Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Iraq Amnesty - What's Really Going On?
It’s early and I’ve only got one cup of coffee in me, but I’m not sure makes any sense at all.

A US military spokesman in charge of detainee operations said that all of the 2,500 inmates released since Maliki first unveiled his initiative on June 6 are just suspected of being involved in the insurgency but have committed no violent crimes like bombing, killing, torture and kidnapping.

"Your release today is part of the prime minister's national reconciliation plan," national security advisor Muwaffaq al-Rubaie told the prisoners at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison before they were loaded on to buses.

"This is not a political game, it is a sincere attempt of reconciliation and to unite Iraq."

Almost 13,000 detainees remain in US custody.

Although there have been numerous detainee releases from Abu Ghraib and other US-run facilities since the April 2004 prisoner abuse scandal, both US and Iraqi authorities were eager to link the latest releases to the Maliki plan.

"There must have been a good security reason for them to be arrested. They all were detained for security reasons," Rubaie told AFP.

But this was disputed by many freed detainees.

"What is this reconciliation plan? I have always been an innocent man and never fought with anyone on the basis of religion, but look what happened to me," Abbas Hamid from Baghdad, who was imprisoned for five months, said angrily.

One of the main items in Maliki's 24-point reconciliation programme promised amnesty only to those detainees who have committed no crimes.

But some influential Sunni Arab leaders like Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi have said that without a clear and unconditional amnesty to all "resistance fighters" the plan would do little to stem the insurgency, which has now branched out into vicious sectarian violence.

[emphasis mine]


Okay, so what is really going on is that we are releasing people that are innocent, but are still in our custody? And calling it an amnesty plan? Isn’t that, like, just cleaning up our fuckups? Ooopse, we’re sorry we’ve been detaining you for years, we’ll release you now, because we know you’re innocent.

How is that amnesty?

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