Friday, May 01, 2009

The War Crimes trial continues

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. Though four US soldiers already are serving time for the War Crimes and were tried in military court, another is on trial in a fedearl court. The United States District Court Western District of Kentucky is the location of the ongoing trial of Steven D. Green who has been described as the "ringleader" and fingered as the one who killed all four, a participant in the gang-rape of Abeer and the one who thought up the criminal conspiracy. Green's attorneys do not dispute it but ask that the 'context' of his actions be considered. The trial that began Monday.

Among those offering testimony yesterday were Jesse Spielman and James Barker. Barker was tried in a military court and entered a guilty plea. Barker's testimony followed a court order after Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky Candace G. Hill filed a motion which Judge Thomas B. Russell signed off on and it included: "No testimony or other information compelled under this Order (or any information directly or indirectly derived from such testimony or other information) may be used against James Paul Barker in any criminal case, except a prosecution for perjury, giving a false statement, or otherwise failing to comply with this Order." Wednesday, Anthony Yribe testified and Hill also filed a motion to compell his testimony (which Judge Russell also signed off on). Paul Cortez also confessed to his part in the War Crimes and was sentenced by a military court. Hill has also had to file a motion to compell his testimony (which Judge Russel has signed off on). Cortez has yet to testify.

Jesse Speilman testified yesterday and was not under court-order. Brett Barrouquere (AP) quotes Speilman stating on the witness stand that he wasn't aware what the plan was when he joined Green and other soldiers: "I knew we were going to do something. We'd gone and roughed people up before. It's not all that uncomon."

As Marcia observed last night:

But grasp that he says, "We'd gone and roughed people up before. It's not all that uncommon."
The gang-rape and the murders was apparently uncommon; however, the roughing up of Iraqis, the sneaking off base to rough up Iraqis at night was "not all that uncommon."
It's a real damn shame so little of the country gives a damn about the March 2006 War Crimes or the trial going on right now because a lot is being learned.

Steven D. Green received his GED in 2003 and joined the military in February 2005, shortly after his January 31st arrest. He entered the military on a 'moral' waiver and he was discharged May 16, 2006. Three weeks ago, Yahoo Answers offered a survey asking if people supported Steven D. Green's actions?

Responses included:

* Do you support actions of Steven D. Green (corrected former US Army Specialist)?
No. what sane person would.
Would I support the death penalty in this case? YES, you bet.
Do you support Lee Harvey Oswald or Lt Calley, Giuseppe Zangara , the attempted assassin of United States President-elect Franklin Delano Roosevelt.and WW1 Italian Army veteran.
You forget, the Military is a microcosm of the general society. There will always be in every conflict that we become involved in, some idiotic or barbaric behavior on the part of a very small percentage of our soldiers or other military personnel.
In fact, overall, the percentage of criminal activity in the US military vs the US Civil populace is very small since there are filtering processes exist that weed out a good many of the thugs from military service.
It would be nice if you decided to ask questions about those individuals that killed American journalist Daniel Pearl and what should happen with those scumbags.

* I hope you are not implying that we who support the troops support this. They are not at all the same. Some bad apples will never spoil the whole military full of brave Americans.

* He raped a 14 year old girl, then killed her and her entire family, how could someone possibly support those actions.

The trial continues today and is expected to continue next week.

In other Iraq news, Zeina Karam (AP) examines life for Iraqi refugees in Syria and we'll note this section:

"Life here is better. My children can play outside and I know they'll come back. You never know what's going to happen there," said Taghrid Hadi, who fled Iraq in September 2006 after gunmen kidnapped and killed her husband, dumping his mutilated body outside their home just north of Baghdad.

And Josh White reports on the effects the recent report released by the Senate Armed Services Committee has had re: Abu Ghraib in "Abu Ghraib Guards Say Memos Show They Were Scapegoats" (Washington Post):

When the photos of detainee abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq surfaced in 2004, U.S. officials portrayed Army Pvt. Charles A. Graner Jr. as the ringleader of a few low-ranking "bad apples" who illegally put naked Iraqi detainees in painful positions, shackled them to cell doors with women's underwear on their heads and menaced them with military dogs.
Now, the recent release of Justice Department memos authorizing the use of harsh interrogation techniques has given Graner and other soldiers new reason to argue that they were made scapegoats for policies approved at high levels. They also contend that the government's refusal to acknowledge those polices when Graner and others were tried undermined their legal defenses.

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brett barrouquere

thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends