Phil Shiner, one of the UK’s leading human rights lawyers, argues we shouldn’t forget that everything the world community abhors about US military actions, from Guantanamo Bay to this week’s US Marines video scandal, is of a piece with UK policies and practices in Iraq, including, as he documents, the abuse, torture of killing of detainees.
Phil Shiner, Ceasefire Magazine, Jan 13, 2012
Baha Mousa, 26, with his wife and two children. He was detained by the British army for 36 hours and died on 15 September 2003 (Photograph: Reuters)
Two million people marched in London against an invasion of Iraq on 15 February 2003. I doubt if any of the protesters could have imagined in their wildest dreams the serious human rights violations about to be committed by UK Armed Forces and intelligence personnel in our name. Our worst nightmares might have included the use of cluster munitions causing indiscriminate deaths of Iraqi civilians, or disproportionate bombardments of civilian areas, or even the use of depleted uranium, but not what actually happened.
The UK’s detention and interrogation policies in Iraq were not only completely unlawful but outrageously contaminated by the fact that our co-author in this illegal war, soon to become our Joint Co-Occupier subsequently, was the United States. Everything the world community associates with US practices and techniques, whether at Guantanamo Bay, Bagram Air Base, Abu Ghraib, secret sites or rendition is of a piece with UK policies and practices in Iraq. This is not my subjective opinion or idle speculation. It is a matter of publicly available evidence.