Joe Hendren

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Saturday, March 12, 2005

US locks up kids in Abu Ghraib

Documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union reveal the US is locking up children inside Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. A prison now infamous for the mistreatment and abuse of inmates. (Washington Post / AP article)

Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, who was in charge of Abu Ghraib from July to November 2003, said she often visited the prison's youngest inmates. One boy "looked like he was 8-years-old...He told me he was almost 12," Karpinski said. "He told me his brother was there with him, but he really wanted to see his mother, could he please call his mother. He was crying."

In an interview with Maj. Gen. George Fay, Karpinski said the Army began holding women and children in a high-security cellblock at Abu Ghraib in the summer of 2003 because the facility was better than lockups in Baghdad where the youths had been held.

While one desperately hopes no 11 year olds were subjected to the highly degrading abuse, often with sexual themes, inflicted on adult prisoners, the released articles suggest well documented abuse of children did occur. Six witnesses report three interrogators and a civilian interrogator (in various states of drunkenness), forced a 17 year old girl to expose her breasts and kissed her. According to the documents, the perportrators went unpunished. Imagine the outcry if an American girl of a similar age was subject to such harassment?

In another case troops poured cold water and mud over the 17 year old son of an Iraqi General, in an attempt to break the General by letting him watch his son shiver in the cold. If there is some chilling consequentialist reasoning behind involving an inmate's children in an interrogation, it can only give simplistic consequentialism a very bad name.

Links and more background on this are available at Empire Notes

The United Nations and the world community needs to denounce these US crimes, committed by and/or overseeing, by the American military. Imagine the response of the US if any other country was responsible for such abuses? 'A few bad apples', remarkably timely attempts to discredit the UN and claims of 'anti-americanism' should be seen for what they are - the excuses of quislings* who out of conviction believe 'anything goes' in the War on Terror, the phony war that it is.

* 'Quisling' is based on the name of a Norwegian Nazi, and is used to describe the political forces within states attacked by Hitler who chose out of conviction rather than expediency to join their country's enemy.

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