Torture, summary execution and war crimes in ‘nasty places’
[Patricia A Butenis]
* Occupation: Diplomat
* US Ambassador to Bangladesh, 2006-08
* US Ambassador to Sri Lanka (2009 - todate)
* British Deputy Prime Minister
* Born: January 7, 1967 (age 43)
* Political party: Liberal Democrats
There are two indisputable facts associated with the US-UK led
invasion of Iraq. First, there was absolutely no evidence of Iraq having
‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’ (WMD). Secondly, Nick Clegg, the British
Deputy Prime Minister has confessed that the invasion was illegal.
Let’s throw in a third, for laughs: if the existence of WMD warrants
invasion, the US should invade Britain and Britain should return the
favour. Laughs aside, consequent to Points one and two, everything that
US and British troops have done in Iraq since the invasion constitutes
Let’s get into specifics. We all know about Abu Ghraib and the
techniques of interrogation practised by US troops.
British troops in Iraq. Pic. courtesy: Google
Sorry, not all of us, for Patricia Butenis seems to be totally
ignorant about these things. What many did not know was the fact that a
similar torture chamber was run for years in Iraq by the Joint Forces
Interrogation Team (JFIT). It has been dubbed ‘Britain’s Abu Ghraib’.
There is evidence of detainees at this facility being systematically
and brutally mistreated. They were starved, deprived of sleep, subjected
to sensory deprivation, threatened with execution and treated in
numerous ways that contravene the Geneva Convention. Trainee
interrogators have been told, it is now revealed, that they should ‘aim
to provoke humiliation, disorientation, exhaustion, anxiety and fear in
the prisoners they question’.
We are not talking about cooked up video footage from dubious sources
or pictures of people who could have been killed by anyone, by the way.
This is all beyond-shadow-of-doubt stuff. The question that is being
considered in British defence and judicial circles is not the
reliability of the evidence, but whether inquiry would be in the best
interest of complainants!
Nick Harvey, the Armed Forces Minister (Liberal Democrat) has gone on
record to say that ‘a costly public inquiry would be unable to
investigate individual criminal behaviour or impose punishments. Any
such inquiry would arguably therefore not be in the best interests of
the individual complainants who have raised these allegations.’ More
importantly, he wants the Defence Ministry to investigate the matter
So Britain does not want independent investigation into war crimes.
Yes, not imagined crimes and those which by no stretch of imagination
can be tagged ‘systemic’, but crimes that were scripted in training
manuals which had the blessings of the British Government. The
holier-than-thou in Britain calling for an ‘independent international
investigation’ into alleged war crimes by Sri Lankan troops and indeed
the principal mover and shaker in this matter, Patricia Butenis, do not
seem to have read ‘Introduction to Interrogation and Tactical
Questioning’ or, if they have, been disturbed by the contents. That, by
the way, is the Bible British interrogators swear by.
It is telling indeed that Wikileaks has not come up with much by the
way of cables exchanged by diplomats belonging to countries that
together invaded Iraq expressing concern about such horrendous
There is no mention in such missives of Baha Mousa, a 26-year-old
Iraqi hotel receptionist who was kicked and beaten to death whilst in
British Army custody in Basra in September 2003. No mention of Abdul
Jabbar Musa Ali, a 55-year-old head teacher, who was detained by
soldiers of the Black Watch and allegedly kept hooded and beaten and
whose body, when released to family, was found to be extensively
No mention of Tanik Mahmoud who was kicked to death in a British
Chinook helicopter by members of a Royal Air Force regiment who had
detained him at a checkpoint. Nothing of Ather Karim Khalaf, shot and
beaten at a British checkpoint after his car door swung open and struck
a British soldier. No mention either of 19-year-old Said Shabram drowned
after he was pushed into the Shatt-al-Arab waterway by British troops.
These are civilians, by the way.
The techniques apparently were perfected over decades of British
counter-insurgency campaigns in Borneo, Malaya, South Arabia, Palestine,
Cyprus and Northern Ireland. The manuals stress the need for
interrogators to ‘find discreet and nasty places such as shipping
containers,’ and suggest places ‘out of hearing’ and ‘away from media’
to conduct interrogations.
Nasty places. Away from the media. Out of hearing. So nasty, so far
away from the media and beyond hearing that the British public will not
know what their tax money is being used for, perhaps.