Socialist Worker

British war crimes revealed

Issue No. 2227

British soldiers could be found guilty of war crimes at a hearing at the High Court this week. Some 222 Iraqi detainees were tortured and filmed by British soldiers at a base near Bagram in Iraq.

Deemed “Britain’s Abu Graib” the details of the torture are horrific.

Detainees were threatened with execution, sexually humiliated, subject to sensory and sleep deprivation, kicked, beaten with rifle butts and wooden sticks, forced into stress positions and held in metre-square cells with bright lights for days on end.

This is one more reason to join the national anti-war march in London on 20 November, called by the Stop the War Coalition.

The Ministry of Defence is covering up the abuse. It says an inquiry would be too expensive and that it is conducting its own investigations into the allegations, which it insists are “unproven”.


The abuse, at a military unit called the Joint Forces Interrogation Team (JFIT), was recorded in 1,253 interrogation sessions.

A film disclosed in court on Monday showed a suspected insurgent, 30-year old mechanic identified by his lawyers as “Hanif”, being interrogated at the British base at Shaiba, south west of Basra.

In a statement, Hanif says, “I was led in a zigzag fashion, running forwards and backwards and side-to-side.

“Inside the medical tent, the goggles and ear mufflers were removed and the handcuffs cut my wrists.

“I was in such pain that my legs couldn’t hold me and I fell to the floor.

“The soldiers grabbed me and slapped me on the back of my neck and lifted me up.

“I told the doctor I was exhausted and in pain. The doctor simply wiped the blood with some cotton wool.

“She didn’t offer to treat me in any other way. They asked me to sign a piece of paper in English to say I had been checked.

“I felt they would punish me even more, so I signed.”

These atrocities are proof again of the brutality of Britain and the US’s wars and occupations.

And they are doing the same today in Afghanistan and neighbouring Pakistan, where drone attacks killed 14 people this week.

Time to go. Troops out of Afghanistan

Demonstrate: Saturday 20 November, 12 noon, Hyde Park, London

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Article information

Tue 9 Nov 2010, 18:50 GMT
Issue No. 2227
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