Sunday, February 26, 2006


Wasn't "Killing His Own People" One Of PNAC's Pretexts For Toppling Saddam?

We find out from the Information Clearinghouse and the UK Independent that, according to John Pace, the outgoing UN human rights chief for Iraq, that:

...up to three-quarters of the corpses stacked in the city's mortuary show evidence of gunshot wounds to the head or injuries caused by drill-bits or burning cigarettes. Much of the killing, he said, was carried out by Shia Muslim groups under the control of the Ministry of the Interior. Much of the statistical information provided to Mr Pace and his team comes from the Baghdad Medico-Legal Institute, which is located next to the city's mortuary. He said figures show that last July the morgue alone received 1,100 bodies, about 900 of which bore evidence of torture or summary execution. The pattern prevailed throughout the year until December, when the number dropped to 780 bodies, about 400 of which had gunshot or torture wounds. "It's being done by anyone who wishes to wipe out anybody else for various reasons," said Mr Pace, who worked for the UN for more than 40 years in countries ranging from Liberia to Chile. "But the bulk are attributed to the agents of the Ministry of the Interior." Coupled with the suicide bombings and attacks on Shia holy places carried out by Sunnis, some of whom are followers of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al-Qa'ida's leader in Iraq, the activities of the death squads are pushing Iraq ever closer to a sectarian civil war. Mr Pace said the Ministry of the Interior was "acting as a rogue element within the government". It is controlled by the main Shia party, the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (Sciri); the Interior Minister, Bayan Jabr, is a former leader of Sciri's Badr Brigade militia, which is one of the main groups accused of carrying out sectarian killings. Another is the Mehdi Army of the young cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who is part of the Shia coalition seeking to form a government after winning the mid-December election. Many of the 110,000 policemen and police commandos under the ministry's control are suspected of being former members of the Badr Brigade. Not only counter-insurgency units such as the Wolf Brigade, the Scorpions and the Tigers, but the commandos and even the highway patrol police have been accused of acting as death squads.
According to Dr. Faiq Amin, who in 2004 was the director of the Medico-Legal Institute (goodness knows if he's still there), the morgue was designed to hold 60 corpses. Also, Dr. Faiq said -- back in 2004, when the morgue was "only" getting 600 dead bodies a month -- that the number of dead people dropped off at his morgue was three to four times greater than when Saddam Hussein was in power. He can't vouch for the rest of Iraq -- before the invasion, his morgue was able to communicate and share data with the other morgues in Iraq, but that hasn't been possible in over three years now -- but he suspects that similar ratios exist elsewhere. He also points out that he's probably seeing only a small fraction of the persons being killed in Baghdad. The real toll is likely in the thousands per month. Now, why was it that Bush and his neocon PNAC buddies said they wanted to overthrow Saddam? (Besides the WMD that didn't exist, for one.) Something about his human-rights record and killing his own people, right?

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