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Bush (and the US) seems to have a specialty in making enemies. The US is still paying for the 1953 decision to depose the Iranian government. Aside from the horror for people now, if these crimes are not addressed now, the US -- and the world -- may well be paying the price 50 years from now. So what ever happened to "vision"? --------- Begin forwarded message ---------- From: portsideMod@netscape.net Subject: Iraqi detainees report 'inhumane' treatment. Human rights groups question U.S. tactics Date: Wed, 30 Jul 2003 15:31:35 -0400 Message-ID: <6E9337D3.269833F8.5170BEA2@netscape.net> Iraqi detainees report 'inhumane' treatment Human rights groups question U.S. tactics Robert Collier, Chronicle Staff Writer Tuesday, July 29, 2003 ©2003 San Francisco Chronicle URL: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2003/07/29/MN268.DTL Baghdad -- Former Iraqi air force Brig. Gen. Sabah Saleh, his wife and their four children were sleeping on the ground floor of their Baghdad house at about 2: 30 a.m. July 14 when loud explosions tore through the front door and blew the ground-floor windows to pieces. As helicopters hovered overhead, American soldiers stormed inside, shouting. Saleh's wife, Mayda, recalls with horror what happened next. The soldiers rounded up five family members, including the general, and handcuffed them. Seventeen-year-old Ahmed fled upstairs, and the Americans pursued him with a hail of gunfire. A couple of minutes later, they dragged Ahmed downstairs, bleeding heavily. When Gen. Saleh protested, the soldiers beat and kicked him. Then they hustled the general and Ahmed out the door in handcuffs after freeing the rest. >From the Americans' point of view, the arrest of Gen. Saleh, an engineer and Baath Party member who was in charge of security at all Iraqi air force bases, was just another step in the campaign to root out remnants of Saddam Hussein's regime and stifle guerrilla attacks. But an increasing number of Iraqis and international human-rights organizations are questioning the U.S. arrest tactics and treatment of Iraqi captives. According to rights groups, none of several thousand detainees being held at 18 U.S. military jails throughout Iraq has been allowed to see a lawyer or meet with relatives, and none has yet been charged with a crime or brought to trial. They have essentially fallen into a black hole. A week of requests by a Chronicle reporter to the U.S. military and civilian officials for information about detainees brought no response, except a remark by one military press aide who said in private, "It's a controversial issue, you know, and I don't expect anyone is going to want to talk." The Saleh family made repeated visits to American military units and Iraqi police stations in Baghdad but were told no information was available on their detained relatives. Finally, on Sunday came word that both Gen. Saleh and Ahmed were being held at Camp Cropper, a large U.S. prison at the Baghdad airport. 'INHUMANE' CONDITIONS A recent report by Amnesty International, based on interviews with detainees who were later freed, raised concerns about excessive force by U.S. troops, "inhumane" conditions suffered by American detainees and the failure to provide information on prisoners to their families. "What we see is a complete lack of transparency and accountability," said Joanna Oyediran, a British lawyer who is an Amnesty representative in Iraq. Oyediran said U.S. officials had told her that about 3,000 Iraqis are being held, including 400 prisoners of war (among them 34 of the 55 on America's most-wanted list), and 400 accused of participating in guerrilla attacks on U. S. troops after the war. The rest are a mix of people suspected of common crimes and those imprisoned for membership in the Baath Party. She said the American officials could give no exact breakdown of the final category. About 1.5 million Iraqis -- almost 10 percent of the adult population -- belonged to the Baath Party before the war. Although American officials say that only the Baath leadership faces arrest, U.S. military press releases routinely announce the detention of scores of people for being Baath Party members. It is not known how many are still being held. According to the Amnesty report, freed detainees complained of conditions at the two detention centers in Baghdad -- Camp Cropper and Abu Ghraib prison, a huge complex that held political prisoners under Hussein's regime. Tactics reportedly included prolonged sleep deprivation, restraint in painful positions, loud music and bright lights, and the use of tight hoods over prisoners' heads. Amnesty has said U.S. occupation authorities maintain that detainees are treated humanely and that reports of abuses will be investigated. On Saturday, the Pentagon announced that four military police from an Army Reserve unit based in Pennsylvania have been accused of punching, kicking and breaking the bones of prisoners at Camp Bucca near Umm Qasr in southern Iraq. VIOLENT ARRESTS The Saleh home bears witness to the violence of the arrests there. When a Chronicle reporter visited recently, there were dozens of bullet holes on the second-floor landing of the stairwell, indicating the fire of soldiers shooting at Ahmed as he fled upstairs. Only one bullet mark was visible on the ground floor, and it appeared to be from a bullet fired from below that ricocheted off the wall. The stairway and upstairs bedroom were smeared with bloodstains, which Mayda Saleh tearfully said was her son's blood. On both floors, cabinets and dressers were smashed, and windows, beds and even picture frames were broken. In a similar raid nearby on June 26, American troops shot and killed a 13- year-old boy, Muhammad al- Kubaisi, who neighbors said was standing on a rooftop watching the raid. Interviews with Iraqis in recent weeks turned up dozens of allegations of abuses committed during arrests or interrogations. Even well-respected Iraqis have complained of their treatment. Dr. Jamad al-Karboli, president of the Iraqi Red Crescent Society, spent four hours in detention two weeks ago when he left work shortly after the 11 p. m. curfew. Al-Karboli said he was forced to sit at a roadblock with his hands tied behind his back, denied water and prohibited from using his American-supplied cell phone, which was one of those given to U.S. government officials and leaders of humanitarian organizations. He said he saw soldiers confiscate large sums of cash from several detainees. "What can they think of Iraqis if they treat us like that?" he said. "They are not respecting the dignity of Iraqis." During his detention, al-Karboli said, a large Oldsmobile passed by and its occupants strafed the American position with automatic rifle fire -- hitting no one -- then sped away. "What I suffered was very mild compared to what other Iraqis have gone through. The Americans should not be surprised when some people get angry," he said. WAR CONTINUES WITHOUT END Under the Geneva Conventions, the U.S.