Torture as Policy and other US Violations of Occupation Law
Human Rights Watch issued a new 38-page report on June 9 entitled “The Road to Abu Ghraib.” The report “examines how the Bush administration adopted a deliberate policy of permitting illegal interrogation techniques–and then spent two years covering up or ignoring reports of torture and other abuse by U.S. troops.” Looking at Guantanamo and Afghanistan first, the report demonstrates that the abuses in Iraq have not only been a pattern in the recent “War on Terrorism,” but a matter of policy.
To confirm the systematic nature of the prisoner abuses in Iraq, the Wall Street Journal recently printed a summary of a Pentagon report that provides a series of legal arguments apparently intended to justify abuses and torture against detainees.
Too much focus on prisoner abuse can be a distraction from the larger picture of the US occupation. The framing of that issue within mainstream US news agencies still positions the occupation as a ?good thing? for Iraqis. The Center for Economic and Social Rights just published a new report “Beyond Torture: US Violations of Occupation Law in Iraq.” The report highlights 10 categories of US violations: Failure to Allow Self-Determination, Failure to Provide Public Order & Safety, Unlawful Attacks, Unlawful Detention & Torture, Collective Punishment, Failure to Ensure Vital Services, Failure to Protect the Rights to Health & Life, Failure to Protect the Right to Food & Education, Failure to Protect the Right to Work, and Fundamentally Changing the Economy. The report begins with an Iraqi saying that has been popular since the ousting of Saddam Hussein, “The student is gone; the master has arrived.”
US Puppet Organized Terrorist Attacks in Iraq Years Ago
As the date for the “transition of power” comes closer, new information surfaces about the new Prime Minister Ayad Allawi. According to a recent story by Voices in the Wilderness (VW), “a former Ba’athist, Allawi heads the Iraqi National Accord (INA), an “opposition” group created in December 1990, on the initiative of Saudi Prince Turki ibn Faysal, with the support of the CIA, and Jordanian and British agencies, and largely made up of Ba’thists and former military officers.” VW also reports that Allawi coordinated terrorist attacks in Iraq that resulted in more than 100 Iraqi civilian deaths. Rahul Mahajan confirms this with his latest posting on Empire Notes.
Iraqi Viewpoints Rarely Heard
I sometimes get emails asking me to propose solutions or make suggestions. Fine. Today’s lesson: don’t rape, don’t torture, don’t kill and get out while you can- while it still looks like you have a choice… Chaos? Civil war? Bloodshed? We?ll take our chances- just take your Puppets, your tanks, your smart weapons, your dumb politicians, your lies, your empty promises, your rapists, your sadistic torturers and go.?
“In one sense the Americans are transferring power but only to their own agents. The new government are all pawns of the CIA.”
– an Iraqi driver
“We Iraqis are rejecting this decision because it will turn Iraq back to the British occupation period,” said Haidar Mahmoud, a shopkeeper. “At that time there was an Iraqi government but it was just a puppet.”
Both comments can be found in reporter Patrick Cockburn?s latest report from
Lastly, for an interesting visual depiction of what is happening in Iraq, see a fabulous photo montage from Eric Blumrich featuring more images the Pentagon and the corporate media don’t want us to see.
Remembering Ronald Regan and Iraq
While the corporate media rewrites the history of the Regan presidency, the independent media is examining the more sinister aspects of President Regan’s legacy. Certainly Regan?s support of death squads in Central America is well-known if widely ignored, but less frequently considered is Regan’s connection to Saddam Hussein and Regan’s arming of both Iraq and Iran during the 1980s war that killed one million.
Government Reverses Position: Terrorist Attacks Increased in 2003
On April 29, 2004, the United States government released their annual “Patterns of Global Terrorism” report for 2003. In it they claimed that terrorist attacks were at a 34-year low and that the “war on terrorism” (and by extension the occupation of Iraq) was making the world a safer place. This week the State Department retracted the report, admitting that they failed to consider all terrorist attacks in 2003 and admitted that there was a ?sharp upturn? in terrorist attacks for 2003.
With recent “mass mobilizations” by International ANSWER on June 5th bringing out a disappointing number of people, some in the antiwar movement are beginning to feel that the movement has lost its direction and is losing ground. Critics can point to a combination of factors: the lack of a Democratic alternative to the occupation, burnout from a year of demonstrations, and the media’s insistence that the occupation is almost over–all of which have contributed to rather lackluster national mobilizations against the war.
Still, antiwar protests continue around the country. There was a sizable anti-occupation rally in San Francisco, including a breakaway march that sought to draw connections between the invasion of Iraq and the economic policies of the G8. In Brunswick, Georgia activists participating in actions against the G8 organized a march protesting the G8 and imperialism. Another G8 solidarity action in North Carolina shut down Research Triangle Park, an industrial park that houses Lockheed Martin and Dyncorp, two companies that have profited from the Iraq war.