes.

I'm not saying the US hasn't done its share of terrible things. But this is more of a hell reached by good intentions. Which, admittedly, is the worst kind, because it becomes harder to get out of it. But we are depended on by very many countries to defend them and the sea lanes Pax Americana. Frankly, a good many of them are probably very glad not to have to pay for it. This isn't a black and white U.S. Imperialism Nyet! situation. If we were somehow benefitting massively from this, I would suspect we would not be the world's biggest debtor nation and have such a gigantic trade deficit.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:27 AM on February 1, 2010


That said, I tried to parse these articles out, and didn't really find anything more substantial here than some speculation. I mean, yeah, you can close-read anybody's statements until you find a way to see ambiguity in them. If nothing else, you'd think Post Modernism would have taught us that language is inherently ambiguous and that all positive claims of fact can be unpacked in ways that make them seem self-contradictory.

Even taken with a healthy dose of skepticism, a denial from Pentagon officials that we continue to operate Black Sites isn't itself proof that we continue to operate black sites, and I don't see any evidence of continued wrongdoing presented here that isn't purely speculative (which is fine, just not especially decisive). Of course new detainees in any battle zone have to be temporarily detained in undisclosed field detention locations before being transferred to the big facilities. What's the alternative? Every time the military takes a prisoner, they have to stop ongoing operations and transport them however many hundred miles to the nearest major detention center? That's ridiculous.

The second link acknowledges that it isn't clear there's any evidence of anything more than the use of undisclosed short-term field detention centers (which it makes sense can't be disclosed, as they are presumably being operated by combat troops located and operating in particular combat zones, and the positions of those combat troops would be sensitive for obvious security reasons). I just don't see anything new here, unless I'm missing it, other than some vague suspicions based almost entirely on skeptical close-readings of certain senior military officials' remarks on the record denying the continued operation of black sites.


There has been this flood of "Obama's Still Doing It!" articles posted here on the Blue. One said we were torturing prisoners by not allowing themselves to starve themselves to death. Literally. But none of them ever really have the meat on the bones one would want.

If one wants to criticize Obama, there are plenty of other areas in national security, drones, detention issues with Guantanamo, etc. (although I think the guy should be cut some slack for not being aware of all of the difficulties in getting that placed closed in a year.).
posted by Ironmouth at 7:31 AM on February 1, 2010


Regarding the last link, Spencer Ackerman seems to be assuming that people who read the piece are already familiar with his writings on the McChrystal, and I hate to say it, but he kind of does a lousy job here of explaining why "deep ties" between three military officers and President Obama's national security advisor could be a problem. After all, the military deliberately encourages officers to form close bonds over time. Howard, McRaven and McChrystal all have extensive counterterrorism and counterinsurgency experience. They take similar positions on those subjects, based on that experience. So why would their deep ties be a problem? And shouldn't we reasonably expect Jones to rely on the people he knows and trusts?

One really needs to go back to Ackerman's other writings on the subject to understand his perspective, which is that if President Obama completely abandons his "exit strategy," it will be a direct result of Howard, McRaven and McChrystal's influence. Ackerman's been alleging that the McChrystal and his staff have been trying to force President Obama to commit to a huge surge, even though we may not have the troops to support one. He may also be engaging in a bit of a propaganda campaign, by trying to discredit those in a position to give the President conflicting advice about how he should handle the Afghan conflict.
posted by zarq at 7:40 AM on February 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ironmouth: "There has been this flood of "Obama's Still Doing It!" articles posted here on the Blue. One said we were torturing prisoners by not allowing themselves to starve themselves to death. Literally."

Yeah, what's up with that?

In countries where prisoners’ rights are not fully respected or even completely disregarded, and where torture is practised; hunger strikes may be a last resort for prisoners wanting to protest against their situation.

The World Medical Association drew up the Declaration of Tokyo in 1975. Taken up since then by many official bodies, including the United Nations in the 1984 Convention against Torture, it expressly forbids any doctor to participate in any form of torture. Article 5, which deals with hunger strikes and specifically prohibits force-feeding, was meant to provide support for doctors confronted with prisoners who were victims of torture. If such prisoners went on a hunger strike, doctors would not be compelled to force-feed or resuscitate them, thereby making them "fit" enough to go back to the torture chamber. ...

