Hours-long beatings, stabbings, repeated sexual assault and music as torture: Just some of the abuses inflicted upon Iraqi people by British soldiers during their occupation of Iraq, according to a new dossier provided to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and obtained by VICE News.
The horrifying allegations are contained in documents sent by the Birmingham-based firm Public Interest Lawyers (PIL) to the ICC, which ended an initial inquiry into alleged crimes committed by UK forces in Iraq in 2006 citing a lack of evidence, but went on to reopen the preliminary examination last year.
According to the allegations compiled by PIL, which span more than five years, from the 2003 US-led invasion until 2008, detainees were commonly beaten, made to wear black-out goggles, and left hooded — making breathing difficult — for hours following their initial arrest by British forces. They were kicked and hit with guns if they moved or asked for explanations for their detention. In some cases, detainees were allegedly threatened with execution. Several of the claims describe the use of electric shocks to torture Iraqis. Sleep deprivation, triggered by booming music, shouting, or the hurling of objects, also featured prominently in some accounts.
One particularly disturbing claim was brought on behalf of a man reportedly killed by British forces in April 2007. The 26-year-old was living with his wife and one-month-old daughter when soldiers allegedly entered his neighborhood.
Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump has denied he was mocking a New York Times reporter by jerking his arms around, saying he had no idea what the journalist looked like when he imitated him during a rally in South Carolina this week.
In a statement late Thursday, Trump said the reporter, Serge Kovaleski, who has a congenital condition that limits joint mobility, “should stop using his disability to grandstand.” Two days earlier, at the South Carolina rally, the billionaire real-estate tycoon and former reality-TV star spoke about the reporter while flailing his arms around. “Poor guy, you oughta see this guy,” Trump said, slurring his words in a poor imitation of Kovaleski.
The candidate was defending his unsubstantiated assertions that thousands of Muslims were seen in New Jersey cheering the collapse of the Twin Towers. During the speech, he singled out Kovaleski for a story he wrote a few days after the attacks while he was then a Washington Post correspondent.
Moscow is to suspend its visa-free agreement with Turkey at the beginning of next year, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said.
Friday’s announcement comes as tensions mount after the downing of a Russian fighter jet by Turkey earlier this week.
Russia has ruled out any military response against NATO member Turkey, but it has pledged broad retaliatory measures targeting entire sectors of the Turkish economy, including tourism, agriculture and investments.
On Thursday, two Turkish businessmen with investments in Russia told Al Jazeera that Russian police have been raiding Turkish companies in different regions of the country and, in some cases, have suspended their operations.
Moscow has also started sending back Turkish trucks loaded with exports at the border and stopped Turkish tourists – who normally do not need visas – entering the country, at least two businessmen said.
“A decision has been made to halt the visa-free regime with Turkey,” Lavrov told reporters after talks with his Syrian counterpart Walid Muallem in Moscow.
At least 24 climate activists have been put under house arrest by French police, accused of flouting a ban on organising protests during next week’s Paris climate summit, the Guardian has learned.
One legal adviser to the activists said many officers raided his Paris apartment and occupied three floors and a staircase in his block.
French authorities did not respond to requests for comment but lawyers said that the warrants were issued under state of emergency laws, imposed after the terror attacks that killed 130 people earlier this month.
The author and climate change campaigner, Naomi Klein, accused French authorities of “a gross abuse of power that risks turning the summit into a farce”.
“Climate summits are not photo opportunities to boost the popularity of politicians,” she told the Guardian. “Given the stakes of the climate crisis, they are by their nature highly contested. That is democracy, messy as it may be. The French government, under cover of anti-terrorism laws, seems to be trying to avoid this, shamefully banning peaceful demonstrations and using emergency powers to pre-emptively detain key activists.”
U.S. DRONE OPERATORS are inflicting heavy civilian casualties and have developed an institutional culture callous to the death of children and other innocents, four former operators said at a press briefing today in New York.
The killings, part of the Obama administration’s targeted assassination program, are aiding terrorist recruitment and thus undermining the program’s goal of eliminating such fighters, the veterans added. Drone operators refer to children as “fun-size terrorists” and liken killing them to “cutting the grass before it grows too long,” said one of the operators, Michael Haas, a former senior airman in the Air Force. Haas also described widespread drug and alcohol abuse, further stating that some operators had flown missions while impaired.