December 13, 2005


Ex-general says Iranian led torture of detainees (Paul Martin and Maria Cedrell, 12/13/05, THE WASHINGTON TIMES)

An Iraqi general formerly in charge of special Interior Ministry forces said yesterday that a senior Iranian intelligence officer was in charge of a network of detention centers where suspected insurgents were routinely tortured and sometimes killed. [...]

Gen. al-Samarrai said the Iranian intelligence officer, Tahseer Nasr Lawandi, works directly under the Kurdish deputy minister, Gen. Hussein Kamel, and is known throughout the ministry as "The Engineer."

"The Engineer was behind the torturing and killing in the ministry and was also in charge of Jadriya prison," said Gen. al-Samarrai, who left the ministry after a dispute with superiors and is now living in Jordan. [...]

Mr. Lawandi, who had been a colonel in the Iranian Mukhabarat intelligence service, was granted Iraqi citizenship May 12, 2004, and awarded the rank of general, Gen. al-Samarrai said by telephone from Amman, Jordan, where he moved his family after two attempts on his life.

The Iranian officer not only masterminded interrogations, tortures and executions at the prisons, but also would take part in torture sessions, often using an electric drill, Gen. al-Samarrai said.

Some of the tortured prisoners were found in morgues with drill holes in their legs and eyes, according to another security source, who declined to be identified.

The general said Mr. Lawandi had worked with the minister and deputy minister to form a special security service to run the detention and interrogation operation and a separate group called the Wolf Brigade to capture suspects and bring them to the secret locations -- usually under cover of darkness.

Gen. al-Samarrai, a 46-year-old career officer, was ousted from the Interior Ministry in a purge of about 600 staff in July. Many were replaced by hard-line loyalists to new Interior Minister Bayan Jabr Solagh and his allies in the Badr Brigade, a militia affiliated with Iraq's largest Shi'ite religious party, the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq.

The general said the minister had brought 17,000 Badr organization fighters into the ranks of Interior Ministry forces after Iraq's militias were officially disarmed. Most had received military training in Iran and were infiltrated into Iraq soon after the defeat of dictator Saddam Hussein.

Just one of the ways we and the Iranians are de facto allies in Iraq.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 13, 2005 9:11 AM

"Mr. Lawandi, who had been a colonel in the Iranian Mukhabarat intelligence service"

Not to split hairs, but the Mukhabarat was the IRAQI intelligence service (the term being Arabic for intelligence). The IRANIAN intelligence service is the MOIS (Ministry of Intelligence and Security). It's unlikely that the Iranians would use an Arabic term, since they're Persian and mostly speak Farsi.

Kinda goes right to the heart of the credibility of the article in my mind, if the writer can't even get the basic facts right.

Posted by: mike at December 13, 2005 9:36 AM

"drill holes in their legs and eyes"

That beats stripping them naked and having them do a cheerleading pyramid.

Posted by: AllenS at December 13, 2005 3:26 PM

The MOIS or Sefai; as it was referred to in John Weisman's non roman a clef direct action, is one thing; mukharabat is standard arabic for General Intelligence: as the ones in Jordan, Iraq, & Syria; (the last set up by a Nazi war criminal in residence Georg Fischer; alias Alois Brunner;
Saudi General Intelligence; is not referred to by
that name

Posted by: narciso at December 13, 2005 8:40 PM