-White House Correspondent-

Iraq Under Occupation (Al Jazeera)

WASHINGTON ( – The savage acts of humiliation committed by U.S. personnel against Iraqi prisoners and recorded in thousands of pictures and hours of videos could very well be part of an American attack on Islam, according to new photographs and sworn statements from detainees.

–News Analysis–


U.S. soldiers made nasty defamations against Islam as a part of their torture-interrogations. They defiled the Holy Month of Ramadan. Some prisoners were force-fed pork and liquor and others were made to retrieve their food from toilets, according to these accounts.

U.S. soldiers forced one prisoner to curse his religion and “thank Jesus that I’m alive.” And they shackled another prisoner to the window of his cell, his feet dangling off the floor for five hours, simply because the man asked a guard for the time because he wanted to pray.

“Do you pray to Allah,” an interrogator asked Ameen Saeed Al-Sheik, detainee No. 151362, on Jan. 16, 2004, according to transcripts obtained by The Washington Post. “I said yes. They said, ‘(expletive) you. And (expletive) him.’

Mr. Al-Sheik said the soldiers handcuffed him to a bed. “Do you believe in anything?” he said a soldier asked. “I said to him, ‘I believe in Allah.’ So he said, ‘But I believe in torture and I will torture you.’”

With each day, the chorus against the American invasion and occupation grows louder, especially at home. “This is a disaster for our country,” former Vice President Al Gore said at a speech in New York, sponsored by the liberal MoveOn PAC. “What happened at that prison, it is now clear, is not the result of random acts of a few bad apples. It was the natural consequence of the Bush administration’s policy.

“George W. Bush promised us a foreign policy with humility. Instead, he has brought us humiliation in the eyes of the world. We simply cannot afford to further increase the risk to our country with more blunders by this team,” said Mr. Gore.

The military culture which produced such abuse has been officially condemned by the President himself, yet the society-at-large has a fairly short fuse concerning all-things-Islamic. For example, bias against Muslims was up by more than 70 percent in the last year, according to the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). Throughout the country, Muslims experienced more than 1,000 incidents of harassment, violence and discriminatory treatment the group announced in a report in early May.

Then, there is the case of Brandon Mayfield, jailed for two weeks on May 6–the first week in solitary confinement–after being implicated in a series of Madrid train bombings in which 200 people were killed this year. The FBI was convinced that his left-index fingerprint was found on a plastic bag of detonators left near the scene, so they kept him incommunicado, in leg-irons. He was released when Spanish police revealed the fingerprint belongs to an Algerian fugitive.

Mr. Mayfield is an attorney who converted to Islam in the 1980s.

He was not a suspect in this crime because of his faith, maintained the U.S. government, however, there was other circumstantial evidence justifying his detention, according to the FBI. The guilt-by-association used by the agency to partially defend his detention under the “material witness” statute of the Patriot Act: He handled a child custody case for a Muslim who later unsuccessfully tried to join the Taliban; from his home, someone telephoned an Islamic charity that was run by a Muslim now on a federal terrorism watch list; and the FBI observed him visiting a mosque near his home.

The material witness law allows the government to hold a person whose testimony is important to an investigation and who might disappear. Attorney General John Ashcroft has abused the law by holding innocent people in solitary confinement for months, during grand jury investigations.

The tide of world opinion is also flowing away from support for the U.S., as European and Latin American leaders condemned the prisoner abuse.

“We express our abhorrence at recent evidences of the mistreatment to prisoners in Iraq prisons,” said a final declaration May 30, adopted by 58 leaders representing the European Union, Latin America and the Caribbean meeting in Guadalajara, Mexico, according to

“Such abuse is contrary to international law, including the Geneva Conventions. States cannot make do with ad hoc coalitions or alliances. They should organize the global village as a new political society,” the declaration said later.

America’s strongest Arab ally has called for an end to U.S. occupation in Iraq. “The occupation should cease and the UN should play a leading role in the reestablishment of the sovereignty of this Arab state,” Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said, as he completed a three-day visit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, reported the ITAR-TASS News Agency, according to The News International of Pakistan.

At the same time, the U.S. justification for the war has grown from a quest to destroy prohibited weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to a list of 23 rationales, according to a 212-page honors thesis by a student graduating this year from the University of Illinois.

“I tend to accept the good intentions of the President,” said recent graduate and author of the thesis “Uncovering the Rationales for the War on Iraq,” Devon Largio. “And it’s tempting to say that if they have 23 reasons for going to war, we probably should have gone. On the other hand, I find myself thinking that if they had to keep coming up with new reasons for going to war, we probably shouldn’t have done it. It’s almost like the decision came first, then the rationales,” she told Washington Post columnist William Raspberry.

A few historians along with some military officers believe that the Iraq war is really part of America’s undeclared war on Islam–on “Islamic extremism,” that is.

Utilizing aggressive interroga-tion tactics was a policy sanctioned at the top. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld authorized harsh techniques, not in accordance with U.S. military doctrine, back in 2002 in order to extract information from suspected terrorists being detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Six months later, Mr. Rumsfeld issued a set of interrogation guidelines which were “less coercive” than the ones he approved earlier, according to The Washington Post.

There were also warnings of the prisoner abuse. An internal Army report warned about prison problems in Iraq last November. In that confidential survey, by Maj. Gen. Donald Ryder, numerous prison shortcomings were detailed, shortcomings that provoked tension between detainees and their U.S. guards, which then led to riots and other protests.