Doctors should never be party to actual coercive feeding, with prisoners being tied down and intravenous drips or oesophageal tubes being forced into them. Such actions can be considered a form of torture, and under no circumstances should doctors participate in them, on the pretext of "saving the hunger striker’s life".

posted by Joe Beese at 7:43 AM on February 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Aargh. Please don't turn this into another one of those threads.

Seriously, without making this a referendum on the president (who isn't really a focus of these articles anyway), can anyone just explain to me what the scandal part of this scandal is? There doesn't have to be a smoking gun, but maybe there should be at least a receipt for a gun, or something. If there's something like that here, and I'm missing it, I'm just wondering what it is, because I couldn't find it.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:54 AM on February 1, 2010


Well of COURSE he's gonna say there's no secret prisons. If he did say it, they wouldn't be secret anymore, now would they?
posted by symbioid at 7:54 AM on February 1, 2010


Question: why is it that when things by our govt get done that we approve of, the govt
is simply called " the govt." but when we find something we abhor, the reference is to
BIG GOVT...when did it get "big"?
posted by Postroad at 7:57 AM on February 1, 2010


Here is an excerpt from the 2008 IRC report on Afghanistan. The excerpt is the part about detention facilities.

Apparently, the IRC only provides a confidential report on the condition of detention facilities to the detaining party, which seems kind of useless. I guess it's the only way they can get countries to give them access to prisons at all.
PEOPLE DEPRIVED OF THEIR FREEDOM


Persons in US custody

Internees in the Bagram Theater Internment Facility received regular ICRC visits. In accordance with the ICRC’s standard working procedures, delegates assessed their treatment and living conditions both in the facility and, through private interviews, in the places where they had previously been held. Confidential findings and recommendations were submitted to the US authorities. People held in field detention sites before being released, handed over to Afghan custody or transferred to the Bagram facility also received ICRC visits.
In January, the US authorities and the ICRC set up a video teleconferencing system between the delegation and Bagram to help internees and their families keep in touch. Additionally in September, the US authorities and the ICRC launched a family-visit programme, allowing families to visit their relatives in Bagram.
  • 981 internees visited, of whom 942 monitored individually (16 minors) and 385 newly registered (13 minors), during 14 visits to 6 places of detention
  • 8,363 RCMs collected from and 3,983 RCMs distributed to internees; 2,145 calls, including video teleconference calls, facilitated between internees and family members and 2,764 phone calls made to families to inform them of the whereabouts of an interned relative
  • 89 internees visited by their relatives, including those living in Pakistan, with ICRC support
  • 4 detention certificates issued to former internees or their families
Nearly 100 released internees received clothing, accommodation and financial support for their journey home and one foreign internee was repatriated after being released.

Persons in NATO/ISAF custody
The ICRC conducted visits to people in eight detention facilities run by ISAF contingents in the south and south-east of the country to monitor their conditions of detention before their transfer to Afghan authority, in accordance with ISAF’s standard operating procedures. The ICRC worked with ISAF on humanitarian matters, such as the transfer of detainees to other security forces.

Persons in Afghan custody
Security detainees were monitored individually through ICRC visits, corresponded with their families via RCMs and, upon release, received clothing and their fares home. Because of their vulnerability, detained foreigners, regardless of the charges against them, were also followed individually. The ICRC also monitored the transfer of 299 Afghan nationals previously held in Bagram and Guantanamo Bay to an Afghan Defence Ministry detention facility and facilitated family visits, which the detainees received for the first time since their arrest.

Based on its findings, the ICRC made recommendations to the detaining authorities on how to improve material conditions of detention. Projects to improve water supply, sanitation, kitchens and medical facilities in prisons were carried out, with ICRC technical support. The Central Prison Department and the ICRC implemented a project to improve detainee health care through the provision of medical supplies and equipment, the rehabilitation of prison clinics, hygiene education for detainees, the training of health personnel and the promotion of more efficient management. Based in part on the ICRC’s recommendation, responsibility for medical follow-up of detainees was transferred from the Ministry of Justice to the Ministry of Public Health as part of a proposal to reform health care in detention.
  • 12,746 detainees visited, of whom 2,583 monitored individually (23 females; 76 minors) and 1,265 newly registered (12 females; 59 minors), during 379 visits to 103 places of detention
  • 2,159 RCMs collected from and 2,348 RCMs distributed to detainees and 242 phone calls made to families to inform them of the whereabouts of a detained relative
  • 221 detainees visited by their relatives with ICRC support
  • 14 released foreign detainees repatriated with ICRC support
  • 41 detention certificates issued to former detainees or their families
  • 8,608 detainees benefited from water/sanitation/habitat projects
posted by Salvor Hardin at 7:58 AM on February 1, 2010


Did someone say "Hunger Strike"?

