Sadr’s sharia courts

by Daniel on August 28, 2004

Bad news from some newspapers; there are suggestions coming through that Sadr was whiling away the time in Najaf by running a sharia court, complete with executions and mutilations.

The specific allegations about the 20 bodies in Najaf are not what I would call established fact – the bodies might simply be casualties of the fighting, and the fact that the allegations are being made by the Iraqi government undercuts their credibility somewhat given the number of fibs they’ve told about Najaf over the last few weeks – but the general historical sweep is likely to be accurate. When and if Sadr and Sistani are brought into the political process, it is very likely indeed that one of their main priorities will be to introduce sharia courts, and sharia courts execute and mutilate people.

[click to continue…]


by Belle Waring on August 28, 2004

Donald Rumsfeld doesn’t bother to read Pentagon reports, even the ones he commissions himself. Or Donald Rumsfeld is a liar.

The reports, one by a panel Mr. Rumsfeld had appointed and one by three Army generals, made clear that some abuses occurred during interrogations, that others were intended to soften up prisoners who were to be questioned, and that many intelligence personnel involved in the interrogations were implicated in the abuses. The reports were issued Tuesday and Wednesday.

But on Thursday, in an interview with a radio station in Phoenix, Mr. Rumsfeld, who was traveling outside Washington this week, said, “I have not seen anything thus far that says that the people abused were abused in the process of interrogating them or for interrogation purposes.”

A transcript of the interview was posted on the Pentagon’s Web site on Friday. Mr. Rumsfeld repeated the assertion a few hours later at a news conference in Phoenix, adding that “all of the press, all of the television thus far that tried to link the abuse that took place to interrogation techniques in Iraq has not yet been demonstrated.” After an aide slipped him a note during the news conference, however, Mr. Rumsfeld corrected himself, noting that an inquiry by three Army generals had, in fact, found “two or three” cases of abuse during interrogations or the interrogations process.

[Sir, there seems to be smoke coming out of your trousers…]

In fact, however, the Army inquiry found that 13 of 44 instances of abuse involved interrogations or the interrogation process, an Army spokeswoman said. The report itself explicitly describes the extent to which each abuse involved interrogations….

Mr. Rumsfeld also misstated an important finding of an independent panel he appointed and is led by James R. Schlesinger, a former defense secretary, saying in the interview with KTAR radio, “The interesting thing about the Schlesinger panel is their conclusion that, in fact, the abuses seem not to have anything to do with interrogation at all.”

But the first paragraph of the Schlesinger panel report says, “We do know that some of the egregious abuses at Abu Ghraib which were not photographed did occur during interrogation sessions and that abuses during interrogation sessions occurred elsewhere.”


What his excuse? “That The New York Times would find the secretary’s misstatement and the subsequent effort to set the record straight is of interest is a shameless example of news that is sought during the dog days of August in Washington,”…Pentagon spokesman, Eric Ruff said.

Misstatements. My people call them “lies”.