Tuesday, November 07, 2006

War resister Ivan Brobeck returns to the US

The Interior Ministry has formally accused 55 employees of committing human rights crimes in connection with the torture and abuse of prisoners at a detention center in eastern Baghdad, a spokesman for the ministry said this morning.
The cases have been referred to the Iraqi judicial system for possible indictments and arrest warrants, said the spokesman, Gen. Abdel Karim Khalaf said. The action was first reported today by The Washington Post.
The security forces of the Shiite-led Interior Ministry have long been accused of operating torture chambers inside its detention centers, and the charges were the first against the ministry's employees in connection with such allegations, according to General Khalaf. Eighteen of the accused employees are officers, he said.

The above is from Kirk Semple's "Iraqi Interior Ministry Accuses 55 Employees of Rights Abuses at Prison" in this morning's New York Times. The Post article he refers to is "57 Iraqis Charged In Abuse At Prison" by Sudarsan Raghavan:

Sunni Arab detainees and human rights groups have long alleged that members of the ministry's police force, made up mostly of Shiite Muslims, took revenge on Sunni captives through beatings and other brutal methods. For months, Shiite officials have said such accusations are exaggerations, branding them attempts by Sunnis to discredit the Shiite-led government.
But on Monday, senior Interior Ministry officials acknowledged there was clear evidence of such abuses, following a probe by three separate investigative committees that lasted 2 1/2 months.
A U.N. human rights report reached a similar conclusion in the summer, after Iraqi and U.S. officials uncovered the torture during a visit to Site 4 in May. More than 1,400 detainees at Site 4 were held in "overcrowded, unsafe, and unhealthy conditions" and "suffered systematic physical and psychological abuse" by Interior Ministry officials, the report said. Investigators also took photos that "documented lesions resulting from torture as well as equipment used for this purpose."

In real news, as opposed to show news (the Leahy Law is touched on, not explored, but how much that -- threat of loss of US funds to the puppet government -- prompted action needs to be exlored further), US war resister Ivan Brobeck returns to the US today. From an e-mail sent out by Courage to Resist:

Ivan Brobeck, AWOL Marine in Canada, to Return on Election Dayto Ask President, Congress to Bring the Troops Home
"Since I was not willing to return to Iraq, the only option I saw was to go to Canada. I have spent nearly two years there living, working, and married to my wife (who is six months pregnant). Now I feel that I am ready to return to the US and face the consequences of refusing to participate in a war that I do not believe is right."
U.S. Marine Corps Lance Corporal Ivan Brobeck, 20, of Arlington, Virginia, will return to the United States on election day to ask President Bush and Congress to bring the troops home now.During a tour of duty in Iraq in 2004 Brobeck witnessed instances of abuse of Iraqi detainees and the killing of Iraqi civilians at military checkpoints. He chose Canada over a second tour in a war that he came to see as illegal and contrary to the interests and moral standards of most Americans."I was not willing to go back and fight a war that I did not believe was right, and I didn't want to put myself in a situation where I would possibly kill an innocent civilian," Brobeck explains. "Please, President Bush, do what is right; do everything you can to bring our troops homefrom Iraq."
Ivan Brobeck intends to surrender to military authorities in Washington, DC on election day. He expects to be transferred to Quantico in Virginia where he may face a military court martial for his absence. He is returning in the same spirit that motivated him to enlist at age 17 - a desire to serve his country and to stand for what is right.
Read Ivan's Letter to President Bush
November 6, 2006
Interview with Ivan Brobeck on Flashpoints Radio
November 6, 2006
Ivan needs your support today! Send your words of support to
supportivan@couragetoresist.orgContributions toward Ivan's legal defense is needed.
For more information and ways to support Ivan Brobeck visit: www.couragetoresist.org/ivanbrobeck

Last Friday, attorney Jim Fennerty joined his client Kyle Snyder on Democracy Now! Fennerty has also represented war resister Darrell Anderson. Amy Goodman asked him about another client, Ivan Brobeck. Brobeck is from Virginia and went to Canada after serving seven months in Iraq. Like Synder, Brobeck arrived in Canada in April 2005. Unlike Snyder, Brobeck is in the Marines. Fennerty spoke of the different processes in the different branches of the US military and that "Ivan will be taken into custody" and "he'll be placed in the brig" at which point he would most likely face a court-martial. Brobeck is part of a movement within the military of war resistance.

And here's a section from his letter to Bully Boy:

I left for Iraq in March of 2004. It wasn't until I got there that I found out what was really happening. I didn't need the news or to hear speeches to tell me that what was happening there was wrong. It was all as clear as day. The city I went to was called Mahmudiyah, and had around200,000 people. There was just a constant disrespect for the people, like pointing guns at the people just to get them to stop. There was also harsh treatment of detainees.
I remember one night I had come back to base after a nighttime raid, and was clearing my rifle in a clearing barrel. I turned around, and out of the corner of my eye I saw something get thrown out of the back of a truck called a 7 ton (the bed of the truck is about 6 to 7ft high). It looked like a person, but I thought I was mistaken, that since it was dark outside my eyes were probably playing tricks on me.
When a lot of Marines started gathering around and quietly talking I went to see what they were looking at. It was an Iraqi detainee with his hands behind his back and a sandbag over is head. The detainee's body was convulsing and his breathing sounded like he was snoring. When the sand bag was taken off his head and a light was shined in his face I could see that his eyes were swollen shut and his nose was clogged with blood.

In the Times of London, Peter Laufer noted war resisters including Darrell Anderson, Joshua Key, Ryan Johnson and Ivan Brobeck who stated: "I have seen the beating of innocent prisoners. I remember hearing something get thrown off the back of a seven-ton truck. The bed of a seven-ton is probably something like 7 or 8ft high. They threw a detainee off the back, his hands tied behind his back and a sandbag over his head, so he couldn't brace for the impact." (Peter Laufer's most recent book is Mission Rejected: U.S. Soldiers Who Say No to Iraq.)

Speaking with Nora Barrows Friedman on yesterday's Flashpoints shared some of his experiences and observations in Iraq. What's the point Brobeck is hoping to get across? "I'm sort of trying to teach them to open their eyes. It's easy to forget basic stuff in Iraq."

Brobeck will be be turning himself in today at the Quantico Marine Base in Quantico, VA.

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.