Sunday, July 03, 2005

Fuck Iraq, part IV

Why did America invade Iraq? With the WMD pretext thoroughly discredited, Bush and Blair have increasingly relied on humanitarian reasons. Saddam's government had to be overthrown to end oppression, torture, and human rights abuses in Iraq. The problem? Those abuses haven't stopped. People are being tortured in the "new Iraq", just as they were in the old. The only difference is that it is now being done in the name of a nominally elected government rather than an unelected dictator.

An investigation by the Observer has revealed some of the extent of torture in the new Iraq. It begins by describing the body of Hassan an-Ni'ami, an Iraqi captured by commandos from the American-established and backed "Rapid Intrusion" force:

What happened to him in his 24 hours in captivity was written across his body in chapters of pain, recorded by the camera. There are police-issue handcuffs still attached to one wrist, from which he was hanged long enough to cause his hands and wrists to swell. There are burn marks on his chest, as if someone has placed something very hot near his right nipple and moved it around.

A little lower are a series of horizontal welts, wrapping around his body and breaking the skin as they turn around his chest, as if he had been beaten with something flexible, perhaps a cable. There are other injuries: a broken nose and smaller wounds that look like cigarette burns.

An arm appears to have been broken and one of the higher vertebrae is pushed inwards. There is a cluster of small, neat circular wounds on both sides of his left knee. At some stage an-Ni'ami seems to have been efficiently knee-capped. It was not done with a gun - the exit wounds are identical in size to the entry wounds, which would not happen with a bullet. Instead it appears to have been done with something like a drill.

What actually killed him however were the bullets fired into his chest at close range, probably by someone standing over him as he lay on the ground. The last two hit him in the head.

But this is not an isolated incident. All over Iraq, people are being arbitrarily detained, tortured, and executed, by troops and "police" who appear to be little different from those who did the same work under Saddam. Six months ago, Human Rights watch detailed the abuse in their report The New Iraq? Torture and ill-treatment of detainees in Iraqi custody, alleging that detainees were subjected to

routine beatings to the body using cables, hosepipes and other implements. Detainees report kicking, slapping and punching; prolonged suspension from the wrists with the hands tied behind the back; electric shocks to sensitive parts of the body, including the earlobes and genitals; and being kept blindfolded and/or handcuffed continuously for several days. In several cases, the detainees suffered what may be permanent physical disability.

Since then it has only got worse. Now Iraq has a network of secret torture centres, run by the Interior Ministry. Instead of being released, detainees turn up dead - as in the case of Tahar Mohammed Suleiman al-Mashhadani, whose body had been tortured almost beyond recognition, or the farmers abducted from a marketplace in Baghdad by Iraqi police, whose bodies were later discovered in shallow graves in a rubbish dump, bearing the marks of "strangulation or asphyxiation", broken bones, extensive bruising, burning, "identical puncture wounds, fist-width apart, suggesting the use of a spiked knuckle-duster" - and gunshot wounds to the head. None of these people are being put on trial for their crimes. Instead, they are simply being tortured and murdered.

The new Iraqi government is not interested in talking about this. Its ministers have repeatedly refused to meet with officials from NGOs like Human Rights Watch. Its judiciary does not care. Its Ministry of Human Rights does - but is grossly underfunded and lacks the resources to fight against the belief, rapidly becoming institutionalised among the police and security forces, that "human rights and the Convention against Torture are stupid".

Again, it has to be asked: did those who so enthusiastically backed war in the name of human rights imagine it would turn out like this? Do they think that a regime which tortures Sunnis rather than Shi'ites and Kurds is worth the deaths of (at last count) almost 26,000 innocent civilians? And if not, why aren't they speaking up about it?

As for the Iraqi government, as I've said in the past, they do not deserve our support. No government which uses torture does. Instead, they deserve to be prosecuted. And that applies to Iraq's present government every bit as much as it does to Saddam.


Well the main argument would be that they are just the best of a bad lot.
Any referendum in iraq would probably come out strongly in favour of the use of tourture anyway so hard to see what sort of government wouldnt use it.

Oh well... maybe we can put sporting sanctions on iraq or somthing.

Posted by Genius : 7/03/2005 10:11:00 PM

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

I wonder how long it will take for people to realise the simple truth: "It's the oil, stupid!"

Posted by Anonymous : 7/03/2005 10:25:00 PM

naturally genius, you miss the point.

with no WMDs the americans are justifying their continuing occupation of iraq by making reference to this type of stuff happning inthe past.

now it's happening under their watch.

so what's their justification now?

i think the words you are looking for is that there are NO justifications for torture in ANY form.

