Source AP ©

Mass grave and torture center found in Iraq by US soldiers

By Alexandra Steblinina. A mass grave with 26 bodies was found by U.S. soldiers. It was situated next to torture center where chains were attached to blood-spattered walls and a metal bed frame was still connected to an electrical shock system.

Meanwhile, 13 Iraqis were killed when a suicide bomber targeted a group of people who had gathered around U.S. soldiers handing out holiday gifts. No casualties among soldiers were reported.

The grisly discoveries of the mass graves and torture center near Muqdadiyah, about 90 kilometers (60 miles) north of Baghdad, came during a Dec. 8-11 operation that also saw multiple battles between American troops and militants. The military said it killed 24 insurgents and detained 37 others during the operation, the AP said.

The military said that the torture center belonged to al-Qaida and was based on tips from local Iraqis. 26 bodies were found nearby.

"Soldiers found a total of nine caches containing a surface-to-air missile launcher, sniper rifles, 130 pounds (59 kilos) of homemade explosives and numerous mortar tubes and rounds, among other weapons.

But the U.S. is also lamentably popular for its secret prisons, generally outside of the mainland U.S. territory and legal jurisdiction, and with little or no political or public oversight. It can refer to the facilities that are controlled by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) used by the U.S. in its War on Terror to detain suspected enemy combatants.

One of the alleged purposes is to detain suspected terrorists outside of the Intelligence Oversight Act which authorizes Congressional supervision.

Other purposes, according to the February 2007 European Parliament report, includes detaining suspects while CIA flights used in the extraordinary rendition program make their way through European territory.

President Bush acknowledged the existence of secret prisons operated by the CIA during a speech on September 6, 2006. A claim that the black sites existed was made by The Washington Post in November 2005 and before by human rights NGOs.

Many European countries have officially denied they are hosting Black Sites to imprison terrorists or cooperating in the US extraordinary rendition program. No countries have confirmed that they are hosting black sites.

However, according to the EU report, adopted on February 14, 2007 by a majority of the European Parliament (382 MEPs voting in favour, 256 against and 74 abstaining), the CIA operated 1,245 flights, and stated that it was not possible to contradict evidence or suggestions that secret detention centres were operated in Poland and Romania

Thirteen civilians were killed Thursday east of Baqouba, 60 kilometers (35 miles) northeast of Baghdad, when a man wearing an explosives vest blew himself up amid a crowd that had gathered around U.S. soldiers handing out holiday gifts, a local policeman said on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to release the information.

Separately, the U.S. military said that its preliminary investigation into a Dec. 17 incident in which a Marine killed an Iraqi policeman as they manned a joint security station north of Ramadi showed both men suffered cuts during a fight. It was not clear what sparked the altercation.

Photo: AP

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