(I swear there's a Mr Show for everything!)
posted by symbioid at 7:58 AM on February 1, 2010


I can see where one man's "secret prison" is another's "field detention site." But this deserves a closer look. The Admiral insists the International Red Cross has access to all of the detainees in his command. Wonder what the IRC has to say about the field sites. Is there any additional reporting from them?

*prorogues MetaFilter*
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 8:01 AM on February 1, 2010


Question: why is it that when things by our govt get done that we approve of, the govt is simply called " the govt." but when we find something we abhor, the reference is to BIG GOVT...when did it get "big"?

It's always been big. It's the people who got small.
posted by zarq at 8:01 AM on February 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Seen through the eyes of a US soldier, Afghanistan is a scary place. The men are bearded and turbaned. They pray incessantly.

Yes, and it is a mystery why they do not welcome their clean-cut, Kevlared, blaspheming liberators.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:05 AM on February 1, 2010


Seriously, without making this a referendum on the president (who isn't really a focus of these articles anyway), can anyone just explain to me what the scandal part of this scandal is?

The usual: lack of military accountability and oversight as well as a potential violation of human rights of prisoners under their care. See: Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, Haditha....
posted by zarq at 8:10 AM on February 1, 2010


Seen through the eyes of a US soldier, Afghanistan is a scary place. The men are bearded and turbaned. They pray incessantly.

And yet he also describes "most of" the American soldiers as tattooed and bearded. Apparently tattoos make beards less frightening than turbans do.
posted by zarq at 8:12 AM on February 1, 2010


Well of COURSE he's gonna say there's no secret prisons. If he did say it, they wouldn't be secret anymore, now would they?

Uh, the FDL link totally says there are field detention sites whose location is secret, where prisoners are held until transfer to Bagram Air Base.

There's no real reporting here. A lot of supposition based on "deep ties" between these officers. While that may or may be true, they need a document or a source to say that this is where things are going on that we should be concerned with. We see none of that, and the government admits that it is holding these prisoners at undisclosed locations for a short time before transferring them to Bagram.

It could be that bad things are happening there, it might not. But we don't have any evidence here that they are. More reporting is needed, or a report from the IRC to get us more up to speed.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:20 AM on February 1, 2010


Seriously, without making this a referendum on the president (who isn't really a focus of these articles anyway), can anyone just explain to me what the scandal part of this scandal is?

The usual: lack of military accountability and oversight as well as a potential violation of human rights of prisoners under their care. See: Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, Haditha....


Where are the human rights violations here? I see no assertions that these temporary field camps are places where human rights violations are occuring. It may be so, but we have no evidence of that.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:22 AM on February 1, 2010


Persons in NATO/ISAF custody
The ICRC conducted visits to people in eight detention facilities run by ISAF contingents in the south and south-east of the country to monitor their conditions of detention before their transfer to Afghan authority, in accordance with ISAF’s standard operating procedures. The ICRC worked with ISAF on humanitarian matters, such as the transfer of detainees to other security forces.


I strongly suspect these are the field detention camps previously mentioned. It appears the ICRC is monitoring some camps other than Bagram.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:24 AM on February 1, 2010


People held in field detention sites before being released, handed over to Afghan custody or transferred to the Bagram facility also received ICRC visits.

OK, so they are there, at least from what the ICRC says.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:26 AM on February 1, 2010


Someone's not telling the truth.

It appears the FPP is therefore misnamed.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:26 AM on February 1, 2010


Generally that's what happens when Germany tries to take over the world

We had bases in the Pacific long before this happened.
posted by rfs at 8:30 AM on February 1, 2010


rfs: "We had bases in the Pacific long before this happened."

Oh, we've found ourselves "thrust into" the killing of brown-skinned folk overseas since at least 1899.