Posted by Anonymous : 7/04/2005 08:53:00 AM


The US's reasons for going to war are obvious (and not hidden) but somewhat more complicated than the average simple minded (andwithout memory) member of the public can understand - so it gets broken down into simple messages designed to sound nice to those who like or hate bush - debating over the dumbed down messages is really a waste of time.

Anyway it will just result in both sides complaining that the other side did not use their dumbed down explination.

This isnt some great plot to decieve you, it is just how it works.

> there are NO justifications for torture in ANY form.

Another of those messages I note. Well as I pointed out if you believe that you should be a supporter of anti-tourture totalitarianism or possibly invasion by civilized powers, because a democratic reigeme in a country like iraq will indeed engage in torture unless it is forced not to.

Actually I think you are just lucky you dont have to make any tough decisions because you have the luxury of idealism for as long as you can remain insignificant and without power.

Posted by Genius : 7/04/2005 09:23:00 PM

Idiot, you ask why war supporters aren't speaking out abuut this. The Observer artilce answers your question - the Observer supported the war and it is their investigation that has uncovered this.

Posted by Sock Thief : 7/05/2005 11:20:00 AM

jesus genius, answer me this question.

do you think it is legitimate for al-qaeda to torture american citizens to reach its goals?

if you answer ANYTHING but 'yes', then you can't also justify the americans doing the same thing.

Posted by Anonymous : 7/05/2005 11:48:00 AM

Sock Thief: So, do you and your "decent left" friends have any plans to join them any time soon, or are you happy with a war which has achieved nothing more than changing one group of torturers for another?

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 7/05/2005 03:34:00 PM

Genius: I think Iraq is a perfect example of the practical difficulties of waging war for humanitarian reasons. There are other methods of persuasion which, while slower, also stand less chance of going wrong or failing to solve the problem.

As for Iraqis liking torture, even if it were true (and from the reaction to Saddam, to Abu Ghraib, to the Americans and to what is going on right now, it most certainly is not), democratic approval does not make something right.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 7/05/2005 04:04:00 PM

- your argument is nonsense because it takes no account of intent or concequences.
Anyway I dont think there is a meaningful discussion to have regarding "legitimate" without a context. of course alquaeda thinks it is legitimate to torture you and you think it isn't legitimate.
I reject your fundimental principle that you should have some simplistic rule to run the world by.

> Genius: I think Iraq is a perfect example of the practical difficulties of waging war for humanitarian reasons.

Yes and I accept that argument. If I was on sites where people were all high and mighty and moralistic I might well make that point.

> There are other methods of persuasion which, while slower, also stand less chance of going wrong or failing to solve the problem.

I think many of them do fail to solve the problem htey just do it less spectacularly.

> As for Iraqis liking torture

I didnt say they like it jsut that they would accept or even vote for it.

> democratic approval does not make something right.

indeed i was jsut pointing out the mixed goals

Posted by Anonymous : 7/05/2005 07:31:00 PM

by "less spectacularly" I mean less i nthe public eye. like iraq is more spectacular in a sense than rwanda and much more so than the congo.

Posted by Anonymous : 7/06/2005 06:07:00 AM

how about this one... maybe even if you really thought that they like tourture, at least our tax dollars should a least stop paying for the 9mm pistols and ak47s that go to these soldiers and when battalions take prisoner that they aren't interested in, their command should stop giving the order to hand them over to moi commandos and maybe we should stop sending military teams so do their cordons for them

Posted by Anonymous : 7/27/2005 07:24:00 PM

Were is all the angst when our "islamic brothers" chop off some poor innocents head. Yeah. I guess if you aren't oppressed the left feels you shouldn't have any protections under the Geneva Conventions.
I'd like to see the US take off the gloves. These people hate us now. and aren't afraid of us. I'd rather they hated us more and were scared to cross the street. Centuries ago the Mongols had to deal with this same terrorist style crap. They wasted everyone and had peace. If the islamic world will not strongly and actively reject their wacko brothers, they are defacto endorsing their behavior.
To the arab world, violence is great until they get their asses kicked. Then they cry to the UN and show how much they are being unfairly treated.
We need to quit worrying about world opinion, the moral high ground, and end this thing swiftly and with a great deal of distruction. Winners write history. If we listen to the soft-headed self-rightous asses on the left, that history will be written in arabic.

Posted by Anonymous : 9/22/2006 12:18:00 PM