Iraq Detainee Racket?

A few paragraphs in this March 12th entry by Riverbend, a woman blogger in Iraq, caught my eye. It is about four Iraqi men detained by the US military who were able to buy their freedom when their families coughed up $300 payments to the soldiers holding them. I hadn’t realized that we were charging a fee to release detainees from American custody. Is this official military policy, or are these cases of outright extortion? Are the thousands of detainees still held by the US in Iraq merely in prison because they can’t come up with their $300 fee? I realize this story is hearsay but it has somewhat of a ring of truth to it, at least to my ears.

    They agreed that one of the soldiers would accompany the man back to the city and wait while he came up with $300/detainee. The rest of the men would be freed a couple of days later. And it worked. Two days later, his three relatives came walking home after being dropped off on the side of the road. Basically, they paid a ransom for their freedom. … read more

I note there is no mention of fees to be paid by a detainee in these requirements for release outlined by Paul Bremer back in January, 2004.

    “First, the person released must renounce violence. Second, the person released must have a guarantor, such as a prominent person in his community or a religious or tribal leader who will accept responsibility for the good conduct of the individual being set free.”