November 7, 2010
The BBC reports (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11702111)
More than 220 Iraqi civilians were subjected to "systemic abuse", including torture, by British soldiers and interrogators in Iraq, the High Court was told on Friday
Now replace 'Iraqi' with 'Palestinian' and 'British' with 'Israeli'.
Just mull that over for a while and test your reactions.
If it had been Israelis and Palestinians the full weight of the UN would undoubtedly be behind a Goldstone-style investigation which would be convened within a couple of weeks with the findings of the committee already decided.
Meanwhile, almost two years after Cast Lead, Israel is still investigating its own operations.
The UN enquiry into Israel's interception of the aid ship (without any aid aboard), the Mavi Marmara, has come and gone with the inevitable foregone conclusions being reached by the usual stooges the UN seems to be able to dredge up when it needs to demonise Israel.
Israel's Turkel enquiry into the flotilla continues after several weeks of taking evidence.
The British are a little more reluctant, it appears:
Solicitors acting on behalf of the Iraqis submitted video evidence to support their claims.
They are appealing for a judical [sic] review of a refusal by Defence Secretary Liam Fox to order a wide-ranging public inquiry into allegations that abuse was widespread.
A Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesman said a dedicated team had already been set up to investigate.
So the British army is going to investigate itself.
Now do that little 'what if' thing again and imagine Israel had said that an IDF investigation into the torture and abuse of 220 Palestinians was quite adequate. Image the furore.
Allegations of mistreatment include sexual abuse, food, water and sleep deprivation, prolonged solitary confinement, mock executions and being denied clothes.
Michael Fordham QC, appearing for the Iraqis, said: "There are credible allegations of serious, inhumane practices across a whole range of dates and facilities concerning British military detention in Iraq."
Referring to the prison which became notorious for allegations of torture and abuse against US soldiers, he asked: "Is this Britain's Abu Ghraib?"
Of course, the British judicial system should be robust enough to deal with this. No?
"The IHAT is the most effective way of investigating these unproven allegations rather than a costly public inquiry."
IHAT? That's the 'Iraq Historic Allegation Team'. Historic! These alleged abuses occurred between 2002 and 2008. That's 'historic'?
Anyway, I'm sure justice will be done. This is Britain and we British have a perfectly adequate way of dealing with such matters. And by the way, sorry, but we don't have enough money these days for due process. Let the army sort it out.
So why is the UN not setting up an enquiry? These were Muslims who were abused. Where's the UN Human Rights Council when you need it? Too busy trying to smear Israel, of course, because that seems to be their preoccupation.
A mere 220 Iraqis being allegedly abused is not a potential War Crime or a breach of any of the Geneva Conventions, or International Law or Customary Law. I presume this is the case as they appear to be blissfully unwilling to have anything to do with it. No Israelis involved, you see. Waste of time.
Two public inquiries have already been launched into similar claims.
The first inquiry into the death of 26-year-old hotel worker Baha Mousa in UK military custody in September 2003, began hearing evidence last July.
And last November, the MoD announced details of a second public hearing into allegations that 19-year-old Hamid Al-Sweady and up to 19 other Iraqis were unlawfully killed and others ill-treated at a British base in May 2004.
See what I mean? The British do investigate and prosecute when they have the money to do so and the public is shouting loud enough, but it was such a long time ago.
How many public enquiries into torture are necessary? We already proved we do it, albeit it's not state policy, so why drag the name of Britain and the British Army through the mud? Is this not Liam Fox's argument. And if we had a Labour government, I'm sure he'd support that government and wouldn't be calling for a public enquiry. Would he?
But enough of British politics.
Back to the UN. Can you honestly tell me that if this had been Israel the UN would not be foaming at the mouth?
Double standards anyone?