Bagram, the New Gitmo

Although Barack Obama seems to be moving forward with his much-publicized decision to close Guantanamo Bay, whether this moves signals an end to American detention and, arguably, torture of suspected terrorists is considerably less certain.  As The American Conservative explains,

[a]nother 700 prisoners are being detained at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. Their status is more complicated since they’re being held in a war theatre.  But that shouldn’t give the U.S. blanket permission to, as IPS News’ William Fisher writes, “create a modern-day Star Chamber, where it can label an individual an ‘enemy combatant,’ deny him  meaningful ability to challenge that label, and on that basis, detain him indefinitely, virtually incommunicado, subject to interrogation and torture, without any right of redress.”

As Obama enjoys credit for closing Gitmo, the Bagram prison is being expanded to hold 11,000.

This troubling revelation is somehow not surprising, given Obama’s cabinet appointments, which include a rather lacking-in-change choice of Bush Secretary of Defense Robert Gates as, you guessed it, Secretary of Defense.  Closing Gitmo is certainly admirable, but the expansion of Bagram suggests that it is little more than the expert showmanship which may be expected of Obama et al.

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