The Reasoned Review

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Bagram Detainee List Revealed

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The State Department has finally decided to reveal the names of those being held indefinitely, without trial, at our infamous prison complex in Bagram, Afghanistan. The move toward “transparency” comes after numerous Freedom of Informaion Act (FOIA) requests on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union. The list of 645 names can be downloaded from the ACLU website here.

The New York Times, in its article, finds someone to state the obvious:

“While it’s very important in terms of U.S. government transparency, it means very little to the individuals named because the U.S. government still maintains that everybody whose name appears on that list is not entitled to any human rights under U.S. law,” Ms. Foster said.

Bingo! And given that the ACLU had to employ extraordinary persistence to gain what should be public knowledge – the names of those held illegally by the US government – it seems unlikely we will ever learn the real strategic information in this detention-imbroglio: why the ‘detainees’ are there in the first place.

Soon after 9/11 the most horrifying stories emerged of lawless bounty-hunters kidnapping whomever was convenient and selling them to the Americans as “enemy combatants” while receiving a hefty reward for their trouble. This ‘bounty scheme’ resulted in thousands of innocent citizens being falsely imprisoned for no reason other than unfortunate luck.  And once imprisoned they had to stay in jail – it looks very bad, after all, for a country to kidnap and torture innocent citizens and then let them go. The citizens have a tendency to tell stories, and that, of course, “wouldn’t do”. As long as the US government keeps the so-called ‘crimes’ of its detainees secret, they can forever trumpet that they only imprison “the worst of the worst”, as they had in Guantanamo. If it came out that a sizable portion of the detainees were actually innocent – well, that would be the real scandal.

Hats off to the ACLU for its tenacity in pursuing this, but the fight for justice for those illegally detained and tortured by US forces is still far from over. Should we be surprised the Obama Administration is opposed to releasing the names?


Written by pavanvan

January 17, 2010 at 3:13 pm

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