Of course, we were "thrust into" killing brown-skinned folk in North America centuries before that.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:38 AM on February 1, 2010


Ironmouth: Where are the human rights violations here? I see no assertions that these temporary field camps are places where human rights violations are occuring.


Did you not read the first link in the post?
Of the twenty-four former detainees interviewed for this article, seventeen claim to have been abused at or en route to these sites. Doctors, government officials and the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, an independent Afghan body mandated by the Afghan Constitution to investigate abuse allegations, corroborate twelve of these claims.

It may be so, but we have no evidence of that.

This is one of the AIHRC's reports. Seems pretty damning to me. More can be found on their website. Worth noting that they also issued at least one report about abuses of Afghan civilians by insurgents.
posted by zarq at 8:44 AM on February 1, 2010


Beards are encouraged amongst some Allied soldiers in Afghanistan as they are not taken seriously amongst the population otherwise.
posted by longbaugh at 8:55 AM on February 1, 2010


Zarq: But those are old claims of abuse (some dating back as far as 2003). The post frames the issue in a way that suggests there are some new allegations of abuse in currently operating black sites, and yet, there's not any specific claim to that effect in these articles that I can find.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:56 AM on February 1, 2010


The "damning" report you linked was released in December 2008. So where's the new damning stuff?
posted by saulgoodman at 8:58 AM on February 1, 2010


Ironmouth: Where are the human rights violations here? I see no assertions that these temporary field camps are places where human rights violations are occuring.

Did you not read the first link in the post?

Of the twenty-four former detainees interviewed for this article, seventeen claim to have been abused at or en route to these sites. Doctors, government officials and the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, an independent Afghan body mandated by the Afghan Constitution to investigate abuse allegations, corroborate twelve of these claims.


Indeed I did. Didn't find any torture or human rights violations from the period during the current administration. One as late as 2008. I believe those should be investigated. But there is not a single one in the article that says that the current administration is violating the human rights of these prisoners. Not a one. There is a description of a 2009 detention, but no allegations of a human rights violation since Obama took office. Not a one.

Much of the article is pure speculation.

I think any and all allegations of human rights violations should be investigated. However, I see no evidence the Administration is purposfully currently engaging in the practice of torture. None. The only allegations I have is that prisoners should be allowed to commit suicide by starving themselves. I respectfully disagree that this is a human rights violation.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:04 AM on February 1, 2010


Afghans Detail Detention in ‘Black Jail’ at U.S. Base It appears that in Bagram there is a Jail inside a Jail.
Here are some interviews with ex prisoners
posted by adamvasco at 9:22 AM on February 1, 2010


Afghans Detail Detention in ‘Black Jail’ at U.S. Base It appears that in Bagram there is a Jail inside a Jail.
Here are some interviews with ex prisoners


From the article it says that the allegations are being investigated. However, neither person says they were tortured but that they heard others being tortured. Obama has limited the amount of time they can stay in these places to two weeks. No extensions are possible.

I certainly think these allegations do need to be looked into, which appears to be happening.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:33 AM on February 1, 2010


From adamvasco's link:
In August, the administration restricted the time that detainees could be held at the military jails to two weeks, changing previous Pentagon policy. In the past, the military could obtain extensions.

The interviewed detainees had been held longer, but before the new policy went into effect. Mr. Hamidullah, who, like some Afghans, uses only one name, was released in October after five and half months in detention, five to six weeks of it in the black jail, he said.
Okay, so this FPP is really about abuses that took place under the previous administration. I get it.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:39 AM on February 1, 2010


"The Washington Independent reports that Vice Admirals Robert Howard and William McRaven (commander of the Joint Special Operations Command) both have deep ties to Gen. Stanley McChrystal and influential with Jim Jones, Obama’s national security adviser. "

Shocking news! People who work together... Work together! Film at eleven!
posted by Jahaza at 9:51 AM on February 1, 2010


I've been doing a bit more research looking for ways to get the ICRC reports about detainment facilities in Afghanistan, but it appears that the US military bullshits its way out of publishing those reports. I did find the 2004 ICRC report about US detainment in Iraq. It's not a pretty picture.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 10:58 AM on February 1, 2010


I've been doing a bit more research looking for ways to get the ICRC reports about detainment facilities in Afghanistan, but it appears that the US military bullshits its way out of publishing those reports

Does the ICRC issue them? think the source would be the best place. Or does the country reported on them control it? seems wrong if that's the case.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:33 AM on February 1, 2010


Anand gave a great interview Saturday @ 95:50 "This Is Hell"
posted by hortense at 11:50 AM on February 1, 2010




2 Dec 2009 Human Rights First Calls for Full Investigation of Bagram's "Black Prison"
TPM on the prison within a prison. An Afghan run prison in a US airforce base!

