Thursday, March 20, 2014

Abu Ghraib, Collective Punishment, War Crimes

The Associated Press notes:

Ten years ago: Hundreds of thousands of people worldwide rallied against the U.S.-led war in Iraq on the first anniversary of the start of the conflict. The U.S. military charged six soldiers with abusing inmates at the Abu Ghraib prison. 

On the issue of the Abu Ghraib prison abuse, the Center for Constitutional Rights issued the following two days ago:

March 18, 2014, Richmond, VA– A month before the 10-year anniversary of the Abu Ghraib torture photos, attorneys from the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and co-counsel urged a federal appeals court to re-open a case brought by four Iraqi Abu Ghraib torture victims against private military contractor CACI Premier Technology, Inc. The men were subjected to electric shocks, sexual violence, forced nudity, broken bones, and deprivation of oxygen, food, and water. U.S. military investigators concluded that several CACI interrogators directed U.S. soldiers (who were later court martialed) to commit “sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses” of Abu Ghraib detainees in order to “soften” them up for interrogations.  
Said Center for Constitutional Rights Legal Director Baher Azmy, “U.S. courts must at last provide a remedy for the victims of torture at Abu Ghraib.  CACI indisputably played a key role in those atrocities, and it is time for them to be held accountable. The lower court’s ruling creates lawless spaces where corporations can commit torture and war crimes and then find safe haven in the United States. That’s a ruling that should not stand.”
A district court judge dismissed the case in June by narrowly interpreting the Supreme Court’s decision in Kiobel v. Shell/Royal Dutch Petroleum to foreclose Alien Tort Statute (ATS) claims arising in Iraq, even though CACI is a U.S. corporation contracted by the U.S. government, it conspired with U.S. soldiers who  were punished in U.S. courts martial, and the torture and war crimes occurred at a time when the United States exercised jurisdiction and control over both Iraq and Abu Ghraib prison. CCR attorneys cited the Supreme Court holding in Kiobel that ATS claims could go forward in cases that “touch and concern” the United States “with sufficient force” and argued that this case, implicating an American corporation for acts condemned at the highest levels of the U.S. government, falls squarely within the that standard.  
In dismissing the torture survivors’ claims, the district judge did not suggest that their allegations of torture and conspiracy involving CACI were unfounded. 
Attorneys for the plaintiffs also urged the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals today to reinstate state law claims against CACI and to reject CACI’s request that the case be dismissed because it involves a “political question.”
Arguments took place before Judges Judges Keenan, Floyd and Cogburn.

Shereef Akeel & Valentine, P.C. in Troy, Michigan, Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LP, and George Brent Mickum IV are co-counsel.

Today, Iraq War veteran Ryan Endicott will be on Abby Martin's Breaking The Set (RT) to discuss Iraq.

Today in Iraq, Nouri's assault on Anbar Province continued.  NINA reports the military shelling of residential neighborhoods in Falluja left ten civilians ("including three children") injured.

How long is the White House going to pretend that Nouri's actions aren't War Crimes?

Probably, Barack and company will continue to pretend as long as the bulk of the American people stay silent.

Each day brings injuries and deaths to the citizens in Falluja and Ramadi whose 'crime' is having a home there.  It's a War Crime to use Collective Punishment (in this case suspecting terrorists are in Falluja -- a populated city -- or Ramadi -- also a populated city -- so bombing the whole cities to 'get' the terrorists).

Silence is endorsing the War Crimes, silence on the part of the Americans, silence on the part of the world.

The US government arms Nouri -- Barack strong-armed Congress to go along -- and he uses those weapons to terrorize and kill the Iraqi people.

Ned Parker, Ahmed Rasheed and Suadad al-Salhy (Reuters) have an important report which opens:

The video shows a male corpse lying in the dirt, one end of a rope tied around his legs, the other fastened to the back of an armoured Humvee.
Men in Iraqi military uniforms mingle by the vehicle. Someone warns there might be a bomb on the body. One hands another his smartphone. Then he stands over the body, smiles, and offers a thumbs-up as his comrade takes a photo. The Humvee starts to move, dragging the dead man behind it into the desert.

The short video was shown to Reuters last week by an Iraqi national police officer. It captures what appear to be Iraqi soldiers desecrating the corpse of a fighter from the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), a group reconstituted from an earlier incarnation of al Qaeda in Iraq.

From the January 31st snapshot:

On YouTube video has surfaced of Nouri's forces today . . . next to a man being burned alive.  Did they set the Sunni male on fire?  It appears they're not concerned with putting out the fire so it's fair to conclude they started it.   It's the sort of government cruelty that's led Iraqis to protest in the first place.

Moving over to today's violence across Iraq,  AFP notes, "Late night bombings at a Baghdad cafe left 13 people dead, officials said Thursday."  National Iraqi News Agency reports an assassination attempt on Colonel Khaled Kinnear in Eshaqi left two of his bodyguards injured, 1 member of the police shot dead in Baquba, assailants in Iraqi military uniforms kidnapped Mayor Salah Sabhan and his son from their homes and killed them outside Hawija, a roadside bombing left two police members injured in Mosul, an armed clash in Jurf al-Sakar left 5 rebels dead and one police member injured, Joint Operations Command announced 8 suspects were killed on the "outskirts of Fallujah," Diyala Police announced they killed 6 suspects "in villages south of Buhriz" and an Alshallalat car bombing left 1 Peshmerga dead,  and 2 corpses were discovered in Mosul ("signs of torture").

The following community sites -- plus Ms. magazine's blog, Susan's On the Edge, and Pacifica Evening News -- updated:

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    ahmed rasheed