Crimes against Humanity: Iraq’s Mass Graves:
Iraqi mass-kidnapping mystery solved. Disappeared Ministry of Higher Education officials, arrested by Iraqi National Police in November 2006, end up in mass grave
By Dirk Adriaensens
Global Research, October 23, 2012
Region: Middle East & North Africa
Theme: Crimes against Humanity, US NATO War Agenda
In-depth Report: IRAQ REPORT
* US Occupation authorities: guilty. They created, trained and armed the
National Police and controlled the Ministry of Interior, responsible for death
* Maliki government: guilty. They acted as local US stooges. They carried
out the US counterinsurgency strategy, protected the kidnappers and prevented
* UN Human Rights Bodies: guilty by negligence. They refused to nominate a
special Human Rights rapporteur for Iraq. They refused to investigate this
crime against humanity.
On 22 October 2012, Shafaq, an Iraqi News Agency, reports: “An
official security source revealed on Monday that a mass grave was found in Sada
area on the outskirts of Sadr City, belonging to the staff of the Department of
missions of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research who
disappeared in 2006.”
“A security force found 16 bodies buried in a mass grave in Sadr City
in Baghdad belonging according to the confessions of one of the detainees of
the staff members of the Department of Missions of the Ministry of Higher
Education. The available intelligence reports that the bodies belong to
employees of the Department of Missions who were abducted in 2006 and buried in
a mass grave. The competent authorities are conducting DNA tests on the bodies
to make sure of their identities and inform their families”.
Summary of Events
On Tuesday 14 November 2006 paramilitary gunmen in the uniforms of Iraqi
National Police commandos raided a building belonging to the Ministry of
Education in Baghdad’s Karrada district and arrested around 100 members
of staff from two departments and around 50 visitors, according to lists
compiled by the Minister of Education.
The raid took place in broad daylight, 1km from the Green Zone, in an area
that contained several high-security compounds, including the department where
passports are issued. According to aBBC correspondent the Karrada area,
occupying an isthmus in the River Tigris, is ‘well protected with a heavy
presence of Iraqi troops and several checkpoints’. The paramilitary force
estimated at between at least 50 and 100 arrived in a fleet of some 20-30
camouflage pickup trucks of the kind employed by the Interior Ministry and
rapidly established a cordon of the area. They stated that they were from an
anti-corruption unit and were carrying out arrests ahead of a visit by the US
ambassador. The paramilitaries made their arrests according to lists,
confirming the identities of those present by their ID cards, then handcuffed
and blindfolded the detainees and put them into the backs of pickups and into
two larger vehicles.
The paramilitaries then made their exit through heavy traffic without
opposition, despite the reported presence of a regular police vehicle.
According to some witnesses, the paramilitaries made off in the direction of
The Iraqi government quickly declared that the number of detainees was far
lower (18 guards, 16 members of staff and five visitors) and by Wednesday
claimed that all of the detainees had been released after a series of dramatic
police raids. A number of senior policemen, including the district police chief
and the commander of a National Police paramilitary commando brigade and three
other officers were reportedly detained for questioning over possible
complicity. According to one report, an Interior Ministry spokesman claimed the
senior police commanders ‘should be held responsible’.
Prime Minister Maliki declared that this was not a case of terrorism, but a
dispute between ‘militias’.
The Education Ministry insisted that both Sunnis and Shiites were among
those illegally detained.
US commanders stated that they would support all efforts to free the
By Thursday the Education Minister stated that around 70 of 150 detainees
had been released and reported that some of those released had been tortured
(some legs and hands had been broken) and that there were allegations that
others had been killed.
On Friday 17 November MowaffakRubiae, the National Security Advisor, stated
that all of the detainees had been released, although an Interior Ministry
spokesmen claimed that all of the Education Ministry personnel had been
released but some of the visitors detained were still missing.
One of the detainees, who refused to reveal his actual name, said that his
arm had been broken while in detention. He also described seeing three security
guards suffocated to death and hearing a number of senior academics who had
been put in a separate screaming in agony; according to the witness their cries
were cut off abruptly.
The witness also said that he had not been released as the result of a
dramatic police raid. His captors had simply dragged him and others from the
building where they were held, put them back into trucks and dumped them at
various locations around Baghdad. His account is confirmed by earlier reports,
which stated that those released had been blindfolded and deposited in various
parts of Baghdad.
Five more detainees were reportedly released on Friday. They had been
On Saturday 18 November the Education Ministry continued to insist that 66
people were still missing.
The Interior Ministry spokesman said that all of the detainees had been
released and the matter was now closed.
Joint US and Iraqi forces conducted a raid on a mosque in Sadr City on
Saturday. None of the detainees were found.
On Sunday 19 November a further four detainees were released, who reported
seeing one Ministry official, Hamid al-Jouani, killed.
On Monday 20 November joint US and Iraqi forces conducted another raid in
Sadr City. None of the detainees were found.
The BRussells Tribunal issued a statement on 22 November 2006: “Action
Needed Over Detention of Iraqi Education Ministry Officials. Unknown numbers
murdered, dozen still illegally held”
The BRussells Tribunal requested clear answers from the occupation forces
and Iraqi authorities and formulated relevant questions:
From the above description of events drawn from mainstream media sources
(please see references at end) making use of government statements and
eyewitness testimony it is clear that the raid on the Interior Ministry was
carried out as a complex military operation requiring detailed intelligence,
careful preparation and extensive training. In fact, everything about this raid
conforms with what we should expect of an operation conducted by Iraq’s
new US-trained, armed and supported specialist counterinsurgency paramilitary
National Police commandos, who are specifically trained to conduct cordon and
search operations of this kind.