America's Secret Afghan Prisons. Meanwhile Vice Admiral Robert Harward states: There are no black-jail secret prisons.
The Washington Independent reports that Vice Admirals Robert Howard and William McRaven (commander of the Joint Special Operations Command) both have deep ties to Gen. Stanley McChrystal and influential with Jim Jones, Obama’s national security adviser.


yeah, but you didn't exactly frame this post too well. Here are the problems:

Your claim that Harward stated that there were no black-jail secret prisons is not within the article you linked. Harward makes no such claims in the article, but the text to the link claims he did.

This belies the entire title of your post, which is "Someone's not telling the truth." Since the alleged statement by Harward does not exist within the article itself, there is no reason to title the post as you did. You may want to ask a mod to change it, because you are ending up being a person who is "not telling the truth." The entire post is based on a faulty reading of the linked article.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:27 PM on February 1, 2010


OK, I got the links mixed up. here's where the issue is. the FDL post you link to does not go into the detail and does not deal directly with what you say it does. Instead it links here to Spencer Akerman's report, which you do not link to.

The problem is that all provided examples refer to persons detained prior to Harward's taking over and prior to Obama's change in orders regarding holding persons at the "high-value" detainee site "the black jail" as you call it at Bagram. So there is no way to tell if ICRC now has access to those persons yet or not. Therefore, the linked article does not say what you say it says.

Complicated, but again, I think you missed some key facts here which are causing your post title to be untruthful.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:33 PM on February 1, 2010


Does the ICRC issue them? think the source would be the best place. Or does the country reported on them control it? seems wrong if that's the case.

Generally the Red Cross does not publish its reports on prison conditions unless allowed to. It takes the view that it is better to have access and no unilateral ability to publish than to have no access and thus nothing to publish, unilaterally or otherwise. This is especially important because it offers other services to prisoners (such as sending and receiving mail) that are independent of its ability to report on prison conditions.
posted by jedicus at 12:38 PM on February 1, 2010


Generally the Red Cross does not publish its reports on prison conditions unless allowed to. It takes the view that it is better to have access and no unilateral ability to publish than to have no access and thus nothing to publish, unilaterally or otherwise. This is especially important because it offers other services to prisoners (such as sending and receiving mail) that are independent of its ability to report on prison conditions.

Here's what I suggest: Start with a FOIA request for said documents. When the FOIA is rejected, write to the undersecretary resposible at DoD requesting that these reports be made public. If that fails, write to each immediate supervisor up the chain until you get to the SecDef. If that fails, write the president, enclosing all of the communications. Go up the chain slowly, so that they can't give you a response saying "write to this person." However, if there are any investigations going on of these prisons, it is likely you won't get them as they will be evidence in those cases. Continue to press for the reports and you will likely eventually get them.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:52 PM on February 1, 2010


Also, cc your congressman and senators on each and every correspondence, including a letter requesting their assistance in getting the information.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:53 PM on February 1, 2010


Start with a FOIA request for said documents.

Yeah, I'm already starting one for ICRC reports on US facilities in Afghanistan.

Also, cc your congressman and senators on each and every correspondence

Good idea.

Generally the Red Cross does not publish its reports on prison conditions unless allowed to. It takes the view that it is better to have access and no unilateral ability to publish than to have no access and thus nothing to publish, unilaterally or otherwise.

Yeah, Jedicus has it. The DoD likes to pretend that there's some moral reason THEY THEMSELVES can't publish the ICRC reports issued about US prisons, even that makes NO SENSE. See this news conference, for example, where a reporter tries and fails to get the spokesperson to admit the non sequitur.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 1:39 PM on February 1, 2010


another night another raid
posted by hortense at 8:12 PM on February 1, 2010


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