March 12, 2006, Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi, a 14-year-old Iraqi girl, was gang-raped by two US soldiers while a third shot her parents and five-year-old sister dead. The third soldier, Steven D. Green, then joined the the other two soldiers and took part in the gang-rape before shooting Abeer dead and then attempting to set her body on fire.The illustration to the right is from The Third Estate Sunday Review's "Justice for Abeer and her family?" and, based on James Barker's court room confession, it shows Barker and Paul Cortez beginning the gang-rape of Abeer. Steven D. Green had already been discharged from the US military when the War Crimes came to light so he is on trial in a Kentucky federal court.
Paul Cortez and James Barker were tried in military courts and entered pleas of guilty. Jesse Spielman was convicted in a military court of mutliple charges (rape, intent to rape, felony murder, etc.). Brian L. Howard entered a guilty plea to being an accessory.
Yesterday Anthony Yribe offered testimony. Iran's Press TV reports Yribe stated that Steven Green had bragged of the War Crimes to him not once but twice "hours after the March 12, 2006 attack and again the next day." Press TV notes:
Also on Wednesday, jurors saw photos taken by Yribe hours after the attack. The photos showed a mother, father and small girl lying in pools of blood with shotgun wounds. Other photos showed badly charred and barely recognizable human remains.
AFP notes Yribe stated he didn't believe Green at first, "I wanted to know if he was serious or if it was just him talking. He said he was serious. He said he had done it alone. I said, 'You're dead to me, man.' I said that he needed to get out of the army and that if he didn't do it, that I was going to help him." Yribe didn't reveal the War Crimes. Asked why, he replied, "He's one of my brothers. I'm not going to tell on him. I'm half way protecting him and I half way didn't believe him . . . I don't know if I was just being naïve or what."
Brett Barrouquere (AP) continues his years of coverage on this story and notes that the jury was shown photos Yribe took (as part of the military investigation) "hours after the attacks" when everyone (except those involved and Yribe) thought 'insurgents' were responsible for the crimes. Barrouquere notes, "Green sat at the defense table, rubbing his eyes, staring at Yribe and looking around the room."
Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) includes Steven D. Green's trial in today's headlines.
Meanwhile Bully Boy Bush's plans for Iraq continue. Jeff Schogol (Stars and Stripes) reports James Conway (Marine Corps Commandant General)is stating that Marines should be departing Iraq in 2010. That was the plan, even when Gen David Petreaus was the top US commander in Iraq. It was announced. It was covered repeatedly by the press.
Watch many rush to pretend otherwise and hail this as 'victory'. An e-mailer to the public account asks that we note this from Robert Dreyfuss' "Is Obama Fiddling While Iraq Burns?" (The Nation):
It's too early to say that the Iraqi resistance is back, but the recent increase in violence -- including a series of horrific bomb attacks and a rise in small-scale attacks -- suggests that Iraq is not exactly a stable, post-civil war society. The question is: Is President Obama fiddling while Iraq burns?
Flashpoints include the Arab-Kurdish conflict over Kirkuk and other disputed areas, along with the still-simmering intra-Shiite conflicts. But the main fault line remains the divide between the mainly Shiite national government -- including Prime Minister Maliki's ruling bloc and various other pro-Iranian Shiite parties -- and the nationalist Sunni forces, including the now-disintegrating former Awakening (sahwa) movement, also known as the Sons of Iraq.
Is he fiddling? He's fibbing, that's for sure. Corinne Reilly and Hussein Kadhim (McClatcy Newspapers) observe:
President Barack Obama acknowledged Wednesday night that violence has risen in recent weeks, but he said the levels of violence were still below last year's.
Calling recent bombings "a legitimate cause for concern," Obama said "civilian deaths . . . remain very low compared to what was going on last year."
But statistics kept by McClatchy show that in Baghdad alone, more than 200 people have been killed in attacks so far this month, compared with 99 last month and 46 in February, according to a McClatchy count.
The last time McClatchy recorded more than 200 civilian deaths in one month in the capital was more than a year ago, in March 2008.
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