Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America

JWV Protests NATO Policy; Demands Discharge against Captain Roger Hill be Expunged



February 2010



The Jewish War Veterans of the USA (JWV) urges the repeal of a 96-hour rule on detaining prisoners in Afghanistan which is putting the lives of US soldiers detailed to NATO in unnecessary danger.

Under the current NATO rules, in effect since December 2005, NATO troops have 96 hours to either turn over detainees to Afghan authorities or release them. Since most of the information leading to the detention of suspected spies and insurgents is classified and cannot be revealed, there must be available evidence against them gathered within this 96-hour period.

If such unclassified evidence is not gathered during the required 96-hour period, the likelihood is that the Afghan authorities will release the suspected insurgents after they have been turned over to them. Often, the insurgents are let go even if a confession has been gathered within the required period.

The suspected insurgents are then free to use whatever information they had acquired by spying against coalition troops, placing those troops in ever greater danger.

While the motivations for the implementation of this rule, to acknowledge the sovereignty of the Afghan government and to prevent future prisoner abuse such as occurred at Abu Graib, may be understandable, it is unconscionable that NATO troops, including American troops, are being put in increased danger in this way.

An even more egregious event was reported by CNN on February 18, 2009. A report by Abbie Boudrea and Scott Zamost shown on "AC360," highlighted the story of former Army Captain Roger Hill, who acted with honor under the constraints of a NATO rule of engagement.

His unit had taken an exceptionally heavy casualty rate when it was discovered that 12 Afghan nationals, including Captain Hill's own translator, were spies for the Taliban. Since he was not able to share the classified information against these captured spies with the Afghan authorities, he needed to be able to elicit a confession from them before the end of the 96-hour time period.

At the 80th hour, he took three of the group of twelve outside and by firing in the air pretended to execute them. As he had assumed, the others began to talk and provide evidence that he could turn over to the Afghans at the end of the 96-hour period. The Afghans did take these twelve detainees into custody, but released them soon after, and they continue to remain a threat to the American and other coalition forces today.

It is even more egregious that Captain Hill was charged with detainee abuse and discharged from the military for the way in which he got his detainees to talk. He was discharged with a court martial for acting to keep his troops out of harm's way.

It is unconscionable that both the lives of NATO troops are put under additional harm and that a US Army officer anxious to protect his troops and capture Taliban spies should be drummed out of the military for his efforts.

The JWV demands that this 96-hour rule be immediately examined and changed, and that Captain Hill be restored to rank, his discharge removed from his records, and he be entitled, if he so desires, to return to service.

 

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