Monday, February 27, 2006

Iraqi Death Squad Democracy per Rumsfeld plan

The thrust of this article is that the Iraqi Interior Ministry is responsible for hundreds of tortured bodies that show up in morgues every month, it's beyond the scope of what we can control, and gosh darn it, if we knew and could stop it, we would.

But this has an odd parallel with a story from last year back when Donald Rumsfeld said we should use the "Salvador Option" in Iraq, referring to the right wing death squads used to break the back of insurgencies in Central America in the 1980s, and kill and rape some American nuns along the way. The overseer of that policy was John Negroponte. A few months after Rummy discussed the "Salvador Option," Negroponte was appointed ambassador to Iraq. He only left because he was promoted to the newly created intel czar job.

What is actually occurring seems to fit Rumsfeld's proposal. Shia squads killing Sunni insurgents and their supporters.

The original death squad story clears up the purpose of torture over there too--it isn't primarily to get information, but to scare the shit out of people so they don't resist or help those who do.

Polls of Iraqis and Israeli and Saudi studies have shown that the vast majority of the resistance is Iraqis, 93%, and nearly none of the foreign fighters are primarily religiously motivated. Instead, they see the Iraqi equivalent of the photo below and get pissed off.

Spreading democracy is a nice idea, but you don't do it by pulling out fingernails, raping people, and putting a bullet in the back of their head if they disagree with you.

Nuns pray over the bodies of four American
killed by the military in El Salvador
in 1980



‘The Salvador Option’

The Pentagon may put Special-Forces-led assassination or kidnapping teams in Iraq

By Michael Hirsh and John Barry
Updated: 8:59 p.m. ET Jan. 14, 2005

...the U.S. occupation has failed to crack the problem of broad support for the insurgency. The insurgents, he said, "are mostly in the Sunni areas where the population there, almost 200,000, is sympathetic to them." He said most Iraqi people do not actively support the insurgents or provide them with material or logistical help, but at the same time they won’t turn them in. One military source involved in the Pentagon debate agrees that this is the crux of the problem, and he suggests that new offensive operations are needed that would create a fear of aiding the insurgency. "The Sunni population is paying no price for the support it is giving to the terrorists," he said. "From their point of view, it is cost-free. We have to change that equation."


Now, NEWSWEEK has learned, the Pentagon is intensively debating an option that dates back to a still-secret strategy in the Reagan administration’s battle against the leftist guerrilla insurgency in El Salvador in the early 1980s. Then, faced with a losing war against Salvadoran rebels, the U.S. government funded or supported "nationalist" forces that allegedly included so-called death squads directed to hunt down and kill rebel leaders and sympathizers. Eventually the insurgency was quelled, and many U.S. conservatives consider the policy to have been a success—despite the deaths of innocent civilians and the subsequent Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages scandal. (Among the current administration officials who dealt with Central America back then is John Negroponte, who is today the U.S. ambassador to Iraq. Under Reagan, he was ambassador to Honduras.)

Following that model, one Pentagon proposal would send Special Forces teams to advise, support and possibly train Iraqi squads, most likely hand-picked Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Shiite militiamen, to target Sunni insurgents and their sympathizers, even across the border into Syria, according to military insiders familiar with the discussions. It remains unclear, however, whether this would be a policy of assassination or so-called "snatch" operations, in which the targets are sent to secret facilities for interrogation...


Iraq's death squads: On the brink of civil war

Most of the corpses in Baghdad's mortuary show signs of torture and execution. And the Interior Ministry is being blamed.
By Andrew Buncombe and Patrick Cockburn
Published: 26 February 2006

Hundreds of Iraqis are being tortured to death or summarily executed every month in Baghdad alone by death squads working from the Ministry of the Interior, the United Nations' outgoing human rights chief in Iraq has revealed.

John Pace, who left Baghdad two weeks ago, told The Independent on Sunday 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.


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