Sunday, December 19, 2010

And the war drags on . . .

Steven D. Green

May 7, 2009 Steven D. Green (pictured above) was convicted for his crimes in March 12, 2006 gang-rape and murder of Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi, the murder of her parents Kassem and Fakhriya and the murder of her five-year-old sister Hadeel while Green was serving in Iraq. Green was found to have killed all four, to have participated in the gang-rape of Abeer and to have been the ringleader of the conspiracy to commit the crimes and the conspiracy to cover them up. May 21, 2009, the federal jury deadlocked on the death penalty and instead kicking in sentence to life in prison. September 4, 2009, he was sentenced. Throughout it all, he failed to take accountability, instead whining and playing the victim. AP's Brett Barrouquere was one of the first reporters to cover Green's crimes ad he continues to cover the case today able to report on an interview he's done with Green.

During the interview, Green whines about himself a lot and -- as with his court appearance -- demonstrates no remorse or real accountability for his actions. At one point, he tells Barrouquere, "If I hadn't ever been in Iraq, I wouldn't be in the kind of trouble I'm in now. I'm not happy about that." Well he could have gotten the death penalty, maybe he should be happy. Death is what he sentenced two young Iraqi girls and their parents to. Abeer's surviving family was very upset that he was going to prison and not getting the death penalty.

Green killed four people, in cold blood. While he likes to lessen the rape, it was gang-rape and he went last. Plenty of time to 'cool off' (he's claiming he couldn't think more than 10 minutes into the future). He took part in the gang-rape and he killed Abeer. And before he killed her, he'd already killed her sister and her two parents.

He killed four people. He gang-raped a 14-year-old girl. A 14-year-old girl he'd already been stalking. He'd stopped her at the neighborhood checkpoint, made unwanted advances and comments, her parents were getting her out of town, she would have been gone the next morning. But he and his friends broke into the family's home and gang-raped Abeer while she could hear Green killing her parents and her sister in the next room, then Green raped her, killing her after he got off and then attempting to set her corpse on fire.

He tries to claim in his latest revision of history that he was despondent over deaths in Iraq but, as the jury was informed during the trial, "screwing Iraqi chicks" was what they'd been talking about as they began plotting, not about any deaths.

Green was tried in civilian court because he had already been discharged when the crimes came to light. His co-conspirators were tried in military court (and were found guilty or admitted their guilt). On the military side, it started with an August 2006 Article 32 hearing held in Iraq in which US Army Capt Alex Pickands pointed out:

Green's been playing the victim for some time. In his interview today, he's claiming he enlisted out of 'duty to country.' Really? Because it's already on record that he enlisted because he'd been arrested (again) and exhausted all other avenues. (He's also very lucky his juvenile records remain sealed.) At 19, with his record, he was looking at doing time. It was jail or the military and he made his choice.

From day one, he's been convinced (and his attorneys believe it as well) that he doesn't belong behind bars for life and that's how he's acted all along (it's why he wasn't able to pull off a plea bargain, Marisa Ford wasn't going to go along with a slap on the wrist for a gang-rape and four murders). He killed four people in cold blood.

To this day, there has been no effort on his part to acknowledge what his actions did -- that's why Abeer's family was outraged in the courtroom with her aunt having to leave the courtroom so enraged was she by his cavalier remarks.

Green needs to take responsible for his actions. He wants to blame the military. The killers of Pfc Joseph John Anzack, Sgt 1st Class James D. Connell, Spc Daniel W. Courneya, Pfc Byron Wayne Fouty, Spc Alex Ramon Jimenez, Cpl Christopher E. Murphy and Sgt Anthony J. Schober are responsible for their actions as well. But it is something that Green has still never mentioned the 7 dead US soldiers whose killers claimed that they attacked because of the War Crimes carried out in Abeer's home -- they named. And this was before the US military was aware of what took place, they made their claim of retaliation for the murder and rape before the US military knew about what really happened at Abeer's home (it had been done by 'insurgents' was the finding at that time). After the assault on the seven soldiers (three of whom were in kidnapped status at the time and would later be found to be dead), Pfc Justin Watt came forward with what he'd heard the co-consipirators say and do (he came forward at the end of June 2006, a month after the assault on US soldiers). Green has never publicly acknowledged the deaths of those 7 soldiers. But he wants to repeatedly claim his actions were forced on him.

They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.
-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)

Last Sunday, the number of US military people killed in the Iraq War since the start of the illegal war was 4433 (but listed as 4430 by the Defense Dept which hadn't updated at the time). Tonight? PDF format warning, DoD lists the the number of Americans killed serving in Iraq at 4433 still.

In today's reported violence, Reuters notes that today's violence included 11 corpses discovered in Mosul, 2 Baghdad roadside bombings which left six people injured (half police, half Iraqi soldiers), 1 police officer stabbed to death in Baghdad, a Baghad sticky bombing which injured one person and, dropping back to Saturday, 1 security guard was shot dead in Baghdad and a Baghdad roadside bombing injured four people.

Ammar Karim (AFP -- with a date of tomorrow) reports
, "The upcoming announcement gives parliament five days to consider and approve ministers ahead of a Saturday deadline for a government to be named, with a year to go before US troops must withdraw from Iraq completely." That's what's supposed to happen. Though some in the press are either confused or attempting to buy time for Nouri. It's a point that escapes Gabriel Gatehouse (BBC News) who apparently foolishly believes that Nouri names nominees and that's the end of story.

I'm not interested in tonight. I'm not. I'm just not in the mood for all the damn liars and damn idiots in the press who apparently can't take the time to read the Iraqi Constitution yet want to pose as experts on it. Ammar Karim is correct. The New York Times, BBC, et al are either stupid or whoring and I'm just not in the damn mood. There is no accountability in the press. They are not bound by facts and what's taking place is not minor. Intentionally or not, they are getting the facts wrong and this is basic and was basic in 2006, the last time this process was gone through.

I'm not interested in fact checking idiots or liars like Serena Chuadhry of Reuters who can't grasp that tomorrow Nouri is set to announce nominees and that the nominees (pay attention, Serena) will have to be approved by the Parliament. I'm sick of it. This is so damn basic and everyone reporting from Iraq should have grasped it. The idiocy on display -- or the desire to knowingly lie -- is appalling.

It gets so damn old. When the press was declaring in November that "the stalemate was over!" we were left to do the clean up and point out that Iraq elected MPs on March 7th. That wasn't in doubt. The post of president is ceremonial. The executive branch is the prime minister and his/her cabinet. Until that is created, the stalemate continues. They couldn't get those basics in real time and now they still can't get the basics. You wonder what the hell they learned in J-school because research and analysis certainly weren't required skills to earn a diploma.

I always start with the premise that I'm the dumbest person in the room and the one who has to play the most catch up. When the bulk of the press is behind me on basic details, that's not only depressing, it's scary as hell.

New content at Third:

Isaiah's latest goes up after this. Pru notes "Student occupations have focused the struggle:"

Some students suspended university occupations this week as the winter holiday approaches—but others are vowing to stay in over Christmas and more began new occupations.

Students in Sheffield, Manchester, Bradford, UCL, Soas and Newcastle are among those that have suspended occupations. But they are clear that they will be back to fight in January.

At the University of Kent, students have been occupying part of the senate building since Wednesday 8 December.

“It’s indefinite,” said Andrew Hoyle, one of the occupiers. “Our campus security are threatening to turn off the electricity when term ends this Friday, but people are determined to stay.

“Workers have got over 200 people to sign a statement to support us.”

Workers at Hull university are also petitioning to raise support for the students.

Other students began new occupations this week.

Students at the University of Hull and Aberystwyth University began occupying on Monday of this week.

Kieran Ford, from the Aberystwyth occupation, said, “Thursday’s vote has not halted our momentum.

“Come the new year, Aberystwyth students will continue their campaign of action against cuts.”

The following should be read alongside this article:

Day X3 - the day students shook the Tory coalition

Workers support for students is key

UCU union demands inquiry into policing of student protest

Where next for student movement?

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