The end of Abu Ghraib

Posted: 15 Apr 2014 07:57 PM PDT

Iraq announced on Tuesday that it has closed the infamous Abu Ghraib prison, amid security concerns following the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) gained control of a strategically important dam on the Euphrates River south of Fallujah earlier this month.

ISIS, which remains in control of large areas of Iraq's western Anbar province, blocked off the flow of water through the dam earlier this week, strategically flooding areas between Fallujah and Baghdad, including Abu Ghraib, in order to stall the advance of government troops.

The Iraqi Justice Ministry issued a statement confirming that a total of 2,400 prisoners being held in Abu Ghraib had been transferred to other prisons in central and northern Iraq, describing the move as a "precautionary measure."
The parliamentary Security and Defense Committee issued a statement saying that the closure of Abu Ghraib "sends the wrong message—that there is a lack of assurance [regarding the security situation]—and this will create a state of anxiety and panic among the Iraqi people regarding what is going to happen in the coming period."
A member of the parliamentary Security and Defense Committee, MP Hakim Al-Zamili, told Asharq Al-Awsat: "Abu Ghraib prison is not fit to house prisoners and detainees. It is old, and there has been more than one incident of prison break. We have always called for an alternative to Abu Ghraib; however, the closure of the prison at this juncture is another matter. We warned against this, as it sends an alarming message regarding the situation that the country is passing through."
The decision to close the prison comes as Iraqi parliamentary elections scheduled for April 30 approach amid a security vacuum in the restive western Anbar province and political divisions engulfing Baghdad, with a number of prominent parties from across the political spectrum warning against a third term for sitting prime minister Nuri Al-Maliki. Maliki's most prominent critics include the Sunni-dominated Mutahidoun bloc led by Iraqi Parliamentary Speaker Osama Al-Nujaifi and the Sadrist Movement and its political wing, Al-Ahrar.
Zamili, an Al-Ahrar MP, said: "The decision to close the prison and transfer the prisoners sends an alarming message. Firstly to the Iraqi people who will be beset by anxiety and fear about what is happening, particularly with regards to the continued threats from terrorist groups like ISIS and others.
The second message is to the terrorists who will feel that they are beginning to force the authorities to take action and this could serve to raise their morale."
He added: "The right solution would be for there to be a military force capable of retaking the territory [held by ISIS] and not allowing terrorists to expand their influence, and that includes expelling them from the Fallujah dam." 
I visited Abu Ghraib in 1984 when it housed Iranian soldiers as prisoners of war (POW) during the Iran-Iraq War. When the war ended in 1986, it was turned into a 'political prison' by Saddam Hussein's regime.

Located about 30km west of Baghdad, it witnessed one of the most inhuman treatment ever served on inmates, including by the US soldiers after it occupied Iraq in 2003. There were torture, weekly executions, and vile living conditions.

As many as 20,000 people were jammed into Abu Ghraib at one time, in twelve-by-twelve-foot cells that were little more than human holding pits.

In 2004, the world reacted with anger when CBS television showed pictures and video footage of the US soldiers' notoriety in its '60 minutes 2' program. Among others, it showed leering G.I.s taunting naked Iraqi prisoners who are forced to assume humiliating poses.

Six suspects - Staff Sergeant Ivan L. Frederick II, known as Chip, who was the senior enlisted man; Specialist Charles A. Graner; Sergeant Javal Davis; Specialist Megan Ambuhl; Specialist Sabrina Harman; and Private Jeremy Sivits - were detained and faced with possible prosecution in Iraq, on charges that include conspiracy, dereliction of duty, cruelty toward prisoners, maltreatment, assault, and indecent acts.

A seventh suspect, Private Lynndie England, was reassigned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, after becoming pregnant.

As the international furor grew, senior military officers, and President Bush, insisted that the actions of a few did not reflect the conduct of the military as a whole. A Taguba's Report, however, amounts to an unsparing study of collective wrongdoing and the failure of Army leadership at the highest levels.

The picture drawn was one in which army regulations and the Geneva conventions were routinely violated, and in which much of the day-to-day management of the prisoners was abdicated to army military-intelligence units and civilian contract employees. Interrogating prisoners and getting intelligence, including by intimidation and torture, was the priority.

Under the fourth Geneva Convention, an occupying power can jail civilians who pose an "imperative" security threat, but it must establish a regular procedure for insuring that only civilians who remain a genuine security threat be kept imprisoned.

Prisoners have the right to appeal any internment decision and have their cases reviewed. Human Rights Watch complained to then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld that civilians in Iraq remained in custody month after month with no charges brought against them.

Abu Ghraib, during the US occupation of Iraq, had become, in effect, another Guantánamo!

Please comment: Anwar can solve MH370 mystery in one second!

Posted: 15 Apr 2014 01:55 AM PDT

I wasn't sure whether to laugh or what but I only sighed when PM Najib Tun Razak revealed how Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim claimed and boasted to have solved the MH370 mystery in one second if he was the prime minister!

Yes, he is a crowd puller. The people, especially his supporters and some foreign media like his stunt, his bluff and 'auta'.

While the search and rescue (SAR) operations enter its 39th day today, involving 26 nations, our 'suppose-to-be-PM' created yet another raunchy statement about the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, not realizing how he has turned himself into a 'hors-d'oeuvre' for foreign news report.
Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak today rapped a statement by an opposition leader who claimed he could solve the mystery of the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 in one second.
He said the disappearance of the flight MH370 had entered its 39th day and needed the support of countries within and outside the region due to the complexity (of the search) and its unprecedented challenges.

"The remark of the opposition leader is illogical and regarded the people of Malaysia as stupid," he said at the monthly meeting of the Finance Ministry in Putrajaya today.
And I can't agree more to what Utusan Malaysia has said about Anwar going around to get cheap publicity over the missing plane.
Umno mouthpiece Utusan Malaysia today accused PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim of trying to get cheap publicity out of the MH370 tragedy.
Awang Selamat, the pseudonym for the paper's editorial team, said Anwar was resorting to illogical issues to boost his image.
Awang said this was evident during a recent interview with China's Southern Weekly magazine, where Anwar had claimed that if he were the prime minister, the issue of MH370 would be resolved immediately.
"Wow, an impossible issue becomes a game of mouths. Awang is tired of shaking Awang's head when touching on the issue of Anwar's reputation.
"It appears that Anwar, who has been sentenced to five years jail for sodomy, is so desperate to boost his image that he resorts to talking about illogical issues.
"Anwar should be reminded that as PKR adviser, there are many weaknesses and shortcomings in his own party which he has failed to resolve," said the paper.
What else can Anwar and the Opposition do?

Why can't they locate the 'Omega watch' in less than a second. It would be a world record!


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