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A Low, Dishonest Decade: New Details for the Iraq War Crime Mosaic

By       Message Chris Floyd     Permalink
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"'We were having lunch. Col Steele, Col Coffman, and the door opened and Captain Jabr was there torturing a prisoner. He [the victim] was hanging upside down and Steele got up and just closed the door, he didn't say anything -- it was just normal for him.'

"He says there were 13 to 14 secret prisons in Baghdad under the control of the Interior Ministry and used by the Special Police Commandos. He alleges that Steele and Coffman had access to all these prisons and that he visited one in Baghdad with both men. 'They were secret, never declared. But the American top brass and the Iraqi leadership knew all about these prisons. The things that went on there: drilling, murder, torture. The ugliest sort of torture I've ever seen.'

"According to one soldier with the 69th Armoured Regiment who was deployed in Samarra in 2005 but who doesn't want to be identified: 'It was like the Nazis ... like the Gestapo basically. They [the commandos] would essentially torture anybody that they had good reason to suspect, knew something, or was part of the insurgency ... or supporting it, and people knew about that.'

"... Neil Smith, a 20-year-old medic who was based in Samarra, remembers what low ranking US soldiers in the canteen said. 'What was pretty widely known in our battalion, definitely in our platoon, was that they were pretty violent with their interrogations. That they would beat people, shock them with electrical shock, stab them, I don't know what else ... it sounds like pretty awful things. If you sent a guy there he was going to get tortured and perhaps raped or whatever, humiliated and brutalized by the special commandos in order for them to get whatever information they wanted.'

"He now lives in Detroit and is a born-again Christian. He spoke to the Guardian because he said he now considered it his religious duty to speak out about what he saw. 'I don't think folks back home in America had any idea what American soldiers were involved in over there, the torture and all kinds of stuff.'

"Through Facebook, Twitter and social media the Guardian managed to make contact with three soldiers who confirmed they were handing over detainees to be tortured by the special commandos, but none except Smith were prepared to go on camera.
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"'If somebody gets arrested and we hand them over to MoI they're going to get their balls hooked, electrocuted or they're going to get beaten or raped up the ass with a coke bottle or something like that,' one said. He left the army in September 2006. Now 28, he works with refugees from the Arab world in Detroit teaching recent arrivals, including Iraqis, English.

"'I suppose it is my way of saying sorry,' he said."

But as we have seen in all the recent media hoopla around the 10th anniversary of the invasion, none of criminals in charge of the war crime, or the savants who promoted it, or the media sycophants who "stovepiped" the lies of the warmongers to the public, or any member of the political-media elite who by direct or collateral hand were complicit in this war crime have ever apologized for what they have done -- much less been made to suffer the slightest discomfort or inconvenience for it.

As for Steele himself, he left Iraq after helping set up the torture apparatus and went into -- what else? -- the oil business.

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Chris Floyd is an American journalist. His work has appeared in print and online in venues all over the world, including The Nation, Counterpunch, Columbia Journalism Review, the Christian Science Monitor, Il Manifesto, the Moscow Times and many (more...)
 

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