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Wednesday, June 30, 2004

What You Gonna Do with YOUR Sovereignty?

As Michelle says, this story is totally FUBAR. According to the Guardian, the Iraqi Interior Ministry was apparently using its new sovereignty to "abuse" recently captured prisoners when American MP's raided the building and told them to stop. Some choice excerpts from the article:
The raid appeared to be a violation of the country's new sovereignty, leading to angry scenes inside the ministry between Iraqi policemen and US soldiers.

The military police, who had been told of abuse, seized an area known as the Guesthouse just outside the ministry's main building. They disarmed the Iraqi policemen and at one stage threatened to set free prisoners whose handcuffs they removed, according to Iraqi officials.
The men were captured in the first big Iraqi-led anti-crime and anti-terrorism operation, which took place a few days before the transfer of power, with US military police in support and using US satellite images.

Senior Iraqi officers described those captured as "first class murderers, kidnappers and terrorists with links to al-Ansar" - a militant group in the former Kurdish no-fly zone - who had all admitted to "at least 20 crimes while being questioned".
Nashwan Ali - who said his nickname was Big Man - said: "A US MP asked me this morning what police division I was in. I said I was in criminal intelligence.

"The American asked me why we had beaten the prisoners. I said we beat the prisoners because they are all bad people. But I told him we didn't strip them naked, photograph them or f*** them like you did."
One western police adviser said he had no idea that the ministry itself was being used for questioning suspects. "It sounds rather like the bad old days," he said.
I get the feeling that Allawi and the other officials of the "New Iraq" didn't agree to put big targets on their own backs by being American puppets out of the goodness of their hearts. They did it so they could get retribution on old enemies. I wonder if this story will get any play in the American media. Are they ready to let us know that a) Those people we gave "sovereignty" to aren't very nice, and b) We didn't really give them sovereignty anyway?

Let's just say that if reports of prisoner abuse like this were coming out of Venezuela, say, it would be a major story in the Washington Post, regardless of whether it was true or not.