The Pentagon may have given the Sunni “Sons of Iraq” the dough and weapons to fight al Qaeda for the American cause, but according to Wired Magazine, these now-targeted fighters were left with a far more deadlier token for their troubles.
Warhawks have embraced — very matter-of-factly– the efficiency and technological wizbangery behind the hand-held biometric devices recording iris scans and other personal data of every Sunni that lined up for the $25 a day to fight our enemies in Sunni cities and villages. Similar biometrics have been logged to keep residents of locked-down, urban battlefields like Fallujah in check and “secure” from outside interference. Fused with the thousands of records that former dictator Saddam Hussein kept on his friends and enemies, electronic dossiers built with American ingenuity will be available to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his Shia-led government as soon as we leave. If not now.
The Iraqi government has one other card to play, says [Colin] Kahl, just back from the Middle East. Over the years, the American military in Iraq has assembled a series of biometric databases; hundreds of thousands of Iraqis’ fingerprints and irises are stored inside. In Fallujah and other Sunni-dominated cities, the only way to get in or out is within a U.S.-issued badge, complete with this biometric info; that restricts potential insurgents’ freedom of movement. The Sons of Iraq have also been iris- and fingerprint-scanned; that makes them easier to identify, if they’re caught rejoining the insurgent team. Finally, the databases — partially built on the backs on Saddam’s crminal records — “provides a useful enemies list to the Government of Iraq, if they chose to use it,” Kahl says. That echoes what U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel John Velliquette told DANGER ROOM last year, when he said that the biometric info becomes “a hit list if it gets in the wrong hands.” Or the right ones.
Not only have we handed Maliki the tools for a massive political witch hunt (or at the very least, large-scale, sectarian oppression), we throw up a mirror: welcome to the endless possibilities of biometric “security” in our own world.