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General News    H3'ed 10/23/10

Wikileaks documents confirm Tom Fox died for our sins

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The latest Wikileaks documents reveal that over a thousand Iraqis were tortured and America turned a blind eye. We knew this years ago and turned a blind eye. Now we are reminded, and again America turns a blind eye. I wish I could say I was shocked. But I'm not.

Almost five years ago I wrote "Christian Hostages, Death Squads, and Deja Vu".

In December, 2005, I wrote

Christian Peacemaker members, including some of those who have been taken captive, had been investigating abuses at the hands of special police and military groups months before the Nov. 15 discovery of 173 detainees in the basement of an Interior Ministry building. American soldiers who liberated the prisoners said some appeared to have been tortured by their Iraqi government captors.

At the time I knew the quote was too kind. At the time I knew US trained Death Squads were active in Iraq. The 173 liberated hostages did not "appear to have been tortured" as the American press so delicately put it. The BBC was much more honest:

The return to torture and killing by the security forces is another embarrassment for the American and British governments

The list compiled by Human Rights Watch includes beating detainees with cables, hanging them from their wrists for long periods and giving electric shocks to sensitive parts of the body.

From a video given to the BBC by the Association of Muslim Scholars (a Sunni Muslim organisation), it seems another particularly brutal form of torture can also be added - drilling into the knees, elbows and shoulders of victims

When I wrote Tom Fox, Death Squads and the Dogs of War, and named names... again the call fell on deaf ears.

By 2006, Tom Fox was murdered and the crime scenes were sanitized. At that point it was safe to let the media report on this. Even then, they buried the story. I wrote We found one of the death squads. They're part of the police force.

and opened that piece by saying:

That quote used in the title is not some lefty peacenik talking. That is Major General Joseph Peterson. He heads the training of Iraqi police forces for the US Army.

I then went on to note this was important for the following reasons:

  1. This is the first official confirmation by the US of Death Squad activity in Iraq.
  1. Death Squad activity has been alleged for over a year now.
  1. The "Police Commando Units" you read about are Death Squads.
  1. Those "Police Commando Units" were trained by US and UK contractors with the full knowledge of John Negroponte and the Pentagon.
  1. The policy is colloquially known as "The Salvador Option"
  1. This story has been reported before, but every one of the reporters covering it was killed.(UPDATED LINKS BELOW)
  1. This is why the Christian Peacemaker Team went to Iraq.
  1. This represents proof positive that the insurgents are not the only ones with competing factions.
  1. This marks a shift in US military strategy.
  1. The men who built these operations need to be brought to justice.

The last point was the most important. It never happened. America turned a blind eye. A few years later, David Petraeus, like Brutus, was labeled an honorable man. The truth was otherwise, but even Ted Westhusing's suicide note was not enough to convince a wilfully blind America.

Now the bodies and the stories behind the bodies are buried. The Wikileaks documents have surfaced belatedly, like the bones of victims in a mass grave silently clawing their way towards the light. But even now America still turns a blind eye.

Tom Fox may have died for our sins, but his death didn't absolve us of anything.

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For starters, I am not the Henry Porter who writes for the Observer in Britain. I'm a native New Yorker living in Maryland. I used to believe knowledge was power. Now I know knowledge translated into action is power.
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