Tuesday, September 21, 2004


What in the name of all the unholy are we up to now?

Via Buzzflash I was reading a transcript of Amy Goodman's interview with Phil Shiner, a British attorney, who is alleging that American troops are now torturing captives in Mosul.

Months after the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal shocked the world, allegations have emerged from the northern Iraqi city of Mosul that American troops are routinely torturing Iraqi detainees there.

British attorney Phil Shiner says he has statements from two Iraqis who said they were hooded, stripped naked, beaten unconscious and doused with cold water. One was threatened with sexual assault.

The U.S. government has maintained abuse of prisoners in Iraq was mainly confined to a few rogue soldiers at Abu Ghraib.

Abuse by US soldiers in Baghdad and Basra has been well-documented, but these new claims from the north of the country are renewing fears that torture in US prisons in Iraq has been systematic and widespread.

I hope you will not be shocked when I say that I am not shocked. There is already plenty of evidence that torture is a widespread practice by U.S. troops in Iraq, sanctioned by higher-ups. And whether it will ever be truly investigated and punished is doubtful.

But Shiner says,

I will be instructing U.S. Lawyers shortly to use the alien tort claims act to bring a claim for damages there in the U.S

Filing lawsuits, which is what Phil Shiner is recommending, is probably the best tactic. With a lawsuit there is the hope of at least partially revealing the extent of the torture, since if the courts allow the suits to proceed, the plaintiffs will be able to compel "discovery"—at least until the government makes some "national interest" claim that will allow it to keep its secrets.

But my shock came as I was reading one of the victim's description of what else he saw.

And he goes on to say the next day, I saw a young man of 14 years of age, bleeding from his anus and lying on the floor. He was Kurdish and his name was Hama.
No. I'm not surprised by the rape. But I am shocked by who it was—a Kurd.

A great portion of Northern Iraq is occupied by the Kurds. They've been the only group not to oppose the U.S. military. Theirs has been the only region of the country that is not in active rebellion against the Allawi government.

So what in the hell are we doing torturing a Kurd? I'm getting sick of all the pundits who speak of what a fine job the military is doing despite the politicians who have their heads up their asses. This is, of course, politically correct speech at its worse.

If this story is true—and I have no reason to doubt it—the military can only be setting the stage for a rebellion by the only stable sector of Iraq. What tragic incompetence.

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