Human rights in postSaddam Hussein Iraq

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Template:Npov The Bush administration and many parties have expressed concern about human rights in post-Saddam Hussein Iraq. There has been a concern (from various sources) about the state of human rights in Iraq after the 2003 occupation of Iraq. Concerns have been expressed about conduct by both the U.S.-led occupying coalition forces and the insurgents. The U.S. is investigating several allegations of violations of international and internal standards of conduct in isolated incidents by its own forces and contractors.

Human rights abuses by Iraqi guerrillas, criminal elements, and other insurgents

Hostage taking of civilians ("protected persons" in the Hague and Geneva Conventions) of various nationalities, including the murder and mutilation of the bodies of some, has been a regular practice of some insurgents. Two hostages, Nick Berg and Kim Sun-il were apparently beheaded by their captors (see below). There have also been bombings targeting civilians, including bombings of mosques full of worshippers.

There has also been a wave of kidnappings of Iraqis, usually from wealthier backgrounds, for ransom on a regular basis. For example, more than 100 doctors have been kidnapped and ransomed. Although these kidnappings are largely unreported in the Western media, they are far more common than the kidnappings of Western victims. It is not clear who is behind these kidnappings, but they are usually carried out in a very professional manner, and many observers believe that criminal gangs are responsible, or perhaps militia in order to secure funding. During the chaos in the weeks and months that followed the invasion, Iraqi women and girls were abducted at high frequency, gang-raped and often killed. This type of crime was very rare under Saddam Hussein, and its increase may have been a consequence of him releasing all prisoners just prior to the invasion.

Religious militias have been known to murder liquor store owners and their customers, or to publicly whip them and parade them through streets.

Assassination of Academics

There has been reports of the systematic killing of university lecturers. [1], [2]. Some have been victims of simple robberies while a few may have victims of revenge killings due to grudges dating back to the time of Ba'ath rule. Several have been targeted directly after critisizing the armed insurgency suggesting they may be responsible. Iraqi academics fear that the effect may be the stifling of moderate voices needed for building a democracy. However many academics regard these risks minor compared with what they faced under the Ba'ath regime. [3]

Assassination and targeting of Trades Unionists

Hadi Saleh was assassinated on 4th January 2005. Though no group claimed responsibility the method of execution pointed to members of the Baathist resistance.[4].

Assassination of political activists and leaders

Wadhah Hassan Abdul Amir, an Iraqi communist and member of the Interim National Assembly, was killed along with two other communists when their car was stopped by an armed militia while travelling between Baghdad and Kirkuk on 13 November 2004. [5]

Nick Berg

On May 11, 2004, a video appeared on the Internet generally believed to show an Islamic militant group beheading captured American civilian Nick Berg. Some contend this shows the kind of monster the US is fighting in the war on terror; others contend it's a comparatively minor issue with a tangled back story that distracts from the mounting abuse scandal.

The killing and mutilation have been widely denounced by Muslim leaders in Iraq and elsewhere as contrary to Islamic law and harmful to the Iraqi cause.

Kim Sun-il

The group Jama'at al-Tawhid and Jihad, led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, accused by the United States of America of links to al Qaida, threatened to kill a South Korean hostage, Kim Sun-il, unless South Korea agreed not to send more troops to Iraq. The group initially set a June 21, 2004 deadline in a videotape which showed Kim Sun-il pleading for his life.

On June 22, after initial reports that the militants had given their hostage more time, Al-Jazeera television reported that they had received a videotape showing that Kim Sun-il had been executed.

Angelo de la Cruz

Similar to the Nick Berg case, a Filipino truck driver Angelo de la Cruz was abducted and threatened with beheading. In response, the Philippines withdrew all troops from Iraq and de la Cruz was freed.

Eugene Armstrong

Eugene Armstrong was an engineer who went to Iraq and was kidnapped and beheaded by Tawhid and Jihad on September 20, 2004.

Jack Hensley

Jack Hensley was an engineer who went to Iraq and was kidnapped and beheaded by Tawhid and Jihad on September 21, 2004.

