Is Iraq Better? Part 3

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

There are many security/police forces at work in Iraq detaining suspected insurgents and sympathizers. Reports and first hand accounts are surfacing about the practices going on after people are being arrested. Peter Beaumont, a foreign affairs editor in Baghdad, recently wrote the article "Revealed: grim world of new Iraqi torture camps".

In this article he wrote of a man named Hassan an-Ni'ami a suspected insurgent who was detained by commandos from Rapid Intrusion. His "arrest" made the local television news. Twelve hours after the arrest, his body was in the morgue. This is where the trouble starts: this man was detained and then murdered under the watch of the so-called "police" without so much as a trial or formal charges. The tragedy of his story is best characterized by Mr. Beaumont's quote that "What happened to him in his 24 hours in captivity was written across his body in chapters of pain, recorded by the camera."

Mr. an-Ni'ami still had his handcuffs on one wrist, which was swollen. There were multiple burn marks around his nipple, and welts around his chest and back as if whipped with a cable or hose. His nose and arm were broken along with some vertebrae that were pushed in. In addition to this, there were small even sized holes through his left knee as if drilled through. What finally killed this man were the bullets fired into his chest and head from close range.

Another example of this type of "dirty harry" policing is the May 5, 2005 arrest of 14 Sunni farmers, picked up in a market in east Baghdad. Ali Karim, a local fruit vendor, described the people who detained the farmers: "A partrol of more than 10 police vehicles drove up and parked, they were running through the street with their guns, saying that the farmers had a car bomb with them. They pushed them against the walls and asked them for their ID's." This story was coroborated by another vendor, Ahmed Adil.

The bodies of all the farmers were found in a shallow grave the next day. Most of the bodies show extensive torture with some of the bodies blackened by strangulation, brusies to the forehead, fractured eyes, burns, and puncture wounds similar to those inflicted by a spiked knuckle type device.

Tahar Mohammed Suleiman al-Mashhadani was kidnapped from the Abu Ghraib area by the Rapid Intrusion commandos. His body was found 20 days later and was almost unrecognizable to his family for identification.

The director and chief forensic investigator of the Baghdad morgue, the person who has seen some of these bodies, says that although he does not have enough doctors to catalog all the deaths, he sees 700 to 800 suspicious deaths a month.

Some of the people "arrested" by the police forces may be insurgents or criminals and if so they should be charged with a crime and have a trial. Is this what it is all about: an Iraq where security forces kidnap people off the streets and play judge, jury and executioner? Sounds alot like the Iraq of Saddam to me!


Daedalus said...

Is this what American forces are training the police to do?

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