The Torture Beat

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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."

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  1. ”Iraqis are being tortured by Iraqis, by the security groups which are responsible for their safety,” said Hadi al-Ameri, head of the Badr Organization, an Iranian-trained militia founded in the 1980s as the armed wing of the Islamist party that is now the largest in the Shi’ite bloc.

    As the largest faction in the assembly, the Shi’ite bloc has the greatest say in naming the new Cabinet that will replace Allawi’s, and some of its leaders want to make Ameri the interior minister, who will set police policy.

    So now we have the head of one of Iraq’s two main Shia Islamist parties set to be come Prime Minister, and the head of the other party’s militia gunning to be Interior Minister. And Muqtada Al-Sadr’s minions, who control 20 of the coalition’s parliament seats, would probably find both of them to be too moderate. It increasingly looks as if the Kurds couldn’t give a damn about any of this, as long as the regions under the control of their militias remain autonomous.

    But, hey, as that paragon of secular liberalism we call our President said, “Democracy is democracy.”

  2. They are just emulating US style democratic practices as Bush has shown them by example numerous times.

  3. There is no torture, it’s just another scam perpetrated by the left-wing media, the same people who keep refusing to take Blessed King George the Younger at his word – the traitors!

  4. Oh, come on, surely these were just frat boys from Baghdad University doing a prank.

    I mean, really!

  5. Libertarians aren’t gonna get anywhere unless they get rid of their stupid purity tests and learn to embrace the al Sadr faction.

  6. Ken Shultz wrote: “Libertarians aren’t gonna get anywhere unless they get rid of their stupid purity tests and learn to embrace the al Sadr faction.”

    Exactly, as long as they support indexing the capital gains tax, they’re in The Big Tent!

  7. So, basically they are reverting to the way Saddam Hussein governed. Leopard, spots, etc.

  8. I have to admit I’m surprised that there’s been no entry concerning the insurgent attack on Abu Ghraib.

    Then again, it’s not like Reason devotes a thread to it every time the boys of Alpha Tau Omega pull a prank against the boys of Sigma Aalpha Epsilon, so I guess it makes sense 😉

  9. thoreau,

    There’s also the mess in Kyrgyzstan.

  10. Anyone else notice that the Saudi government has been fighting a pitched battle with extremists for the past three days?

    Or that Berlusconi is losing his grip on power in Italy?

  11. Anyone else notice that the Saudi government has been fighting a pitched battle with extremists for the past three days?

    Are you pro or con, Gary?

    There’s also the mess in Kyrgyzstan.

    Would that be the current mess, or the mess that has been Kyrgyzstan for the last hundred years or so?

  12. thoreau,
    I was wondering the same thing. Thanks for clearing it up… I guess.

  13. R.C. Dean,

    Against Berlusconi. About time that rat bastard corrupt fucking crony capitalists was ousted from power.

    I can’t say I am for the Saudi government in any meta sense, but I am not for the extremists either.

    The current one. Kind of like how I complain about the current mess the U.S. is in (namely the statist Bush administration – of course Kerry would have been just as bad in his own uniquely fucked up ways).

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