Saturday, January 28, 2006

Documents Show US Army Seized Wives As Tactic

The U.S. Army in Iraq has at least twice seized and jailed the wives of suspected insurgents in hopes of "leveraging" their husbands into surrender, U.S. military documents show.

In one case, a secretive task force locked up the young mother of a nursing baby, a U.S. intelligence officer reported. In the case of a second detainee, one American colonel suggested to another that they catch her husband by tacking a note to the family's door telling him "to come get his wife."

Iraq's deputy justice minister, Busho Ibrahim Ali, dismissed such claims, saying hostage-holding was a tactic used under the ousted Saddam Hussein dictatorship, and "we are not Saddam." A U.S. command spokesman in Baghdad, Lt. Col. Barry Johnson, said only Iraqis who pose an "imperative threat" are held in long-term U.S.-run detention facilities.

But documents describing two 2004 episodes tell a different story as far as short-term detentions by local U.S. units. The documents are among hundreds the Pentagon has released periodically under U.S. court order to meet an American Civil Liberties Union request for information on detention practices.

In one memo, a civilian Pentagon intelligence officer described what happened when he took part in a raid on an Iraqi suspects house in Tarmiya, northwest of Baghdad, on May 9, 2004. The raid involved Task Force (TF) 6-26, a secretive military unit formed to handle high-profile targets.

"During the pre-operation brief it was recommended by TF personnel that if the wife were present, she be detained and held in order to leverage the primary target's surrender," wrote the 14-year veteran officer. He said he objected, but when they raided the house the team leader, a senior sergeant, seized her anyway.

"The 28-year-old woman had three young children at the house, one being as young as six months and still nursing," the intelligence officer wrote. She was held for two days and was released after he complained, he said.

The second episode, in June 2004, is found in sketchy detail in e-mail exchanges among six U.S. Army colonels, discussing an undisclosed number of female detainees held in northern Iraq by the Stryker Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division.

The first message, from a military police colonel, advised staff officers of the U.S. northern command that the Iraqi police would not take control of the jailed women without charges being brought against them.

In a second e-mail, a command staff officer asked an officer of the unit holding the women, "What are you guys doing to try to get the husband — have you tacked a note on the door and challenged him to come get his wife?"

Source and full article here

First document: here (pdf)
E-mail exchange: here (pdf)

Isn't holding someone against their will as leverage called 'kidnap' , can you imagine seeing this headline next time the Insurgents kidnap someone. 'Insurgents seize Westerner as leverage tactic to facilitate removal of US forces.'

Its amazing how differently we word things when its our side doing the kidnapping. They even have the ransom note being pinned to the door. Maybe the western police forces should try the same tactics , kidnap the families of the criminals they wish to catch here at home. Cant see it catching on. Can you ?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have to hold ourselves to a higher standard, right?

January 28, 2006 4:45 am  
Anonymous Norm said...

Well you would think we would. We are supposed to be the good guys. If the Police were looking for me in Canada because I had kidnapped someone they would not kidnap my wife as ransom to catch me. There are standards to uphold if we claim to be the good guys. The good guys do not kidnap and torture.

January 28, 2006 5:08 am  
Blogger adjo73 said...

Hi, I realy like your blog, it's very informative. If you lie to know what Arabs think of the mess in Iraq, check this book "Arab Voices Speak to American Hearts" by Samar Dahmash Jarrah. The book is an open dialouge between Arabs and Americans, a must read.

January 28, 2006 8:30 am  
Blogger Mea said...

Unacceptable. It would be interesting to trace the chain of command in which this all took place. I would wager to say the administration knew... now that this has broken, I wonder if the colonels and others directly involved will be ostracized- just as they did with the Abu-Ghraib scandal.

January 28, 2006 8:31 am  
Blogger Voice 1 said...

Indeed H, it's an absolute disgrace. The world has known for some time, America is now one of the leading human rights abusers, and has absolutely no moral authority to judge any other country.

January 28, 2006 1:08 pm  
Blogger DJEB said...

What also is interesting is how it seems to have been forgotten that the U.S. was doing this in '03 at the beginning of the conflict...

January 28, 2006 3:33 pm  
Blogger Rufus said...

Just gets uglier and uglier, doesn't it?

January 28, 2006 11:03 pm  
Blogger _H_ said...

I have added the actual documents to the article now for anyone who wishes to look into this a bit further.

Adjo thanks for the suggestion I will take a look at the book.

January 29, 2006 12:09 am  
Blogger Hype said...

wasn't that in 24?


January 31, 2006 3:16 pm  
Blogger _H_ said...

Yes I think it was Hype .

January 31, 2006 9:26 pm  

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