Tuesday, February 21, 2006
In a frank interview with The Times, Dr Pace says photos and forensic records have proved that torture was rife inside detention centres. Though the process of release has been speeded up, there are an estimated 23,000 people in detention, of whom 80 to 90 per cent are innocent.
He says the Baghdad morgue received 1,100 bodies in July alone, about 900 of whom bore evidence of torture or summary execution. That continued throughout the year and last December there were 780 bodies, including 400 having gunshot wounds or wounds as those caused by electric drills.
I saw this and thought of you, dear readers.
Actually, I thought of this. The day after anger over the new, more obscene, pictures of Abu Ghraib torture and murder resounded across the world, the US suddenly discovers - gasp! - that it's policy of promulgating death squads is actually going according to plan. The death squad was operating as part of the police squad that the US built up and trained, under the rubric of the CIA. Are we supposed to have forgotten this? Was it supposed that we would not have noticed Operation Salvador? That the practises of America's Special Police Commandos would have slipped under the radar? Of course it was! That is exactly what is expected, because if you relied on the BBC or ITN for your information, you simply would not know that these things were happening. Much is said of the news being events-oriented rather than issue-oriented, but this story is presumably a daily event: the operations of US death squads on a daily basis would seem on a superficial glance to be - I dunno - newsworthy. It did feature on a web report, which worried about whether they were properly trained - "But there is no mistaking their enthusiasm." The next that was heard of the Special Police Commandos was when eleven of them died in a suicide attack. No description of who they are, and what they have been up to: that would be to give succour to the Evil Doers. Sunni resistance fighters have now apparently formed a militia to counter the incursions of Shiite death squads, called the Anbar Revolutionaries.
I noted before that one thing the death squads performed very well at was driving Iraq toward sectarian chaos, thereby raising the serious possibility of the disintegration of the country. This seems to me to be one aim of the US occupation. Israel has been working with the Kurdish leadership to precisely this end. And, of course, the Kurdish peshmerga have been ethnically cleansing Arabs from their future fiefdom. The sectarian constitution approved in a referendum last year (even while Iraqis registered majority disapproval of federalism and continue to do so) is continuing to be a divisive document. Because of the danger it poses to Iraq as a coherent polity, Iraqi nationalists have long opposed it. Today, The Guardian reports that the nationalist Shiite Moqtada al-Sadr has been using his power as a rising star in politics to oppose the constitution and refuse the re-entry of the murdering bastard Iyad Allawi to government. While Sadr's forces have been responsible for attacks on 'Al Qaeda' fighters, he has recently declared that the resistance is legitimate. He has stated that his forces will resume armed struggle with the US if it attacks Iran or Syria.
Saad Jawad of the Iraqi National Foundation Congress writes that, alerted to the barbarism threatened by sectarianism, many Iraqi groups which had previously pursued a federalist course are now looking for common cause. There is no doubt, it seems to me, that Iraq is threatened with oblivion if such a unity does not emerge. Already, courtesy of the occupiers, sectarian death squads are leaving drilled, decapitated and shot up bodies on the roadside. Kidnappings, barely reported unless a Western journalist or aid worker is held hostage, are rife. A low level war of attrition between different groups could, if anti-occupation feeling and pan-Iraq solidarity are not given institutional representation, easily meld with the ethnic cleansing programmes of various Shia and Kurdish groups, and become an all-consuming civil war. The occupiers have been driving things in that direction. It is not a coincidence, therefore, that those best placed to forge such a nationalist unity are also those most hostile to the occupation.