Fabrizio Quattrocchi

Fabrizio Quattrocchi was an Italian security guard kidnapped and shot dead in Iraq on April 15, 2004.

Shosei Koda

Shosei Koda was a Japanese young man who travelled globally. He reportedly decided to visit Iraq in order to see the country for himself. He was later kidnapped, shown on television asking his country to withdraw troops (which the government unequivocally refused to do), and was later found dead and decapitated.

Jan 2005 elections

Due to threats from insurgents to "wash the streets with the blood of those campaigning in these elections" candidates were often afraid even to allow their names to be publicly known (BBC radio 4 six oclock news 27th Jan 05) The same report described how several polling stations had been attacked with bombs mortars and rockets.

The BBC (radio 4 six o-clock news 28th Jan) reported on the fear amongst voters in the face of intimidation from insurgents. Voters were reported to be intending to wait and listen for explosions before deciding to vote.

On the PM program (Radio 4 BBC 28th Jan) an Iraqi voter was interviewed by Hugh Sykes:

Iraqi: "I'm afraid but I'll do"
HS:"You're afraid but you're going to vote?"
Iraqi:"Yeah I will because it's my right and I want it."

BBC Radio 4 14:00 news bulletin reported that 5 civilians and 3 Iraqi soldiers had been killed in a suicide bombing near a polling station north east of Baghdad. The BBC also reported that militants have threatened to behead anyone who participates in the poll.

Human rights abuses by coalition forces

According to the Washington Post, the coalition forces regularly use "torture-like" methods during the interrogation of suspects. Such methods were reportedly applied to people to find the hiding place of Saddam Hussein in Operation Red Dawn. British troops have also tortured Iraqi prisoners of war. Such treatment violates article 17 of the Third Geneva Convention and the USA and Britain's official policies on combat and occupation. Despite numerous complaints by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, it took a year before the first US soldier was court-martialed for their actions concerning abuse of Iraqis.

International observers have contrasted this with the Iraqi treatment of Jessica Lynch.

Unknown date

Eight marine reservists were investigated for abuse and the death of a prisoner, outside Nasiriyah. [6]

A photograph leaked after the initial set shows Spc. Sabrina Harman smiling and giving a thumbs up next to the body of Manadel al-Jamadi. Jamadi was reportedly beaten to death during interrogations in the prison's showers. [7] Death certificates repeatedly stated that prisoners had died "while sleeping", and of "natural reasons". Iraqi doctors are not allowed to investigate even when death certificates are obviously forged. No reports of investigations against US military doctors who forged death certificates have been reported.

On May 20, NBC reported about another facility in Iraq reportedly with even worse conditions than Abu Ghraib, run by the elite Delta Force. Details are just beginning to emerge about this battlefield interrogation facility (BIF) - whose existence is just being revealed. [8]

Spring 2003

A US veteran sergeant reports witnessing torture in Iraq and the cover-up activities of his commanding officers. Honorably discharged US veteran, Sergeant Frank "Greg" Ford reports that he witnessed war crimes in Samarra, Iraq. (Democracy Now !, Wikinews)

April 2003

Ather Karen al-Mowafakia died in Basra, while in British custody. Details about the investigation are not known. [9]

Before May 2003

Gary Bartlam, a British soldier of the Desert Rats, was arrested after submitting film to a photo developers shop in Tamworth, England while on leave. The photographs depict a gagged Iraqi POW suspended hanging by rope from a fork lift, and other pictures seem to show prisoners being forced to perform sexual acts. Seven other soldiers are being investigated about the incident. [10]

British Lieutenant Colonel Tim Collins was alleged by US Army Major Re Biastre to have been responsible for mistreatment of Iraqi civilians and prisoners of war. Lieutenant Colonel Collins was later cleared of these charges by a tribunal.

