Monday, October 25, 2010

Iraq war logs: US turned over captives to Iraqi torture squads.

Until now, we had thought that the recent Wikileaks revelations had told us that the US ignored evidence of Iraqis torturing Iraqis, but it seems it was rather worse than that.

It now transpires that US forces handed over detainees to Iraqi units which they knew would torture them.

The 400,000 field reports published by the whistleblowing website at the weekend contain an official account of deliberate threats by a military interrogator to turn his captive over to the Iraqi "Wolf Brigade".

The interrogator told the prisoner in explicit terms that: "He would be subject to all the pain and agony that the Wolf battalion is known to exact upon its detainees."

It was bad enough when the charges were that the US was ignoring allegations of torture, but this is of another level altogether.

This is about the US handing over detainees in the full knowledge that they were about to be tortured.

And, for once, Nick Clegg is to be applauded for stepping up to the plate.

The evidence emerged as the deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, said the allegations of killings, torture and abuse in Iraq were "extremely serious" and "needed to be looked at".

Clegg, speaking on BBC1's Andrew Marr Show, did not rule out an inquiry into the actions of British forces in Iraq, but said it was up to the US administration to answer for the actions of its forces. His comments contrasted with a statement from the Ministry of Defence today, which warned that the posting of classified US military logs on the WikiLeaks website could endanger the lives of British forces.

Clegg said: "We can bemoan how these leaks occurred, but I think the nature of the allegations made are extraordinarily serious. They are distressing to read about and they are very serious. I am assuming the US administration will want to provide its own answer. It's not for us to tell them how to do that."

Asked if there should be an inquiry into the role of British troops, he said: "I think anything that suggests that basic rules of war, conflict and engagement have been broken or that torture has been in any way condoned are extremely serious and need to be looked at.

"People will want to hear what the answer is to what are very, very serious allegations of a nature which I think everybody will find quite shocking."

Lambasting Wikileaks for what they have done rather misses the point. Most of us are less concerned about how this information got into the public domain than we are about whether or not what is detailed here is true.

If this is true then we are dealing with war crimes. It is long past time for the US and UK to seriously look into what was done in Iraq.

And, unlike President Obama, I think that should go all the way to the top, and that the US should look at just who at the to gave the orders for this immoral crap in the first place.

Within the huge leaked archive is contained a batch of secret field reports from the town of Samarra. They corroborate previous allegations that the US military turned over many prisoners to the Wolf Brigade, the feared 2nd battalion of the interior ministry's special commandos.

In Samarra, the series of log entries in 2004 and 2005 describe repeated raids by US infantry, who then handed their captives over to the Wolf Brigade for "further questioning". Typical entries read: "All 5 detainees were turned over to Ministry of Interior for further questioning" (from 29 November 2004) and "The detainee was then turned over to the 2nd Ministry of Interior Commando Battalion for further questioning" (30 November 2004).

I have no faith that Obama will not sweep this under the carpet as he has swept the rest of the Bush regime's crimes under the carpet, but we now have the British Deputy Prime Minister saying that an investigation is needed into this. That ought to count for something.

Click here for full article.

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