Friday, November 18, 2005

Shi'ite Torture Cell in Baghdad

This is disturbing:

U.S. and Iraqi forces raided a secret Iraqi detention bunker run by the Ministry of Interior in central Baghdad and freed 173 Sunni prisoners who had been tortured with electric shocks and drills, Iraqi and U.S. officials said yesterday.

The Ministry of Interior in the Shi'ite-led government has been repeatedly accused of allowing extrajudicial detentions and abuses, including operation of anti-Sunni hit squads.

A Baghdad police official said officers from the Shi'ite-led Badr Brigade, which answers to the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) political party, were manning the bunker when the U.S. and Iraqi forces arrived.


In Washington, State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli called for those responsible to be held accountable.

"We don't practice torture, and we don't believe that others should practice torture," he said. "So when there are cases of people being accused of torture, we take that seriously."


The FBI and U.S. Department of Justice, together with the U.S. Embassy and multinational forces in Iraq, have offered to assist in the investigation.
The main reason I think the war in Iraq was just -- the deposition of Hussein and his torture state -- is going to fall apart if the Shi'ites we put in power start behaving in the same despicable manner. I am glad to see that the State Department is denouncing this in no uncertain terms and that the FBI an JD are on the case. But the important thing will be how this plays in Iraq and whether or not there is sufficient follow-through. If this isn't stopped immediately, we lose.

UPDATE: Disturbingly, this news is two days old and I don't see much buzz about this. Several MSM sources (including Drudge) have carried the story but not with any great prominence and none of the major blogs have so much as mentioned it. IraqTheModel is the only one I can find who has anything to say about this. Even Belgravia Dispatch and Andrew Sullivan, who are quick to point out the questionable activities of the CIA have not mentioned this as far as I can tell.
Here is the Washington Times noting the pushback from the Iraqi Interior Minister. Also, note the possible Iran connection.

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