Saddam’s methods: neither gone nor forgotten:
BAGHDAD The public war on the Iraqi insurgency has led to an atmosphere of hidden brutalities, including abuse and torture, carried out against detainees by the nation’s special security forces, according to defense lawyers, international organizations and Iraq’s Ministry of Human Rights.
Up to 60% of the estimated 12,000 detainees in the country’s prisons and military compounds face intimidation, beatings or torture that leads to broken bones and sometimes death, said Saad Sultan, head of a board overseeing the treatment of prisoners at the Human Rights Ministry. He added that police and security forces attached to the Interior Ministry are responsible for most abuses.
The units have used tactics reminiscent of Saddam Hussein’s secret intelligence squads, according to the ministry and independent human rights groups and lawyers, who have cataloged abuses.
“We’ve documented a lot of torture cases,” said Sultan, whose committee is pushing for wider access to Iraqi-run prisons across the nation. “There are beatings, punching, electric shocks to the body, including sensitive areas, hanging prisoners upside down and beating them and dragging them on the ground…. Many police officers come from a culture of torture from their experiences over the last 35 years. Most of them worked during Saddam’s regime.”
The ordeal described by Hussam Guheithi is similar to many cases. When Iraqi national guardsmen raided his home last month, the 35-year-old Sunni Muslim imam said they lashed him with cables, broke his nose and promised to soak their uniforms with his blood. He was blindfolded and driven to a military base, where he was interrogated and beaten until the soldiers were satisfied that he wasn’t an extremist.
At the end of nine days, Guheithi said, the guardsmen told him, “You have to bear with us. You know the situation now. We’re trying to find terrorists.”
The hell of it is, there are plenty of conservatives who agree with those guardsmen: we don’t have time for your little niceties, your so-called human rights we’re fighting terror here, goddammit!