Gen Taguba’s Abu Ghraib Report & US Franchised Torture Revisited
Recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world: Preamble, Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“As usual, the Arabs knew. They knew all about the mass torture, the promiscuous shooting of civilians, the outrageous use of air power against family homes, and the vicious American and British mercenaries, the cemeteries of the innocent dead. All of Iraq knew. Because they were the victims.” -Robert Fisk on Wikileaks in ‘Independent ‘
Hosting by Wikileaks on its website some 391,832 US military messages documenting actions and reports on Iraq over the period 2004-2009, can be divided in five heads:
Reliance on private contractors aka mercenaries; the so-called "surge" of 30,000 additional US troops; the deaths of Iraqi civilians - killed mostly by other Iraqis, but also by the US; a litany of prisoner abuse by Iraqis - which US officials ignored - even more lurid than the infamous photographs of torture from Abu Ghraib prison in 2004; and the so called "aggressive" intervention of Iran's military providing "weapons, training and sanctuary" to Shia combatants.
Robert Fisk highlights the main points as follows
Prisoners abused, raped and murdered; Hundreds of incidents of abuse and torture of prisoners by Iraqi security services, up to and including rape and murder. Since these are itemized in US reports, American authorities now face accusations of failing to investigate them. UN leaders and campaigners are calling for an official investigation.
Civilian death toll cover-up; Coalition leaders have always said "we don't do death tolls", but the documents reveal many deaths were logged. Respected British group Iraq Body Count says that, after preliminary examination of a sample of the documents, there are an estimated 15,000 extra civilian deaths, raising their total to 122,000.
The shooting of men trying to surrender; In February 2007, an Apache helicopter killed two Iraqis, suspected of firing mortars, as they tried to surrender. A military lawyer is quoted as saying: "They cannot surrender to aircraft and are still valid targets."
Private security firm abuses; Britain's Bureau of Investigative Journalism says it found documents detailing new cases of alleged wrongful killings of civilians involving Backwater, since renamed Xe Services. Despite this, Xe retains extensive US contracts in Afghanistan.
Al-Qaida’s use of children and "mentally handicapped" for bombing ;A teenage boy with Down's syndrome who killed six and injured 34 in a suicide attack in Diyala was said to be an example of an ongoing al-Qaida strategy to recruit those with learning difficulties. A doctor is alleged to have sold a list of female patients with learning difficulties to insurgents.
Hundreds of civilians killed at check points; Out of the 832 deaths recorded at checkpoints in Iraq between 2004 and 2009, analysis by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism suggests 681 were civilians. Fifty families were shot at and 30 children killed. Only 120 insurgents were killed in checkpoint incidents.
Iranian influence; Reports detail US concerns that Iranian agents had trained armed and directed militants in Iraq. In one document, the US military warns a militia commander believed to be behind the deaths of US troops and kidnapping of Iraqi officials was trained by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard.
But the Wikileaks give little information on the mistreatment of prisoners in US-run detention facilities, or in CIA franchised torture centers in east Europe and elsewhere, worse than Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo ,while chilling details of abuse of Iraqis by Iraq's own army and police.
Reaction to the Leaks
The Wikileaks have unleashed bickering among Iraqi politicians. For example, a senior member of the Iraqiya bloc led by former Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi called for an investigation into possible connections between torture operations in Iraqi prisons and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.
US Defense Department; Geoff Morrell, the US Defense Department press secretary, strongly condemned both Wikileaks and the release of the Iraq documents.
"We deplore Wikileaks for inducing individuals to break the law, leak classified documents and then cavalierly share that secret information with the world, including our enemies," he said.
Iran's Press TV declared, "Whistleblower website Wikileaks has released documents suggesting that the Pentagon instructed US-led forces to 'secretly' torture detainees in Iraq."
Robert Fisk in London’s ‘Independent’
The western leadership and subservient corporate media pretend not to know. They countered every claim, every allegation against the Americans or British with some general – that “ghastly US military spokesman Mark Kimmitt and the awful chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Peter Pace, come to mind – to ring-fence us with lies. Find a man who'd been tortured and you'd be told it was terrorist propaganda; discover a house full of children killed by an American air strike and that, too, would be terrorist propaganda, or "collateral damage", or a simple phrase: We have nothing on that.”
