Petraeus Linked To Iraq Torture Centers

U.S. colonel James Steele, a veteran of American proxy wars in El Salvador and Nicaragua, played a key role in training and overseeing US-funded special police commandos who ran a network of torture centers in Iraq. Another special forces veteran, retired Colonel James Coffman, worked with Steele and reported directly to General David Petraeus, who had been sent into Iraq to organize the Iraqi security services.

1 year ago by Scarce
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This is an edited version of the Guardian and BBC Arabic full-length film investigation about James Steele.(H/T to Scarce)

A documentary report by the Guardian and BBC Arabic links the former CIA director General David Petraeus to two veteran advisors of El Salvadorean paramilitary squads who ran Iraqi interrogation centers, where Shi'ite torture of Sunni prisoners fueled the country's sectarian violence. Petraeus was tasked in 2004 with organizing Iraq's security forces and Colonel James Coffman became his direct report. Along with Colonel James Steele, Coffman hired Shi'ites to work as police commandos in intelligence centers where, according to a former Iraqi general, committees used torture to make detainees confess. This includes "using electricity or hanging him upside down, pulling out their nails, and beating them on sensitive parts," according to the general. When word of this got out to the public, Iraq's already-tumultuous civil war worsened.

The Guardian:

"The allegations made by US and Iraqi witnesses in the Guardian/BBC documentary, implicate US advisers for the first time in the human rights abuses committed by the commandos. It is also the first time that Petraeus – who last November was forced to resign as director of the CIA after a sex scandal – has been linked through an adviser to this abuse."

"Coffman reported to Petraeus and described himself in an interview with the US military newspaper Stars and Stripes as Petraeus's "eyes and ears out on the ground" in Iraq."

"They worked hand in hand," said General Muntadher al-Samari, who worked with Steele and Coffman for a year while the commandos were being set up. "I never saw them apart in the 40 or 50 times I saw them inside the detention centres. They knew everything that was going on there ... the torture, the most horrible kinds of torture."
...
"The Guardian/BBC Arabic investigation was sparked by the release of classified US military logs on WikiLeaks that detailed hundreds of incidents where US soldiers came across tortured detainees in a network of detention centres run by the police commandos across Iraq. Private Bradley Manning, 25, is facing a prison sentence of up to 20 years after he pleaded guilty to leaking the documents."

"Samari claimed that torture was routine in the SPC-controlled detention centres. "I remember a 14-year-old who was tied to one of the library's columns. And he was tied up, with his legs above his head. Tied up. His whole body was blue because of the impact of the cables with which he had been beaten."'

"Gilles Peress, a photographer, came across Steele when he was on assignment for the New York Times, visiting one of the commando centres in the same library, in Samarra. "We were in a room in the library interviewing Steele and I'm looking around I see blood everywhere."'

The kicker? Colonel Steele now works as a motivational speaker. Watch the full-length film investigation about Colonel James Steele.

About Diane Sweet

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Senior Editor, Lives in a gerrymandered district in Michigan.

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