It is impossible to believe that any forces but officially sanctioned ones
could have made such a daring daylight assault in one of the most secure areas
of Baghdad. It is equally impossible to believe that any forces but Interior
Ministry ones could have assembled a fleet of Interior Ministry camouflage
pickup trucks. The designation of the paramilitaries responsible for this
outrage as Interior Ministry commandos is fully confirmed by eyewitness
testimony, which specifies that at least some of the raiders were wearing blue
camouflage uniforms of a type very recently introduced to National Police
commandos, specifically intended to prevent any other parties from masquerading
as National Police commandos. The digitally designed uniforms are supplied by
the US. A US Army spokesman was so convinced that the uniforms would have been
impossible to replicate that he stated that the raiders could not have been
wearing such uniforms. Of course, he was not at the scene. Eyewitnesses
The fact that the raid was conducted by Interior Ministry forces was in fact
confirmed by Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh, who claimed the mass
detention was the work of militiamen who had infiltrated the Interior
Since it is almost certain that the raid was carried out by National Police
commandos, it is imperative that the following questions are answered
immediately and publicly.
Which National Police or other Interior Ministry force carried out the
Under whose authority was the raid authorised?
From whom did the Interior Ministry force obtain the lists of names that were
used to select individuals for arrest?
Where were the international advisers (Special Police Transition Teams) that
are embedded with each battalion of National Police Commandos and work with
them on a daily basis?
Where did the police commandos take the detainees?
Why were aerial surveillance assets not immediately deployed to follow a fleet
of pickup trucks through heavy traffic in Baghdad? How many such aerial assets
were operating over the Green Zone and other parts of Baghdad at that time?
Who operates the facility where the detainees were held?
If detainees were freed as a result of police raids, why have no large scale
arrests been made and why has the only detainee to speak on record stated that
no such police raid occurred?
What are the names of the individual police officers who have been held for
Have they been charged and if so what have they been charged with?
Why is the Interior Ministry insisting that the case in now closed, when the
Education Minister has provided a list of the name of further detainees and the
subsequent release of additional detainees demonstrates that he is wrong.
Why is the Interior Ministry insisting that none of the detainees were killed
when eyewitnesses reported seeing people brutally murdered in front of
How is it that paramilitary/militia death squads can operate from the Interior
Ministry, making full use of US-supplied government equipment, without the
knowledge of embedded international training teams and advisors within the
It is absolutely clear that neither in this case nor in any of the multitude
of other equally harrowing cases that show Interior Ministry involvement with
extrajudicial killing can the Iraqi government be trusted with carrying any
sort of investigation. In the case of the Jadiriyah torture facility discovered
in November 2005, the government has still to make public findings that were
promised within weeks. It should also be noted that at that time, US officials
promised to increase their efforts to oversee Iraqi detention facilities and
police commando units, stating that they would double the number of embedded
trainers. Since that promise, extrajudicial killings at the hands of Interior
Ministry forces, mostly inside detention facilities, appears to have grown
It is equally clear that US authorities in Iraq have no interest in carrying
out an investigation or restraining the killers.
It is therefore imperative for teams of international investigators to take
on the task with the full cooperation of British and American forces. Manfred
Novak, the UN rapporteur for torture has indicated his willingness to undertake
such a mission. Such a mission must be immediately supported by all those who
honestly claim to seek to halt the genocidal violence in Iraq; those who will
not support such a mission must be considered accomplices to crimes against
Nothing happened. Now they’re dead.
As usual nothing has been done,nor by the occupation authorities, nor by the
UN official Human RightsBodies.And certainly not by the Iraqi authorities.
On 27 April 2011 the Iraqi government has set up a committee to trace
thousands of Iraqis missing since the 2003 US-led invasion, said an
official.The government committee includes representatives from the ministries
of defence (Islamic Dawa Party), interior (Islamic Dawa Party), national
security (Islamic Dawa Party), health(Al Sadr bloc), justice (Islamic Virtue
Party) and human rights (Islamic Dawa Party), in addition to intelligence
services and anti-terrorism forces.
Many of those Ministries were involved or are leading the very militias that
have been suspected of carrying out most of the ferocious crimes of
extrajudicial assassination, inciting sectarianviolence, torture and enforced
disappearance, in conjunction with the occupying forces. So how can one expect
this committee to investigate the very crimes that their militias are
Human Rights Council: it’s time to ACT
So now we finally know part of the terrible truth. Will the Human Right
Council finally wake up and start to investigate the thousands upon thousands
of war crimes, committed by the Anglo-American occupation forces and their
local Iraqi stooges? Will the ICC finally do what it is created for: persecute
war criminals? Investigate the US genocide in Iraq? Please? After more than one
million deaths, and millions of refugees?
2013: the commemoration of 10 years of US occupation. It would be only fair
if this and other clear cases of crimes against humanity would be put on the
agenda of International Human Rights bodies. It would be only fair if the full
truth of this dirty counterinsurgency war is finally revealed.
2013: the year of “Accountability and Restoring Justice For
Iraq”. DO something!
Dirk Adriaensens is coordinator of SOS Iraq and member of the executive
committee of the BRussells Tribunal. Between 1992 and 2003 he led several
delegations to Iraq to observe the devastating effects of UN imposed sanctions.
He was a member of the International Organizing Committee of the World Tribunal
on Iraq (2003-2005). He is also co-coordinator of the Global Campaign Against
the Assassination of Iraqi Academics. He is co-author of Rendez-Vous in
Baghdad, EPO (1994), Cultural Cleansing in Iraq, Pluto Press, London (2010),
Beyond Educide, Academia Press, Ghent (2012), and is a frequent contributor to
GlobalResearch, Truthout, The International Journal of Contemporary Iraqi
Studies and other media.
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