Sunday, September 12, 2010

And the war drags on . . .

Torture is widely used in Iraq to obtain "confessions". In many cases these are already prepared by interrogators and detainees are forced to sign while blindfolded and without reading the contents.
Prepared confessions are often used as the only evidence against detainees when they are brought to trial, including in cases where the charges incur the death penalty.
Hundreds of prisoners are reported to have been sentenced to death, and some have been executed, after being convicted on the basis of "confessions" which they said were false and had been signed under torture or other duress.
Methods of torture include beating with cables and hosepipes, prolonged suspension by the limbs, administration of electric shocks to sensitive parts of the body, breaking of limbs, removal of finger and toenails, asphyxiation and piercing of the body with drills, and psychological torture such as threats of rape.

The above is from Amnesty International's "Thousands of Iraqi detainees at risk of torture after US handover" which is a summary of their new report [PDF format warning] "NEW ORDER, SAME ABUSES: UNLAWFUL DETENTIONS AND TORTURE IN IRAQ.'' The report explains that grave human rights abuses are taking place and, despite this, the US military turned over the bulk of prisoners in July of this year. Prisoners are tortured, hidden away, held without trial for years and denied access to their attorneys. (The report also notes the official unemployment rate is 50% -- you may remember that when the press was selling Barack's Aug. 31st speech, they put it under less than 40%.)

The forty-five-page report (plus end notes) details many examples such as this one from page 18:

Nasrallah Mohammad Ibrahim, a 41-year-old father of six who worked for an electricity company in al-Siniya, a town in Salaheddin governorate, north of Baghdad, was detained from his workplace on 5 January 2008 by US soldiers who produced no arrest order or warrant issued by a judicial authority. He was initially held at a US military base in al-Siniya for about a week and then transferred to Camp Bucca, far from his home in al-Siniya, with the result that his family could not afford to visit him for about 18 months. After two years at Camp Bucca he was transferred to Camp Taji where he was still being detained without charge or trial in early July 2010. His sister told Amnesty International of the difficulties his family has been facing during his detention:
"My brother has six children, three girls and three boys,they are not doing well in school. In fact one girl is not attending school. They need clothes but we don't have the money to buy them clothes. When we visited Nasrallah in Bucca, the journey from Salaheddin to Bucca cost us nearly US$150, add to that expenses for ccommodation and food in Basra. We only visited him three times when he was there because we couldn't afford it. Our mother is not well and Nasrallah's detention is not helping her."

Another example:

Youssef 'Ali Jalil, a 25-year-old student from al-Ghazalia in Baghdad, is married with one daughter. In the early hours of 21 November 2008, according to his family, a group of more than 10 US soldiers went to his house, searched it and arrested him without producing a search or arrest warrant. He was taken to Camp Cropper, where he was held for a week, and then transferred to Camp Bucca. He remained there, most of the time, until mid-2009 when he was taken back to Camp Cropper. In September 2009, the US military handed Youssef 'Ali Jalil over to the Iraqi authorities, who detained him in Rusafa Prison before transferring him to al-'Adala Prison in al-Kadhimiya, Baghdad. His family appointed a lawyer to represent him, who has been able to visit him four times, but no members of his family have visited
Youssef 'Ali Jalil since US forces transferred him to the custody of the Iraqi authorities in September 2009 for fear of harassment by Iraqi security officials and prison guards.28 Since his transfer to al-'Adala Prison, Youssef 'Ali Jalil has alleged that he has been beaten there by prison guards. In early July 2010 he was still being held without charge or trial.

Of all the imprisoned, Walid Yunis Ahmad is thought to have been imprisoned the longest without trial or charge having been arrested February 6, 2000 and imprisoned ever since. Ten years without a trial. Thought to be? Secret prisons continue in Iraq. And this is not just the 'progress' Barack hailed, this is the regime that Joe Biden and others are attempting to keep in power. Despite repeated complaints, despite deaths in custody, Nouri has provided no public investigations, no one has ever been punished. From page 41 of the report, "The Iraqi authorities have on numerous occasions announced investigations into incidents of
torture, deaths in custody and killings of civilians, especially by the Iraqi security forces.
However, the outcomes of such investigations have never been made public. This has raised
concerns that such investigations may not have been carried out, or that they were conducted
or partly conducted but the findings were ignored. In all cases, those responsible for abuses
have not been brought to justice. The failure to deal seriously and effectively with torture and
other human rights violations by the Iraqi security forces has created a culture of impunity."

As the head of the government since 2006, he has hand picked his ministers and they have carried out his orders. All of these abuses have taken place under his watch and the US not only does nothing about the abuses, it works overtime to try to keep Thug Nouri as prime minister. He also refuses to instruct that the Ministry of Justice be over the prisons now being run by the Defense and Interior ministries despite the law ordering those two ministries to turn their prisoners over to the Ministry of Justice.

They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.
-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)

Last Sunday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4416. Tonight? Tired of their counting problems, we're done with them and now using DoD. PDF format warning, DoD lists the number of Americans killed serving in Iraq at 4423.

Reuters notes an al-Hdaid clash in which 4 people died and ten more were injured and a Baquba sticky bombing which claimed 1 life and left another person injured. Margaret Griffis ( reports 12 killed and thirteen injured today including, "Separately, a police officer was shot dead, and an elderly man was wounded when three of his sons shot him for reporting their al-Qaeda affiliations to security forces. Also an Iraqi soldier was killed and another was wounded in a roadside blast." As Timothy Williams (New York Times) explains, the Iraq War continues including the US military involvement in it.

New content at Third:

Kat's "Kat's Korner: Heart's smooth ride" went up earlier and Isaiah's latest goes up after this. Pru notes Guy Smallman's "Afghanistan: US hasn't liberated us, say women" (Great Britain's Socialist Worker):

The Kabul district of Khoshal Khan Mina has a dark history. In 1992 the worst massacre of Afghanistan’s bloody civil war took place here.

“Most of the women here are widows and the children are orphans. This is the reason we selected this area for this project. It is not a secure area, but the need here is great,” says Latifa Ahmady of the Organisation for Promoting Afghan Women’s Capabilities (OPAWC).

These women are not seeing the liberation they were once promised by the US occupiers.

“We were happy when they came here,” Latifa tells me. “We were hoping that the situation would be better for us.

“We had hoped for equal rights, for security and for democracy to express our ideas.

“But after nearly ten years there has been little change. Look at the poverty, the children begging on the streets instead of being in school. It feels like nothing has been done.”

Like many people in Afghanistan, Latifa complains bitterly about corruption.

“During the last nine years millions and millions of dollars have been gifted to Afghanistan by other countries for development, for women, for education,” she says.

“Unfortunately most of this money goes into the pockets of the same criminals who were the cause of the wars, the massacres and the destruction of Kabul.

“These people hold the highest posts in the government. There is no money left for ordinary men and women.”

OPAWC was established in Pakistan in 1997 by a group of women who were determined to do something to empower women in Afghanistan.

The organisation started by teaching literacy, handicrafts and farming methods. By 2011 it aims to have its own production centre, run by women, producing goods and handicrafts—as there are currently still no factories that employ women in Kabul.

But the US occupation does nothing to keep people safe and also continues indiscriminate bombing. The deteriorating security situation was recently brought into sharp focus by an attack on a girls’ school—the first inside Kabul.

“After nine years most provinces are under Taliban control—and it is the innocent civilians who are killed by the American airstrikes on the villages. Day by day the security is getting worse,” says Latifa.

“Every time I leave my house in Kabul and say goodbye to my family, I am not sure if I will come home safe again.”

The following should be read alongside this article:

Kabul demo targets occupation

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