|Southwest Asia News Digest
Iraq Torture-Death: Orders from the Top
Secret documents made available to the Washington Post, as well as information provided by military officials, document that the brutal interrogation and torture methods used in Iraq were carried out on orders coming from top Pentagon and military officials. An Aug. 3 Post story presented a very detailed account of the November 2003 interrogation, torture, and beating to death of a senior Iraqi general, Abed Hamed Mowhoush, who had voluntarily walked into a forward U.S. military base, hoping to speak with commanders. Instead, Mowhoush was interrogated with increasing brutality, and finally wrapped in a sleeping bag in which he died from beatings he had received. The Army then issued a press release stating that Mowhoush had died of natural causes.
According to Army documents, in the months before Mowhoush's death, Army intelligence officials were discussing what they regarded as the need for more severe treatment of detainees under interrogation, including exploiting prisoners' fear of dogs and claustrophobia. In August 2003, interrogators were told that the "gloves are coming off." On Nov. 18, eight days before Mowhoush's death, military intelligence officials prepared a PowerPoint presentation describing the interrogation of Mowhoush and his intransigence and lack of cooperation.
A few days after this, Mowhoush was handed over to a unit consisting of Special Forces, CIA, and a CIA-sponsored paramilitary group known as the Scorpions, where he was beaten to death while under interrogation. From the description, the final interrogation team sounds like the Donald Rumsfeld "hunter-killer squad" known then as Task Force 20/121.
The shifts in policy during August through November 2003, coincided with the worst abuses at Abu Ghraib. These followed the trip of Guantanamo commander Gen. Geoffrey Miller to Iraq in August-September 2003, where he helped set interrogation policy for the entire theater and visited Task Force 20 as well as Abu Ghraib.
This murder is one incident among hundreds which has led leading Republican Senators to introduce an amendment to the Defense Appropriations bill, in which Congress puts the Pentagon virtually under receivership for these kinds of practices in military trials and interrogations. The amendment, which is bitterly opposed by the White House, is sponsored by Republican Senators John Warner of Virginia, John McCain of Arizona, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
Iraq Reconstruction Failure: Worse than Under Saddam
The July 2005 report of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) exposes the ugly truth that the so-called Iraq reconstruction effort is failing. The report, "Rebuilding Iraq: Status of Funding and Reconstruction Efforts," reveals that of the $18.4 billion for Iraq reconstruction that was appropriated by the U.S. Congress in 2004, $4.7 billion has been reallocated to other projects because "priorities have changed." That money has been reassigned to short-term projects and security needs at the expense of long-term projects, primarily in the electricity and water sectors. Both crude-oil production and electricity generation have been, with a few exceptions, generally below the levels that prevailed in March of 2003, just before the U.S. invasion.
The GAO was unable to provide an assessment of the reconstruction of water systems, because the metrics used by the U.S. Agency for International Development don't address the quality of the water and sanitation services actually being delivered to users. Even worse, the lack of metering and the unknown extent of leaks in the water-delivery system mean that the actual amount of potable water delivered to users is completely unknown. Since sewer pipes also leak, and often run parallel to water pipes, sewage is able to leak into the water system.
While U.S. funding is going into short-term improvement of hospitals and clinics, as well as some longer-term projects, including the procurement of supplies and equipment, the Iraqi health sector will require continued long-term support to restore the system to modern levels of health care. That support, however, is not part of the U.S. assistance program.
A new report issued by the UN Development Program and the Iraqi Ministry of Planning and Development Cooperation, dated July 2005, shows even worse conditions, reporting that the population of Iraq is suffering widespread casualties and war-related injuries, high rates of infant mortality, chronic malnutrition and illness among children, and falling rates of life expectancy.
EIR Online Warned of Jewish Terrorism Linked to Settlers
On Aug. 4, an 19-year old soldier in the Israeli Defense Forces killed four Arab residents of Israel, and wounded 12 others, in a deliberate act of mass murder, in keeping with his beliefs as a member of the anti-Arab, extremist cult "Kahane Lives," also known as the Kach movement, which wants to expel all Palestinians and Arabs from Israel and the Occupied Territories. The assailant boarded a bus in Israel headed for an Arab neighborhood, and began firing his Army-issued rifle.
