Foreign Policy

US-Trained Iraq Units May Be Committing ISIS-Like War Crimes (Video)

| by Michael Allen

Elite Iraqi military units and militias trained by the U.S. are being investigated by the Iraqi government for committing the same kinds of murder and torture that ISIS has proudly displayed.

The accusations stem from gruesome pictures and videos posted by Iraq's military units and militia groups that include: torture, beheadings, mass killings of civilians, execution of a child by gunfire and sick displays of severed heads.

ABC News recently discovered the disturbing images and videos which were posted on Iraqi social media sites as early as summer 2014. These units are called "dirty brigades" (video below).

Human Rights Watch reported last year that the Iraqi government has "committed serious abuses, including mass executions of Sunni prisoners, and kidnappings and summary executions by security forces and government-backed Shia militias."

An unidentified senior official at the Pentagon told ABC News that the U.S. has stopped sending funds to some Iraqi units, but refused to give any specific information.

It's not clear exactly how U.S. funds go (or don't go) directly to Iraqi military units without first passing through the Iraqi government, which would likely distribute the aid.

Juan Mendez, a UN torture investigator, claimed this week that the U.S. government has been delaying his requests for two years to visit prisons in America where tens of thousands of people are being held in solitary confinement, noted Reuters.

"On the federal level, I want to go to ADX in Florence, Colorado and to the Manhattan Correctional Center," Mendez said at a press conference this week. "Those are where people accused of terrorism are taken or where they serve their term."

The American Civil Liberties Union said in 2013 that there were over 80,000 people in solitary confinement in U.S. prisons.

"The numbers are staggering but even worse is the length of terms ... It is not uncommon for people to spend 25, 30 years and even more in solitary confinement," Mendez added.

The UN has been requesting since 2004 to speak to detainees at Guantanamo Bay, but the U.S. has refused to allow it.


Sources: ABC News, Human Rights Watch, Reuters, American Civil Liberties Union
Image Credit: ABC News Screenshot