“All Iraq is Abu Ghraib”

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Via Heart at Women’s Space/The Margins, I learned of an article recently published in The Guardian by Haifa Zangana, a writer and former prisoner of Saddam Hussein’s regime, entitled “All Iraq is Abu Ghraib.” Below is an excerpt:

…It took almost a year, and published photographs of horrific torture in Abu Ghraib, before the world began to heed the voices of the detainees and those trying to defend them. The same is happening to women victims.

Abuses, torture and the rape of Iraqi women have been reported for three years now by independent Iraqi organisations. But the racist logic of occupation means that occupied people are not to be trusted, and truth is the private ownership of the occupiers.

Families of the abused, raped, and killed Iraqi civilians have to wait for months, if not years, until a US soldier comes forward to admit responsibility and the US military begins an investigation. (For the US military to investigate a US soldier’s crime has been seen by Iraqis as the killers investigating their own technical skills.)

On the October 19 2005, Freedom Voice, an Iraqi Human Rights society, reported the rape of three women from the “Saad Bin Abi Waqqas neighbourhood” in Tell Afar after a US raid.

The alleged rape took place by soldiers inside the women’s own house after the arrest of their male relatives. Medical sources in the town said one of the women died. A US commander ordered some soldiers detained, and no more was heard of this.

Immunity from prosecution under Iraqi or international law is the main fact of the occupation and renders laughable any claims of sovereignty. It is based on UN security council resolution 1546 and the accompanying exchange of letters between Iraqi and American authorities. This immunity applies equally to the marine units accused of roaming our streets high on drugs and to advisers running ministries, to prison guards, security guards, multinational forces and corporate contractors of all kinds. …

You can and should read the piece in its entirety here. Also read Heart’s post, where she writes:

In the course of researching and keeping up with news about the rape of ‘Abir Hamzah, I have come across information and photos about, and which appear to be of, U.S. soldiers in uniform raping Iraqi women. From what information I have been able to glean and gather, some of these photos were at one point posted on an internet porn site called”Iraqbabes,”where they were described as actual photos of Iraqi women being raped by U.S. soldiers. U.S. pro-war, patriotic websites and commentators then said the photos were staged and fake because they appeared on a porn site. The porn site no longer exists. But the photos are still out there, and some appear on, in my opinion, reputable sites, including the Universal Society of Friends site, a non-profit neo-Quaker site”dedicated to social and environmental justice, the prevention of war, and the advancement of human rights for all people everywhere.” This site posts the photos and asks us to decide for ourselves whether the photos are real.

Heart notes: “This is one of the many horrors of our porn culture: all that has to be done in order to make a rape not”real,”not”actual,”is turn it into porn. If it is pornography, then it must be harmless”fantasy.”" The Universal Society of Friends site says in pertinent part:

These rape photos were pervertedly posted on the porn site Iraqbabes.com and described there as real rapes of Iraqi women by military personnel in Iraq. The pro-war propaganda machine then labeled the photos “fakes” because they had been posted on a porn site. Presumably, the propaganda machine wanted people to think that the photos were staged porn shots, not actual rapes. However, as soon as the propaganda began, the porn site was taken down so no one could see the photos described there as actual rapes, not staged shots. Nevertheless, the pro-war people have wildly embraced the idea that the photos below are fake porn shots produced in a studio of some sort. Take a good look at them and decide for yourself.

The photos are here. They are very difficult to look at. At least for me they were. Some people obviously enjoy viewing them.

–Ann Bartow

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0 Responses to “All Iraq is Abu Ghraib”

  1. I’m going to make a statement without having given it proper research, but it seems to me that the Supreme Court is increasing referencing or using international law and custom in decision-making. Anthony Kennedy mentions the growing international consensus that juvenile executions are wrong in his opinion in the Roper v. Simmons case that came down last year. They just recently ruled that the government violated Article 3 of Gevena Convetnion in regards to the military tribunals in Gitmo. In our lifetime, will there practicable standards of international justice and working mechanism to hold accountable, not just “grunts” on the ground of questionable invasions of sovereign countries (however despotic), but also the architecs of policies that create such militarized situtations that become breeding grounds for horrific abuses of all kinds and gender-based violence particularly?

  2. Ann Bartow says:

    Whether the U.S. will increase its committment to international law precepts is an interesting question. It would be nice to replace wars with lawsuits, but I’m not hopeful that we’ll see too much movement in that direction any time soon.

  3. I’m not particularly hopeful either. If that committment does increase, it will not take place because US leadership suddenly becomes “enlightened.” It will be due to intense pressure from international orgs and more and better organized claimants like the Vietnamese Victims of Agent Orange who filed a class action lawsuit against Monsanto or the family of Chilean General Rene Schneider who tried to sue Henry Kissinger for his apparent role in the General’s death. But more importantly, it will take organized solidarity of American citizen’s on behalf of those seeking to bring suits rather than shooting guns or planting bombs.