ON the brink of the third anniversary of the Anglo-US invasion of Iraq, the US based Human Rights First organisation has released a report which shows that ninety-eight prisoners have died in US custody in Iraq and Afghanistan since August 2002.
The organisation says a report to be published by a group of US lawyers details that at least 34 of these deaths were suspected or confirmed homicides.
The dossier that they produced adds that 11 more deaths are deemed suspicious and that between eight and 12 prisoners were tortured to death.
The report stipulates that the number of deaths in custody is completely separate from deaths due to fighting, mortar attacks or violence between detainees.
The 98 deaths were directly attributable to their detention or interrogation in American custody.
The report does not include the number of Iraqis or Afghans that have died while in the hands of British forces or any other of the armies of occupation currently in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The above facts, plus the hundreds of photos now released of the Abu Ghraib atrocities, plus the growing evidence of British war crimes, plus the estimates that have been made of up to 100,000 Iraqis killed since they were ‘liberated’ in May 2003, make it very clear that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are imperialist wars of oppression and conquest, fuelled by a desire to grab the oil and gas resources of the Middle East and the Caspian Sea.
The situation however has not stopped there.
It is now acknowledged by the US and British authorities, that in Baghdad and Basra and all of the main Iraqi cities, there are now puppet government backed death squads, made up of members of the Badr Brigades, who control the police forces, have their own prisons and torture chambers in the basements of the various puppet ministries, especially the ministry of the interior, and use police and government vehicles to round up their political opponents to torture them before they are killed with a bullet in the back of the neck.
The killers are those who came back to Iraq after the US-UK forces ‘set the Iraqi people free’. Their political masters are the puppets that came back with the US tanks, and have formed administrations that serve the interests of the United States and the UK. The torturers and the death squads are merely continuing with the work of the imperialists.
It is clear that the mountain of corpses in Iraq is set to grow not diminish.
Meanwhile, thousands of British troops are being sent to Helmand province in Afghanistan to confront the Taleban which is now strong in that province and prepared to use the tactics of the insurgents in Iraq to kill many British soldiers.
While the blood flows, the Afghan war lords, who also returned to Afghanistan with their Anglo-American liberators, will be making millions out of exporting opium and heroin into Europe.
Opium production was banned by the Taleban, it is now flourishing under the guns of the US and British occupiers, in what is the continuation of the policy pioneered by Britain in the 19th century ‘opium wars’.
As the third anniversary of the war in Iraq approaches, the issue is clear.
The only way to end the imperialist atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan is to bring the Blair government down with a general strike, and to withdraw all British troops, leaving the Afghan and Iraqi people to settle their own affairs.