Servant of the Secret Fire

Random thoughts on books and life in the reality-based community

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Location: New York, United States

The name I've chosen comes from "Lord of the Rings," when Gandalf faces down the Balrog in the Mines of Moria. My Hebrew name is Esther (which is related to the word for "hidden" or "secret") Serafina (which means "burning"). This seems appropriate because although I don't usually put myself forward, I do care very passionately about a lot of things. Maybe through these blogs I can share some of these passions, as well as less weighty ideas and opinions, with others.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Our soldiers are risking - and giving - their lives - for THIS?

Excerpted (click on title for full story). And the former governor’s furious lobbying to insert the right to torture into U.S. law is an apt illustration of the caution to “choose your enemies carefully, because you will become like them.”

New terror that stalks Iraq's republic of fear
By Patrick Cockburn in Arbil
Published: 22 September 2006

The republic of fear is born again. The state of terror now gripping Iraq is as bad as it was under Saddam Hussein. Torture in the country may even be worse than it was during his rule, the United Nation's special investigator on torture said yesterday.
...
The brutal tortures committed in the prisons of the regime overthrown in 2003 are being emulated and surpassed in the detention centres of the present US- and British-backed Iraqi government. "Detainees' bodies show signs of beating using electric cables, wounds in different parts of their bodies including in the head and genitals, broken bones of legs and hands, electric and cigarette burns," the human rights office of the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq says in a new report.
...
Human rights groups say torture is practised in prisons run by the US as well as those run by the Interior and Defence ministries and the numerous Sunni and Shia militias.
The pervasive use of torture is only one aspect of the utter breakdown of government across Iraq outside the three Kurdish provinces in the north.
...
Iraq is in a state of primal anarchy. Paradoxically, the final collapse of security this summer is masked from the outside world because the country is too dangerous for journalists to report what is happening. Some 134 journalists, mostly Iraqi, have been killed since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.
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The bi-monthly UN report on Iraq is almost the only neutral and objective survey of conditions in the country. The real number of civilians killed in Iraq is probably much higher because, outside Baghdad, deaths are not recorded.
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Nobody in Iraq is safe. Buses and cars are stopped at checkpoints and Sunni or Shia are killed after a glance at their identity cards. Many people now carry two sets of identity papers, one Shia and one Sunni.
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The Iraqi state and much of society have been criminalised. Gangs of gunmen are often described on state television as "wearing police uniforms" . One senior Iraqi minister laughed as he told The Independent: " Of course they wear police uniforms. They are real policemen."
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It has long been a matter of amusement and disgust in Iraq that government ministers travel abroad to give press conferences claiming that the insurgency is on its last legs. One former minister said: "I know of ministers who have never been to their ministries but get their officials to bring documents to the Green Zone where they sign them."

Beyond the Green Zone, Iraq has descended into murderous anarchy. For several days this month, the main road between Baghdad and Basra was closed because two families were fighting over ownership of an oilfield.

Government ministries are either Shia or Sunni. In Baghdad this month, a television crew filming the morgue had to cower behind a wall because the Shia guards were fighting a gun battle with the Sunni guards of the Electricity Ministry near by.

2 Comments:

Anonymous K.P. Bath said...

Dear Servant,

I hope it's OK to contact you this way. I read and appreciated your review of my book "The Secret of Castle Cant" on Amazon.com. Thank you! I wanted to let you know the sequel is now available: "Escape from Castle Cant" (Little, Brown). I hope you like it. Great blog, by the way! Sincerely, K.P. Bath (cantling @ yahoo.com)

September 25, 2006 at 12:23:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Mesothelioma said...

If this is really going on, it is totally unacceptable and someone needs to answer for it.

September 26, 2006 at 12:59:00 AM EDT  

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