USA Today: Afghan Prison is Luxurious Living

USA Today prints a pure piece of propaganda today on how the U.S. has “reshaped” Bagram prison’s image:

In an outdoor field, inmates at the Detention Facility in Parwan play soccer in the shadow of the transport planes, shipping containers and thousands of troops that cram this major hub of the Afghanistan war.

In another part of the prison, the men are being visited by their wives and children. Others whose families live far from the base talk on a videoconference system. In a vocational training wing, inmates use new sewing machines to make curtains for a meeting room.

“They jumped all over this,” Army Maj. Ann Sampson said. “They all want to make suits and learn English.”

Prison life at Bagram is far different today than the initial years of the war, say military officials who gave USA TODAY a rare tour of the facility. Before Parwan, suspected Taliban militants, sympathizers and abettors were squeezed into a windowless Soviet airplane hangar known as Bagram Theater Internment Facility. The Red Cross complained about the rudimentary conditions. Groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union likened it to the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, where inmates were abused by several U.S. troops.

The main thing you need to know is that the reporter who wrote the story got a “rare tour” of the prison from U.S. military officials.

A BBC report on a “secret prison” that is separate from the main facility USA Today apparently toured must have slipped the reporter’s mind.  An excerpt:

Afghan prisoners are being abused in a “secret jail” at Bagram airbase, according to nine witnesses whose stories the BBC has documented.

The abuses are all said to have taken place since US President Barack Obama was elected, promising to end torture.

The US military has denied the existence of a secret detention site and promised to look into allegations.

Bagram was the site of a controversial jail holding hundreds of inmates, who have now been moved to another complex.

The old prison was notorious for allegations of prisoner torture and abuse.

But witnesses told the BBC in interviews or written testimony that abuses continue in a hidden facility.

More information on the Bagram prison under President Obama can be found here and here, two pieces by the investigative journalist Andy Worthington.

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