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Showing posts from June 22, 2007

McClatchy Washington Bureau | 06/22/2007 | Chilling stories from the Madhi Army

McClatchy Washington Bureau | 06/22/2007 | Chilling stories from the Madhi ArmyMcClatchy Newspapers interviewed Abu Rusil after asking an intermediary to find a Mahdi Army commander from Hai al Salam to comment on residents' stories of brutality. Abu Rusil introduced himself as Abu al Hassan, then acknowledged his better known nom de guerre. He refused to be identified by his real name, though several residents said they knew it.

Abu Rusil said he'd never killed anyone until his brother's death. He struggled to make ends meet as a taxi driver. When Sunni insurgents shot his brother, Abu Rusil and his family had to pool their money to come up with the $2,000 it cost to retrieve the body.

Now he enjoys the spoils of war as a Mahdi Army commander. He has a house and three sport-utility vehicles, which he uses in his transportation business. He confiscates cars from Sunnis to get around town. The cars, of course, now belong to the Mahdi Army.

The killings will end, Abu Rusil said…

McClatchy Washington Bureau | 06/21/2007 | Former Hamas prisoners remember Fatah torture

McClatchy Washington Bureau | 06/21/2007 | Former Hamas prisoners remember Fatah torture: "After being rounded up by Fatah forces, Hamas men were blindfolded and shackled to a line of uncomfortable, low chairs while their captors blasted 'dirty' music to soften their psychological defenses.
Then, one by one, they were beaten, questioned and thrown in cells.
'Torture by the Israelis was less than what they did here,' said Hassan, a 46-year-old high school physics teacher who would give only his first name. He said he was held by Fatah for 59 days in 1996.
For Hamas members, the gutted prison bloc in the back of the Gaza City headquarters of the Palestinian Authority's Preventive Security Service was their Abu Ghraib."

Abused orphans found in Baghdad

Abused orphans found in Baghdad: "BAGHDAD — One photograph shows a skin-and-bones boy lying on a bare floor, leashed like a dog to the pink bars of an unoccupied crib. Another shows boys curled naked on the ground, one of them smeared with human waste.

The scenes were ghastly. But almost as jarring was the response of an Iraqi government minister called upon Wednesday to explain how a state-run orphanage in the capital could have kept two dozen children in such conditions.

Proving that not even orphans are off-limits to the political sniping that permeates life here, the minister of labor and social welfare accused U.S. troops and the media of exaggerating the situation and distributing the photographs for political gain.

'Are they really concerned about how well the children are treated in that shelter, or is it just propaganda for their alleged kindness?' Mahmoud Mohammed Jawad Radi said to reporters after the U.S. military released the photographs."

Andy Worthington: Repatriated to Torture

Andy Worthington: Repatriated to Torture: "Fears that the governments of both the US and the UK are conspiring to break international safeguards preventing the return of prisoners held without charge or trial to their home countries--where they face a serious risk of torture and abuse--have gained prominence in the last few days. On Saturday, I wrote on these pages about the case of Abdul Rauf al-Qassim, a Libyan prisoner in Guantánamo who is struggling to prevent his enforced return to the country of his birth, and on Tuesday the Pentagon announced that two Tunisian prisoners in Guantánamo, cleared for release since last year, had been returned to Tunisia on Sunday. Zachary Katznelson, Senior Counsel at Reprieve, a London-based legal charity representing one of the Tunisians, Abdullah bin Omar, immediately denounced his client's enforced repatriation, stating that he was 'cleared by the United States--found not to be a threat and not to have information about terrorism. …

West chooses Fatah, but Palestinians don't

West chooses Fatah, but Palestinians don't: "IN THE WEST, there's a huge sense of relief. The Hamas-led government that has been causing everyone so much trouble has been isolated in Gaza, and a new government has been appointed in the West Bank by the 'moderate,' peace-loving Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas.

So why then do Palestinians not share in the relief? Well, for one thing, the old government had been democratically elected; now it has been dismissed out of hand by presidential fiat. There's also the fact that the new prime minister appointed by Abbas — Salam Fayyad — has the support of the West, but his election list won only 2% of the votes in the same election that swept Hamas to victory. Fayyad and Abbas have the support of Israel, but it is no secret that they lack the backing of their own people.

There is a reason the people threw out Abbas' Fatah party in last year's election. Palestinians see the leading Fatah politicians …