White Phosphorus, Caged Lions, Peeling Skin
WASHINGTON, D.C.--Increasingly, the U.S. is facing charges of war crimes in Iraq. In the most recent horrifying accusations of prisoner torture, the U.S. is accused of standing by while the Iraqi occupation government permitted the excruciating torture of prisoners in a secret jail. These charges have been known since April. Neither the Iraqis nor the Americans did anything about them. All this took place during a period where President Bush was insisting the war was going well, and when Vice President Cheney was lobbying behind the scenes to keep the CIA free to carry out torture in secret prisons abroad. Saleh al-Mutlaq, a Sunni politician, is quoted by the Boston Globe as saying the Interior Ministry detention center has been infiltrated by Shiite militia. "Some Iraqis are having their heads opened with drills, then their bodies are thrown in the streets," he claimed. "This shows that the United States should stop these acts since it is the force that occupies Iraq.
Meanwhile Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld reiterated the administrations support for the Iraqi security forcesthe same forces responsible for the cruel treatment of prisoners. "We must be careful not to give terrorists the false hope that if they can simply hold on long enough, that they can outlast us, he said. And Rumsfeld went after Democrats and Republicans who are now criticizing the administration for misleading the country into war, claiming these same politicians stood behind Bush and the government on charging Saddam had weapons of mass destruction before the war began.
"People who are willing to risk their lives [in the military] need to know the truth," Rumsfeld said. "They need to understand that they are there based on decisions that were made in good faith by responsible people."
The AP reported that Manfred Nowak, a special United Nations investigator on torture, renewed calls for an independent probe into the allegations:
"That torture is still practiced in Iraq after Saddam Hussein, that is no secret," Nowak said a telephone interview from Vienna, Austria. "It is shocking, but on the other hand, we have received allegations of these secret places in Iraq already for quite a long time.
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