the side of him
|Body of loved one — man with disability — in home in Fallujah when US forces attacked December 2004|
Send you to hell
Abbas said that at one point, "Two men came, one a foreigner and one a translator. He asked me who I was. I said I'm a human being. They told me, "We are going to cut your head off and send you to hell. We will take you to Guantanamo.?"
A female soldier told him, "Our aim is to put you in hell so you would tell the truth. These are the orders we have from our superiors, to turn your lives into hell."
Another time one of the guards said it was time for "celebrations."
"They made some of the detainees strip naked and threw cold water on them," said Abbas, "And made them run and smash their faces against the walls while the guard was whistling."
Other treatment included, as Abbas added, "They put us on top of each other while we were naked. They made us lay on top of each other naked as if it was sex, and beat us with a broom."
I am a donkey
A female guard told the male detainees that the penis of a dog was longer than theirs, and for Abbas and several other detainees she made them strip naked, tied their hands tightly behind their backs, threw them on the ground, and made them say, "I am a donkey" over and over while they were forced to lick the ground.
Other treatment included having their food thrown in the trash in front of them and beating them on their genitals. Abbas added, "They shit on us, used dogs against us, used electricity and starved us.
He also said, "They cut my hair into strips like an Indian. They cut my mustache, put a plate in my hand, and made me go beg from the prisoners, as if I was a beggar."
Desecration of his religion was, of course, included as part of their humiliation.
Abbas was made to fast during the first day of Eid, the breaking of the fast of Ramadan, which is haram (forbidden).
He told me that one day a female soldier stripped naked and other soldiers held his eyes open to make him look at her. Sometimes at night when he would read his Koran, he had to hold it in the hallway for light. "Soldiers would walk by and kick the Holy Koran, and sometimes they would try to piss on it or wipe shit on it."
Abbas did not feel this was the work of a few individual soldiers. "This was organized, it wasn't just individuals, and every one of the troops in Abu Ghraib was responsible for it."
The Americans are the teachers
He added, "Saddam Hussein used to have people like those who tortured us. Why do they put Saddam into trial, but they do not put the Americans to trial. I have full confidence that Saddam used to do these things, because he is a stupid student. But the Americans are the teachers."
Towards the end of his interview, Abbas stated, "America does not have a future in the world, the statue of liberty has been smashed by the boots of the American troops. And this is all because of Abu Ghraib. Saddam Hussein was a cruel enemy to us. I hoped that I was killed by him though, rather than being alive with the Americans. After this journey of torture and suffering, what else can I think?"
Other Iraqis, such as Sadiq Zoman, didn't have it as good as Abbas. 55 year-old Zoman, detained from his home in Kirkuk in a raid by US soldiers that produced no weapons, was taken to a police office in Kirkuk, the Kirkuk Airport Detention Center, the Tikrit Airport Detention Center and then the 28th Combat Support Hospital, where he was treated by Dr. Michael Hodges, a US army medic.
Hypoxic brain injury
Dr. Hodges' medical report listed the primary diagnoses of Zoman's condition as hypoxic brain injury (brain damage caused by lack of oxygen) "with persistent vegetative state, myocardial infarction (heart attack), and heat stroke."
Thus, Zoman was dropped off at the General Hospital in Tikrit by US soldiers after being held for one month. He was in a coma when he was dropped off with a copy of the medical report written by Lt. Col. Michael Hodges. His last name was listed as his first name on the report, despite the fact that all of Zomans' identification papers were taken during the raid on his home. Thus, it took his family weeks to locate him in the hospital.
The same medical report did not mention the fact that the back of Zomans' head was bashed in, or that he had electrical burn marks on the bottoms of his feet and genitals, or why he had lash marks across his back and chest.
Today Zoman lies in bed in a small home rented by his family in Baghdad. Of course there has been no compensation provided to them for what was done to Sadiq Zoman.
Doctors, nurses, and medics complicit in torture
Such evidence that doctors, nurses, and medics have been complicit in torture and other illegal procedures in post-Saddam Iraq is already ample.
According to a Human Rights Watch report released on April 27th of this year, "Abu Ghraib was only the tip of the iceberg, it's now clear that abuse of detainees has happened all over-from Afghanistan to Guantánamo Bay to a lot of third-country dungeons where the United States has sent prisoners. And probably quite a few other places we don't even know about."
The report adds, "Harsh and coercive interrogation techniques such as subjecting detainees to painful stress positions and extended sleep deprivation have been routinely used in detention centers throughout Iraq.
The earlier report of Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba found "numerous incidents of sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses" constituting "systematic and illegal abuse of detainees" at Abu Ghraib.
Another Pentagon report documented 44 allegations of such war crimes at Abu Ghraib. An ICRC report concluded that in military intelligence sections of Abu Ghraib, "methods of physical and psychological coercion used by the interrogators appeared to be part of the standard operating procedures by military intelligence personnel to obtain confessions and extract information."
Amnesty International has also released similar findings recently.
Most basic items such as analgesics, antibiotics, anesthetics and insulin
Another aspect I shall discuss here is the catastrophic situation of the health system in Iraq. I've recently released a report on the condition of Iraq's hospitals under occupation.
Although the Iraq Ministry of Health is claimed to have gained its sovereignty and has received promises of over $1 Billion of US funding, hospitals in Iraq continue to face ongoing medicine, equipment, and staffing shortages under the US-led occupation.
During the 1990's, medical supplies and equipment were constantly in short supply because of the sanctions against Iraq. And while war and occupation have brought promises of relief, hospitals have had little chance to recover and re-supply: the occupation, since its inception, has closely resembled a low-grade war, and the allocation of resources by occupation authorities has reflected this reality.
Thus, throughout Baghdad there are ongoing shortages of medicines of even the most basic items such as analgesics, antibiotics, anesthetics and insulin. Surgical items are running out, as well as basic supplies like rubber gloves, gauze and medical tape.
Worse than even during the sanctions
In April 2004, an International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) report stated that hospitals in Iraq are overwhelmed with new patients, short of medicine and supplies and lack both adequate electricity and water, with ongoing bloodshed stretching the hospitals' already meager resources to the limit.
Ample testimony from medical practitioners in the interim in fact confirms this crisis. A general practitioner at the prosthetics workshop at Al-Kena Hospital in Baghdad, Dr. Thamiz Aziz Abul Rahman, said, "Eleven months ago we submitted an emergency order for prosthetic materials to the Ministry of Health, and still we have nothing," said Dr. Rahman. After a pause he added, "This is worse than even during the sanctions."
Dr. Qasim al-Nuwesri, the chief manager at Chuwader General Hospital, one of the two hospitals in the sprawling slum area of Sadr City, Baghdad, an area of nearly 2 million people, added that there, too, was a shortage of most supplies and, most critically, of ambulances.