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House Of Horrors

excerpts from a report by Riverbend. November 18, 2005

The whole world heard about the one in Jadriya, recently raided by the Americans. Jadriya was once one of the best areas in Baghdad. It's an area on the river and is special in that it's greener, and cleaner, than most areas. Baghdad's largest university, Baghdad University, is located in Jadriya (with a campus in another area). Jadriya had some of the best shops and restaurants, not to mention some of Baghdad's most elegant homes... and apparently, now, a torture house.

We hear constantly about these torture dungeons. Right after the war, certain areas became infamous for them. The world knows them as 'torture houses' for the obvious reasons: they were once ordinary homes, and now they've become torture centers for suspects and innocents alike. The Iraqi government conveniently calls them 'detention centers' and the Iraqi Ministry of Interior oversees and funds them.

One area which was well-known for its torture houses immediately after the war was Sadir City in Baghdad. Except they weren't called torture houses back then. The people who ran them called them 'ma7akim' or 'courts'. They would bring 'suspects' in for interrogation -- often ordinary citizens -- and beat and whip them for various confessions involving accusations and alleged crimes. A 'Sayid' would then come in and sentence the culprit -- the sentence would sometimes involve cutting off a hand or a foot and at other times it might be death. We heard this from an aunt's neighbor who was mistakenly taken in and beaten as a suspected former security agent. His family connections with influential Shia clerics in the area were the only things that got him out alive -- bruised and broken -- but alive.

These torture houses have existed since the beginning of the occupation. While it is generally known that SCIRI is behind them, other religious parties are not innocent. The Americans know they exist -- why the sudden shock and outrage? This is hardly news for Americans in the Green Zone. The timing is quite interesting. It shouldn't matter that this raid came immediately after the whole white phosphorous story came out, but the Pentagon and American military have proven to be the ultimate masters of diversion.

You have been reading excerpts from "House of Horrors..." by Riverbend. You can read the entire piece here: tinyurl.com/8blja. Thanks to Riverbend. We visit Baghdad Burning at riverbendblog.blogspot.com often and we hope you will too.

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