Iraq's semi-sovereign government has produced its own semi-sovereign torture scandal. The Boston Globe reports:
The Iraqi government's unprecedented admission that its police tortured and killed three Shi'ite Muslim militiamen while they were in custody has set off angry complaints from newly elected Shi'ite legislators who are engaged in a political battle for control of the police….
In a series of steps rarely seen in Iraq, US-backed Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's interim government has acknowledged the men "died under torture by police," arrested six police officers in the case, launched a high-level investigation, and paid the men's families about $2,000 each plus a $500 monthly stipend.
Yet the debate over the deaths last month is only beginning. Government officials insist the killings are an isolated case. But the leaders of the powerful Shi'ite Islamist bloc that won more than half the seats in the new National Assembly say the case reveals mistakes in the way Allawi and his US advisers recruited and trained Iraq's police. Those Shi'ite leaders say the force is a haven for Ba'athists who mistreated Iraqis, especially Shi'ites, under Saddam Hussein.
It's pretty clear that the "isolated case" story isn't going to fly. The Globe notes that "Two recent reports, one issued in January by Human Rights Watch and the other by the US State Department last month, cite scores of reports of torture and arbitrary detention by Iraqi police and soldiers. Last year, the US report says, police executed 12 alleged kidnappers in Baghdad and took part in revenge killings of 10 Ba'athists in Basra."