British torture in Iraq and government lies

This video is called Sexual abuse and Torture by British troops in Iraq.

From British daily The Morning Star:

Incompetence or mendacity

(Sunday 27 July 2008)

IN theory, it all seems clear. If a minister is caught misleading Parliament, he or she resigns.

But that is not a cure for all ills. Parliament’s joint committee on human rights asked for and was given assurances by then armed forces minister Adam Ingram in 2004 and General Robin Brims in 2006 that the euphemistically named “conditioning practices” were no longer used by the British army.

These included hooding, stress positioning, sleep deprivation and a whole range of other human rights abuses that had been banned since the 1970s.

Then the case of murdered hotel receptionist Baha Mousa came to light. Mr Mousa was beaten to death while in the custody of British troops in Iraq in 2003.

His family, along with nine other Iraqis who were tortured by British soldiers, were awarded nearly £3 million in damages just a couple of weeks ago.

The Ministry of Defence made the settlement, which came complete with an admission of liability and an apology. Had Mr Ingram still been army minister, the whole mess would have landed in his lap and he would presumably have done the decent thing but, since he left the job in 2007, there is no chance of that.

Defence Secretary Des Browne has announced an inquiry into the death of Mr Mousa, an inquiry which he says will have terms broad enough to conduct a thorough examination of all the circumstances surrounding that death.

This statement has been given to the committee as if, in some way, it would satisfy the MPs and answer their complaint that Parliament had been misled. But only a fool could believe that to be the case and, for all his shortcomings, Mr Browne is no fool.

An inquiry into Mr Mousa’s death there most certainly must be, all the more so because, apart from one soldier who pleading guilty to inhumane treatment at court martial and was sentenced to a year in prison and dismissal from the service, no-one has paid any price for a brutal and inhuman killing.

But that inquiry has little or no relevance to the case in point. The simple fact is that the army minister told Parliament that such inhuman conduct was no longer being used. The MoD has admitted that it was and paid out nearly £3 million of taxpayers’ money in compensation.

Either Mr Ingram misled Parliament while in possession of facts that he suppressed or because of his ignorance of the procedures that the army under his direction was using. Mendacious or incompetent, the result was the same.

But what will now happen? Mr Ingram is no longer in the post, nor is then secretary of state Geoff Hoon [see also here and here], so it appears that no-one is now accountable.

But this doctrine of individual ministerial accountability has its limits.

Mr Browne said: “We have always been clear that we expect our forces to comply fully with international law. We will not tolerate anything less.”

Strong words – until you remember that the entire Iraq war was in defiance of international law.

The circumstances of Mr Mousa’s death will not cause parliamentary heads to roll. The government has waited until no-one is left who was directly responsible to settle the case and make the public admission of responsibility.

But the Iraq war was and remains a monstrous crime and, one day, the war criminals of new Labour must be forced to account for their actions.

Perhaps, in that way, Mr Mousa will at last get some measure of the justice which was denied him during his life and is still being denied to his family.

See also here. And here.

US military admits soldiers killed unarmed Iraqi civilians: here.

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