The murderer, who was also killed in the attack, was from a West Bank Jewish settlement, Tapuah, which is known as a hotbed for supporters of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, founder of the terrorist organization.
This incident is a product of the network of religious extremism, radical rabbis, who run military units, and paramilitary operations of the Jewish settlers (see "Who's Behind the Settlers' Gangs and Israeli Terrorism?" in Southwest Asia digest, EIR Online, #30)
Even after this incident, the radical plans of the settlers have not been derailed. Even a former public relations official for the right-wing Likud Party, Avital Sahar, has said that Israel's "low intensity civil war" must be stopped by a government crackdown on the Jewish extremists.
In an opinion column published in the Israeli publication Ynet.com, Sahar called for the government to gather courage and perform its duty to stop the "low-intensity civil war" breaking out in Israel before things get too out of hand. He says that the people who are taking advantage of the anti-disengagement sentiment are the "Baruch Marzels and Moshe Feiglins"two of the most extreme religious nuts.
Sahar said that the radicals are usurping the role of the state. He targets: the Yesha Council, for thinking and acting as if they are the sovereign government; the zealot messianics of the Parliament, for hijacking national policy; the Hesder Yeshiva rabbis (units which combine religious education and military service), acting as the de facto platoon commanders; and "teenage hill youth" delinquents, who set up sniper nests and call them settlements.
Mainstream politicians have used these extremists to their advantage, says Sahar, thinking that they could keep a firm leash on them, but that is not the case now.
British Sold Heavy Water to Israel for Atomic Bomb
The BBC Newsnight program of Aug. 3 revealed the existence of documents proving that in 1958, Great Britain sold 20 tons of heavy water to Israel, which enabled it to produce plutonium for nuclear weapons. The documents reveal that this information was knowingly withheld from the administration of U.S. President Eisenhower. The program alsorather unbelievablyasserts that then British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan knew nothing about the sale.
Although the documents are still officially secret, BBC producer Meiron Jones reportedly found copies in an obscure, declassified Foreign Office counter-proliferation file.
The documentation is presented in a way to suggest that the deal was a resale of Norwegian heavy water which the UK no longer required, and therefore sold it to Israel to recoup the 1.5 million pounds which the government had spent to purchase it. But, the documents also show that the paperwork for the sale was masked by creating the appearance that the heavy water was sold back to Norway. The heavy water was in fact shipped directly to Israel on Israeli ships, which picked it up at British ports.
The truth of the matter is that, in 1956, both Britain and France promised to give Israel the capacity to produce nuclear weapons, in return for its participation in the 1956 invasion of Egypt. The Israeli reactor in Dimona is the same modal reactor the French (who built it) use exclusively for producing weapons-grade plutonium. Macmillan, who was British Foreign Minister in 1956, would have known all about this deal. In 1958, the Macmillan government was still extremely hostile to Egyptian President Abdul Nasser, whom it referred to as "Mussolini."
As is well known, Eisenhower did not support the attack on Egypt and upheld Egypt's national sovereignty. He also cut off all U.S. aid, including private donations, to Israel, until it withdrew from Egyptian territory.
Britain stopped further sales of heavy water only after the Eisenhower Administration, through U-2 spy plane photography, determined that Israel was building a nuclear reactor at Dimona.
CIA Official Fired for Disputing Iraq WMD Claims
A former CIA official has sued the CIA, claiming he was fired in 2004 because he reported in the spring of 2001, that Iraq had long since cancelled its uranium-enrichment program, before 9/11, the New York Times reported Aug. 1. The officer, who is not named in the article, because the Agency refuses to declassify his name, charged that the CIA suppressed the report. His lawyer, Roy W. Krieger, likened his situation to that of Valerie Plame Wilson, who worked in the same unit. "In both cases, officials brought unwelcome information on WMD in the period prior to the Iraq invasion and retribution followed."