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And, yes, I DO take it personally: Bagram, Afghanistan
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Monday, November 16, 2009

Bagram, Afghanistan


i've posted extensively on bagram, otherwise known as "guantánamo east" (see here)... i have been aware that they've been constructing a "bigger, better" bagram but it's evidently now "open to the public"...

as usual, al jazeera has the scoop, not to be seen in u.s. media...

Journalists have been allowed to inspect refurbished facilities at Bagram airbase in Afghanistan, the largest US military hub in the region and home to a controversial prison.

Al Jazeera's correspondent James Bays, who was among those who inspected the facilities on Sunday, said Bagram, unlike its Guantánamo counterpart, was clearly not going to be shut down soon.

"The new prison wing cost some $60 million to build ... and is meant to be part of a new era of openness and transparency," Bays said.

keep in mind that, besides housing the detention facility, bagram is also a HUGE u.s. military base, "home" to over 24,000 military and contractors...
Bagram Air Field is the largest US military hub in Afghanistan and is home to about 24,000 military personnel and civilian contractors.

Tens of millions of dollars continue to be spent on expanding and upgrading facilities - turning Bagram into a town spread over about 5,000 acres.

The air field part of the complex is already handling 400 tonnes of cargo and 1,000 passengers daily, according to Air Force spokesman Captain David Faggard.

and new facilities evidently don't mean better treatment (why are we not surprised?)...
Omar Dighayes, a former detainee at Bagram and Guantánamo Bay, said the Bagram prison resembled a concentration camp.

"People were beaten, dragged, tortured in it. There were high places where guards stood with guns. It was a hard, difficult place," he told Al Jazeera.

But he said he doubts the newly refurbished Bagram prison will improve conditions for its detainees, one of which includes his brother-in-law, whom Dighayes says was recently "badly beaten" inside Bagram.

"I don't think it's the facilities which make the difference, it's the treatment of people inside.

"Everybody who worked in Bagram - from the American side - will tell you that the things I'm describing did happen. People from the military intelligence [and] people from the FBI have spoken about the barbaric treatment at this facility."

here's al jazeera's riz khan on the "new" detention center...

Part 1

Part 2

here's an al jazeera clip on the "tour" of the new facility given to journalists...
Barack Obama, the US president, has pledged to close down Guantanamo Bay, the military prison in Cuba.

But in Afghanistan, hundreds of people are still detained without charge at a "secret" prison in Bagram airbase, the largest US military hub in the region.

The US authorities recently permitted journalists to see the updated and expanded facility, which cost nearly $60m.

change we can believe in...

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