Dahr Jamail: How US created Iraq death squads


Richard Moore

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Subject: MidEast Dispatches: Protecting Neither Facilities nor People

** Dahr Jamail's MidEast Dispatches **
** Visit the Dahr Jamail website http://dahrjamailiraq.com **
** Website by http://jeffpflueger.com **

       Protecting Neither Facilities nor People

*Inter Press Service*
Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily

*BAGHDAD, Nov 7 (IPS) - The Facilities Protection 
Service (FPS) created after the invasion of Iraq 
in 2003 has become the principal set of death 
squads in Iraq, senior leaders say.*

"The first accomplishment of Paul Bremer (former 
U.S. administrator in Iraq) in Iraq was 
dissolving the Iraqi army and all security 
establishments," a consultant with an Iraqi 
ministry told IPS on condition of anonymity. "The 
man was granted the highest decoration by his 
President for a job well done."

The U.S. occupation authorities and the Iraqi 
leaders working with them set up new army and 
police forces under supervision of the Multi 
National Forces (MNF). It was decided that each 
ministry could establish its own protection force 
away from the control of the ministries of 
interior and defence.

Under Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) Order 
Number 27, the FPS was established on April 10, 
2003, the day after the fall of Baghdad.

This document states: "The FPS may also consist 
of employees of private security firms who are 
engaged to perform services for the ministries or 
governorates through contracts, provided such 
private security firms and employees are licensed 
and authorised by the Ministry of Interior."

Global Security.Org, a U.S. based security 
research group, says: "The Facilities Protection 
Service works for all ministries and governmental 
agencies, but its standards are set and enforced 
by the Ministry of the Interior. It can also be 
privately hired. The FPS is tasked with the fixed 
site protection of ministerial, governmental, or 
private buildings, facilities and personnel."

The security website adds: "The majority of the 
FPS staff consists of former service members and 
former security guards. The FPS will now secure 
public facilities such as hospitals, banks and 
power stations within their district. Once 
trained, the guards work with U.S. military 
forces protecting critical sites like schools, 
hospitals and power plants."

General Harith al-Fahad of the former Iraqi army 
says the FPS turned out to be no such thing. "All 
the forces formed were actually militias, not 
organised forces, because they were formed 
according to rations given to each party in 
power," he told IPS at a café in Baghdad, with 
explosions echoing in the background.

"Those politicians brought their followers into 
the so-called security forces. Others took bribes 
of 500 to 700 dollars from each applicant to be 
accepted regardless of standard regulations."

When sectarian violence spread across Iraq after 
the Shia shrine in Samarra was destroyed in 
February this year, "the FPS appeared to be the 
main force that conducted assassinations in 
Baghdad, and there is evidence that they did it 
for money."

This seems to continue. U.S. officers training 
Iraqi police told reporters last week that 
infiltration of police units by militia members 
could delay the handover of control of the Iraqi 
security forces for years.

"How can we expect ordinary Iraqis to trust the 
police when we don't even trust them not to kill 
our own men?" Capt. Alexander Shaw said. Shaw is 
head of the police transition team of the 372nd 
Military Police Battalion, a Washington-based 
unit charged with overseeing training of all 
Iraqi police in western Baghdad.

"To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure we're ever 
going to have police here that are free of the 
militia influence," he said.

Most of the infiltration is coming from the two 
large Shia militias, the Badr Organisation that 
is the armed wing of the pro-Iranian Supreme 
Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, and the 
Mehdi Army, the militia of the Shia cleric 
Muqtada al-Sadr.

Shaw said about 70 percent of the Iraqi police 
force has been infiltrated, and police officers 
are too afraid to patrol many areas of the 

"None of the Iraqi police are working to make 
their country better," Brig. Gen. Salah al-Ani, 
chief of police for western Baghdad told 
reporters recently. "They're working for the 
militias or to put money in their pocket."

Dr. Nameer Hadi recently left his post at a major 
Baghdad hospital because he felt threatened by 
the FPS.

"I saw them kill in cold blood a lady patient 
when they learned that she was the wife of a 
Sunni tribe leader," he told IPS. "I am a Shia 
believer, but this kind of crime is unbearable."

It is common knowledge in Baghdad that the FPS 
consists mainly of criminals who looted banks and 
government offices at the beginning of the U.S. 
invasion in April 2003. Many also believe that 
once the looters spent the money they stole, they 
needed a new source of income, and they were 
hired by local and regional powers for organised 
crime campaigns.

Iraq's interior minister Jawad al-Bolani rejected 
allegations last month that Iraq's police and 
military have played a major role in the death 
squads. He said it was the FPS, whose numbers he 
estimated to be 150,000, that was to blame for 
the astronomical level of violence.

"Whenever we capture someone, we rarely find 
anyone is an employee of the government 
ministries," Bolani said. "They've turned out to 
be mostly from the FPS."

In an interview on al-Arabiya satellite channel 
Oct. 21, official spokesman of the Iraqi 
government Dr. Ali al-Dabbagh accepted that 
security forces need to be "purified." He blamed 
mistakes made during the "Bremer Period" for the 
current level of killings.

With attacks on government targets mounting, it 
is also not certain how far the FPS has been 
effective in protecting facilities.

(c)2006 Dahr Jamail.
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