May 8 2003

In separate incidents, the Royal Military Police declared that Radhi Natna died of a heart attack while in British custody, yet his family reports that he had no heart trouble; and the Black Watch regiment arrested the 17-year-old Ahmad Jabber Kareem Ali in Basra, who then drowned after being ordered to swim across a river despite not being able to swim, according to his friend Ayad Salim Hanoon. [11]

May 12 2003

Reservists from the USA Army abused Prisoners at Camp Bucca, and were later court-martialed.

Brigadier General Ennis Whitehead III reported that Master Sergeant Lisa Marie Girman, a state trooper, "repeatedly kick[ed a prisoner] in the groin, abdomen and head, and encouraging her subordinate soldiers to do the same,"

Lieutenant colonel Vic Harris reported that Staff Sergeant Scott A. McKenzie who worked at a Pennsylvania Department of Corrections boot-camp-style prison, and Specialist Timothy F. Canjar: held prisoners' legs, encouraged others to then kick them in the groin, stepped on their previously injured arms, and made false sworn statements to the USA Army Criminal Investigation Division.

They received "general, under honorable conditions" discharges, were ordered to forfeit 2 months' salary, and returned to the USA.

Sergeant Shawna Edmondson, also involved in the case, received an "other-than-honorable" discharge, after she requested it instead of being court-martialed. [12]

Hossam Shaltout said the abuse at Camp Bucca was similar to that at Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse, and that his torture included scorpions placed on his body [13].

May 24 2003

Said Shabram died in custody, but no information of the investigation were made public. [14]

July 23, 2003

US forces kidnapped the family of an unidentified lieutenant general to induce him to turn himself in.[15]

July to December 2003

The abuses at Abu Ghraib prison were reportedly committed by MPs [16]. There are allegations that private contractors contributed to them as well and that intelligence agencies such as the CIA ordered them to do so in order to break prisoners for interrogations. It is said to be a usual practice in other US prisons as well, such as in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay. [17]

The International Committee of the Red Cross submitted a detailed report to the U.S. Army in October 2003 about abuses in prisons, and the president of the Red Cross stated he had informed high-ranking members of the Bush administration about the abuses during a meeting in the White House in January 2004. A soldier came forward that month with photos of abuse that he found disturbing, some showed the stacking of prisoners into a human pyramid, with one prisoner's skin visibly bearing a slur written in English. Another showed a prisoner being forced to stand on a box with wires attached to his head and hands, who had reportedly been told that if he fell off the box, he would be electrocuted. Photos released to the public later included a person being attacked by a guard dog, which the soldier involved described as being useful for intimidation of prisoners. [18] It was also reported that an Iraqi hired as a translator raped a juvenile male prisoner while a female soldier took pictures. [19] [20] No charges have been brought against the contractor because he does not fall under the military's jurisdiction; it is questionable whether any charges will or even can be brought against him.

Donald Rumsfeld had said that army and government had only been informed in January and not in detail. [21] On January 16, 2004, a press release was issued by the United States Central Command (CENTCOM [22]) stating that an investigation had been initiated in response to allegations of detainee abuse at an unspecified detention facility (now known to be Abu Ghraib prison). [23]

In March 2004, 6 soldiers in Abu Ghraib were charged with dereliction of duty, cruelty and maltreatment, and sexual abuse. 17 others were suspended from duty, including the seven U.S. officers who ran the prison. Also recommended for discipline was Brig. Gen Janis Karpinski, the commander of the 800th brigade. The Red Cross, which had access to these prisons, has stated that the instances of torture were not aberrations but were systemic. Some officers have attempted to defend themselves by saying that they were only doing their duty.

In response to ongoing complaints, the US military initiated a program to reform the internment and treatment systems. The reforms are expected to increase safeguards for prisoners' rights, to ensure each prisoner receives a copy of their internment order, and has their charges explained to them within 72 hours. They additionally plan to publicly post information about detainees so that family members can know what happened to their loved ones. Reforms were made in March 2004.

