How many US-held prisoners are there in Iraq?
Here's a question for the hivemind: How many US-held prisoners are there in Iraq?
In his memoir Fear Up Harsh former army interrogator Tony Lagouranis explains that American forces routinely detain Iraqis indefinitely on the mere suspicion that they have information that might be useful to American forces. That is, not everyone who gets detained is even a suspected insurgent, or a suspected accessory. It's enough to be suspected of knowing anything useful.
Some of these people are arrested during raids or on the basis of tips (often from tipsters whose own credibility is suspect). Others just happen to be in the vicinity of an insurgent attack. According to Lagouranis, many Iraqis are hauled in just because they are family members of known or suspected insurgents. It's one thing to question the family of a suspect, it's quite another to detain them with out charge in the hopes of extracting intel.
Lagouranis explains that Iraqis who cooperate with interrogators are frequently subjected to indefinite detention on the suspicion that they know even more. There's no easy way out for people who don't know anything to begin with. Often, their denials are taken as proof that they haven't broken yet.
Given the low standards of evidence and the indiscriminate methods that the US is using to detain people in the first place, it's likely that there are a lot of innocent people behind bars with no recourse.
Presumably, everyone taken into US custody in Iraq is considered an enemy combatant with no right to appeal their status and little protection under international law.
My question for the hivemind is this: How many Iraqis is the United States military holding without trial in Iraq? I'm not talking about the secret CIA prisons, just the ordinary run-of-the mill US-held prison population that is supposedly increasing daily as the surge captures more and more insurgents.
We hear a lot about the terrorism suspects at Guantanamo, but not nearly as much about those who are being held as enemy combatants in connection with the Iraqi insurgency. It sounds like latter group is much larger than the former.
Expect a full review of Fear Up Harsh in the next few days. It is a powerful and important book that deserves to be widely read.