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Archive for September 22nd, 2006

U.N. expert: Iraq torture may be worse


GENEVA – Torture in Iraq may be worse now than it was under Saddam Hussein with militias, terrorist groups and government forces disregarding rules on the humane treatment of prisoners, the U.N. anti-torture chief said Thursday.

Manfred Nowak, the U.N. special investigator on torture, made the remarks as he was presenting a report on detainee conditions at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay as well as to brief the U.N. Human Rights Council, the global body’s top rights watchdog, on torture worldwide.

Reports from Iraq indicate that torture “is totally out of hand,” he said. “The situation is so bad many people say it is worse than it has been in the times of Saddam Hussein.”

Nowak added, “That means something, because the torture methods applied under Saddam Hussein were the worst you could imagine.”
Some allegations of torture were undoubtedly credible, with government forces among the perpetrators, he said, citing “very serious allegations of torture within the official Iraqi detention centers.”

“You have terrorist groups, you have the military, you have police, you have these militias. There are so many people who are actually abducted, seriously tortured and finally killed,” Nowak told reporters at the U.N.’s European headquarters.

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Strained, Army Looks to Guard for More Relief


WASHINGTON, Sept. 21 — Strains on the Army from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have become so severe that Army officials say they may be forced to make greater use of the National Guard to provide enough troops for overseas deployments.

Senior Army officers have discussed that analysis — and described the possible need to use more members of the National Guard — with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld’s senior adviser on personnel, David S. C. Chu, according to Pentagon officials.

While no decision has been made to mobilize more Guard forces, and may not need to be before midterm elections, the prospect presents the Bush administration with a politically vexing problem: how, without expanding the Army, to balance the pressing need for troops in the field against promises to limit overseas deployments for the Guard.

The National Guard has a goal of allowing five years at home between foreign deployments so as not to disrupt the family life and careers of its citizen soldiers. But instead it has been sending units every three to four years, according to Guard officials.

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Bush ‘taken aback’ by Musharraf comment


WASHINGTON – President Bush said Friday he was “taken aback” by a purported U.S. threat to bomb Pakistan back to the Stone Age if it did not cooperate in the fight against terrorism after the Sept. 11 attacks.

He praised Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf for being one of the first foreign leaders to come out after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to stand with the U.S. to “help root out an enemy.”

At a joint White House news conference, Musharraf said a peace treaty between his government and tribes along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border is not meant to support the Taliban.

He said news reports had mischaracterized the deals. “The deal is not at all with the Taliban. This deal is against the Taliban. This deal is with the tribal elders,” Musharraf said.

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