Thursday, May 28, 2009

I Hate The War

The wailing family matriarch, Hajia al-Janabi, lunged at Green as she left the witness stand, denouncing him as a coward, a criminal and a stigma on the United States, according to Louisville's Courier-Journal newspaper.
Security officers restrained the distressed woman, the newspaper said.
Another family member, Mahdi al-Janabi, said Green had lost the ability to distinguish between terrorists and Iraqi civilians.
Green was tried in a civilian court in Paducah, Kentucky, because he had been discharged from the Army by the time his crimes surfaced.
He was the last of five soldiers who served in the 101st Airborne Division, based at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, to be convicted for the crimes and their subsequent cover-up.

Background, May 7th, former US soldier Steven D. Green was found guilty on all counts for his role in the Iraq War Crimes from March 12, 2006, when Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi was gang-raped and murdered, her five-year-old sister was murdered and both of her parents were murdered. May 21st, the federal jury deadlocked on the death penalty and instead kicking in sentence to life in prison. September 4th, Green is scheduled to stand before US District Judge Thomas B. Russell for sentencing. The above excerpt (in bold) is from CNN's "Ex-soldier apologizes to Iraqi family for raping, killing" and, yes, Andrew Wolfson did report for the Courier-Journal that Hajia al-Janabi "lunged" at Steven D. Green. We didn't include it in the snapshot because no one else apparently saw that. Andrew Wolfson reported that the defense presented an argument . . . that the judge had barred from the court room. He'd ruled ahead of time that the argument couldn't be presentend -- and it wasn't, yet somehow Andrew Wolfson 'heard' it presented. Last Friday, he published a photo of "Abeer" that was actually a photo of her sister (still waiting for the correction to that from the Courier-Journal and from AP which ran with the photo after). Today, he reports that Hajia "lunged" but no one else in the court room was using that term in their reports. AP's report notes:

Surviving sons, Mohammed al-Janabi and Ahmed al-Janabi, said they didn't understand why Green killed their parents and sisters.
Five members of the al-Janabi family condemned Green for the slayings, calling him a dog, a coward and a criminal.

Don't see any lunging in their report. From today's snapshot:

WKLY has text and video:

Ann Bowdan: An outburst in federal court after relatives of an Iraqi family killed by a Kentucky-based soldier addressed the suspect for the first time. Steven Green was faced with the death penalty but will receive a life sentence instead. Hailee Lampert was in court today during this morning's and she's live downtown to tell us what happened.

Hailee Lampert: Ann, this was the most emotional, intense court hearing I have ever been to. At one point, the victim's grandmother got so upset she had to be restrained by multiple law enforcement agents who actually began escorting her out of the court room until she literally collapsed on the floor beside the bench where I was sitting. She was literally within arm's reach of me. And she was beside herself. She was that striken with grief.

Hailee Lampert adds that both of Abeer's brothers testified briefly.

Hailee Lampert: And at a certain point, the prosecutor pointed out Steven Green and one of the boys took a moment to look at him. His face remained stoic and cold and he was asked if he had anything to say to the suspect and the boy said "no." Then the man's sister took the stand and said, "I am not honored to look at Steven Green and I don't want to see his face." She said she doesn't understand why Green would would cross all those continents and oceans to come to Iraq and kill her family. She spoke directly to Steven Green, referring to him on multiple occassions as a coward and a criminal without mercy. Then the 14-year-old's grandmother took the stand echoing similar sentiments. Remember for her it was the first time being in the same room as the man convicted of killing her son and his family. Again the prosecutor pointed out Steven Green in the court room and after giving her testimony the elderly woman got up and began approching Green saying she just wanted to get a look at her. But as she began moving closer, law enforcement stepped in and physically held her back until she fell down crying on the ground beside the bench where I was sitting. Now at that point, the judge did allow her to stay in the court once she had calmed down a little but the uncle took the stand as well.

In another report,
Hailee Lampert (WLKY -- text and video) quotes the aunt stating, "The wounds are eating my heart. But he has no conscience.." The uncle is quoted stating, "The face of this innocent girl, that face will be chasing you in that dark cell you will be in until the last day of your life. Abir will follow you in your nightmares. On Judgment Day, you will see what your hand has done to us and to your nation."

Dr. Mohammad Akef Jamal ties in the War Crimes above with the War Crimes of Abu Ghraib. From his "No justice for Iraqi victims" (Gulf News):

The US occupation has its ways of protecting its soldiers. It also has its philosophers and godfathers, and it is only natural that they will try to protect the force's image.
However, it is unnatural for Iraqis who returned to Iraq with the invasion forces and who benefited from the change there to join the occupiers in misleading public opinion and hiding facts and truths.
Some of these people have, however, set out to justify some of the more egregious American behaviour. This group of Iraqis has called the highly professional torture carried out in Abu Ghraib 'mistreatment', while referring to other crimes, such as murder, as 'mistakes'.
Although these people are extremely eloquent in their defence of the US troops' conduct in Iraq, they have chosen to remain silent on the rapes committed by Americans, which have been exposed by humanitarian groups and committees in Iraq.
In its 2005 report, Human Rights Watch commented on the issue, while Britain's The Guardian newspaper ran an interview with an Iraqi on the subject.
The silence was broken when the news of the horrific Mahmoudiya incident came out. A poor Iraqi family had fallen prey to four US soldiers. The crime was clear, and was premeditated and unprovoked. The soldiers spent a week preparing for it.
The family's relatives testified later that Abeer was constantly complaining that the American soldiers at the checkpoint near her father's field, where she worked, were always hitting on her.
The incident shook Iraqis and the government was forced to act. Left with no other option, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki asked the Americans to withdraw protection from the four soldiers and allow the Iraqi courts to handle the case against them.
The request was rejected by US Deputy Foreign Secretary William Burns.

