A British soldier has become the first person to plead guilty to war crimes. Cpl Donald Payne admitted inhumanely treating civilians in Basra four months after the official end of the war.
But Cpl Payne, 35, formerly of the Queen's Lancashire Regiment, now of the renamed Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and perverting the course of justice at the start of the first court martial of British troops accused of war crimes under the International Criminal Court Act (ICCA) 2001.
The court heard yesterday that captive Iraqis were beaten with iron bars, kicked, starved, and forced to drink their own urine during a catalogue of abuse which led to the death of one prisoner.
The dead man, Baha Mousa, 26, had 93 injuries to his body. Two other Iraqis were severely wounded in the "systematic mistreatment" meted out to them in 36 hours of incarceration, the hearing was told.
The above, noted by Gareth, is from Kim Sengupta's "British soldier is first to admit war crime" (Independent of London). War crimes? As Bully Boy fully grasps, they can follow you. Even if you escape charges, things can be very uncomfortable when 'vacation planning' (ask Henry Kissinger). Which is why we're seeing the big push to retroactively provide Bully Boy and the administration with cover for their actions. And if he pulls it off? Domestic laws he railroads through a compliant Congress don't apply internationally. The ranchette becomes a prison.
On that note, Richard A. Serrano's "'Nice, Sweet Lady,' 83, Deported for Nazi Past" (Los Angeles Times):
She lived alone in a tiny, top-floor apartment in one of the tougher sections of San Francisco. At 83, she was short and a bit stout. Diabetes took the sight in one of her eyes; arthritis left her leaning heavily on a cane. For long trips, she took a taxi.
Her husband had died. He was the love of her long life, a short, dapper man who had worked as a bartender and waiter at some of the city's larger hotels and was active in Jewish activities. They buried him in a Jewish cemetery outside the city.
He had been gone just a short while when two officials from the Justice Department in Washington knocked on her door. They confronted her with a terrible secret that all these years she had managed to keep from him. In Germany during World War II, a much younger Elfriede Lina Rinkel, then single, a girl with blue eyes and striking red hair, had worked as an SS guard at one of the Nazi regime's infamous concentration camps. Called Ravensbruck, it was a slave labor prison for women, and during the year she worked there with a trained attack dog more than 10,000 women died.Some succumbed to starvation and disease. Others were gassed. More died after cruel medical experiments. Some perished from sheer exhaustion.On Tuesday, the Justice Department announced that the woman with the pleasant smile and the German accent had been deported to Germany. She admitted that she had lied on her U.S. visa application.
Remember that Camp Democracy continues in Washington DC -- free and open to the public -- and that today is Women's Peace Day and is joint-sponsored by NOW and CODEPINK (among those scheduled to participate is Howard Zinn). . A complete schedule can be found here.
The Feminist Wire notes:
This Wednesday, the women's peace group CodePink and the National Organization for Women are sponsoring Women for Peace Day at Camp Democracy. CodePink, a group that aims for compassion-based policies and a focus on international law while rejecting the Bush administrations "fear-based policies," has been promoting the "Troops Home Fast," a hunger strike to expedite the return of US soldiers. On Wednesday, some participants will break their fast at Camp Democracy. Other activities on Wednesday include a discussion on how to end violence in Iraq, an update on the violence against women in Juarez, a panel discussion by military women, and a history workshop led by Howard Zinn.
On KPFA's The Morning Show this morning, Phyllis Bennis, David Bacon and Nora Ephron are among the guests.
And this is a quick link-fest in case you missed that. The e-mail address for this site is firstname.lastname@example.org and the plan is to have the Iraq snapshot done somewhere close to the usual time but no promises.
richard a. serrano
the los angeles times
the morning show
the feminist wire