Wednesday, February 22, 2006

International solidarity.

As even pliable human rights organisations find themselves accusing the US government of the systematic murder, news emerges that residents in Baghdad and Basra will join the international antiwar marches on March 18th:

The people of Basra and Baghdad will be joining next month’s global protest against the US and British occupation of Iraq.

From British occupied Basra, Faraj Rabat Mizbhan of the independent Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions is urging trade unionists, peace activists and opponents of the occupation to demonstrate in their tens of thousands across the world on 18 March.

“We are indebted to the people who have raised their voices against the occupation of our country – whether they are British, Americans, Russians or from anywhere across the globe,” he told Socialist Worker from Basra.

“By opposing this war, and opposing this occupation you are standing by the Iraqis who have to endure the terror of occupation.

“You are standing up for our right to independence, our freedom from the thieves who have descended on our country.

“People in Britain will have seen the film of British soldiers savagely beating the four lads in Ammara.

“This is the reality of the occupation. Carry this image in your minds when you demonstrate. This is what we are ­struggling against.”

Demonstrations called in Baghdad and Basra on Friday 17 March are backed by the Al-Sadr Movement, the Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions and the Iraqi National Foundation Conference.

Speaking of the torture of prisoners, here is a follow-up on the new pictures from Abu Ghraib last week:

Newly declassified documents have exposed widespread and systematic torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay by a shadowy US military unit operating as part of a “Special Access Programme”. This secret unit is funded directly by the US Congress.

The documents have been obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). They reveal a cover-up of the activities of Task Force 626, comprising CIA agents and special forces involved in torture.

One set of papers refers to an investigation by the US Criminal Investigation Command into the abuse of a detainee at Baghdad international airport, a facility reserved for “high value” prisoners.

The victim’s name is blanked out, but he is referred to as the son of one of Saddam Hussein’s bodyguards captured in the city of Tikrit on 5 January 2004.

The documents reveal how the man was stripped naked, doused with water and made to stand in front of a freezing air conditioning unit. He was repeatedly beaten until he passed out, revived and beaten again.

The investigation was cut short because of the involvement of the Special Access Programme. The investigator informed his superiors that any further enquiry was useless, since Task Force 626 members had faked names, shredded medical records and wiped their computers.

The agent tells his superior, “Hell, even if we reopened it [the case], we wouldn’t get any more information than we already have.”

Central Intelligence Agency? Involved in secret activities? Torture, murder and cover-up? No! I won't hear of it!

PS: Palestine goes hip-hop.