- An earlier article discussed Iraq's dire conditions after
seven years of occupation, and over a decade of sanctions, accessed through
the following link:
- It presents a grim overall picture, besides Gideon Polya's
September 13, 2010 estimated eight million "War on Terror" deaths,
mostly in Iraq, what he calls "avoidable mortality and under-5 infant
mortality" ones, accessed through the following link:
- Conditions now include:
- -- 4.5 million refugees;
- -- 2.8 million internal ones (IDPs), one-third in squatter
- -- mass impoverishment and depravation;
- -- rampant human rights abuses; and
- -- settlements without basic services, such as clean
water, sanitation, electricity, health care, and education.
- Nir Rosen's September 13, 2010 ZNet article adds more,
accessed through the following link:
- "Welcome to the new Iraq," he says, "same
as the old Iraq," including:
- -- "automatic weapons pointed at your head out of
- -- mountains of garbage everywhere;
- -- the stench of sewage; and
- -- daily violence, chaos, terror, and toxic environment,
the same conditions everywhere under direct or proxy US occupations. The
definition below explains how Iraqis see their "liberation."
- Merriam-Webster defines dystopia as "an imaginary
place where people lead dehumanized and often fearful lives." Other
definitions include extreme deprivation, oppression, and terror. These
conditions apply to Iraq, a living hell under occupation, not the sanitized
- image when anything at all is reported.
- New Amnesty International (AI) Report on Iraq
- AI's report explains more, titled "New Order, Same
Abuses: Unlawful Detentions and Torture in Iraq." It debunks Western
mythology with the harsh reality of "unlawful detention(s), enforced
disappearance(s) and torture or other ill-treatment of thousands of people
since 2003 by the US-led Multinational Force (MNF) in Iraq and the Iraqi
- Saddam's Iraq was paradise by comparison. Most Iraqis
would agree, given their lack of freedom, mass impoverishment, and human
misery with no hope for change under occupation. It's how America planned
- Many detainees are held arbitrarily, "without charge
or trial, for seven years" or longer. For some, it's despite Iraqi
courts ordering them released for lack of evidence, and the 2008 Amnesty
Law requiring it after six or 12 months, depending on the circumstances.
Yet thousands remain lawlessly imprisoned, many held incommunicado, tortured
or abused without access to counsel, and for some, no family visits. Many
aren't told where their relatives are held.
- Under US imposed rules, "An estimated 30,000 untried
detainees are currently being held by the Iraqi authorities, although the
exact number is not known as the authorities do not disclose such information."
Most are in severely overcrowded facilities under poor conditions. As a
result, untreated health problems are common.
- America's January 1, 2009 implemented SOFA (status of
forces agreement) instituted permanent occupation and much more, including
releasing or transferring all detainees to Iraqi custody. However, nothing
is said about US or Iraqi human rights obligations, what Washington doesn't
now or ever cared about. Former US diplomat George Kennan explained it
in his February 1948 "Memo PPS23," saying:
- We must "dispense with all sentimentality and daydreaming....we
(cannot) afford today the luxury of altruism and world benefaction....We
should dispense with the aspiration to 'be liked' or to be regarded as
the repository of high-minded altruism....We should (avoid considering)
unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards,
and democratization. (The) less we are hampered by idealistic slogans (ideas
and practices), the better."
- The father of Soviet containment, Kennan was a dove.
Hard-liners toughened his ideas, implementing them for over six decades,
including in present day Iraq (and Afghanistan) where the vast majority
of detainees are suspected of unproved terrorism or related offenses.
- Iraq's Amnesty Law
- Effective on February 27, 2008, its Article 1 says those
detained can be pardoned and released by one of the Iraqi Supreme Judicial
Council's established judicial committees. Article 2 lists exceptions,
- -- prisoners sentenced to death;
- -- those convicted of terrorism causing death or permanent
- -- anyone convicted of crimes against humanity; and
- -- others sentenced for premeditated murder, kidnapping,
rape, homosexual acts, adultery, incest, forging official documents, counterfeiting,
smuggling artifacts, and offenses under the Iraqi Military Criminal Code.
- "In practice, the Amnesty Law appears to have been
widely ignored and to have had little effect or impact on prisoner numbers.
Some detainees have been released, but thousands" remain imprisoned
without charges or trials in violation of international laws, including
Fourth Geneva, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
(ICCPR), and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or
Degrading Treatment or Punishment..
- For example, ICCPR's Article 9 states:
- "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or
detention....Anyone arrested or detained on a criminal charge shall be
brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise
judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time"
- Principle 4 of the UN Body of Principles for the Protection
of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment states:
- "Any form of detention or imprisonment and all measures
affecting the human rights of a person under any form of detention or imprisonment
shall be ordered by, or be subject to the effective control of, a judicial
or other authority."
- Its Principle 11 says "A person shall not be kept
in detention without being given an effective opportunity to be heard promptly
by a judicial or other authority."
- America and its puppet Iraqi regime systematically violate
international law provisions, harming all Iraqis, those in detention most.
In some cases, arrests weren't for suspected crimes, but to extort money
from detainees and their families. America turns a blind eye, including
complete disregard for human rights, civil liberties, and democratic freedoms.
In today's Iraq, they don't exist, the occupation in place to assure it.
- Yet "The policy of locking people up on mere suspicion
(in some cases against regime critics) and denying them justice has contributed
to, not alleviated" the sectarian divisions and insecurity. Worse
is how they're treated, AI detailing:
- "Rape or the threat of rape. Beating with cables
and hosepipes. Prolonged suspension by the limbs. Electric shocks to sensitive
parts of the body. Breaking of limbs. Removal of toenails with pliers.
Asphyxiation using a plastic bag over the head. Piercing the body with
drills. Being forced to sit on sharp objects such as broken bottles....just
some of the torture methods used against men, women and children,"
inflicting enough pain to get anyone to confess to stop it.
- One detainee told his interrogators he'd sign anything,
even a blank sheet of paper to end it. He did and told AI he was innocent,
yet under Iraqi "law," his confession is admissible as evidence.
"The Iraqi criminal justice system relies heavily on (forced) confessions
as evidence of guilt," many then convicted, including hundreds sentenced
to death based on torture-extracted admissions, mostly from innocent victims.
- Women are as mistreated as men, many reporting being
repeatedly raped during interrogations and in detention. For others, men
and women, torture results in death. Investigations aren't conducted or
whitewashed, death certificates citing heart failure or other natural causes.
"In all cases, those responsible for abuses have not been brought
to justice. The failure to deal seriously and effectively with torture
and other human rights violations....has created a culture of impunity."
- At times, prison guards and other security officers were
suspended, even arrested, then granted immediate amnesty and released.
These practices began under George Bush. Obama continues them seamlessly
and shamelessly, what major media accounts never report.
- A Final Comment
- In 2004, Americans and world audiences recall the horrors
of torture, rape, sodomy, murder, and other abuses by US military personnel
at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison. Today under occupation, every US and Iraqi-controlled
detention facility is Abu Ghraib or worse, their tortures, extreme abuses
and appalling conditions continue.
- Thousands of civilians are thus victimized by imperial
Washington's lawlessness. Human lives and welfare are thus sacrificed,
a shocking indictment of America's true aim and employed means, abroad
and at home. Obama is as culpable as Bush. Both are unindicted war criminals.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
email@example.com. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the
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