Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Let's hear it for "the expansion of freedom in all the world"

Where I come from we have an expression: "if nothing changes, nothing changes." On that note, today’s release from Human Rights Watch, The New Iraq? Torture and Ill-treatment of Detainees in Iraqi Custody, reports that torture and other human rights violations continue unchecked in Iraq.

Methods of torture cited by detainees include routine beatings to the body using cables, hosepipes and other implements. Detainees report kicking, slapping and punching; prolonged suspension from the wrists with the hands tied behind the back; electric shocks to sensitive parts of the body, including the earlobes and genitals; and being kept blindfolded and/or handcuffed continuously for several days. In several cases, the detainees suffered what may be permanent physical disability.

Detainees also reported being deprived by Iraqi security forces of food and water, and being crammed into small cells with standing room only. Numerous detainees described how Iraqi police sought bribes in return for release, access to family members or food and water.
The summary ends with this knee-slapper:
The United States and other donors should ensure that international advisers working with the Iraqi authorities on policing and detentions should give immediate priority to assisting in the establishment of a mechanism for the prompt reporting and investigation of allegations of torture and ill-treatment, including the setting up of an independent complaints body.
This is what we might call the "those who can't do, teach" method of "spreading democracy."

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