May 24, 2004

Feel like being the 'guest' of the U.S. government for a few months?

If you're in Iraq, all you have to do is be in the wrong place at the wrong time

The New Zealand Herald reports that US a New Zealand citizen held for almost three months by the US military has been released. According to the Herald, Andreas Schafer was picked up by Iraqi police in the city of Diwaniya, and then turned over to US authorities. The reason for why he was being held is unclear, however. Schafer's mother says that her son and several other foreign nationals were arrested after a major bombing. The New Zealand foreign ministry says his detention was due to entry formalities.

Regardless of the reason for Schafer's arrest, the reason he was held for so long appears to be simple incompetence. Schafer says that he was intially told that he'd be out of custody in two days:

"I was then held for nearly three months and interrogated by the US Army on several occasions.

"Each time they questioned me they said it was the first they had heard I was being detained and that the investigation was starting from the beginning...."

To make things worse, US authorities repeatedly denied knowledge of Schafer's custody during the first two months he was held.

Last month when news of Mr Schafer's detention in Iraq first broke, the [US] embassy said it had no evidence that he had been in contact with US troops there.

[Schafer's mother, Ursula] Schafer said she heard about her son's detention via an email sent by a third party.

"He [Andreas] was not allowed to send us any emails. It was from someone who helped him in secret. That is why we had to be very careful, because they had put themselves at risk. We are very grateful to them, otherwise we would never have had any message."

Mrs Schafer then contacted the ministry, who tried to locate her son.

But initial inquiries through Washington and London established that they had no information.

Mrs Schafer confirmed that at first the Americans had said they had not detained her son.

But working through other channels, which she declined to specify, the family found out where he was being held and eventually he was found.

In mid-April, Foreign Affairs told the Herald that its inquiries through the American and British authorities established they had no information about Mr Schafer.

Two weeks later, on April 27, the ministry confirmed Mr Schafer was being detained, but was not sure if it was the Iraqi police or the coalition administration.

Posted by Magpie at May 24, 2004 07:45 PM | Iraq | Technorati links |

Top to bottom fuckups. Christ, almost any librarian could have done a better job of administration than these evilly incompetent clowns.


Posted by: Scorpio at May 24, 2004 10:52 PM