Wednesday, June 30, 2004


I can't imagine I'm the first person to have spotted this

But it deserves some comment. According to the Guardian, US military police raided an Iraqi detention center to stop the abuse of Iraqi prisoners held there. I don't think anybody needs me to point out the ironies involved (as my Aunt Deb said, "If this weren't so damn awful, it would be funny"). Some of the more amazing passages from the article follow (although it's worth reading the entire thing for sure):
Senior Iraqi officers described those captured as "first class murderers, kidnappers and terrorists with links to al-Ansar" - a militant group in the former Kurdish no-fly zone - who had all admitted to "at least 20 crimes while being questioned".
Does this sound familiar to anybody?
A bodyguard for the head of criminal intelligence, Hussein Kamal, admitted that the beatings had taken place.

Nashwan Ali - who said his nickname was Big Man - said: "A US MP asked me this morning what police division I was in. I said I was in criminal intelligence.

"The American asked me why we had beaten the prisoners. I said we beat the prisoners because they are all bad people. But I told him we didn't strip them naked, photograph them or fuck them like you did."
Funny how our "hey, lay off - we're better than Saddam" defense has caught on. Only in Iraq it's "we're not as bad as the Americans."
The clear evidence of human rights abuses in the ministry building, which western advisers said they were not aware was being used for interrogations, raises serious questions over what authority the US and other multinational forces have to intervene if they suspect human rights abuses.


One western police adviser said he had no idea that the ministry itself was being used for questioning suspects. "It sounds rather like the bad old days," he said.
Well, one could posit that the "bad old days" never really disappeared (or if they did, only to be replaced by the "bad new days"). Also, I find this a pretty good example of the chaos that exists in Iraq. It seems that the US should know of Iraqi prisoners who are being detained on suspicion of connections to al-Ansar al-Islam. And now that Iraq is "sovereign", how are American soldiers raiding an Iraqi detention center? This whole thing is so sloppy and poorly done, who could possibly expect good things for the future. It's pathetic.

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