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Torture in Iraq Continues, Unabated

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Posted on Sep 21, 2010

By Amy Goodman

Combat operations in Iraq are over, if you believe President Barack Obama’s rhetoric. But torture in Iraq’s prisons, first exposed during the Abu Ghraib scandal, is thriving, increasingly distant from any scrutiny or accountability. After arresting tens of thousands of Iraqis, often without charge, and holding many for years without trial, the United States has handed over control of Iraqi prisons, and 10,000 prisoners, to the Iraqi government. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

After landing in London late Saturday night, we traveled to the small suburb of Kilburn to speak with Rabiha al-Qassab, an Iraqi refugee who was granted political asylum in Britain after her brother was executed by Saddam Hussein. Her husband, 68-year-old Ramze Shihab Ahmed, was a general in the Iraqi army under Saddam, fought in the Iran-Iraq War and was part of a failed plot to overthrow the Iraqi dictator. The couple was living peacefully for years in London, until September 2009.

It was then that Ramze Ahmed learned his son, Omar, had been arrested in Mosul, Iraq. Ahmed returned to Iraq to find him and was arrested himself.

For months, Rabiha didn’t know what had become of her husband. Then, on March 28, her cell phone rang. “I don’t know the voice,” she told me.

“I said, ‘Who are you?’ He said he is very sick ... he said, ‘Me, Ramze, Ramze. Call embassy.’ And they took the mobile, and they stop talking.”

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Ramze Ahmed was being held in a secret prison at the old Muthanna Airport in Baghdad. A recent report from Amnesty International, titled “New Order, Same Abuses,” describes Muthanna as “one of the harshest” prisons in Iraq, the scene of extensive torture and under the control of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

As Rabiha showed me family photos, a piece of paper with English and Arabic words slipped out. Rabiha explained that in order to describe in English what happened to her husband, she had to consult a dictionary, since she had never used several of the English words: “Rape.” “Stick.” “Torture.” She wept as she described his account of being sodomized with a stick, suffocated repeatedly with plastic bags placed over his head, and shocked with electricity.

Not surprisingly, as detailed in the Amnesty report, the Iraqi government said that Ramze Shihab Ahmed had confessed to links to al-Qaida in Iraq. In a January 2010 press conference organized by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, videotapes were played showing nine others confessing to crimes, including Ahmed’s son, Omar, who, showing signs of beatings, confessed to “the killing of several Christians in Mosul and the detonation of a bomb in a village near Mosul.”

Malcolm Smart, director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa program, told me in London, “there’s a culture of abuse [in Iraq] that has taken root. It was certainly there during the days of Saddam Hussein, but what we wanted to see from 2003 was a turning of the page, and that hasn’t happened. So we see secret prisons, people being tortured and ill-treated, being forced to make confessions ... the perpetrators are not being held to account. They’re not being identified.”

After that brief, interrupted phone call that Rabiha received from her husband, she did call the British government, and its embassy in Iraq tracked Ahmed down in al-Rusafa prison in Baghdad. Normally with a cane, they found him in a wheelchair. Rabiha has a photo of him taken by the British representative.

Amnesty reports that there are an estimated 30,000 prisoners in Iraq (200 remaining under U.S. control). The condition and treatment of the Iraqi prisoners is considered by the U.S. to be, Smart says, “an Iraqi issue.” But with the U.S. continuing to pour billions of dollars into its ongoing military presence there, and to fund the Iraqi government, the treatment of prisoners is clearly a U.S. issue as well. Amnesty has launched a grass-roots campaign to spur further action to secure Ahmed’s release.

Meanwhile, Rabiha al-Qassab, isolated and alone in north London, spends time feeding the ducks in a local park, which her husband used to do.

She told me: “I talk with the ducks. I say, ‘You remember the man who gave you the food? He is in a prison. Ask God to help him.’ “

Denis Moynihan contributed research to this column.

Amy Goodman is the host of “Democracy Now!,” a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on more than 800 stations in North America. She is the author of “Breaking the Sound Barrier,” recently released in paperback and now a New York Times best-seller.

© 2010 Amy Goodman

Distributed by King Features Syndicate


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drbhelthi's avatar

By drbhelthi, September 24, 2010 at 1:57 am Link to this comment

“Our military doesn’t fight and die for our peace and defense. No, they’re out there on behalf of GE, Monsanto, Exxon/Mobil, Lockheed/Martin, Raytheon, etc., etc., ad nauseum!”

All of which have become increasingly prominent since “Operation Paper Clip,” 1945.  When the NAZI-types in US Gov decided to secretly import 200 NAZI (German) scientists, and misused U.S. Gov. employees and machinery to falsify 200 family histories, in the U.S. and Germany, a die was cast.  This die, or format of dishonesty, has been consistently-dishonestly applied since that event in 1945.  The conversion of the OSS into the CIA, by NAZI SS General Gehlin, fixated the dishonest format.

The list of destructive interventions by the U.S. CIA into foreign countries´ internal affairs, published by U.S.Representative Dr. Ron Paul, displays the leadership of a Mr. George H.W. Bush, Sr., who was the secretive head of the CIA, at the time of the murder of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Senior.  Mister GHWBush Sr. denied this fact for over twenty years, until it was publicized in the 1980s by letters to-and-from J. Edgar Hoover. (More recently clarified by former CIA agents)

The NAZI/CIA format was strengthened in the 1970s, when the lineage of “Jacob” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob) parlayed membership into the CIA, more recently having overtaken Homeland Security.  Sales of the “magnatron-type” device used to see-thru walls, vehicles etc., are controlled by MOSSAD officer, Michael Chertoff, former secretary of Homeland Security.  CEO of the organization that sells the machine, his company clears an interesting profit.  This device, built from the stolen documents of Nicola Tesla, that is being illegally, increasingly misused around the world, was discovered by Russian scientists to harm the DNA of humans.  Harm the DNA = slowly destroy the person and lineage.