Theft of prisoner's possessions by soldiers, dirty, cramped quarters and bad food, prisoners forced into uncomfortable positions for prolonged periods of time, extreme exposure to the elements, and excessive jailings of people based on the paid testimony of individual informants were reported. 55-year old cafe owner Mahmoud Khodair, who was arrested and held for six months before being released in early march without ever knowing what he was charged with, stated, "It was just like hell", and "Nothing has changed since Saddam. Before, the Mukhabarat [secret police] would take us away, and at least they wouldn't blow down the door. Now, some informant fingers you and gets $100 even if you're innocent." [24]

During April 2004 the media started to report on the abuse. The journalist Seymour Hersh (who was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his disclosure of the Vietnam War tragedy at the hamlet of My Lai) published a series of articles in The New Yorker with photo coverage of U.S. soldiers abusing prisoners in the Abu Ghraib prison on 2004-04-30. [25]

In an interview with Dan Rather, the deputy director of operations for the US-led coalition, Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, stated "We're appalled. These are our fellow soldiers. These are the people we work with every day. They represent us. They wear the same uniform as us, and they let their fellow soldiers down. If we can't hold ourselves up as an example of how to treat people with dignity and respect, we can't ask that other nations do that to our soldiers."

On May 1, 2004, photos of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq being abused and humiliated by United States soldiers provoke an international outrage.[26]

Furthering the charges, excerpts from the Abu Ghraib Taguba report were published on May 3, 2004. The report documented: the sodomizing of a prisoner with a chemical light, pouring phosphoric liquid on detainees, rape of a female prisoner, forced masturbation, "ghost detainees" moved around to avoid the Red Cross, and many other abuses.[27] [28].

The release of the photographs and reports had led to renewed calls for investigations into the abuses reported in other US military prisons, such as Camp X-Ray and Camp Delta [29].

On May 14, 2004, reporters for the Guardian documented a coercive technique which soldiers called "bitch in a box". The prisoner was shoved into the trunk of a car on a hot day, and driven around until the prisoner was near ready to pass out. Another technique documented was "waterboarding", which involves holding a prisoner underwater until the prisoner believed he was about to drown. They also interviewed many soldiers not involved in the current scandal, who claimed that they were taught to use sleep deprivation, to stage mock executions, and to use other procedures. One platoon leader who objected to these practices was reportedly told that his stand could end his military career. [30]

USA Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told an armed services committee of the Senate on 2004-05-07 that "There are a lot more photographs and videos that exist [...] I looked at them last night and they're hard to believe [...] The pictures I've seen depict conduct, behaviour that is so brutal and so cruel and so inhumane that anyone engaged in it or involved in it would have to be brought to justice." He also said that the abused detainees may be offered compensation. [31]

In a scene described as "surreal" by AFP, it was found in mid May, 2004 that US troops were handing out cash to freed prisoners along with a note stating "You have not been mistreated.". A reporter visiting the prison Camp War Horse described the tour:

"Have you been mistreated?" the governor asks the detainees, dressed in orange boilersuits.
"No. We have never been tortured," chorused those behind bars as some 50 soldiers stood nearby. [32]

August 2003

Eleven Iraqis were severely beaten by members of the SAS in Majar al Kabir. They were released and paid compensation for their injuries. [33]

August 4 2003

Hassan Abbad Said died in custody, but no information of the investigation were made public. [34]

September 2003

Soldiers from the Queen's Lancashire Regiment were accused of beating to death Baha Mousa, hotel worker. [35]

November 7 2003

An al-Jazeera cameraman, Salah Hassan, reported various abuses in the infamous Abu Ghraib prison complex, such as being forced to strip naked, standing up for 11 hours and being kicked when he collapsed, being forced to wear a vomit-covered jumpsuit, and many other abuses. He later also witnessed a 12- or 13-year-old girl who was stripped naked and beaten. Her brother was held in another cell and heard her screams [36].

