What's up in Afghanistan.
Cowboys & Iraqians
I was reading an article on CNN about the arrest of 3 "American citizens" in Kabul last week. Nothing particularly unusual about that, apart from the fact that these US citizens were arrested for running a "fake prison" inside a private house in Kabul, close to the Intercontinental Hotel. A FAKE prison? Unbelievably (almost) these men had rented a house for the sole purpose of setting up a prison in which to hold people they "arrested" because they thought they might be members of Al Qaeda. The grounds for suspicion were, apparently, that the "suspects" had a beard.
This wasn't something that was a new situation, either. They were holding people in their "jail" that they had kidnapped several months earlier, long before they were 'busted'. In a statement to the press last Thursday, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher identified all three as American citizens, noting "the U.S. government does not employ or sponsor these men." Well, that's a relief. For a second there I was thinking they might have been acting for the US in their activities. The State Department spokesman went on to say that the men were identified as Jonathan Idema (better known for his role in "The Hunt for Bin Laden", where you can see him striding across the desert in the photograph on the book cover) and Brent Bennett - but that he couldn't give the name of the third man (purportedly an Edward Caraballo? or is it this Edward Caraballo? - or even this "Third Man") because he had not signed a Privacy Act waiver. Really? So, a suspect now has to sign what is in effect a Model Release Form before his identity can be released? What happened to the Patriot Act then? Isn't it applicable in Afghanistan then? But of course, the Patriot Act is designed to protect Americans from the spectre of a terrorist in their midst, isn't it, not the other way around.
We can be assured, however, that this was no embryonic Abu Ghraib torture prison though. Apparently, according to the CNN report, the Americans did not torture their prisoners, but did administer "some beatings". I would be interested to know what the difference between "some beatings" and torture is though? Is there an actual definition of the term "torture" that is only in use in the USA, perhaps?