Category Archives: SOFA

11,000 Iraqi’s still being held by US Government

From Jurist:

The US-led Multi-National Force in Iraq said Tuesday that it is still holding 11,057 Iraqi prisoners in three separate camps throughout the country. The prisoners currently held in the three US camps, Camp Taji, Camp Cropper, and Camp Bucca, will either be released or transferred to Iraqi authorities as the military works to transfer control of the prisons to the Iraqi government. Camp Bucca, in southern Iraq, is expected to be the first to close when the total prison population drops below 8,000. The other two facilities will close by August 2010, in accordance with the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) that went into effect in January and requires all US troops to withdraw from Iraq by the end of 2001. A fourth US-run prison, Abu Ghraib, was transferred back to Iraqi control in 2006 following the release of photographs depicting prisoner abuse by US military personnel.

In November, Iraqi human rights activists said they were concerned about the treatment of detainees due to be transferred from US military custody to Iraqi authorities under the then-proposed SOFA. In August, the US military said that it has released more than 10,000 Iraqi detainees over the past year. In November 2007, US military forces in Iraq released 500 detainees at a joint ceremony with the Iraqi government at Camp Victory outside Baghdad.

The Iraq government isn’t known for it’s judicial system. Of course our methods, via the military tribunals, were horrific as well. The prisoners will most likely be dealt with according to whether they are Shiite or Sunni. This doesn’t bode well for any Sunni prisoners.

US Contractors arrested by Iraq officials.

This will be interesting to watch, as the arrested contractor and his company have ties to KBR..from Jurist:

Five US contractors have been arrested by Iraqi officials for their alleged involvement in the May death of an American in Baghdad’s Green Zone, according to Sunday reports. The suspects are not yet charged but may be the first Americans to face trial in an Iraqi court since the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the US and Iraq took effect in January. The agreement removed any immunity that private US contractors had under Iraqi law, allowing for the five accused to be tried. Jim Kitterman, an owner of a construction company, was found dead, bound, blindfolded, and stabbed in his car in late May. A US official anonymously disclosed that the investigations involved possible charges other than murder. Kitterman’s death is believed to be the first criminal killing of an American in the Green Zone since it was established in 2003.

Americans killing American’s in Iraq? WTF? From the LATimes link:

A relative of two of the suspects insisted that the men were innocent and would be released within a couple of days. John Feeney said the suspects included his father, Donald Feeney Jr., brother Donald Feeney III and two other employees of his father’s security company, Corporate Training Unlimited, or CTU. A fifth man who lived on their compound was also taken into custody, John Feeney said.

He spoke by telephone from North Carolina, where CTU has its U.S. headquarters.

Donald Feeney Jr has a storied past, from the FayObserver:

Past exploits

Donald Feeney Jr. first made news in 1988 when his company of former commandos spirited a 7-year-old child out of Jordan and reunited her with her mother in Texas.

CTU’s actions caused the U.S. State Department to apologize to Jordanian officials.

Feeney and others have defended the company’s actions, saying people in the United States are defenseless against custody battles involving other countries.

In 1993, Feeney and James Grayson of Florida were found guilty in Iceland of kidnapping Grayson’s daughter and the child’s sister. Feeney spent a year in prison.

Two months after his release, Feeney’s company took a child out of Tunisia in another custody battle.

The U.S. State Department has taken a dim view of Feeney’s actions.

It’s gonna get ugly methinks. The Washington Post has a different view on the arrests:

Maj. Gen. Abdul-Karim Khalaf, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said the men were being held at a police station in the Green Zone as part of a joint U.S.-Iraqi investigation. He said FBI agents had provided a tip to Iraqi forces, then accompanied them on a raid at a house where they had uncovered weapons and drugs.

But there were conflicting accounts about the arrest and possible charges.

Fennell said the men were not arrested on suspicion of involvement in the murder of Jim Kitterman, a 60-year-old contractor from Houston. During a search of the men’s house, authorities found “possible evidence on an unrelated matter,” he said, without disclosing details.

Staaaaaay tuned boys and girls! That SOFA Bush signed has changed the rules for contractors. They can now be tried, convicted and jailed by Iraqi’s. More than enough reason to keep your ass in the US..or be really really good whilst working in Iraq.

Update: The rightwing moonie media, the Washington Times is reporting that three of the contractors have been or will be released today.

Would you buy this SOFA? Should the Iraqi people?

Next year, thanks to Iraq President Jalal Talabani, the Iraqi’s will get to actually vote on the Status of Forces Agreement that was ratified by their government and finally their Presidential Council Thursday. All our troops must be out of Iraq by 2011.The Iraqi’s will supposedly vote on the agreement next year.

I say supposed to vote because we are now propping up one of the most corrupt regimes in the world, right behind Myanmar and Somalia, according to Transparency International. The irony is thick indeed, isn’t it? We took out Saddam and put in an entire government of Saddam’s.

The Iraqi’s could vote to reject the agreement. What that would mean is unclear at this point. Whether a vote will actually happen is the larger question. One thing is clear, the violence still continues with bombings this week that killed and injured scores of Iraqi’s. Two American Soldiers will also be coming home in boxes.

In addition to the official deadlines for troop withdraw, it gives Iraqi courts limited jurisdiction over American military personnel and eliminates immunity for US defense contractors working within Iraq. What does this mean for Americans? From a Jurist OpEd on the subject:

Earlier this week the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq issued a report that is highly critical of the absence of due process in Iraq’s criminal justice system. The UN Report notes that “many detainees have been deprived of their liberty for months or even years, often under precarious physical conditions, without access to defence counsel, or without being formally charged with a crime or produced before a judge. Continuing allegations of widespread torture and ill-treatment of inmates are of particular concern.” The report is particularly timely, given that as of January 1, 2009, U.S. citizens who are contractors in Iraq will be subject to the jurisdiction of Iraqi criminal and civil courts, according to the terms of the Status of Forces Agreement signed on November 17, 2009.

Nothing in this newly-signed Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with Iraq guarantees that a U.S. citizen contractor arrested in Iraq will get even the most basic due process protections. The SOFA doesn’t even permit the U.S. Government to detain U.S. citizen contractors who are awaiting trial in Iraqi courts. The SOFA requires that U.S. soldiers and government employees arrested by the Iraqi police will be handed over to U.S. authorities within 24 hours of detention or arrest. However, if the detained American citizen is a contractor, he or she is left entirely to the disposition of the Iraqi system, and will be left to sit in the Iraqi jail awaiting Iraqi justice.

In other words contractors, like the employees of Blackwater, will be treated similar to our prisoners in Guantanamo, perhaps even worse. Irony, thy name is SOFA…

Crossposted at UnCapitalist Journal.