Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Reviewing War Crimes, Green and Silence

Yesterday,  AP's Brett Barrouquere broke the news that 28-year-old War Criminal Steven D. Green (below) was found dead in his Arizona prison cell on Saturday and that, currently, the operating belief is that it was a case of suicide.

Steven D. Green

May 7, 2009 Steven D. Green was convicted for his crimes in the  March 12, 2006 gang-rape and murder of Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi, the murder of her parents and the murder of her five-year-old sister 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.

We noted that in an entry yesterday as well as in the Iraq snapshot.

Right now, we'll note Steve Almasy (CNN) is reporting something very different from what has been the public story.  What has previously been said is that Green was discovered dead on Saturday in his cell and that the reason the announcement wasn't made by the prison prior to Tuesday was because the prison officials -- like many Americans -- were on a three day weekend (Saturday and Sunday and then Monday's Presidents Day).  Almasy reports he died Saturday, however, he also reports this detail, "Steven Green was found unresponsive last Thursday, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons."

That should have resulted in an announcement by Friday and someone should have been prepared to break their 3 day weekend long enough for an announcement should Green have passed away.

Iraq Times notes today that Green was found dead and that it was the apparent result of Green hanging himself.  Alsumaria notes that the cause of death was not yet officially announced.  (It has been ruled a suicide, Steve Almasy reports.)  Kitabat reviews the details of the War Crimes including the murder of Abeer's parents and sister in an adjoining room while Abeer was being gang-raped.  All Iraq News files the longest report and notes one of Green's attorney insists Green was looking forward to an upcoming visit by a film documentary maker and that's just more fantasy (or lies) from Green's awful defense.  We noted in real time that they were incompetent.  They continue to be so.

Was Green looking forward to a visit?

How do you know that?

The attorney states that he last heard from Green about two months ago in a letter.

About two months ago?

Well aren't you just the perfect person to speak to Green's state of mind!  (That was sarcasm.)

The War Crimes were appalling.  They should have been widely known.  That was not the case because we have a lazy US media -- lazy and often corrupt.  We'll be kind and leave unnamed the two 'reporters' for the New York Times whose article on the War Crimes presented a defense -- presented the defense -- that would initially be attempted in a piece of advocacy passed off as 'reporting' -- a defense military expert Eugene Fidel would note was unheard of.  But not to the Times which responded to the initial revelations that their original reporting -- blaming the murders on 'terrorism' -- was wrong by going into the tank for the defense.

There were reporters for the Times who covered the military's Article 32 hearings -- covered them as they happened, who did strong work.  The Washington Post did some strong work, CNN did, Huffington Post did, AP did very strong work, Time magazine offered strong coverage, and some local media did so as well.

But that's really it.

We covered the case here throughout.  That usually meant depending on AFP, Even Bright and court filings.

We covered every aspect.

And that's due to reporter Sandra Lupien whom KPFA was not smart enough to make a news anchor of their evening news.

Sandra Lupien broke the news of Green's arrest.  The story was unknown.  The press that had reported on the 4 murders had blamed them on Iraqi terrorists.

July 2, 2006, Sandra Lupien went about her thorough research for the morning news breaks she did on KPFA and came across an FBI press release about Green's arrest the Friday before.  Unlike everyone else, Lupien realized what a news item this was.  As a result, she and KPFA broke the story before anyone else -- that Green was arrested.

Sandra Lupien deserves real credit for her work.  The outlets and Evan Bright named above deserve real credit.

But there was so much silence.  So much silence.

This is when it became obvious how useless the so-called left media, the so-called independent media, actually was.

I made that comment at one point to Alexander Cockburn and his response was to immediately write about Abeer.  It was the first mention of her to appear in The Nation.  And it was the last.  For a very, very long time.  One mention to Alex and he's on it.

But it took a public shaming campaign to get Katha Pollitt to 'write' 'about' Abeer.

You may remember, when Cindy Sheehan announced her intent to run against Nancy Pelosi that Katha Pollitt -- who does not live in California, let alone in the district -- immediately rushed to blog -- probably told what to write by JournoList -- and explained that a woman shouldn't run.  That was the 'feminist' thing to do, for Katha.  There was Katha explaining how 'important' she thought Cindy Sheehan was.  But Katha had a monthly column in print in The Nation and blog posts at the website.  Yet somehow, in the years since Cindy stepped forward publicly, Katha had never ever made time to write one word about her.

Apparently, 'feminist' Katha didn't feel the need to promote feminism.

Not with regards to Iraq, anyway.

But the public shaming finally forced Katha to mention Abeer.

And it was so hard for Katha to write about Abeer that she tuckered herself out in one sentence.

Thank you, brave 'feminist' Katha.

A 14-year-old girl was gang-raped while her parents and younger sister were killed in the next room, then she is shot dead.

This is all done by US soldiers.

And 'feminist' Katha doesn't see it as a story worth telling.

What does a ___ (use your favorite word of choice) like Katha do?

She makes like Gail Collins wasting everyone's time with 'columns' that are lists and, like Gail Collins, wrongly believing she is humorous -- now that is funny! -- and wasting everyone's time with her attempts at pith.

Arianna Huffington didn't play.

She ensured Abeer was a topic at The Huffington Post.

She deserves credit for that.

Matthew Rothschild, Ruth Conniff, all the high horse riders of The Progressive couldn't be bothered with Abeer.  We can name many, many more outlets and persons.  And we do need to note KPFA's awful 'feminist' program.  Abeer almost got named on an episode but the host cut the guest off quickly.

Let's be clear that this was an ongoing issue.  First, in July 2006, you had the revelations of the charges.  Then for those still in the military, the Article 32 hearings.  Then, the next year (2007), the courts-martial.  Then Green's public trial in 2009.  There were any number of opportunities to cover this story and, by the time Green's civilian trial started in Kentucky, the weak 'It's taking place out of the country' claim didn't fly.

Green had idiots for attorneys.  We noted that in real time.

If they made a huge mistake, I noted not only that but what they should do to improve it.

Green was guilty, that was never in question -- execpt with his idiot attorneys who seemed to think they were Raymond Burr in an episode of Perry Mason and certain to dazzle the bench.

But if you never got how stupid his attorneys were, note that one is saying Green felt he was treated unfairly compared to the others (that is true that Green felt that way, he said so publicly) and the attorney then offers that there's some truth in that.

No, there's no truth in that.

In any group crime, the police and prosecution always count on at least one participant breaking a code of silence to get a better deal.

That happened in this case.

Green's civilian attorneys should have immediately realized Green needed to make that deal.

American military courts don't deal harshly with War Crimes.  We've seen that over and over.  Green was going to be tried in a civilian court which meant that a sense of ethical obligation was going to be at play.  The smart thing to do would be for Green to cut a squeal deal.

Not only did that provide the others with a better deal, there's also the fact that we're looking at four murders.

Green killed Abeer's parents, he killed Abeer's sister and he killed Abeer.

That was all Green.  He pulled the trigger over and over.

Green was insane -- an insanity defense might have gotten better results for Green -- but apparently his attorneys were as well.

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evan bright