Those who went around torturing the Iraqis were undisciplined gunmen aka mercenaries, many recruited from criminal elements, so that they could be shown as outside the US armed forces and also military discipline under international law. Veritable outlaws, a gang of criminals, well paid, with license to torture and kill; they murdered their way around the cities of Iraq, apart from protecting diplomats and generals. Though written in bleak militaries, this material can be used by lawyers in courts, continued Fisk.
But it always happens like this. In Kuwait, after the 1991 liberation, US troops heard Palestinians being tortured by Kuwaitis in police stations with a Kuwaiti royal family member involved. US forces did nothing. They just complained to the royal family. Soldiers are always being told not to intervene. But then the Israeli army was told in September 1982 that Israel's Phalangist allies had just murdered some women and children? "We know, it's not to our liking, and don't interfere," said battalion commander about the criminal enterprise of Sabra and Chatila refugee camp massacres.
Throughout history compared to the invaders and the rulers from the East, the Western culture and rule has been based on Cartesian material outlook on life .The Nazi crematoriums was an acme of western economic optimization of using even human resources ( Jewish and other bodies )to the last bone and the drop of blood.
What else to expect from the people of USA whose history is a narrative of landmarks like the Massacre at Wounded Knee, who have morphed from savagery to high-tech savagery and gave to the last generation, Mai Lai massacre, and during brutal occupation of Iraq , Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, Fallujah. Nevertheless, instead of looking at themselves, they pontificate to the rest of the humanity, with their uncivilized discourse.
Americans at home
In America, African Americans have been deprived of the most basic rights and opportunities. This was especially true in the southern states, which were once a byword for poverty and backwardness among people of all races. For a long time US refused to act at a national level to stop lynching, often arguing that it was a local problem thus everyone suffered the consequences of shutting off a huge segment of the population from equality and justice.
Lynching were barred quite late in last century .But in New Orleans and the region, white America's putrid underbelly one can see the reality. How American Africans were treated and are still being treated .Those who visited the region at the time of September , 2005 Katrina disaster say that there has been no change in the pitiable conditions of the Blacks and poor in USA for the last two centuries.
London's Observer on Katrina
London's Observer noted "Perhaps nothing else so encapsulates the endless paradoxes of being black in America. Never have blacks had so much legal freedom, yet there are record numbers in jail.
Traditional black neighborhoods have collapsed into drug-ridden crime strongholds, even as the black middle class is the biggest in history.
"It is now 40 years since the Voting Rights Act that secured the black vote. [In Florida 2000!] It is 10 years since hundreds of thousands of blacks came to Washington in the Million Man March to demand a way out of poverty. It is a single month since Hurricane Katrina exposed the racial fault lines that fracture the big cities.
"Almost four decades after King was killed, there are still two Americas. One is largely white and wealthy, one largely black and poor. They live cheek by jowl in the same country yet in separate worlds. The shocking thing about the TV pictures from New Orleans was not black poverty; it was the reaction of whites. 'Most whites were shocked about the amount of poverty in New Orleans, but black media have talked about poverty for the past 20 years,' said David Canton, professor of history at Connecticut College.
"Bare statistics tell the story. Black life expectancy is six years shorter than that of whites. Black unemployment is twice as high. Blacks are twice as likely as whites to die from disease, accident or murder at every stage of their lives. About 24 per cent of black families live below the poverty line, compared with 8 per cent of the white population."
Following the Katrina hurricane, when the truth could not be hidden, US corporate news networks soon started a cover up, with boring repeat visits of the President and statements. However, it has fooled no one except the usual suspects, info-challenged US population.
Below is an article on abuse by US troops and interrogators in report by US Gen Antonio Taguba
The author had met with and heard the testimony of the victims of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo at the hearings of the Kuala Lumpur Tribunal on War Trials in October, 2009.
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