-led alliance has wide leeway to detain anyone it deems to be a security threat and hold them until after hostilities end. Because President Bush has not declared an end to the war -- only an end to "major combat operations in Iraq" -- Gen. Saleh and others may be held indefinitely. When and if Saleh is charged with a crime, it is unclear what court will hear his case. The American administration has announced the formation of a Central Criminal Court in Baghdad, which will have jurisdiction over some of those held in U.S. captivity. Prospective judges are currently being screened by American officials. The recently established Iraqi Governing Council has also announced the establishment of a judicial commission that will set up a special court system to investigate and prosecute former members of Hussein's government and others who may have been involved in genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. But both plans have been criticized by some rights advocates. Any court made up only of Iraqi judges hand- picked by the Americans or the Governing Council is "unlikely to produce sound prosecutions or fair trials" and might dispense only "show trials or victor's justice," said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. Roth advocates the creation of an international tribunal for Iraq that would include judges with experience in similar trials in Kosovo, Rwanda and Bosnia. The Bush administration opposes the idea, seeing it as a stalking- horse for the International Criminal Court, which was created last year in the Netherlands despite intense opposition by the administration. "The Americans need to be careful about being seen as legitimate among the Iraqi people," said Wamid Nadhmi, a prominent political science professor at Baghdad University who took an independent stance from Hussein's regime during the prewar years. "If they are seen to be punishing people unjustly, if they keep jailing people and mistreating them like they have been doing, it will only make problems worse." E-mail Robert Collier at email@example.com. ©2003 San Francisco Chronicle | Feedback Page A - 1 __________________________________________________________ [...] ------------ end portside forward ---------- Also this: =*=*=*=*=*=* Forward 2 *=*=*=*=*=*=* POLITICAL PRISONERS IN A SWELTERING DESERT: IRAQ'S MISSING WMD SCIENTISTS By Mano Singham* As the furor grows over the continued failure to find Iraq's supposed arsenal of weapons mass destruction, there is another twist to that story that is not receiving sufficient attention, and that is the fate of the Iraqi scientists who were supposedly working on the weapons. Readers may recall that during the period prior to the invasion when the UN weapons inspectors were in Iraq, trying to find these weapons, the US government kept giving the inspectors so-called intelligence 'leads' as to where to find them, all of which turned out to be fruitless. This caused the inspectors to fume privately that their time was being wasted by these wild goose chases. The US government then shifted its position and insisted that the weapons would soon be found if Iraqi scientists could be interviewed without the presence of intimidating government 'minders', so that the scientists could speak more freely. When that was done and did not produce the sought-for results, the US demand switched to insisting that the scientists and their families be allowed to leave the country and be given asylum elsewhere so that they would be truly free of Iraqi government influence and thus able to speak their minds. But the weapons remained elusive. Now the government of Saddam Hussein is gone, and these same Iraqi scientists are in the hands of the US authorities. They have the most favorable conditions of all to reveal any damaging information that they might have since the US government, desperate to justify its invasion, would presumably reward any scientist who could point them to the weapons. What is interesting is that nearly three months after Bush declared victory, not only do we not know whether these scientists revealed any important information, the scientists themselves are missing and being kept in undisclosed locations without contact with even their families. Their conditions are even worse than of those prisoners being held in Guantanamo Bay. Jonathan Steele reporting from Baghdad in the Sunday July 20, 2003 issue of The Observer (London) states that: "The International Committee of the Red Cross, with an internationally recognized mandate to inspect detention centers around the world, has been urging the US to clarify the status of the three dozen Iraqi scientists and officials it holds. The authorities have given no details of their whereabouts and, unlike Camp Delta in Guantanamo Bay, the place where they are held has not been shown to journalists. Some detainees are believed to be imprisoned in solitary cells or in swelteringly hot tents near the vast US base at Baghdad airport." Steele also reports that around 30 other prominent Iraqis in the 'pack of cards' (people like the former Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz) are being held in similarly secret conditions. Presumably all these people have been repeatedly questioned by U.S. authorities. One has to assume that if even a single one of them had revealed the existence of actual weapons or their locations or even merely plans for weapons, the Bush and Blair governments, increasingly under siege by their continued failure to substantiate the major argument they made for the attack, would have gratefully seized upon the news and made it public. It could be that these two governments have in fact obtained such information and are holding on to it, waiting to reveal it with a flourish at some auspicious time. It could also be that, for reasons unknown,these scientists are refusing to talk. But it is most likely that all these scientist captives are being held incommunicado because they are saying now what they kept saying all along, that there are simply no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq to find. To release them might result in them revealing yet another gaping hole in the case for war. It is time to demand answers to the question of why the Iraqi scientists are being held prisoner. Is their only crime that they cannot say what their captors want them to say? Have they become, in essence, political prisoners? *Mano Singham is a physicist and educator at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. (CounterPunch, 23 July 2003) =*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*= Another thought in the air worth keeping in mind is that a reason why Saddam's sons were killed could have been so they could not say things in a trial which would be embarrassing to Bush. ________________________________________________________________ The best thing to hit the internet in years - Juno SpeedBand! Surf the web up to FIVE TIMES FASTER! Only $14.95/ month - visit www.juno.com to sign up today! _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk