The Great Debate UK
-Clara Gutteridge is renditions investigator at Reprieve. The opinions expressed are her own.-
The big surprise in Tuesday’s revelations of prisoner abuse at Bagram is how long these stories have taken to reach the international media, given the scale of the problem.
Bagram Airforce Base is Guantanamo Bay’s lesser known – but more evil – twin. Thousands of prisoners have been “through the system” at Bagram, and around 600 are currently held there. Meanwhile President Obama’s lawyers are fighting to hold them incommunicado; stripped of the right to challenge the reasons for their imprisonment.
In this way, Bagram Airforce Base is just the latest in a long line of U.S.-created legal black holes. And as evidence of abuse there has begun to leak out, the U.S. military has responded in exactly the same way as it did to similar allegations at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere: by insisting that the torture is just the work of a few low-ranking “bad apples” and repeating that the U.S. “does not torture”.
- Daniel Gorevan is head of Amnesty International‘s Counter Terror with Justice campaign. The opinions expressed are his own. -
Tony Blair’s government reportedly advised MI5 officers that the UK must not be “seen to condone” torture. However, evidence is mounting that British agents knowingly exploited torture perpetrated by others.