British Version of Abu Ghraib in Iraq


Article first published as British Version of Abu Ghraib in Iraq on Technorati.

More than 200 Iraqi civilians were subjected to inhuman torture and abuse inside the British controlled detention facilities, Public Interest Lawyers (PIL) group claimed on its website. The incidents occurred during the aftermath of the Iraqi invasion from 2003 to 2008, came to light in PIL’s investigations. PIL sought all cases to be treated as a single case instead of dealing them on piecemeal basis, which would deprive many Iraqis of justice.

Mounting Claimstorture_02

Mazin Younis, advisor for the PIL said, “Since my first trip to Basra in 2004 to meet a handful of Iraqis claiming to have been abused by British soldiers, the list of claimants has shot up dramatically. …At this very movement, more than 60 new cases have flooded in from southern Iraq; we don’t know yet what kinds of abuse they will be revealing.”

While the PIL announced 142 Iraqi detainee abuse cases reached High Court, Younis added fresh 60 cases that have not yet been produced. The PIL is appealing for a judicial review of a denial by Ministry of Defense (MoD) to order wider public inquiry into allegations of widespread abuse and torture. MoD says the allegations are unproven and a dedicated team had been set up to investigate.

Dedicated Team

PIL alleges the so-called dedicated team, Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT), lacked necessary independence to carry out the inquiry. Similar powerless inquiry, Sir John Chilcot’s inquiry, was launched by the British government into the circumstances that led the UK into the war, which carried no statutory powers to prosecute and punish the people responsible for British participation in Iraq invasion.

torture5The then Prime Minister Tony Blain appeared before the Chilcot’s inquiry commission and said, “he would have joined the war even if he had known that Iraq was not possessing “Weapons of Mass Destruction.” It was reported that a private meeting of George W Bush with Tony Blair had changed the British position on going to the war, whose administration until then was against going to the war, in general.

The MoD spokesperson said the IHAT was the most effective way of investigating these unproven allegations rather than a costly public inquiry. It is ironic that the official considered the public inquiry a costly affair. He should be wary of the political cost the UK would have to pay if the gravest allegations of torture were proven in the public inquiry.

Unbearable Torture

Some of the inhuman torture and abuse practiced by the British soldiers in British detention (concentration) camps were produced by the PIL on its website. They include:

  • Keeping Iraqis naked forcibly if they did not cooperate with the interrogators
  • Sleep deprivation, prolonged solitary confinement
  • Abuse of women and children at arrest operations in homes
  • Sexual abuses, including rape, forced oral sex, forced adoption of prolonged oral and anal simulated sex positions, soldiers masturbating on Iraqis, female and male soldiers having sex in front of the Iraqis
  • Playing loud, hardcore pornographic movies all night during Ramadan and many other troubling allegations of a sexual nature

British torture in Abu GhraibDecency and Good Behavior

Tony Blair reportedly said in 2005 that this was the actions of a small minority of soldiers should not detract from the decency and good behavior of the majority of British soldiers in Iraq. But, it is not the question of good behavior of British soldiers, but the question of British state’s interests that manufactured such torture machines, unmindful of humanity.

One has to wonder how these so-called developed countries can defend this type of horrendous and shocking treatment of civilians in the name of war of terror. These developed states might have developed in wealth creation and military technology, that too through centuries of colonial exploitation, but remained in middle ages when it comes to the treatment of civilians of other nationals during wars. It was not even a war but invasion. The communiqués of Geneva conventions and UNHRC resolutions are just a bunch of papers for these mindless war-mongering, brutal perpetrators of inhumanity.

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