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Robert Beckhusen – (Wired – Danger Room) – January 9, 2012 – It’s been nearly a decade since private military contractors and U.S. soldiers worked together to torture Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib. Now, for the first time, one of the companies involved in the Abu Ghraib scandal has been forced to pay victims for the abuse.
The $5.28 million settlement — which was disclosed by the Securities and Exchange Commission in November but “which has gone essentially unnoticed,” according to the Associated Press — involves 71 former inmates of Abu Ghraib and other U.S.-run prisons, and private security firm L-3 Services Inc., a subsidiary of Engility Holdings of Chantilly, Virginia.
Iraqi forces storm Camp Ashraf, home to 3,500 Iranian exiles, as supporters call on US and UN to intervene
Mark Tran, James Ball and Melanie Newman – (Guardian UK) – April 8, 2011 – Iraqi forces have stormed a camp of Iranian dissidents in north-eastern Iraq amid warnings that the US government may have broken international law by failing to protect the camp.
An Iraqi general, Ali Ghaidan, confirmed that an operation took place in the early morning at Camp Ashraf, home to 3,500 Iranian exiles, all members of the Mojahedin-e-Khalq (MEK) militia. He said no one was killed, but representatives of the group in London said 23 people died including six women.
A hospital official in Baquba, capital of the Diyala province, reported three deaths and 13 wounded. The figures could not be confirmed as access to the camp, whose residents have “protected persons” status under the Geneva convention, is restricted.
Ghaidan said troops were responding to exiles who had been throwing stones and throwing themselves in front of soldiers’ trucks over the past several days. The group’s supporters in London, who had been warning of an attack, said Iraqi forces used metal bars, sticks and batons to beat the residents and opened fire on the camp. The supporters called for urgent UN and US intervention.
“This is a massacre, a catastrophe,” said Behzad Saffari, who has lived at Ashraf for nine years and acts as the camp’s legal adviser. “They came inside the camp and attacked people with grenades and teargas, and then they started to shoot people. When people saw the attack was about to begin, they lined up to defend their homes.”
The raid was the latest in a series of interventions at the camp since jurisdiction was passed from the US to the Iraqi government in 2009. A WikiLeaks cable identified by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism at City University in London shows the US was aware the Iraqi government planned to crack down on the MEK, with potentially grave humanitarian consequences.