Video Shows CIA Threats of Execution Preceding Qalai Janghi Massacre

In an exchange captured on video by an Afghan
cameraman, two officers threatened the American
Taliban fighter John Walker, who was being held at
a prison fortress near the northern city of
Mazar-i-Sharif two weeks ago. The exchange on the
video raises the prospect that the prisoners revolted
because they feared they could be killed if they
did not co-operate with the coalition forces.

Video evidence has emerged that CIA operatives
were threatening Taliban prisoners they would be
left to die if they did not co-operate under
interrogation.

In an exchange captured on video by an Afghan
cameraman, two officers threatened the American
Taliban fighter John Walker, who was being held at
a prison fortress near the northern city of
Mazar-i-Sharif two weeks ago.

One of the officers is Mike Spann – who was killed in
an uprising at the prison only hours later.

Nearly 400 Taliban prisoners were also killed as the
uprising was put down.

The precise nature of the threat – raised by
Mr Spann and a CIA colleague called Dave – is
unclear, but on the video Mr Spann is seen nodding
towards Mr Walker, 20, and then saying to Dave: “I explained to him what the deal is”.

The video shows Mr Walker kneeling on the ground, emaciated, filthy, wearing loose black trousers and a tunic, with his elbows tied behind his back, and cowering as Mr Spann remonstrates with him.

Mr Walker stares at the ground throughout.

“Dave” then replies: “The problem is, he’s got to decide if he wants to live or die. If he wants to die, he’s going to die here. Or he’s going to
f****** spend the rest of his short f****** life in prison. It’s his decision, man.

“We can only help the guys who want to talk to us. We can only get the Red Cross to help so many guys.”

The mention of the Red Cross appears to be a
reference to a representative of the international
charity who was trying to register the thousands
of Taliban and al-Qa’ida fighters in the prison.

Later Mr Spann is heard to say to Mr Walker: “Are you going to talk to us?” When there is no reply, “Dave” says to Mr Spann: “This guy got his chance. He got his chance.”

Within hours of the encounter, hundreds of
prisoners launched an uprising in which they
seized guns and other weapons from their Northern
Alliance guards. In the initial fighting Mr Spann
was killed, while “Dave” fought his way out, shooting dead several prisoners.

The exchange on the video raises the prospect that
the prisoners revolted because they feared they
could be killed if they did not co-operate with
the coalition forces.

Mr Walker was one of the few who survived the uprising. He was taken into custody by US forces.

The uprising was put down by a combination of
Northern Alliance fighters and American air
strikes called in by US and British special forces
soldiers who were at the prison acting as advisers
and interrogating prisoners.

Hundreds of Taliban fighters were killed by the air
strikes, whose use has been questioned by human rights groups. They have called for a full inquiry into the massacre.

Yesterday a spokeswoman for Amnesty International
said: “It just shows more than ever the need
for a full inquiry into what took place and that
the US, UK and United Front governments cannot
push the matter under the carpet.”

Kenneth Ross, the executive director of the New
York-based Human Rights Watch group, said that
under international law the threat could amount to
torture.

“International law is absolutely clear that any
prisoner is entitled to humane treatment and
cannot be summarily executed. Threat of execution is a form of severe treatment, if not torture.”

Ari Fleischer, President George Bush’s spokesman,
said that America had not yet decided what should
happen to Mr Walker, who some people accuse of
treason. He said the Department of Defence was
investigating the case.

The CIA said it was not ready to comment on the
behaviour of its operatives on the video.


[ also see related items:

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ACTION ALERT: HOW MANY DEAD? Major networks aren’t counting – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1598

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A Veil on the Truth: U.S. Ensures Famine for Afghanistan – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1593

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Uri Avnery on the Holy Alliance, Past and Present – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1579

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Bush’s [May 2001] Faustian Deal With the Taliban – http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1491

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Author: Andrew Buncombe

News Service: The Independent (UK) – 08 December 2001

URL: http://news.independent.co.uk/world/asia_china/story.jsp?story=108988