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Friday, May 25, 2007

Maj. General William Caldwell: Torture Rooms

CNN reports:

Coalition forces in Iraq have recently uncovered what they call "torture rooms" operated by Sunnis on Sunnis in Anbar province, a military commander said Wednesday.

Maj. Gen. William Caldwell in an interview on CNN's "The Situation Room" and in an earlier press briefing, said 17 kidnapped Iraqis had been found in two hideouts.

He said one of the tortured people was a 13-year-old boy, who "literally had been tortured, electrocuted, whipped, beat by these al Qaeda terrorists." He said freed people told troops that one or two captives had died during the torture sessions, and the remaining captives expected to be ransomed off to their families, with the funds going to support the al Qaeda insurgency.

"This is the nature of the enemy that the Iraqi people are facing here in Iraq," Caldwell said.

General Caldwell might have mentioned the torture rooms located in Iraq's Interior Ministry as well.

From the UK Independent:

Behind the daily reports of suicide bombings and attacks on coalition forces is a far more shadowy struggle, one that involves tortured prisoners huddled in dungeons, death-squad victims with their hands tied behind their backs, often mutilated with knives and electric drills, and distraught families searching for relations who have been "disappeared".

This hidden struggle surfaced last week when US forces and Iraqi police raided an Interior Ministry bunker only a couple of hundred yards from where we were standing. They found 169 tortured and starving captives, who looked like Holocaust victims. The "disappeared" prisoners were being held, it is claimed, by the Shia Muslim Badr militia, which controls part of the ministry. Bayan Jabr, the Minister of the Interior, is himself a former Badr commander...

In the midst of a sectarian and civil war in Iraq, a United States General holds a press briefing to trumpet the discovery of al Qaeda "torture rooms." Torture, however, is everday news in the sectarian strife that has ripped apart US-occupied Iraq. As Jamie Tarabay reported last summer, death squads operate with impunity in Baghdad, leaving their tortured victims to be pulled from the river.

Caldwell, of course, did not mention the US torture rooms at Abu Ghraib (which included the indelible images of Iraqi prisoners in dog collars and with electrical wires attached to their bodies) in his press briefing; General Caldwell made his comments about finding "torture rooms" without a hint of irony.

Others, however, including retired General David Irvine have not been afraid to speak out about the legacy of US policy condoning torture. Abu Ghraib, in Irvine's words is "a cancer that has metastasized." That cancer directly affects the current reality on the ground in the ongoing US occupation of Iraq.


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