Blair Envoy Speaks Out Against U.S "Black Hole" Prisons in Iraq

In an interview with the Observer, Labor MP Ayn Clwyd, who is Tony Blair's personal envoy on human rights, levels some harsh criticism at the U.S. for its prison policies in Iraq, which she says has resulted in missing and abused Iraqi prisoners.

Iraqis arrested by coalition forces have disappeared into a 'black hole' with no records of where they are being held, Tony Blair's personal envoy on human rights has warned. Ann Clwyd said if the scandal of the missing prisoners had been taken more seriously from the start by the US, it could have helped prevent the abuse of detainees in their jails.

Clwyd rarely speaks publicly on the issue. She highlighted two cases in the interview, and told of her attempts to get responses from Stephen Hadley, Paul Bremer and Paul Wolfowitz:

The first involves an elderly woman arrested shortly after the war in the middle of the night by US soldiers. With her family unable to find her, relatives in Britain sought Clwyd's help. 'I spent days and weeks trying to trace where this woman was,' said Clwyd.

'Eventually it meant a visit to Washington, going into the White House and talking to people like [national security adviser] Steve Hadley, [former deputy defence secretary] Paul Wolfowitz and [former US envoy to Iraq] Paul Bremer.' Still, she drew a blank.

After Wolfowitz finally ordered an investigation the woman was located in a prison near the Baghdad airport and freed. Clwyd said she had been abused.

In the other case she sited, an elderly man has still not been found although he reportedly has been seen in a U.S. prison in Iraq.

Clwyd says prisoners are disappearing into "black holes" and blames incompetence by the Adminstration. With better effort, she says, prisoner abuse -- which has been proven -- could have been avoided.

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    Re: Blair Envoy Speaks Out Against U.S "Black Hole (none / 0) (#1)
    by squeaky on Sun Apr 09, 2006 at 01:50:39 PM EST
    How quickly the country that had been known for its international fight for freedom and a champion of civil/human rights becomes known as a tyrant. Guess it comes with being the only superpower. No checks and balances. Despotic arrogance, torture and unbridled mendacity are now what comes to mind in the international community with the mention USA. How many generations did it take for the world to stop equating Germans with Nazis? We do not know it is still going on. Generations of US children will be taking the blame, and paying for the Bush WH's evil misdeeds.

    Re: Blair Envoy Speaks Out Against U.S "Black Hole (none / 0) (#2)
    by scarshapedstar on Sun Apr 09, 2006 at 02:48:02 PM EST
    Ah, the Black Hole of Freedom.

    Blair's tryin' to see if once removed, they'll grow back, eh? Little late in the game, but hope springs eternal.