New Report: Torture Still Common in Iraq

Human Rights Watch has issued a new report on torture in Iraq today. Torture continues. Is anyone surprised?

The 94-page report, The New Iraq? Torture and Ill-treatment of Detainees in Iraqi Custody, documents how unlawful arrest, long-term incommunicado detention, torture and other ill-treatment of detainees (including children) by Iraqi authorities have become routine and commonplace. Human Rights Watch conducted interviews in Iraq with 90 detainees, 72 of whom alleged having been tortured or ill-treated, particularly under interrogation.

The people of Iraq were promised something better than this after the government of Saddam Hussein fell,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa Division. “The Iraqi Interim Government is not keeping its promises to honor and respect basic human rights. Sadly, the Iraqi people continue to suffer from a government that acts with impunity in its treatment of detainees.”

Here's a description of the torture techniques used:

Methods of torture cited by detainees include routine beatings to the body using cables, hosepipes and other implements. Detainees report kicking, slapping and punching; prolonged suspension from the wrists with the hands tied behind the back; electric shocks to sensitive parts of the body, including the earlobes and genitals; and being kept blindfolded and/or handcuffed continuously for several days. In several cases, the detainees suffered what may be permanent physical disability.

Detainees also reported being deprived by Iraqi security forces of food and water, and being crammed into small cells with standing room only. Numerous detainees described how Iraqi police sought bribes in return for release, access to family members or food and water.

Simply sickening.

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    Re: New Report: Torture Still Common in Iraq (none / 0) (#1)
    by Adept Havelock on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 09:37:09 AM EST
    Where are the trolls pointing out that torture isn't actually torture? Or that the wrongdoers are not those who commit torture or order others to do it, but those who report on it and make it known that this is being done by "our" government?

    Re: New Report: Torture Still Common in Iraq (none / 0) (#2)
    by John Mann on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 10:04:00 AM EST
    The trolls? Don't worry; they'll be around as soon as they smell the blood. Why would anyone be surprised by this bit of news anyway? The United States has been torturing the people of Iraq in one way or another since 1991. The Presidents Bush have killed far more people in Iraq than Saddam Hussein ever dreamed of. Even so, the Iraqi people have kicked the ass of the country that used to be looked up to by most of the world - but has now become the world's bully. The miscalculations by the Bush administration, astonishing in their depth of stupidity with respect to the Iraqi will to resist, will have repercussions that will go on far longer than any ot the Bushes will. The United States is stuck in Iraq now. It's lost the war, but can't do a thing about it until, perhaps, after the upcoming "election". That'll be the big chance to declare a final victory - having brought democracy to Iraq - and then run away, hurrying back home to prepare for the inevitable.

    Re: New Report: Torture Still Common in Iraq (none / 0) (#3)
    by scarshapedstar on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 10:54:00 AM EST
    Hmm, whipping people with hoses and cables in Iraq... genital electrocution... I feel like there was another guy who did that. Oh, yeah! Saddam must have been a true patriot. Wonder why Rush and his wingnut followers don't love him.

    Re: New Report: Torture Still Common in Iraq (none / 0) (#4)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 11:18:08 AM EST
    The sad part is that without pictures this report will quickly be forgotten in the U.S. Reports of widespread torture and abuse first came out in Afghanistan in December 2001, and in Gitmo in 2002. The first reports of torture and abuse in Iraq surfaced in May 2003. And yet ... and yet ... no such reports regarding US troops came out during Gulf War 1. Torture and abuse are not natural outcomes of war. It depends on how the leaders choose to wage war.

    Re: New Report: Torture Still Common in Iraq (none / 0) (#5)
    by Jlvngstn on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 11:20:29 AM EST
    Can it be argued that state sponsored and sanctioned torture is no where near as bad as "turning a blind eye." Perhaps the ghosts of Saddams sons forced the soldiers in the "rape rooms" to commit vile acts against 16 year old boys. Perhaps the videos of throwing people off the rooftops inspired the predators to beat and electrocute. Today, Germany pledges to never forget its culpability in the holocaust. Now I know that attempted genocide of 6 million Jewish victims does not at the same level of atrocity of enslaving a people for a hundred years or so, nor was the massacre of native americans for land rights as dastardly as Hitler's sick acts. But owning up and accepting responsibility for our failures (not one president has ever apologized for slavery or native american slaughter) does not seem to be an American ideal. It is easy to see why the general population is accused of "entitlement" mentality and lacking in accepting of one's moral repsonsibilities. Good for Germany, they should never forget what they allowed to happen.

    Re: New Report: Torture Still Common in Iraq (none / 0) (#6)
    by jondee on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 12:36:32 PM EST
    To paraphrase:"..But this is focused against a pariticular political group. That suggests association with someone of higher authority. That person or persons needs to be outed and charged."

    Re: New Report: Torture Still Common in Iraq (none / 0) (#7)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 01:06:28 PM EST
    not sure how many of you have been tracking the gonzales nomination for attorney general - but there are serious concerns about his involvement in human rights abuses. this site came across my desk, providing information and avenues for us to voice concern: linked text

    Re: New Report: Torture Still Common in Iraq (none / 0) (#8)
    by john horse on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 02:03:34 PM EST
    to quote the line from the old Who song: "Meet the new boss Same as the old boss"

    Re: New Report: Torture Still Common in Iraq (none / 0) (#9)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 02:07:27 PM EST
    Let me see if I remember: "I never promised you a bed of roses." "They've never had it so good." "A few bad apples." "They're lying because they hate your freedoms." Oh yes and... "It's hard work." "Damn press." "Damn cameras." "I can't think of any mistakes made." "God told me to do it. Ahh, that's so much more relaxing than my usual anger fit. I think I'll take up being a right-wing a*sehole permanently. Might live longer.

    Re: New Report: Torture Still Common in Iraq (none / 0) (#10)
    by john horse on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 03:23:17 PM EST
    There is a good story in the Washington Post about this. Highlights include the following: The Bush adminstration were against hiring former Baathists, but they mad exceptions. "Many of the same people who worked in Saddam's time are still doing those jobs today (torture)." Its good to see that Iraq is following the example set by the Bush administration. "The report also says authorities made a mockery of legal safeguards. People said they were arrested without warrants and held without charges for days, weeks or months." In the Washington Post article, there was one example where Americans attempted to stop Iraqi abuse. An Oregon National Guard unit stopped the abuse, disarmed the Iraqi guards, then called HQ for instructions. They were told to leave the return the prisoners to the guards and leave the area immediately. Sort of makes you wonder what we're fighting for.

    Re: New Report: Torture Still Common in Iraq (none / 0) (#11)
    by john horse on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 03:24:21 PM EST
    Forgot the link to the Washington Post article.