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26 Oct, 2010 23:14

Bagram: America’s best-kept Afghan secret

The US military’s Bagram detention facility in Afghanistan is hidden behind a wall of secrecy and considered by many to be more questionable than the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Debra Sweet, the director of The World Can't Wait, said that those held at Bagram are unknowns – who they are is not disclosed, and the charges they face are not disclosed.

“The world wants to know who is being held there and why,” said Sweet.

There are allegations of secret prison practices, harsh interrogations and conditions far worse than those at Guantanamo Bay.

The Obama administration refuses to make public details about the detention facility, and also continues to deny habeas corpus rights to those held there.

“The argument that the Obama administration is making, as I understand it, is this is an active warzone, therefore we don’t have to give rights that anyone on US soil would be guaranteed,” said Sweet.

US veteran Jake Diliberto from ReThink Afghanistan says the Obama administration hasn't made a significant policy change from the Bush administration in terms of dealing with terrorism.

“As long the war continues inside of the Afghanistan, the secret base is going to stay there. And there is no clear effort to find out what's taking place inside,” Diliberto, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, told RT.

Meanwhile, the US continues to give a great deal of humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, while refusing to be transparent about other ongoing activities in the country.

“The message has been consistent throughout the Bush regime and now under the Obama administration that people are not able to expect being held safe from arbitrary and indefinite detention,” Sweet added.

President Barack Obama has even mentioned preventative detonation as a part of the law – essentially arresting someone based on an opinion that they might one day engage in illegal activities.

“These are huge changes in US law, and they are absolutely in contradiction to the message we are told that the US is trying to spread democracy and keep Americans safe,” explained Sweet.