Friday, November 18, 2005

''House of Horrors''

"The talk of the town is the torture house they recently found in Jadriya.
One area which was well-known for its torture houses immediately after the war was Sadir City in Baghdad. Except they weren't called torture houses back then. The people who ran them called them 'ma7akim' or 'courts'. They would bring 'suspects' in for interrogation- often ordinary citizens- and beat and whip them for various confessions involving accusations and alleged crimes. A 'Sayid' would then come in and sentence the culprit- the sentence would sometimes involve cutting off a hand or a foot and at other times it might be death. We heard this from an aunt's neighbor who was mistakenly taken in and beaten as a suspected former security agent. His family connections with influential Shia clerics in the area were the only things that got him out alive- bruised and broken- but alive.

These torture houses have existed since the beginning of the occupation. While it is generally known that SCIRI is behind them, other religious parties are not innocent. The Americans know they exist- why the sudden shock and outrage? This is hardly news for Americans in the Green Zone. The timing is quite interesting- it shouldn't matter that this raid came immediately after the whole white phosphorous story came out, but the Pentagon and American military have proven to be the ultimate masters of diversion."-from Riverbend's post today on Baghdad Burning. Based on my experience at the U-Dub on Wednesday, I am wondering if this story will make it into the "Talk of the Town" in The New Yorker.

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