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"Unbelievable" Abuse Reigns in Iraqi Jails

While Bush and his media toadies tout Anbar province as a "success" story for the "surge," conditions in the city jail reveal a different reality.

Released last week by Wikileaks, and seen for the first time (links within quoted material, and bolded emphases, are added):

Confidential memo from Maj. Gen. Kelly, commander of US forces in western Iraq (MNF-W, or Multi-National Force -- West), written in late February 2008. Privately verified by Wikileaks staff and not denied or contradicted by MNF-W when questioned by UPI's national security editor, Shaun Waterman.

Typed up version follows:


I spent the entire day inspecting the Fallujah city jail. I found the conditions there to be exactly ( unbelievable over crowding, total lack of anything approaching even minimal levels of hygiene for human beings, no food, little water, no ventilation) those described in the recent (18 February) FOX news article by Michael Totten entitled the "Dungeon of Fallujah". When queried the Iraqis and Marines present throughout my inspection as to why these conditions existed, three conditions were universally cited as problems in Fallujah as well as the rest of Anbar. First, there is zero support from the government for any of the jails in Anbar. No funds, food or medical support has been provided from any ministry. Second, the police that run Anbar's jails are the same personnel responsible for investigating crimes. These jailer/investigators are undermanned and more often than not spend most of their time out begging and scavenging for food than investigating crimes. ( It is unlikely the prisoners will eat today). Third, Anbar lacks trained Iraqi correctional officers (ICOS) to run the jails in Anbar. The development and employment of trained ICOS would enable the IP to focus on criminal investigation rather then jail supervision. I believe the Iraqi police are doing the best they can, and they literally begged me on humanitarian, moral and religious grounds to help them help the prisoners by somehow moving the government to action.

We need to go to general quarters on this issue right now. There are four areas that MNF-W needs immediate support with to correct these deficiencies. First, GOI must provide funding support to provide care for Iraqi prisoners in Iraqi custody in Anbar. To state that the current system is broken would erroneously imply that there is a system in place to be broken. Most jails in Anbar have a mixed prisoner population of pre-trial prisoners and post-trial convicted prisoners. The ministry of Justice the latter. Since the Anbar jail population is mixed of interior and the ministry of Justice (MOJ). Second, Anbar needs ICO trainers to establish an ICO course in Anbar to develop and employ that capability province wide. Third, Anbar lacks a director general of MOJ for the province. Anbar needs one appointed and working in Anbar as soon as possible. Fourth, Iraqi security force funds (ISFF) must be made available to upgrade a majority of the correctional facilities within Anbar to comply with basic international standards of care for prisoners.

Jeffrey Kaye is a psychologist active in the anti-torture movement. He works clinically with torture victims at Survivors International in San Francisco, CA. As "Valtin," he regularly blogs at Daily Kos, Docudharma, American Torture, Progressive Historians, and elsewhere.

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