“They say it is rather like life under Saddam Hussein. Many Iraqis use an Arabic expression, ‘Same donkey, different saddle.’”

Peggy Gish, an American member of the humanitarian group Christian Peacemaker Teams, who has recently spent 13 months in Iraq recording the allegations made by Iraqi detainees being held by coalition forces.  

The Iraqi detainees, who number in the thousands, are suspected of participating in the mounting insurgency and attacks against the Iraqi government and the coalition forces occupying Iraq.  

Ms. Gish stated: “In fact, we came to the conclusion that 80 percent to 90 percent of the prisoners had never been involved in any violent action. This is an estimate that tallies with the estimates of other groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. A common reason for men to be detained is because an informant in the neighborhood has given their name to U.S. military and claimed that they are part of the resistance. Informants get money for each name they give, and many people have told us that informants use the system to revenge personal grudges.”

Mimi Hanaoka

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