No name yet. Hope the poor guy knows the U.S., unlike Italy, won’t pay a ransom.

WaPo: “An American civilian working for a contractor on a foreign aid project in Iraq reportedly has been kidnapped, officials at the U.S. Embassy here said Monday.”


From the AP: “The spokesman said on condition of anonymity that the contractor was working on a reconstruction project. The contractor’s family had been notified of the abduction, he said. The contractor’s name, hometown and employer were not released.”


But that’s not the biggest news out of Iraq . . .
(Cross-posted at DailyKos.)

(Note: An official at the Pakistani embassy was also kidnapped this past weekend.)


Here’s the first piece of big news about Iraq that got a bit watered down in the reporting by U.S. media, duly noted by Howie Martin in Seattle:

Another example of how some in the US media consistently distort and manage our news, particularly from Iraq: CNN used the phrase “several thousand” to describe the crowd in Iraq today for the anti-US protest. AP and the Canadian press estimated it at “tens of thousands.” So did the Chinese press account. “India’s National Newspaper” also used the “tens of thousands” number. Here are some photos, from The American Street. Does it matter if there were tens of thousands marching through the streets of Baghdad, rather than thousands? Maybe not, but it’s hard to imagine it was just another stupid mistake by CNN. It’s interesting how such a demonstration could have occurred without any violence or disruption, given all the talk about the “security” problems in Iraq we are told about here.


Democracy Now! reports today:

Up to 300,000 Protest Against U.S. In Baghdad


In Iraq, tens of thousands of Shiite Iraqis demonstrated in Baghdad Saturday to call for the withdrawal of U.S. troops. The protesters – organized by Shiite cleric Moqtada al Sadr – gathered in the same square where U.S. forces pulled down a statue of Saddam Hussein two years ago. To mark the anniversary, the Shiites burned effigies of Saddam as well as President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The crowd chanted “Yes, yes to Islam, No, no to America!” The protesters issued three demands: the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, the release of Iraqis from US-run prisons and for the speedy trial of Saddam Hussein. The Los Angeles Times reported that the crowd was as large as 300,000 protesters. Middle East analyst Juan Cole said even if the crowd was half that size it would mark the largest popular demonstration in Iraq since 1958.

And here are the other big stories: On Monday, 200 members of the U.S. military and 500 members of Iraqi forces rounded up 65 “suspected insurgents” in a huge raid in areas of Baghdad.


No doubt they’ll all be charged and found guilty. Not.

US and Iraqi forces are holding a record 17,000 men and women – most without being formally charged – and those in Iraqi-controlled jails live often in deplorable conditions, officials said.


About two-thirds are locked up as “security detainees” without any formal charges in US-run facilities, Lieutenant Colonel Guy Rudisill, the US military spokesman for Iraqi detention operations, told AFP.


Can you believe the US has no problem with saying they’re locked up without any formal charges? Oh, for the days of habeas corpus. Quaint days, those were.


And the conditions of the jails! And the oversight by international oganizations!

The rest are incarcerated in Iraqi-run jails in conditions that fall well below any international standard and are in dire need of reform, said Bakhtiar Amin, Iraq’s outgoing Human Rights Minister.


“None of the Iraqi detention centres meet international standards for cleanliness, food and the treatment of prisoners. Neither are the buildings up to standard. We have asked for international help.”

[. . . . . ]

“In certain places, the situation is deplorable. In others, it is bad, and in others, it is better.” [Amin said]


The ICRC [Red Cross] is unable to visit Iraqi-run facilities due to severe security restrictions on the movements of its staff.


A partial breakdown of the 17,000 number, of which 131 are said to be women:

US-run jails and detention centres hold a total of 10,708 people, Lieutenant Colonel Rudisill said.


Of those, 6,054 are in Camp Bucca in southern Iraq – scene of a riot this month in which about 16 people were injured – and another 3,493 are held in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison west of Baghdad, where US troops abused and humiliated naked Iraqi prisoners, provoking international outrage.


About 114 high-level detainees, including ousted dictator Saddam Hussein and several former top aides, are held at Camp Cropper at Baghdad international airport and another 1,047 are locked up at other US military jails.


British troops are detaining 27 individuals, Mr Amin added.


“It might not be the most desirable number, but it’s a manageable number for us,” said Lieutenant Adam Rondeau. “We’re always checking the detention facilities… to make the conditions better.”


No doubt, Lt. Rondeau. No doubt.


Oh. Almost forgot to mention it. Forty Iraqis died from violence this past weekend.

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