Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Accepted for publication in Peace Review
Two months later, on November 13th, the Western media gave the world a rare glimpse of the horrors of the occupation government's torture chambers. Local Iraqi police asked U.S. forces to intervene in the search for a missing boy that led them to the Interior Ministry's underground Al-Jadiriya prison, where they found 168 people who had been horribly tortured. The prison was run by an Iraqi colonel who reported directly to Interior Minister al-Jabr. The inmates gave the names of at least eighteen of their companions who had been tortured to death, and ten of the inmates were hospitalized by the Americans. An American soldier helped Dr. Tareq Sammaree (Ph.D. Kansas), the former Professor of Pedagogy at Baghdad University, and two other inmates to escape from the hospital. Dr. Sammaree is now seeking political asylum in Europe.
Another survivor of Al-Jadiriya, Abbas Abid, was not released until October 2006. He has given sworn testimony to a tribunal in Kuala Lumpur that, contrary to news reports, U.S. forces were frequent visitors to the prison, both before and after November 13th 2005, and that the torture regime continued following that visit. An American official eventually confirmed to the Los Angeles Times on July 9th 2006 that, "The military had been at the bunker prior to the raid in November, but they said nothing." In December 2006, a U.N. report complained that the occupation government had failed to conduct the investigation it had promised in November 2005 into human rights abuses at Al-Jadiriya and other detention facilities.
In fact, during 2006, the scale of atrocities in Iraq only multiplied, and thousands of people, mostly young men and teenage boys, were horribly murdered. American officials now presented so-called "sectarian violence" as the central problem facing Iraq and as the principal justification for continued occupation. This view was echoed by foreign journalists, who were understandably reluctant to risk their lives outside the Green Zone and were therefore more dependent than ever on press releases from U.S. forces and the occupation government. Most Iraqis however continued to hold the United States and the United Kingdom responsible for the violence, and rejected the oxymoronic notion that continued military occupation offered the solution to the epidemic of violence it had inflicted on them.