Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Sunday, May 02, 2004

US Abuse Case Widening

There are reports now that the abuse of prisoners in Iraq was encouraged by intelligence officers attached to the prisons. This is consistent with long standing concerns about how prisoners in the "war on terror" are being treated. I refer you to an article from the 1/9/2003 Economist entitled "Ends, Means and Barbarity." (no link, sorry. But most libaries keep the Economist for years. You might find it on Lexis Nexis. Thanks to a friend for reminding me of the article).

For those who don't know, the Economist is an excellent British news weekly. It has a right of center editorial bias, particularly on economic issues but they rarely get their facts wrong (something that can't be said about Time or Newsweek et al). They are not nearly as stridently partisan as the Wall Street Journal has become. I recommend making the Economist one of your sources of information.

Back to the issue at hand....Not only are there now reports that US intelligence officers tolerated and even encouraged abuse but there are new reports that so called, "independent contractors" have been closely involved in abuse. "Independent contractors" is a term the administration uses to refer to anyone in Iraq who isn't actually in uniform. This ranges from truck drivers and construction contractors to former special forces troops from around the world (like the "contractors" from Blackwater). A large number of the so called "contractors" are what we used to call mercenaries.

So here we have a widening scandal of abuse with reservists (not trained fully as prison guards) being encouraged by intelligence operatives and mercenaries to abuse their prisoners. The "independent contractors" are not subject to military justice - by virtue of their civilian status - and are not subject to Iraqi law - by virtue of the "contractor" status.

Not the best situation for winning hearts and minds.

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