Sunday, December 21, 2008

A closer look at a US ally's "political process"

Munathir al-Zaydi's brother Uday met with him in prison on Sunday, and relayed to the press his brother's account of the torture and attempted extraction of a confession from him, following the shoe-throwing incident on Thursday.

The purpose of the torture was to extract a videotaped confession from him to the effect some political group or militia was behind this, attempting in other words to somehow generate sectarian hatred as a result of this. This was not successful, and al-Zaydi, through his brother, repeated that his act was on behalf of all Iraqis. Maliki himself, pushing ahead with the sectarian story, issued a statement to the effect some killer of Iraqis was behind this, and anyone supporting al-Zaydi is an opponent of "the political process in Iraq".

Al-Zaydi told his brother he was kicked and punched in the hall where the incident took place, including by Maliki's guards and by a Kurdish journalist who joined in, then the beating continued in an ante-room, before he was taken to an unused building elsewhere in the Green Zone, where the torture included: Kicking and punching; beating all over the body with chains; cigarettes extinguisned behind his ears; stripped of his clothes and doused in cold water; subjected to electric shocks. The torture lasted for 30 hours. Uday said he say the evidence of that in the form of bruises, swellings and cuts all over his brother's body. As for the purpose of all this:
Uday reported that his brother said one of the purposes of this torture was to extract from him a confession that he had been motivated to do this by one of the parties or one of the militias. They brought a video camera to record his confession of this. Under pressure of the torture, his brother asked them to [have him] sign a black piece of paper, and they could then write on it what they liked. But Maliki's guards, who were supervising the torture, rejected that, and insisted on a videotaped confession!"
Meanwhile, Aswal alIraq reported that:
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Sunday said that investigations [!] have revealed that a man involved in the “slaughter” of several Iraqis was behind the shoe-throwing incident,
but he didn't say who or from what group. (The Iraqi government site quotes Maliki's remarks to journalists extensively. He said Zaydi had expressed his regret to him [Maliki] in a letter, and had named the person who instigated him to do this, a person Maliki said "is known to us as a cutter of throats..." Maliki talked about the Iraqi tradition of respect for honored visitors, independence of the judiciary, the need to avoid stirring up fitna, and so on and so forth).

That isn't all. Maliki went on to say (according to the Aswat alIraq summary) that whoever encouraged or asked al-Zaydi to do this is "either an opponent of the political process in Iraq, or they are opposed to the new political situation entirely."

Uday said one of the messages his brother asked him to convey to everyone following their meeting is that no one is trying to direct [or politicize] him in his stance--rather his guidance is all of the Iraqi people who have paid a heavy price for the crimes of the occupation.

He has not apologized, and says he would do the same thing again if Bush were to appear again. The letter he wrote to Maliki was to explain he was targeting only Bush, not Maliki.

Raed Jarrar quotes the description of the torture from Uday's statement to AlBaghdadiya, and he summarizes Maliki's remarks. Along with a copy of his letter to the International Committee of the Red Cross requesting a site visit, and the e-mail of the contact person at the IIRC if you want to write too.