Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Death Convoy Of Afghanistan

 It may not be easy for Americans to summon much sympathy for Taliban or Qaeda prisoners. But the rules of war cannot be applied selectively.

Witness Reports And The Probing Of A Mass Grave Point To War Crimes. Does The United States Have Any Responsibility For The Atrocities Of Its Allies?

Trudging over the moonscape of Dasht-e Leili, a desolate expanse of low rolling hills in northern Afghanistan, Bill Haglund spotted clues half-buried in the gray-beige sand. Strings of prayer beads. A woolen skullcap. A few shoes. Those remnants, along with track marks and blade scrapes left by a bulldozer, suggested that Haglund had found what he was looking for. Then he came across a human tibia, three sets of pelvic bones and some ribs.

Mass graves are not always easy to spot, though trained investigators know the signs. "You look for disturbance of the earth, differences in the vegetation, areas that have been machined over," says Haglund, a forensic anthropologist and pioneer in the field of "human-rights archeology." At Dasht-e Leili, a 15-minute drive from the Northern Alliance prison at Sheber-ghan, scavenging animals had brought the evidence to the surface. Some of the gnawed bones were old and bleached, but some were from bodies so recently buried the bones still carried tissue. The area of bulldozer activity--roughly an acre--suggested burials on a large scale. A stray surgical glove also caught Haglund's eye. Such gloves are often used by people handling corpses, and could be evidence, Haglund thought, of "a modicum of planning." More

In light of recent court cases in relation to prisoner abuse in Iraq it would appear that the occupying power is liable for torture inflicted on prisoners. The question is 'who was the occupying power in this case'? Editor