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Friday, July 24, 2009


One of the "Iraqi disappeared" reappears, telling of his captivity - and torture

Long-time readers of the site will remember many posts about Iraqi Gen. Amer al-Saadi, the truth-teller to Colin Powell's lies who surrendered voluntarily to the U.S. in 2003 and, as far as I can determine, is still imprisoned somewhere in Iraq, never charged, never tried.

It turns out Gen. al-Saadi had a co-worker, Major General Hussam Mohammed Amin, who was also responsible for informing the world about the state of Iraq's non-existent WMDs. Michael Bronner at Huffington Post has now written the tale of Amin, who surrendered to the Amerians shortly after al-Saadi, prompted by the same misguided faith that, once the U.S. and the world realized that he and al-Saadi had been telling the truth all along, they would be set free and treated as the honest men that they are.

No such luck. For his pains, Amin was brutally tortured, repeatedly beaten, starved (losing 50 pounds), and more. Eventually, in December 2005, after two and a half years in captivity, Amin became one of the "lucky ones" and was released along with two dozen other people, including the more well-known Dr. Rihab Taha and Dr. Huda Ammash. I wrote then about the most egregious aspect of that release:

"'The release was an American-Iraqi decision and in line with an Iraqi government ruling made in December 2004, but hasn't been enforced until after the elections in an attempt to ease the political pressure in Iraq,' said lawyer Badee Izzat Aref."
That is to say, those 24 people were kept imprisoned for more than a year "to ease political pressure." I'm sure they were all delighted.

It turns out there was another interesting aspect of that release - in order to be released, Amin (and, presumably, the others) had to sign a document in which they prommised to refrain from making political statements "inside or outside Iraq" for 18 months after their release. Wouldn't want them talking about the lack of WMD, or the torture they experienced in prison; I'm only shocked the term wasn't five or ten years. But now, four years later on and in exile like millions of other Iraqis, Amin has finally found the courage to talk, and his tale is well worth reading.

Incidentally, one of the things Bronner writes about is the case of some American POWs, held by Iraq during the first Gulf War for a grand total of 47 days, who received treatment similar to that that Amin (and presumably many, many others) received at the hands of Americans. The difference? In a U.S. court in July, 2003, 17 American ex-POWs were awarded a whopping $959 million for their pains. One can only shudder at the cost to American taxpayers if we had to pay off at a similar rate for all those Iraqis (and others) tortured by U.S. forces.

Update: A reminder from another one of my old posts that the torture that Amin suffered didn't always end with a live prisoner:

Al-Saadi, Taha, and Ammash were fortunate to escape the fate of Mohammad Munim al-Izmerly, another Iraqi scientist who was, it appears, beaten to death by American forces in February, 2004. The coverup of his death (there's an "investigation" still in progress, don't ya' know) continues.
Unlike Amin, al Saadi, and the others al-Izmerly appears to have been a fairly despicable fellow, allegedly responsible for many deaths. However that doesn't justify his being tortured to death.

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