Thursday, July 01, 2004
Dept. of Where Do They Get Their Ideas: "We will hit these people and teach them a good lesson they won't forget. Americans and allied forces have certain restrictions we won't have . . . It's our country, it's our culture, and we have different laws than you do . . . We will cut off their hands and behead them." -- New Iraqi defense minister Hazim Shaalan. Via Digby, a Guardian report on Iraqi freedom, Week I, which suggests that a certain amount of fine tuning may still be necessary:
American military police yesterday raided a building belonging to the Iraqi ministry of the interior where prisoners were allegedly being physically abused by Iraqi interrogators.Someone kindly explain to this godless savage: we had a memo.
The raid appeared to be a violation of the country's new sovereignty, leading to angry scenes inside the ministry between Iraqi policemen and US soldiers.
The military police, who had been told of abuse, seized an area known as the Guesthouse just outside the ministry's main building. They disarmed the Iraqi policemen and at one stage threatened to set free prisoners whose handcuffs they removed, according to Iraqi officials.
The arrival of a second group of US military police and a more senior officer led to an argument between the two groups of military policemen over who had command authority for the raid.
Iraqi ministry of interior officials admitted that around 150 prisoners taken during a raid four days before in the Betawain district of Baghdad had been physically abused during their arrest and subsequent questioning.
The men were captured in the first big Iraqi-led anti-crime and anti-terrorism operation, which took place a few days before the transfer of power, with US military police in support and using US satellite images.
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".
According to an al-Jazeera television crew, who had been filming the prisoners when the US military police conducted their raid, most of the detainees were blindfolded, with their hands cuffed behind their backs. One prisoner was so weak, from dehydration, that the US military policemen fitted an intravenous drip to rehydrate him . . . .
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."