The direction of U.S.A. leadership, the “America of the 1940s,” and the entire western world, is easily plotted with information that has resulted from the NAZI die that was cast in American government in 1945-1948.  NAZI “angel of death,” Dr. Josef Mengele-types have overtaken U.S. medicine, pharma-companies, and USGov organizations that govern them.  NAZI general Gehlin-types have overtaken industry-companies that support the U.S. military and public education.  The U.S. Congress and the U.S. Presidency are manipulated by AIPAC in D.C. and its world-wide constituency.  Currently, the “Jacob” lineage is attempting to wag-the-dog to destroy its “brother Essau” in the Mid-East. 

The “Essau” lineage has gained insight, and is fumbling around with “corrective” action.  Of course, against suppressive action by the “Jacob” lineage, and quasi-support of the USA leadership. 

And, where does the leadership of the “western world” stand?  Knee-deep in “guilt,” repeatedly warmed-up by the lineage of “Jacob,” with its figure of “six million.”  The mileage the lineage of “Jacob” has obtained with the “six million” figure, since 1948, is incredible . . Similarly, the dumbidity of western-world leadership - -

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By mark aleshnick, September 24, 2010 at 1:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is all being done in YOUR name and with YOUR tax dollars.

Most americans are content to watch reality television, while the realities are
being carried out in their names in the form of continued torture, genocide,
rape, and butchery.

america, a morally and economically bankrupt country, functions only as a
direct result of the silence and tolerance of its citizenry to accept the continuing
obamanation (Yes, I voted for the liar in chief,too) of leading the world only in
armament production and war-making, followed by its midget proxy, israel.

Silence IS complicity.

You may now return to Your lady gaga and lindsay lohan.

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By moni, September 23, 2010 at 1:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Absolutely wretched.  How can this be ?  If this Administration knows about this; yet does nothing__ then we as a country are no better than Sadam Hussein’s Iraq.  I am literally falling asleep as I read Amy Goodman’s account because I honestly cannot stand the stress nor the cognitive dissonance of such non-action of U.S. “leaders”.  The United States of America seems to be an unrecognizable monstrosity to me now.

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By felicity, September 23, 2010 at 8:30 am Link to this comment

The US continues to force-feed prisoners.  Human rights
agencies etc. have said that force-feeding is torture. 
It must be as there is an account of a man, committed
to starving himself to death rather than remain at
Gitmo for the rest of his life, who had been subjected
to it trying to commit suicide by gnawing at the flesh
on his arm in order to get to an artery so he could
bleed to death.  Apparently, ripping his flesh off his
arm was less painful than being force-fed.

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Peetawonkus's avatar

By Peetawonkus, September 23, 2010 at 5:45 am Link to this comment

Wait. I thought we went to Iraqistan to bring them our wonderful American system. What’s that you say? Iraq was the testing ground for the post-Tea Party America, complete with torture, bombings and assassinations? Well, then, Mission Accomplished.

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By berniem, September 22, 2010 at 3:26 pm Link to this comment

At risk of belaboring the obvious the entire ruling establishment of the US is, has been, and will continue until stopped by “We The People” guilty of crimes against humanity in it’s unquenchable lust for economic and military hegemony over the entire planet! Capitalism, AKA legalized theft, has become a terminal cancer in our society since the immunity of stringent regulation has been allowed to lapse. Wake up Amerika! National security has nothing to do with people! Wealth, property, and power are all that is of concern. Our military doesn’t fight and die for our peace and defense. No, they’re out there on behalf of GE, Monsanto, Exxon/Mobil, Lockheed/Martin, Raytheon, etc., etc., ad nauseum!

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By gerard, September 22, 2010 at 10:32 am Link to this comment

drbhelthi:  In answer to your question, probably Amnesty has as much information as any open agency.  Contact them at 3 Penn Plaza, New York, NY 10001.  Phone 212-807-8400.  Contributions can be made online. Go to Amnesty International.com.

They have knowledgeablle, adept people working on this problem worldwide and are a reliable group.

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drbhelthi's avatar

By drbhelthi, September 22, 2010 at 6:39 am Link to this comment

Is there an insider who is adequately honest and
patriotic so as to name the illegal lockups around the
world that continue to be operated by the USGov and its
mercenaries?

How many prisoners are being held, illegally, world-
wide by all secretive USGov entities?

Does anyone, who has the honesty to reveal the
information, know?

Report this

By mmadden, September 22, 2010 at 4:57 am Link to this comment

Iraq belongs to the Iraqi people. The USA and the world needs to step away and allow the Iraqis to govern their own country. It is none of our business anylonger.

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By tedmurphy41, September 22, 2010 at 4:55 am Link to this comment

There is just no excuse for this sort of behaviour, especially when Iraq is supposed to be advised by the USA.

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By gerard, September 21, 2010 at 6:36 pm Link to this comment

Detailed knowledge of these tortured people is sickening and ultimately unbearable.  People tend to just “turn it off” because they think there’s nothing they can do.
  This means that agencies like Amnesty International work tirelessly (with limited private contributions and lack of public support) to try to free these tortured thousands, one by one.
  We bystanders have an unavoidable obligation to support groups like Amnesty, actively, consistently, year in, year out until inhumane policies are changed and the human race is prevented from reverting to barbarism.
  The life you save may be your own.

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