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And, yes, I DO take it personally: U.S. deception and doublespeak results in some very ugly business in Afghanistan with former U.S. detainees
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Thursday, April 10, 2008

U.S. deception and doublespeak results in some very ugly business in Afghanistan with former U.S. detainees

there's something that smells very, very fishy here...
Dozens of Afghan men who were previously held by the United States at Bagram Air Base and Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, are now being tried here in secretive Afghan criminal proceedings based mainly on allegations forwarded by the American military.

The prisoners are being convicted and sentenced to as much as 20 years’ confinement in trials that typically run between half an hour and an hour, said human rights investigators who have observed them. One early trial was reported to have lasted barely 10 minutes, an investigator said.


[T]he trials appear to be based almost entirely on terse summaries of allegations that are forwarded to the Afghan authorities by the United States military. Afghan security agents add what evidence they can, but the cases generally center on events that sometimes occurred years ago in war zones that the authorities may now be unable to reach.

“These are no-witness paper trials that deny the defendants a fundamental fair-trial right to challenge the evidence and mount a defense,” said Sahr MuhammedAlly, a lawyer for the advocacy group Human Rights First who has studied the proceedings. “So any convictions you get are fundamentally flawed.”

The head of Afghanistan’s national intelligence agency, Amrullah Saleh, said his investigators did their best to develop their own evidence. But he added that the Afghan judicial system remained crippled by problems more than six years after the fall of the Taliban.


Since 2002 the Bush administration has pressed foreign governments to prosecute the Guantánamo prisoners from their countries as a condition of the men’s repatriation. But many of those governments — including such close American allies as Britain — have objected, saying the American evidence would not hold up in their courts.

ok, i've got a question... if these men have been released from detention by the u.s., one would have to assume that the u.s. did not have evidence solid enough to hold them, right...? so, if that's the case, what basis does the u.s. have for even SUGGESTING that foreign governments prosecute them as a condition of their repatriation...? that makes no sense...

here's what the u.s. says about that...

United States officials defended their role in providing information for the Afghan trials as a legitimate way to try to contain the threats that some of the more dangerous detainees would pose if they were released outright.

and, in the very next breath, the u.s. says THIS...
“These are not prosecutions that are being done at the request or behest of the United States government,” said Sandra L. Hodgkinson, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for detention policy. “These are prosecutions that are being done by Afghans for crimes committed on their territory by their nationals.”

so, the u.s. is trying to contain the threats of dangerous detainees that the u.s. RELEASED by providing information to their home country governments, information that wasn't sufficient to warrant their continued detention and eventual trial in the u.s... have i got that right...? and the u.s. passes this insufficient information to their home country governments with the not-too-subtle hint that those governments should consider prosecution...? but these prosecutions - in the one country that's doing the prosecuting - are NOT being done at u.s. request OR behest...? pardon me, but i suddenly developed a splitting headache... WTF...?!?!? i've read some double-speak - lots of it, in fact - but this takes the cake...

here's a little squib of a perspective i've already gleaned from my two brief weeks in afghanistan... if there was ever a place in the world where money talks, it's here... afghanistan is a total cash economy... no credit cards... no checks... no time payments... it's either cash in full, right here, right now, or nothing... some of the money-changers over in the money-changers market have stacks of dollars, euros, and afghan currency piled as high as a man is tall, and i'm not exaggerating one bit... in the courts, "justice" is for sale... obtaining the ruling or the verdict you want carries a price and, believe me, that price isn't fixed, nor is it based on ability to pay... what you pay to get your favorable court decision fluctuates daily, based entirely on what the market will bear...

so, you can be sure that the former detainees who are being "prosecuted," if any of the poor bastards are fortunate enough to have relatives with money, a highly unlikely possibility, will be able to buy their acquittal... if not, tough shit... any hint of due process is simply the delusion of a fevered u.s. imagination...

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