The New York Times has obtained a copy of the 2000 page confidential file of the US Army’s criminal investigation into prisoner abuse – torture – at Bagram, Afghanistan. To watch Tim Golden’s interactive report on his investigation into the deaths of two prisoners at Bagram go to the New York Times site and click on ‘The Bagram File’. (AJ)

The New York Times (registration required) is reporting that “The Iraqi government publicly acknowledged for the first time on Thursday that Iraq was the aggressor in 1980 when it touched off a bloody eight-year war with Iran”. (AJ)

The IFTU posts an excellent article by John Lloyd reporting from Iraq on the struggle for equality of Kurdish women. (AJ)

Human Rights in Iraq (3) New Government calls for end to Raids on Mosques

Mixed reactionsin Iraq to the report that defense minister, Sadoun al-Dulaimi, a Sunni Arab, has ordered the Iraqi army to stop raiding mosques, arresting clerics and “terrifying worshipers.” Some point out raids have led to the capture of large hauls of weapons and ammunition, including bomb-making equipment and antitank rockets. “The holy places must not be violated by the security forces, nor religious leaders arrested, and that will not happen anymore” said al-Dulaimi. In a related move Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, told reporters that Ayatollah Sistani “insisted on the need for brotherhood between Shiites and Sunnis, and the need to … Continue reading Human Rights in Iraq (3) New Government calls for end to Raids on Mosques

IFTU defended in today’s Guardian

Support for Iraqi unions Phil Lenton (Letters, May 10), doubts the credibility of the Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions. I was part of a delegation that recently visited Iraqi Kurdistan. The IFTU and its Kurdish counterparts are militant trade unionists whose affiliates not only participate in strike action but, in the teeth of savage attacks by fundamentalist and Ba’athist groups, are building a strong trade union movement – the bedrock of civil society. The teachers’ union alone has more than 300,000 members and is growing. Rather than belittle such a process, Mr Lenton should, as does the TUC and many … Continue reading IFTU defended in today’s Guardian

Securing Iraq (14): They are not even Iraqis

As homicide bombers continue to devastate Iraq the Washington Post is reporting that “Officers here said they knew of no documented case in which a suicide attacker turned out to have been an Iraqi”. So it now seems that George Galloway was right when he said “actually, the Iraqi Resistance does not target its own civilians”. What price Tariq Ali’s ‘national liberation movement’ now? (hat tip HP) (AJ)

Support Iraqi unions

Friday May 6, 2005, Guardian Letters Some Iraqis (Letters, May 4) remind voters about the negative consequences of the war, which I and my colleagues also opposed. But positive changes are taking place in Iraq. Unions were repressed brutally by Saddam Hussein. Now a small clandestine network has been turned into a federation with more than 200,000 members. We want the same things as British people do and are trying – through political pressure, as part of the democratic process being supervised by the UN, negotiations with employers and strike action, where necessary – to improve workers’ pay and conditions, … Continue reading Support Iraqi unions