The most important Iraq document you’ve never heard of


Order 17

[…] In December 2004, less than six months had passed since Bremer, in his role as head of the Coalition Provisional Authority in occupied Baghdad, had turned over “sovereignty” to a designated group of Iraqis and, essentially, fled that already chaotic country. Just before he left, however, he established a unique kind of freedom in Iraq, not seen since the heyday of European and Japanese colonialism. By putting his signature on a single document, he managed to officially establish an “International Zone” that would be the fortified equivalent of the old European treaty ports on the China coast and, at the same time, essentially granted to all occupying forces and allied companies what, in those bad old colonial days, used to be called “extraterritoriality“–the freedom not to be in any way under Iraqi law or jurisdiction, ever. […]

Order 17 is a document little-read today, yet it essentially granted to every foreigner in the country connected to the occupation enterprise the full freedom of the land, not to be interfered with in any way by Iraqis or any Iraqi political or legal institution. Foreigners–unless, of course, they were jihadis or Iranians–were to be “immune from any form of arrest or detention other than by persons acting on behalf of their Sending States,” even though American and coalition forces were to be allowed the freedom to arrest and detain in prisons and detention camps of their own any Iraqis they designated worthy of that honor. […]

It would behoove you to be aware of it. And then consider how this bodes for this nation, if this is how our leaders respect the “rule of law”.

ETA: Text of Order 17 is here (PDF).

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About Janet Logan

Well educated woman, transgender / transsexual, lesbian, Reiki practitioner, LGBT activist, polyamorous, and eclectic Pagan.
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