Tuesday, November 29, 2005

[politics] "...those Washington bullets again"

Stop me if you've heard this one before:
Although no one knows exactly how many militia members have been integrated into the national force, witnesses described undocumented arrests and torture by police. Two of the witnesses said they were present when detainees died. This month, U.S. forces raided a secret Interior Ministry detention facility in southern Baghdad operated by police intelligence officials linked to the Badr Brigade, a Shiite militia that has long-standing ties to Iran and to Iraq's leading Shiite political party. Inmates compiled a handwritten list of 18 detainees at the bunker who were allegedly tortured to death while in custody. The list was authenticated by a U.S. official and given to Justice Ministry authorities for investigation. It was later provided to The Times. The U.S. military is investigating whether police officers who worked at the secret prison were trained by American interrogation experts. An Aug. 18 police operations report addressed to Interior Minister Bayan Jabr, who has ties to the Badr militia, listed the names of 14 Sunni Arab men arrested during a predawn sweep in the Baghdad neighborhood of Iskaan. Six weeks later, their bodies were discovered near the Iranian border, badly decomposed. All of the corpses showed signs of torture, and each still wore handcuffs and had been shot three times in the back of the head, Baghdad morgue officials said.
From what I remember, it goes kind of like this:
As every cell in Chile will tell The cries of the tortured men Remember Allende, and the days before, Before the army came Please remember Victor Jara, In the Santiago Stadium, Es verdad - those Washington Bullets again -- The Clash, "Washington Bullets" (1980)
My guess? We don't really care who's killing who, so long as a.) the corpses are all Iraqis and b.) Iraq stays out of Iran's hands. Too bad our half-assed occupation and so-called reconstruction is making both of those less likely. And if these are rogue elements within the Iraqi police and military (and not some ham-fisted black ops cowboy scheme gone sadly wrong), do we really have the moral authority to tell the Iraqis to not engage in torture or extrajudicial killings? Really? I didn't think so. updated 9:30 AM PST 29-Nov-2005 Addendum: lest anyone think the "it's only the Shiites doing it to destabilize the country for an Iranian takeover" line survives a sniff test, consider these bits: the murder of Shiite teachers covered here; the Pentagon's discussion of the "Salvadoran option" here and here. It seems that I'm not the only one who was far from comforted by John Negroponte's involvement in Iraq, given his background (official bio here; more jaundiced views may be found here and here)... Oh, and remember my previous posting about expanded DoD spy activities? Guess who's running that show? I'll give you a hint: Who is a controversial career diplomat with a dubious human rights record? Feeling safer yet?

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