That's some of the coverage on Abeer. As per usual, there's not a whole lot. And that is very telling. An e-mail came into the public account on another subject. I'm replying here. Matthis Chiroux and Ehren Watada will hopefully receive good news. But neither is out and in the clear yet. Especially with regards to Ehren, I'm sorry I can't be an idiot like Margret Prescod and claim victory before the matter's resolved. But, though it may fail me from time to time, I do have common sense. I also have a memory.

For example, I remember when Roger Lee Priest was 'free.' And I bet you anything that if you ask these liars and know-nothngs who are saying Ehren's in the clear, Matthis is in the clear, who Priest is, they'll shrug their shoulders. They might toss out a guess.

But they damn well don't know.

Roger Lee Priest was in the Navy, Journalist Seaman Apprentice, when he published the underground newspaper OM which was a resistance magazine that included resources for those who wanted to self-checkout and go to Canada. He was charged with a variety of 'crimes' following Pig Mendel Rivers who chaired the US House Armed Services Committee complaining about the way he was portrayed in Priest's newspaper. The court-martial resulted (April 27, 1970) in his being busted to E-1 rank, dishonorably discharged, and a reprimand in his file. This was appealed and he won on appeal -- the Navy Court of Military Review found a technical glitch that allowed them to reverse the ruling. It was a win! And many paraded it as such.

If the story ended there, I could join Margret Prescod and the others and say, "Ehren's won! Matthis has won! It's over!" But that wasn't the end of the story. The military, which everyone expected was tossing in the towel after such a public loss, turned around and appealed and the Appellate Court found that the Navy Court of Military Review was wrong, tossed out the reversal of the ruling, and sent the case back to the Navy Court of Military Review.

Hopefully Matthis Chiroux will soon learn that the recommendation by the board has been accepted and followed and he will be out of the military with a discharge he truly deserves. I don't see why the board would be overruled on this but the commander does have the power to overrule. With regards to Ehren, you're talking about a military that has refused to discharge him. Ehren's service contract ran out before he was court-martialed. He was kept in the military to be court-martialed. Judge Toilet (John Head) called a mistrial over defense objection because the prosecution was losing. Double jeopardy had attached and the latest ruling was that he couldn't be tried on the same charges. There are other charges, the ones the military set aside when they worked out the stipulation with Ehren.

Now some people want to dance in the streets with joy but this is a military that could have made this story go away before the court-martial. It could have made it go away in November 2007 when Judge Benjamin Settle first agreed on the double-jeopardy issue. There save face excuse would have been, "Ehren's contract expired sometime ago. We're discharging him." That didn't happen. And even when the military was informed that, yes, it was double-jeopardy, the case didn't go away.

Now I hope there's good news soon on Ehren. But I'm not an idiot. And I've seen this story play out before. Roger Lee Priest is only one example. Maybe the left would be better served if there was less gas bagging -- for the hour! -- with silly writers of silly books and a little more time spent on the history that matters? Maybe The Morning Show could stop trying to be a lifestyle magazine and find a way to actually impart knowledge? Maybe Uprising could offer more than a radical history 'moment'?

Maybe those who are supposed to be serving the community could take their positions a little bit more seriously and start doing the work required to inform and educate. On that topic, I ignored an e-mail last month from a frantic visitor. He's e-mailed four times in the last two days.

I hate, he insists, Hearts & Minds and I am part of the cover up that will not tell the truth about how when it won the Academy Award, Frank Sinatra and Bob Hope came to blows!

What the hell is he talking about? He heard it on a Pacifica station last month. (He did hear that. I know the show he heard it on, I know who said it, and we'll be kind and not name -- though we will note it was broadcast on Pacifica's Houston station.)

I have no idea what that man was smoking, but that NEVER happened.

Bob Hope was a right-winger and a military supporter. Frank Sinatra had been a Democrat. He already had multiple years as a Republican on him before that award was presented and he was an apologist for the slaughter in Vietnam. Sinatra and Hope were outraged by Peter Davis' win. There was no fight. They were both in agreement that Davis shouldn't have won and that the congratulatory telegram shouldn't have been read. That's why Hope sent Sinatra out to make a statement. Sinatra looked like a fool.

He and Hope didn't come to blows. That's nonsense and someone's smoked something much heavier than tobacco if they've convinced themselves that's true.

As for me hating Hearts & Minds, nothing could be futher from the truth. I ignored the Hope and Sinatra fight because it never happened and I was trying to be kind to the e-mailer and especially to the idiot who claimed on the radio that it happened. I've mentioned Peter Davis (whom I know and have huge respect for) here many times and I've mentioned what an amazing film Hearts & Minds is. It's amazing that Pacifica can't bring us the history of war resistance but they can broadcast a fight between Hope and Sinatra that never took place. One that the man in front of the microphone claimed took place at the Academy Awards presentation, on live TV, no less. Insisting things were 'wilder' back then.

It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

Last Thursday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4299. Tonight? 4303. [Note, count fixed. I just copy and pasted it last night and wasn't paying attention. My apologies.]

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