January 2004

January 3: Marwan Hassoun and his cousin Zaydun Al-Samarrai are taken from their broken-down truck at about curfew time and forced to jump from the Tharthar dam into the Tigris River; the latter drowns. First Lt. Jack M. Saville and Sgt. 1st Class Tracy E. Perkins were charged on 2004 June 7 with manslaughter, assault, conspiracy, false statements, and obstruction of justice. Sgt. Reggie Martinez was charged three weeks later with manslaughter and for making false statements, and Spec. Terry Bowman with assault and making false statements. [37] Martinez' and Bowman's charges were dropped; Perkins got six months in jail.[38]

April 2004

Eyewitness reports from residents fleeing the city, peace activists, and an aid worker from Doctors Without Borders [39] alleged that the tactics used by U.S. Marines in the siege of Fallujah were a violation of the laws of war and human rights. They alleged that Marine snipers targeted civilians and medical personnel ([40], [41], [42], [43], [44], [45]). Many newspaper reports indicated that a significant proportion of the casualties in Fallujah were women and children [46], [47], [48], [49], [50]. In a newspaper interview [51], a US sniper described Fallujah as "target-rich", and stated "as a sniper your goal is to completely demoralize the enemy". There were also reports that US and Spanish troops forced Fallujah hospitals to be evacuated when they were needed most urgently [52]. The U.S. military mostly denied the allegations, or refused to comment on them.

Three Iraqis working for Reuters were arrested, and allegedly beaten, taunted about their religion, and sexually abused. Reuters decided only to make it public after the US military refused to charge any soldiers in the incident. Two reported being forced to stick a finger into their anus and then lick it. Additionally, they were forced to put shoes in their mouth (a particularly humiliating gesture to arabs). They were forced to make demeaning gestures as soldiers photographed them, were kept in stressful positions for long periods of time, and were threatened with being sent to Guantanamo. One was threatened with rape. "When I saw the Abu Ghraib photographs, I wept", said Salem Ureibi, one of the three interned reporters. "I saw that they had suffered like we had." [53] Reuters' Baghdad bureau chief, in an article in Editor and Publisher, stated "It should be noted that the bulk of their mistreatment occurred several hours AFTER I had informed the 82nd Airborne Division that they were Reuters staff. I have e-mail proof of this."

Daily Mirror allegations

Alleged photographs of prisoner abuses by UK troops were published by the Daily Mirror (May 1 front page) within 48 hours of the breaking of the story of abuses by US troops in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

General Sir Mike Jackson, Chief of the General Staff, said "if proven, the perpetrators are not fit to wear the Queen's uniform and they have besmirched the Army's good name and conduct".

The authenticity of the photographs was called into question a day later. In particular, a number of specifics in the images, such as the type of rifles the soldiers in the pictures are carrying and the type of truck pictured did not match the equipment used by UK troops in Iraq. The Mirror responded to these criticisms of the photographs on May 3, 2004. [54]

On May 14, 2004, the Daily Mirror reported that the pictures it had published, allegedly showing UK troops abusing an Iraqi prisoner, were fake and that "the Daily Mirror has been the subject of a calculated and malicious hoax." (front page apology) [55] The Daily Mirror editor, Piers Morgan, was sacked due to the controversy.

Amnesty International report

Amnesty International reported that British soldiers had killed innocent civilians who were no threat, had kicked a prisoner to death and that the British military did not investigate the abuses appropriately. [56]

Lieutenant Ilario Pantano

On April 14, 2004 Lieutenant Ilario Pantano of the United States Marine Corps, killed two unarmed captives. Lieutenant Pantano was later to claim that the captives had advanced on him in a threatening manner. But this contradicted the official statement he made to military investigators in June 2004. Further, in his June statement he explained that he had emptied two entire magazines into their bodies in order "to send a message". Lieutenant Pantano admitted to placing a warning over his captive's corpses. The officer who presided over his article 32 hearing recommended a court martial for his body desecration. But all charges against Lieutenant Pantano were dropped, and he was able to resign from the Marines with an honorable discharge

June 2004

The Pentagon confirms a report in the New York Times that CIA chief George Tenet was allowed by U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to have an Iraqi prisoner secretly detained at Camp Cropper in November, preventing the International Committee of the Red Cross from monitoring their treatment, a possible violation of the Geneva Conventions. [57]

