Monday, July 30, 2007

Gordo covers secret prisons & secret 'justice'

The 'cutest' thing about War Pornographer Michael Gordon's "Justice From Behind the Barricades in Baghdad" in this morning's New York Times may be the dateline: "BAGHDAD, July 26". Today is July 30th. Now Gordo doesn't get the prize for longest delay into print (that goes to Ultimate Embed Dexy Filkins with his 'award' winning rah-rah on the slaughter of Falluja which reported on events from Nov. 15, 2004 on Nov. 21, 2004). For those just waking up, Thursday was July 26th. (Gordo's on MNF time, see last entry.)

Gordo tells you that the US has "erected a legal Green Zone, a heavily fortified compound to shelter judges and their families and secure the trials of some of the most dangerous suspects." Now Gordo says "Americans the Iraqi government" but whose the mood for lies this morning? Nouri al-Maliki, puppet of the occupation, couldn't stop the construction of barriers throughout Baghdad so let's not pretend the Iraqi government could have stopped this if they had wanted to. We're told later on that this is scam is via Ryan Crocker and Davey Petraeus.

And let's not pretend that Gordo's description is in anyway reality. You have to read further on to get to the tent jails. But even those who don't read further, do they grasp there is no democracy in Iraq and there will be none with a puppet government? You can't have democracy when you have to wall away judges. Not only does it reflect that there is no support from the people, it will lead to a separation between the judges and the people and not a feeling of "we're all in this together." (A point Gordo slides past with the judges "separating themselves and their families from life outside the complex's gates" and an unnamded judge who brags/laments, "I have not seen Baghdad for three months.") Not only are they walled away from the citizenry they are allegedly a part of (that is how democracy works) their names are kept secret. Apparently, accountability has been walled away as well. The names of those tried, however, can be released.

Gordo tells you it's called "The Rule of Law Complex" which we'll grab the positive take on and note at least they still have their humor in Iraq.

The ten jails are in Rusafa. And initial admission was 2,500 but they hope to increase their student boy to 5,000 in time for the fall semester. That means putting 15 suspects (and they are suspects or prisoners, they are not 'detainees') into a single cell.

One prisoner/suspect is Dawood Yousef who has been held for over six months at various places including Rusafa. At one trial a day, maybe he'll finally find out whether he's guilty or innocent in four years? Innocent? Not likely to be a verdict reached the way the system is set up with training coming from military lawyers and the FBI. And not only are the investigators names kept secret but ones reveals he is under suspicion for wanting to marry a Sunni woman. Ah, justice via the Bully Boy. We also learn that witnesses are cross-examined by the presiding judge who then reports the findings to a full judge. That's something, it's not a legal system anyone can call open or fair, but it is something.

But what does cross matter when the witnesses testimony is kept secret from all but the judges?

Gordo writes: "The investigators relied heavily on witnesses, who were taken through a special entrance in the court offices so they could be interviewed confidentially. Their statements were entered in a file that only the judges were allowed to read."

Turning to the AP, Ryan Lenz' "Court-Martial Near in Iraq Rape-Killing" reports on Abeer (and Lenz and others at AP have never had the problem the New York Times and some other outlets have had in naming Abeer). Paul Cortez and James P. Barker have already confessed to their participation in the gang-rape of Abeer and to taking part in while Steven D. Green murdered Abeer's parents and her five-year-old sister and then joined them to take part in the gang-rape and then murder Abeer. Green maintains he is innocent. Lenz is focusing on Jesse Spielman who faces a court-martial today at Fort Campbell:

Spielman is not accused of raping and killing Abeer Qassim al-Janabi or slaying her family in March 2006 midway through a yearlong deployment for the Fort Campbell-based 101st Airborne Division.
Instead, prosecutors say he knew of the plan, did nothing to stop it once it began and touched the girl's nude body before the soldiers left, according to military charging documents released at the time of his arrest.
The documents also said Spielman was the only soldier wearing a military uniform when they entered the home. The others had changed into black nylon pants and shirts with cloth to cover their faces.

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