Sunday, July 03, 2005

A Pleasing Continuity, or Mad Regimes R Us 

With a groveling apology to Sen. Dick Durbin, whom we are about to paraphrase: if we did not tell you that the grotesque human-rights abuses catalogued below had been perpetrated by our client forces in post-invasion Iraq, you might well imagine them to have been the handiwork of Saddam Hussein in pre-invasion Iraq. But of course there is no comparison between the Baathist scum that tortured and murdered Iraqis at the whim of Saddam and the ex-Baathist scum that do the same on behalf of a free and democratic Iraq:
British and American aid intended for Iraq's hard-pressed police service is being diverted to paramilitary commando units accused of widespread human rights abuses, including torture and extra-judicial killings, The Observer can reveal . . . .

The allegations follow a wide-ranging investigation by this paper into serious human rights abuses being conducted by anti-insurgency forces in Iraq. The Observer has seen photographic evidence of post-mortem and hospital examinations of alleged terror suspects from Baghdad and the Sunni Triangle which demonstrate serious abuse of suspects including burnings, strangulation, the breaking of limbs and - in one case - the apparent use of an electric drill to perform a knee-capping.

The investigation revealed:

  • A 'ghost' network of secret detention centres across the country, inaccessible to human rights organisations, where torture is taking place.

  • Compelling evidence of widespread use of violent interrogation methods including hanging by the arms, burnings, beatings, the use of electric shocks and sexual abuse.

  • Claims that serious abuse has taken place within the walls of the Iraqi government's own Ministry of the Interior.

  • Apparent co-operation between unofficial and official detention facilities, and evidence of extra-judicial executions by the police.
International and Iraqi officials claim the use of torture has become more extensive since the country's first democratically-elected government was sworn in.

Steve Crawshaw of Human Rights Watch,said: 'There has been the attempt to suggest that because Saddam's regime is over now everything is rosy in Iraq. What is happening in official places in Iraq is simply horrific and must be stopped.'

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