Monday, April 24, 2006

According to a page 1 story in today's Washington Post, the U.S. hasn't followed through on Joint Chiefs chairman General Peter Pace's pledge last November to remove all detainees in Iraqi prisons who are found to have been abused.

Instead, according to U.S. and Iraqi officials, only a handful of the most severely abused detainees at a single site were removed for medical treatment. Prisoners at two other sites were removed to alleviate overcrowding. U.S. and Iraqi authorities left the rest where they were.

We're not talking about naked pyramids here:

... Lt. Col. Kevin Curry, spokesman for U.S. detention operations, [said] in a statement: "At one of the sites, thirteen detainees showed signs of abuse that required immediate medical care. The signs of abuse included broken bones, indications that they had been beaten with hoses and wires, signs that they had been hung from the ceiling, and cigarette burns....

"There were several cases of physical abuse at one other inspection site. These included evidence of scars, missing toenails, dislocated shoulders, severe bruising, and cigarette burns...."

Longtime readers of this blog will recognize some old friends in this story:

Two sources involved with the inspections, one Iraqi official and one U.S. official, said abuse of prisoners was found at all the sites visited through February....

The two sources said that at three ... sites, prisoners were being held by the Wolf Brigade, one of the Interior Ministry commando forces most feared by Sunnis.

Yeah, you remember the Wolf Brigade -- back in December, somebody who's paid with your tax dollars clearly spoon-fed a story to ABC News anchorwoman Elizabeth Vargas about how the Wolfies are just tough old ninjas who put choke holds on people but would never, ever torture anyone.

Meanwhile there's this in today's Baltimore Sun:

The top U.S. commander in Iraq has ordered sweeping changes for privatized military support operations after confirming violations of laws against human-trafficking and other abuses by contractors involving possibly thousands of foreign workers on American bases....

Gen. George W. Casey Jr. ordered that contractors be required by May 1 to return passports that have been illegally confiscated from laborers on U.S. bases after determining that such practices violated U.S. laws against trafficking for forced or coerced labor....

Two memos ... say the military also confirmed a host of other abuses during an inspection of contracting activities supporting the U.S. military in Iraq. They include deceptive hiring practices; excessive fees charged by overseas job brokers who lure workers into Iraq; substandard living conditions once laborers arrive; violations of Iraqi immigration laws; and a lack of mandatory "awareness training" on U.S. bases concerning human trafficking.

Gee, I wonder if a certain corporation's name is going to show up in this story.... Ah, here it is!

Although other firms also have contracts supporting the military in Iraq, the U.S. has outsourced vital support operations to Halliburton subsidiary KBR at an unprecedented scale, at a cost to the United States of more than $12 billion as of late last year.

KBR, in turn, has outsourced much of that work to more than 200 subcontractors, many of them based in Middle Eastern nations condemned by the United States for failing to stem human trafficking into their own borders or for perpetrating other human rights abuses against foreign workers.

Think of all this as the Rumsfeld Corollary to the Pottery Barn Rule regarding Iraq: We break out, we outsouce the fixing of it. Then we demand that the fixers fix the way they're fixing it. Then we make the same demand again, in a much louder voice. Meanwhile, we outsource the fixing of everything else that got broken by the fixers. Repeat, ad infinitum....

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