June 29: Oregon national guardsmen intervene in the beating of bound prisoners on the grounds of the Iraqi Interior Ministry; are told to back off and let the newly "sovereign" Iraqis run their own affairs.[58]

July 2004

The International Red Cross reports that more than 100 children were kept in six different prisons of the coalition. Witnesses say US forces also abused children and youths. Soldier Samuel Provance from Abu Ghraib reported the harassment of a 15 to 16 year old girl in her cell as well as a 16 year old boy who was driven through the cold after he had been showered and who was then besmeared with mud. Allegations have been made that children have been subjected to torture and rape. This has been used to make detained parents talk in cases where other interrogation methods have failed. Seymour Hersh told a San Francisco audience: "what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys, children, in cases that have been [video] recorded, the boys were sodomized, with the cameras rolling... the worst above all of them is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking." An unpublished Unicef report is said to include statements about children that were arrested in Basra and Kerbela and routinely detained in Umm Kasr. The children are said to be without contact to their families and cannot expect a trial. [59], [60], [61]

August 2004

Death penalty "reluctantly" reinstated in Iraq "until stability [is] restored."[62]

December 2004

Reports of mock executions by the US Marines in Iraq have surfaced in December 2004, as the ACLU published internal documents of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. The documents were written seven weeks after the publication of the photographs which triggered the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal. (ACLU)

Several torture cases were also reported, notably torture by electricity, beatings, and sprayings of prisoners with fire extinguishers.

On the 21st of December, the ACLU released further documents [63] documenting tortures. Notably, in a case of shooting of suspects without warning, Army commanders are reported to have interfered with the investigation. Procedures of autopsy of detainees who died in unclear circumstances have been canceled by battalion and group commands. Other cases include

  • An apparent attempt by a soldier in Baghdad to force a detainee to hold a gun to create the appearance of a justifiable homicide.
  • Two mock executions of Iraqi juveniles by Army personnel (documents obtained by the ACLU two weeks ago showed that U.S. Marines had also conducted a mock execution of juvenile detainees).
  • Allegations of a competition among Army dog handlers at Abu Ghraib prison to see who could make Iraqi detainees urinate themselves the fastest.
  • The use of death threats during interrogations. Command failures in providing appropriate training to military interrogators in Baghdad detention facilities.

Complete references can be found at [64]

January 2005

On the 24th of January 2005, the ACLU accused the Pentagon of delibarately closing investigations over Human Rights violations and torture cases before they were over [65].

Human Rights Watch accused Iraqi security forces to use torture and improper treatements on prisoners. Arbitrary arrestations and long periods of isolations are now common. Human Right Watch interviewed 90 prisoners, among which 72 said they had been tortured during interrogation. Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW director, said that the Iraqi provisional government was not holding to its promise to stand by Human Rights: "A new Iraqi government requires more than a change of leadership - it requires a change of attitude about basic human dignity" .

"During the first three days there was continuous torture. I was beaten with an aluminum rod and with cables. ? Then I was told to sign a statement with my hands tied behind my back, so I didn't even see the paper and I don't know what I signed."

Among bad treatements were such elements as beatings with cables, electric shocks, including on genitals, being tied and blindfolded for days, cells so crowed that it is only possible to stand, arbitrary detention, refusal of trials, access to lawyers or contacts with families. These treatements were inflicted to insurgents and criminals alike. [66]

A "suspected Iraqi insurgent" leaving what was said to be "a weapon" on the recorded conversation
A "suspected Iraqi insurgent", above the car on the left, lying wounded and recognised as such on the recorded conversation, immediately before being fired upon.

