Turki: Bremer “Didn’t Care” about Torture Evidence:
Sa’idi: American Democracy is Dead save for the Facade
Abdul Basit Turki, Iraq’s first Minister of Human Rights, had his resignation accepted on Sunday. He had tendered it in response to the way the US dealt with the situation in Fallujah, among other issues. He maintained that he had heard horror stories about abuses at Abu Ghuraib last fall and had briefed American civil administratrator Paul Bremer about them, but that Bremer took no action:
‘ In November I talked to Mr Bremer about human rights violations in general and in jails in particular. He listened but there was no answer. At the first meeting, I asked to be allowed to visit the security prisoners, but I failed,” he said. “I told him the news. He didn’t take care about the information I gave him.” ‘
Tony Cordesman argues that the prison abuse scandal may have fatally undermined the US war on terror. ‘ “Those Americans who mistreated the prisoners may not have realized it, but they acted in the direct interests of al Qaeda, the insurgents, and the enemies of the U.S.,” said Tony Cordesman at the Center for Strategic and International Studies who has held various positions in government. “These negative images validate all other negative images and interact with them,” he said in a statement, citing “careless U.S. rhetoric about Arabs and Islam,” failures to stabilize Iraq, continued Israeli-Palestinian violence and fears the United States is out to dominate the Middle East. ‘
Iraqi parties and personalities were unanimous on Monday that the prisoner abuse at Abu Ghuraib is a clear violation of ethics, of human rights, and of international treaty obligations. They demanded in statements and communiques received at the al-Zaman offices that the perpetrators of these crimes be deported from Iraq and tried in American courts so as to have jutice meted out to them. They called on the United Nations and international human rights organizations to intervene swiftly to stop these massacres.
Shaikh Fadil Karim, founder and president of the General Union of Iraqi Councils of Tribal Chieftains, called on American president George W. Bush to compensate the victims of the abuse monetarily and with an official apology for the psychological damage the prisoners suffered, insofar as the treatment constitutes a dangerous phenomenon in the treatment of prisoners and is contrary to all values.
The political office of the Democratic Renaissance Party called on the United Nations and international human rights organizations to intervene immediately to stop what it called “massacres” that the Occupation Authority is committing against the sons of the Iraqi people. It called on active political and religious organizations across the Iraqi spectrum to announce their clear outrage and rejection of this scandalous abuse with all the means at their disposal. They maintain that for the US to treat Iraqi young men this way and shed their blood demonstrates a mentality of enmity and hatred toward the sons of the Iraqi people. It describes American practices in Iraq as clear violations of human rights, especially the Occupation authority’s targetting of civilians in Ramadi, Fallujah, Najaf, and all the other Iraqi cities.
Sayyid Rahim Abu Jari al-Sa’idi, the secretary general of the Iraqi Democratic Bloc said, “We lived under oppression and torture in the former regime, and the American administration knows this perfectly well. We had hoped that the United States of America would participate with us in achieving democracy in Iraq, and we had invested many hopes in it. They had made promises, but what has happened, what we have seen and experienced has plunged us into dejection and despair. It is as though democracy is dead in the United States but its facade is being kept in place by the American administration.”
He added, “A regime that practiced dictatorship for more than three decades has ended, and we do not want a return to human rights abuses again, by anyone at all. We do not want torture or its practice in our country. Therefore, we deamand that the American perpetrators be brought to trial for the crimes they have committed against human rights in our country.”
The al-Zaman article is full of such comments from a wide range of Iraqi political parties and social groups.
ash-Sharq al-Awsat reported that a spokeswoman for the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Monday that the prison abuse amounted to “war crimes”.