“You pay $300,000 to buy a post as a security chief or military commander of a neighbourhood for a year and you have to get your money back. It’s like an investment. But you can never trust anyone in this country – they take your money and a year later they conspire against you and throw you in jail. They are like wolves.”
One of his subordinates explained how the officers procured their positions. “The commander of the district buys his post from the politicians or the office of the commander-in-chief. Then the commander rents the post of interrogation officer to his juniors for $10,000 to $15,000 per month, depending on the area. For a Sunni neighbourhood you have to pay a lot of money; for Shia not that much, because most of the arrests take place in the Sunni areas. Then you get your money back from the detainee.
“Sometimes you get really lucky and actually detain someone who is in al-Qaida, and then you can get your full investment in one go: you arrange for him to escape for half a million dollars.”