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Hullabaloo


Thursday, April 29, 2004

 
Misunderstanding


... how do I respond when I see that in some Islamic countries there is vitriolic hatred for America? I'll tell you how I respond: I'm amazed. I'm amazed that there is such misunderstanding of what our country is about, that people would hate us. I am, I am -- like most Americans, I just can't believe it. Because I know how good we are, and we've go to do a better job of making our case. ---- GWB 10/11/01


A photo from TV shows an Iraqi prisoner with a hood over his head, standing on a box and with wires connected to his hands. Photo: Sky News

United States soldiers at a prison outside Baghdad have been accused of forcing Iraqi prisoners into acts of sexual humiliation and other abuses.

The charges, first announced by the military in March, were documented by photographs taken by guards in the prison.

Some of the photographs, and descriptions of others, were broadcast in the US on Wednesday by a CBS television news program and were verified by military officials.

Of the six people reported in March to be facing preliminary charges, three have been recommended for courts martial.

The program reported that poorly trained US reservists were forcing Iraqis to conduct simulated sexual acts in order to break down their will before they were turned over to others for interrogation.

In one photograph naked Iraq prisoners stand in a human pyramid, one with a slur written on his skin in English.

In another, a prisoner stands on a box, his head covered, wires attached to his body. The news show said that, according to the army, he had been told that if he fell off the box he would be electrocuted. Other photographs show male prisoners positioned to simulate sex with each other.

"The pictures show Americans, men and women, in military uniforms, posing with naked Iraqi prisoners," a transcript said.

"And in most of the pictures, the Americans are laughing, posing, pointing or giving the camera a thumbs-up."

The program's producers said the army also had photographs showing a detainee with wires attached to his genitals and another that showed a dog attacking a prisoner.

The photographs were taken inside Abu Ghraib prison, near Baghdad, where US forces have been holding hundreds of Iraqis.


---


The Abu Ghurayb (pronounced ah-boo GRAYB), [Abu Ghraib] prison is located approximately 20 miles west of Baghdad is where Saddam Kamal (who was head of the Special Security Organization) oversaw the torture and execution of thousands of political prisoners. The prison was under the control of the Directorate of General Security (DGS) also known as the Amn al-Amm.

As many as 4000 prisoners were executed at Abu Ghraib Prison in 1984. At least 122 male prisoners were executed at Abu Ghraib prison in February/ March 2000. A further 23 political prisoners were executed there in October 2001.



Finally, the attitude of the Iraqis toward the American people -- it's an interesting question. They're really pleased we got rid of Saddam Hussein. And you can understand why. This is a guy who was a torturer, a killer, a maimer; there's mass graves. I mean, he was a horrible individual that really shocked the country in many ways, shocked it into a kind of -- a fear of making decisions toward liberty. That's what we've seen recently. Some citizens are fearful of stepping up --- GWB 4/13/04



Full story from 60 Minutes II, here.

Update:

Rule of law or men?


Hundreds of Fayli (Shi'a) Kurds and other citizens of Iranian origin, who had disappeared in the early 1980's during the Iran-Iraq war, reportedly were being held incommunicado at the Abu Ghurayb prison. Such persons have been detained without charge for close to 2 decades in extremely harsh conditions.


Yesterday, George W. Bush argued that he has the same power right here in America. The opposing counsel had this to say about that:

...when you take his argument at core, it is: "Trust us." And who's saying, "trust us"? The executive branch. And why do we have the great writ?

We have the great writ because we didn't trust the executive branch when we founded this government. That's why the government saying "trust us" is no excuse for taking away and driving a truck through the right of habeas corpus and the Fifth Amendment that "no man shall be deprived of liberty except upon due process of law." We have a small problem here. One citizen -- we're not talking about thousands -- one citizen caught up in a problem in Afghanistan. Is it better to give him rights, or is it better to start a new dawn of saying there are circumstances where you can't file a writ of habeas corpus, and there are circumstances where you can't get due process? I think not.

I would urge the court not to go down that road. I would urge the court to find that citizens can only be detained by law. And here there is no law. If there is any law at all, it is the executive's own secret definition of whatever "enemy combatant" is. And don't fool yourselves into thinking that that means somebody coming off a battlefield, because they've used it in Chicago, they've used it in New York, and they've used it in Indiana.


But, we're good and they're evil. We have nothing to worry about.





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