Saturday, December 10, 2005

How far we've come

This is your war.
  • The United States said Friday that it would continue to deny the International Committee of the Red Cross access to "a very small, limited number" of prisoners who are held in secret around the world, saying they are terrorists being kept incommunicado for reasons of national security and are not guaranteed any rights under the Geneva Conventions...

    The Red Cross has recognized that some of those held by the United States are not prisoners of war, and do not have the full protection of the Geneva Conventions. But it has argued that no prisoners, not even those alleged to be terrorists, should fall into what it calls a "black hole" outside any protection under international humanitarian law. A central purpose of the Red Cross is to visit prisoners and protect their human rights.

  • The Taguba Report: On at least one occasion, the 320th MP Battalion at Abu Ghraib held a handful of "ghost detainees" for OGAs that they moved around within the facility to hide them from a visiting International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) survey team. This maneuver was deceptive, contrary to Army Doctrine, and in violation of international law.

  • In the winter of 1992, nine of the 51 men who then lived here were taken away by regime soldiers, never to be heard from again. Today, about 20 locals gather in the local diwaniya (community sitting room) to retell the story. There was, they say, an attack by some of the villagers on the local Baath Party headquarters. No one was killed, but about 15 days later, soldiers arrived, grabbing the suspects from the university where they studied, the barbershops where they cut hair, and the beds where they slept...There has been no word from the men since except for rumored sightings by some former prisoners now released. There were never any trials, and no information has surfaced from the local Mukhabarat files.


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