The cameras were rolling and the reporters were ready inside the auditorium, so the Iraqi police officer gave the signal: Bring in the prisoners. In they shuffled, 21 men accused of terrorism and murder, hands shackled, eyes tracing the floor. This was no day in court. Today, they were lined up to meet the press.
“Lift up your faces,” a police officer ordered, as photographers swarmed.
Over the objections of Western diplomats and human rights workers, Iraq’s security forces are increasingly taking to the airwaves with dramatic demonstrations of how they are cracking down on terrorism, using detainees — mostly Sunni men — as backdrops for speeches and broadcasting confessions on state-run television.