Annals of Liberation, cont.

From the New York Times and The Guardian; offered without comment because the stories speak for themselves.

Torture Alleged at Ministry Site Outside Baghdad (NYT)
173 prisoners found beaten and starved in Iraq government bunker (Guardian)

Excerpts: Iraq's government said Tuesday that it had ordered an urgent investigation of allegations that many of the 173 detainees American troops discovered over the weekend in the basement of an Interior Ministry building in a Baghdad suburb had been tortured by their Iraqi captors. A senior Iraqi official who visited the detainees said two appeared paralyzed and others had some of the skin peeled off their bodies by their abusers...

The discovery of what appeared to have been a secret torture center created a new aura of crisis for American officials and Iraqi politicians who hold power in the Shiite-led transitional government. For many Iraqis, the episode carried heavy overtones of the brutality associated with Saddam Hussein and his Sunni-dominated government.

Ominously, amid rising sectarianism here, Interior Ministry officials reported that the abused detainees appeared to have been mostly Sunni Arabs, and their abusers Shiite police officers loyal to the notorious Badr Organization, a militia with close links to Iran...

Reports received by the Guardian from sources in Baghdad said there were rumours that mutilated corpses and torture instruments had also been found at the underground bunker, including bodies with electric drill holes in their heads....

Meanwhile in Washington two Iraqi businessmen detained by US forces in 2003 have claimed soldiers threw them into a cage of lions, pretended to be executing them, and carried out other acts of torture during months in captivity.

Sherzad Khalid, 35, and Thahe Sabbar, 37, are suing defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other US officials in a federal court in Washington. They said they had been abused because they could not tell their captors where Saddam Hussein was hiding, and knew nothing about weapons of mass destruction.

"That was a terrifying moment for me," Mr Khalid told the Washington Post on Monday, describing how three times he was shoved into a lions' cage at a presidential palace in Baghdad, and then soldiers lined him up for a mock execution. "I was wondering if it could be real that the American army would act this way."