When he was lambasted by Archbishop Desmond Tutu last week for the murderous debacle of the US-UK war of aggression in Iraq, Tony Blair pointed to the appalling human rights violations of the Saddam regime as one of his "justifications" for helping George W. Bush engineer the murder of a million innocent people.
Of course, as we noted here earlier, Blair never evinced such concerns about, say, the extremist religious tyrants in Saudi Arabia (whom he protected by personally quashing a judicial case involving mammoth corruption in a UK-Saudi arms deal), or his later paymasters in Kazakhstan, or even his once-and-former hug-buddy Moamar Gadafy in Libya.
But putting aside this sinister hypocrisy for a moment, it might be instructive for those concerned about appalling human rights violations by the government of Iraq to take a look at the regime that the Anglo-American invaders built on the mound of corpses they left behind. And what would they find? Why, appalling human rights violations by the government of Iraq. As'ad AbuKhalil, the "Angry Arab," points us to this article by Halfa Zangana in the Guardian:
Three women were among the 21 people executed within one day in Iraq, last Monday. It was followed, two days later, by the reported execution of five more people. The number of people executed since the start of this year is now at least 96 and they are not the only ones. â€¦ There is also news of another 196 people on death row. According to Iraqi officials, they have all been convicted on charges "related to terrorism," but there is little information about their names, what crimes they committed or whether they have access to lawyers or not.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have previously documented the prevalence of unfair trials and torture in detention in Iraq. Confessions under torture are often the only evidence against a person who has been arrested following a secret informant's report. Parading the accused with their tortured, empty looks on Al Iraqiya, the official TV channel, is the norm. It took a court in Baghdad only 15 minutes to sentence Ramze Shihab Ahmed, a dual Iraqi-UK national, to 15 years' imprisonment after being found guilty of "funding terrorist groups".
Amnesty has obtained and examined court documents and said it believes the trial proceedings were "grossly unfair". Ahmed was held in a secret prison near Baghdad, during which time his whereabouts were completely unknown to his family. During this period Ahmed alleges he was tortured â€“ with electric shocks to his genitals and suffocation by plastic bags â€“ into making a false "confession" to terrorist offences.
So what kind of human rights are observed in the "new Iraq"? Hardly any. The list of abuses is long and the tip of the iceberg is waves of arbitrary arrests (over 1,000 monthly), torture and executions. All are barely noticed by the world media and the US and British official silence is rather convenient to cover up the crimes and chaos they created. â€¦
The Nouri al-Maliki government in Iraq with its human rights outfits is following the same path [as Saddam]. â€¦ People who for years before the invasion of 2003 were highlighting human rights abuses as a reason to invoke war as a prelude to democracy and transparency are now either totally silent or actively covering up the current abuses, despite glaring evidence from international human rights organisations.
The so-called "war on terror" reformulated many aspects of world politics and state accountability has become the first victim of that war. It has acquired variable meanings with highly selective application. Therefore, some governments have "enjoyed" immunity, no matter how brutally they have behaved against their own or other people. The Iraqi regime is one of them.
Whoever would have thought that a regime implanted by a war of aggression -- which the Nuremberg Tribunal described as "the supreme international crime, only different from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of all the others" -- would end up violently oppressing, torturing and killing its own people? As we noted here three years ago, after yet another report of abuses in Baghdad:
As the Iraqis used to say just after the American invasion in 2003: "The pupil is gone; the master has come." Now new pupils are passing on the master's lessons. And those who dare speak out against the fruits of this sinister education find themselves in the cross-hairs of the client government -- and of those who do its dirty work "on the dark side, if you will." It is, as our eloquent president has said of the million-killing act of aggression in Iraq, "an extraordinary achievement."
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