In January, a video footage was shown on ABC TV, taken from the gun camera of a US Apache helicopter on active duty in Iraq and showing the killing of "suspected Iraqi insurgents". Controversy arose around the case, the nature of the activities of the men killed on the video being unclear (a cylindrical object is tossed on the ground on a field, which was said to have been interpreted as being a weapon, but could as well be some agricultural device). Also, the helicopter opened fire on people clearly posing no immediate threat, and a man identifies as wounded is further shot dead, in contradiction with international laws. [67] [68] [69]

On German television [70], General Robert Gard (US Army) stated that "International law sets that opposing combatants may be only fired at, so long as, how should I put this, are militarily active, and if they refrain from combat are required to be spared. Thus to that extent, the suspicion is that an offence against international law is present here, and serious offences against international law, against humanitarian international law, are war crimes.".

September 2005

In a report published by Human Rights Watch in September 2005, U.S. Troops are accused to routinely torture prisoners in Iraq. Two sergeants and a captain describe e.g. the breaking of a detainee’s leg, and applying chemical substances to detainees’ skin and eyes. Capt. Ian Fishback of the 82nd Airborne who made persistent efforts over 17 months to raise concerns about detainee abuse with his chain of command was consistently told to ignore abuses and to “consider your career.” When he made an appointment with Senate staff members of Senators John McCain and John Warner, he says his commanding officer denied him a pass to leave his base. [71] [72]


Several sets of investigations, both congressional via the Senate Armed Services Committee, military via courts-martial, and criminal for non-military contractors, were launched in response to the scandal.

Seymour Hersh, who exposed the Abu Ghraib scandal, and reports in Newsweek, has taken the case even further. [73] [74]. In 2003, Donald Rumsfeld instituted a policy that "encouraged physical coercion and sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners in an effort to generate more intelligence about the growing insurgency in Iraq.". This policy stemmed from an earlier policy taken toward al-Qaeda prisoners. A memo to the Bush White House from councel Alberto Gonzales claimed that the new sort of war renders the Geneva Conventions' limitations on interrogating enemy prisoners "obsolete". The program was approved by the CIA, NSA, and the National Security Council. President George W. Bush was informed of it. The undersecretary of Defense for intelligence Steven Cambone administered the operation. His deputy, William Boykin, instructed the head of operations at Camp X-ray Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller to do the same at Abu Ghraib. Miller told Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski that the prison would now be dedicated to gathering intelligence. Douglas Feith and William Haynes were also involved in the operation.

On May 18, 2004, a military intelligence analyst named Samuel Provance came out to the press, stating "There's definitely a cover-up". Provance, who ran a computer network used by military intelligence in the prison and who had been ordered not to speak to the press, told ABC News "Anything [the MPs] were to do legally or otherwise, they were to take those commands from the interrogators," and that the sexual humiliation began as a technique ordered by the investigators. He described several of the goings-on in the prison that he witnessed, such as the punching people in the neck hard enough to knock them unconscious after assuring them they weren't going to be hit, in order to catch them off guard. He also stated that Maj. Gen. George Fay, the Army's deputy chief of staff for intelligence, has shown little interest in investigating the interrogators and has gone only after the MPs, and that there is a culture of silence right now among those involved, who fear that if they say anything, the investigations will turn to them. [75].

On May 19, 2004, a court martial hearing was held for Cpl. Charles A. Graner Jr., who has been accused of being the ringleader of the group employing torture at Abu Ghraib. In an unexpected move, all three key witnesses - Lt. Col. Steven L. Jordan, Capt. Donald J. Reese, and contractor Adel L. Nakhla - refused to testify. This is an almost unheard of action. Under court martial proceedings, one cannot refuse to testify unless they have a belief that they will be exposed to criminal charges for doing so. Consequently, it is likely that the investigative proceedings will be forced to move higher up the chain of command. [76]

Other rights

The United States and the CPA restrict other human rights, including right to form trade unions (Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights), as the 1987 ban on unions while unenforced, was not explicitly repealed, rights to work and favourable conditions of work, right to just and favourable remuneration.

See also

External links

  • Pictures of the abuse by US soldiers, courtesy of The Memory Hole. Note that the full set of pictures has not been released, including the rape of a young Iraqi by a military contractor.