According to human rights organisations in Baghdad, 'disappearances' - for long a feature of Iraq's dirty war - have reached epidemic proportions in recent months. Human rights workers, international and local, who asked not to be identified in order to protect their researchers in the city and their organisations' access to senior government officials, told The Observer last week that they have hundreds of cases on their books. They described the disappearances as the most pressing human rights issue in a country that is in the midst of a human rights disaster.
The crisis was underlined by last week's uncovering of the secret Ministry of the Interior detention facility in the well-to-do neighbourhood of Jadriya.
It led the US embassy in Baghdad to forcefully condemn the new Iraq's culture of torture and killing - a statement that many believe has been too long in coming.
The emergence of a culture of pernicious violence at Iraq's interior ministry blossomed in the face of repeated warnings to US and UK officials over the past year and a half, under an apparently deliberate policy by London and Washington to avoid public criticism of the country's new institutions.
It is a silence that persisted despite compelling evidence provided by human rights organisations, journalists and Iraqi officials that, from the very moment of the hand-over of sovereignty, violent abuses were being committed in the Ministry of the Interior building - the results of which have been witnessed by The Observer.
So "Freedom" has been on the march using the time-tested American model of encouraging torture and human rights abuse, looking the other way, and then being like Claude Rains in Casablanca expressing "Shock" that such abuses are occurring. The "Central America" method.
Nevertheless, somewhere at this moment a right-wing blogger is masturbating at this news.
If you can, go read the rest of Billmon's post, he's at his usual thoughtful best.