The Day In Quotes:
- 35 year old man on the experience of being tortured by British troops in Basrah: “The main problem is that my reputation is ruined. The people in our area, when they hear I have been arrested by the British Army, assumed I had been abused by British soldiers. People associate the British Army with sexual abuse.”
- Qassim al-Abbudi, an official with the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), to reporters:
"We will count 600 boxes today,"
The cash-strapped Ministry of Defence faces the prospect of further compensation payouts as hundreds of Iraqis held in British custody file complaints of abuse, described to The Times by former detainees.
The family of Baha Musa, an Iraqi who died in British custody in 2003, shared a £2.83 million MoD settlement with nine others. An inquiry into his death saw evidence suggesting that the illegal treatment of prisoners, such as hooding and sleep deprivation, was widespread.
Substantial out-of-court settlements have also been reached with nine men who made allegations of violence and sexual abuse at the hands of British soldiers in 2003 at a base known as Camp Breadbasket.
The MoD admitted in 2008 that Iraqis were unlawfully assaulted at the base in Basra.
Leigh Day solicitors, who represented the nine men, said that a further 14 have since come forward. The law firm also represents about 100 other Iraqi citizens in claims against the MoD for alleged maltreatment by British forces, mainly relating to arrest and detention. “Fresh allegations continue to come forward, so the number of cases will undoubtedly rise,” a spokesman for the firm said.
The U.S. military’s highest court is considering whether a "Catch-22" prevented the alleged ringleader of detainee abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq from getting a fair trial in 2005.
In arguments today in Washington, Army Spc. Charles Graner’s lawyer told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces that the defense was wrongly denied access to classified documents indicating that some of the harsh treatment of detainees reflected "enhanced interrogation techniques" approved by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
One of the five justices questioned whether the secret nature of the documents made it impossible for the defense to request specific memos — a situation he called a Catch-22.
The court is expected to rule by August on Graner’s request for a new trial.
The last of three U.S. Navy SEALs to face court-martial in connection with the alleged abuse of a suspected terrorist in Iraq is scheduled to stand trial this week at Norfolk Naval Station.
The SEAL who will stand trial beginning today, Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew McCabe, is the only one who is accused of physically harming Abed. The charges against him include assault for allegedly punching Abed in the midsection; dereliction of duty for not protecting Abed; and making a false statement to an investigator who later interviewed him about the matter.
Politics and Security
At least six Iraqis were killed and 16 more were wounded as a manual recount of ballots begin today in Baghdad. The contentious recount was not without its own controversy as the prime minister’s party found fault with the procedures that could help them win more seats in the new parliament.
BAGHDAD, May 3 (KUNA) — Three Iraqi civilians wer killed and 13 others injured by explosions at Al-Zafarania, New Baghdad and Al-Kesra, Iraqi military sources said on Monday.
The first explosion took place near Al-Kbaisi cafe at the main road of Al-Zafarania town. The booby-trapped car blast resulted in the wounding of four Iraqis, as well as the destruction of the cafe.
The second explosion occured in Al-Darwesh Bakery in New Baghdad resulted in the death of one Iraqi civilian and the injurey of six others.
At Al-Kesra town, northern Baghdad, an explosive device attached to a parked car killed two civilians, and injured three others.
An unidentified group of gunmen attacked two employees of the court of first instance in Toz, just south of the city Kirkuk, leaving one dead and the other injured.
The Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) announced launch of the manual re-counting and sorting of ballots at Al-Rasheed Hotel in Baghdad, IHEC Spokesman Qassim Al-Abodi said on Monday.
It is expected that recount and sorting of 600 ballot stations would be done today and that 800 ballot boxes a day would be counted within the upcoming few days, he told reporters.
Recount process is expected to last between 11 to 15 days, he said.
Baghdad – Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s State of law Coalition Monday called for halting the recount of votes cast in Baghdad, saying ‘it does not comply with the court’s decision’.
Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission started earlier on Monday recounting votes of the March parliamentary elections in the capital, as ordered by a court last month.
The coalition said it filed a new complaint to the court to say that the ‘commission insists that the results would not reflect the true will of the voters.’
Al-Shahristani said that the process should have started by comparing the number of voters with the number of votes, and if they match, then they would start the manual recount.
BAGHDAD: Two months after a general election that produced no outright winner, Iraq has become locked in a battle between two men fighting for power that threatens its fragile security and hopes for stability.
As the deadlock in Baghdad has deepened with the recent disqualification of some winning Sunni candidates and the coming vote recount in the capital, important bloc leaders like the Kurdish president, Massoud Barzani, have been heavily courted for support in forming coalitions.
Among all the candidates being touted for the prime minister’s job in the next Iraqi government, one stands out for his near-total lack of political experience.
But Sadr’s heritage puts him in the ranks of aristocracy, at least by Iraqi Shiite Muslim standards. He is the only son of the revered Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir Sadr, who was executed by Saddam Hussein in 1980 and whose portrait looms large on billboards in almost every Shiite community across the country. And he is a second cousin and brother-in-law of the radical cleric Muqtada Sadr, who commands a vast following among poor Shiites.
Society and Economy:
Scania has a presence in Iraq again, including both production and sales. Trucks ordered by government customers are being assembled locally there, while an independent distributor is supplying the private sector market with imported vehicles. This distributor is also responsible for the reconstruction of Scania’s sales and service network in the country.
“If the situation in Iraq continues to stabilise, within a few years the country can regain its position as Scania’s most important market in the Middle East,” says Martin Lundstedt, Executive Vice President and responsible for the company’s sales and marketing.
In the early 1980s, Iraq was one of Scania’s largest markets. At the peak, sales totalled 3,900 trucks in one year (1981).
Late in 2009, Iraq’s State Company for Automotive Industry (SCAI) began production of the first of 500 trucks ordered under the terms of an agreement between Scania and Iraq’s Ministry of Industry & Minerals. Production is taking place at the government’s Iskandariyah industrial complex south of Baghdad.
“Creating jobs in the country’s industry has been an important aspect of the agreement between Scania and the Iraqi government,” Lundstedt says.
Today the SCAI facility in Iskandariyah employs about 300 people in its Scania operations, which not only includes final assembly of truck chassis but also bodywork for delivery of ready-to-drive trucks.
So far, SCAI has delivered some 150 fully equipped trucks to various public sector customers, for example tank trucks to the Ministry of Water Protection and Supply.
Commentary and Analysis
It is not strange for al-Maliki to try to hold onto his position – for this is the case with most Arab rulers – but by doing so he is threatening the political process and putting all of Iraq in danger. Al-Maliki is today trying to scare the Iraqis with the prospect of UN interference; however the UN is the chief election monitor and observer, and Iraq remains under the purview of Chapter VII of the UN Chapter which gives the UN Security Council the final say in this matter. Al-Maliki is right that there is no need to involve the UN, but the problem is that by trying to change the announced election results he has caused the elector bloc that originally won the most number of seats to call for help from the authorities in charge of supervising the elections. Al-Maliki has also called for a recount without first guaranteeing that this will take place in a transparent atmosphere and under the supervision of a party that is acceptable to all electoral blocs, not just his own. We do not understand what has afflicted al-Maliki to cause him to raise all of these obstacles, especially as there is no clear victor that would be able to form a government on their own, and al-Maliki or Allawi or anybody else cannot form a government or become Prime Minister without first allying with other parties.