[News] Haditha is Not an Aberration

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Jun 2 11:30:10 EDT 2006


http://www.counterpunch.org/

June 2, 2006


Haditha is Not an Aberration


More, Lots More

By MIKE FERNER

Would somebody please tell me that the corporate 
news media is talking about U.S. war crimes in 
Iraq besides just the civilians killed in Haditha?!

I can only hope that my fellow citizens are not 
being told that this latest outrage tumbling out 
of Iraq is some isolated incident; that Herr 
Rumsfeld will diligently investigate it, and 
dispense timely justice to all guilty parties 
(below the rank of Lieutenant, of course).

JUST in case your Uncle Bob or Aunt Sophie has 
been asking you "Exactly what the hell is going 
on in Iraq?" and you're looking for hard facts to 
help them get off the fence, here you are.

Keep in mind these are just a few instances 
compiled by one citizen sitting in Toledo with an 
old computer connected to the internet ­ an 
indication that there just might be even more going on.

Keep in mind also, that the following acts are 
criminal violations of the law not just because 
they are really horrid inhumanities, but because 
Congress, the U.S. Constitution, and 
international law (yes, there are international 
laws binding on the U.S.) explicitly prohibit the 
very kinds of atrocities now rotting at the feet 
of George W. Bush. Each section below begins with 
the relevant law or treaty violated in Iraq or 
Afghanistan. Every one of them, and more, are 
documented at the 
<http://www.veteransforpeace.org/impeachment/violations_documented.pdf>Veterans 
For Peace website

Nuremberg Tribunal Charter

Principle VI: "The crimes hereinafter set out are 
punishable as crimes under international law:

(b) War crimes: murder, ill-treatmentof civilian 
population of or in occupied territory; murder or 
ill-treatment of prisoners of warplunder of 
public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages

Two Afghan prisoners who died in American custody 
in Afghanistan in December 2002 were chained to 
the ceiling, kicked and beaten by American 
soldiers in sustained assaults that caused their 
deaths, according to Army criminal investigative reports.

At least 26 prisoners have died in American 
custody in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2002 in 
what Army and Navy investigators have concluded 
or suspect were acts of criminal homicide, according to military officials

In Fallujah, 40% of the buildings were completely 
destroyed, 20% had major damage, and 40% had 
significant damage. That is 100% of the buildings in that city.

(c) Crimes against humanity: Murder, 
exterminationand other inhuman acts done against 
any civilian populationwhen such acts are donein 
execution of or in connection with any crime against peace or any war crime."

"We were tied up and beaten despite being unarmed 
and having only our medical instruments," Asma 
Khamis al-Muhannadi, a doctor who was present 
during the U.S. and Iraqi National Guard raid on 
Fallujah General Hospital told reporters later. 
She said troops dragged patients from their
beds and pushed them against the wall. "I was 
with a woman in labour, the umbilical cord had 
not yet been cut," she said. "At that time, a 
U.S. soldier shouted at one of the (Iraqi) 
national guards to arrest me and tie my hands 
while I was helping the mother to deliver."

Abu Hammad said he saw people attempt to swim 
across the Euphrates to escape the siege. "The 
Americans shot them with rifles from the shore," 
he said. "Even if some of them were holding white 
flag or white clothes over their heads to show 
they are not fighters, they were all shot."

Hammad said he had seen elderly women carrying 
white flags shot by U.S. soldiers. "Even the 
wounded people were killed. The Americans made 
announcements for people to come to one mosque if 
they wanted to leave Fallujah, and even the 
people who went there carrying white flags were killed."

The Geneva Conventions

Protocol I, Article 75:

"(1)persons who are in the power of a Party to 
the conflictshall be treated humanely in all 
circumstances(2) The following acts are and shall 
remain prohibitedwhether committed by civilian or 
by military agents: (a) violence to the life, 
health, or physical or mental well-being of 
persons(b) outrages upon personal dignity, in 
particular humiliating and degrading treatment, 
enforced prostitution and any form of indecent 
assaultand threats to commit any of the foregoing acts."

The investigation of the 800th Military Police 
Brigade by Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba found that 
"intentional abuse of detainees by military 
police personnel" included the following:

Punching, slapping, and kicking detainees; jumping on their naked feet

Videotaping and photographing naked male and female detainees

Forcibly arranging detainees in various sexually 
explicit positions for photographing

Forcing detainees to remove their clothing and 
keeping them naked for several days at a time

Forcing naked male detainees to wear women's underwear

Forcing groups of male detainees to masturbate 
themselves while being videotaped

Arranging naked male detainees in a pile and then jumping on them

Positioning a naked detainee on a MRE Box, with a 
sandbag on his head, and attaching wires to his 
fingers, toes, and penis to simulate electric torture

Placing a dog chain or strap around a naked 
detainee's neck and having a female soldier pose for a picture

A male MP guard having sex with a female detainee

Using military working dogs (without muzzles) to 
intimidate and frighten detainees, and in at 
least one case biting and severely injuring a detainee



Protocol I, Art. 70:

"The Parties to the conflictshall allow and 
facilitate rapid and unimpeded passage of all 
relief consignments, equipment and personneleven 
if such assistance is destined for the civilian 
population of the adverse Party."

Convoys sent by the Iraqi Red Crescent to aid the 
remaining population (in Fallujah) have been turned back.

Marked ambulances were repeatedly shot at by U.S. 
troops during the April, 2004 siege of Fallujah 
and troops prevented the distribution of medical supplies.

In Saqlawiyah, Dr Abdulla Aziz told IPS that 
occupation forces had blocked any medical 
supplies from entering or leaving the city. "They 
won't let any of our ambulances go to help 
Fallujah," he said. "We are out of supplies and 
they won't let anyone bring us more."



Protocol I, Art. 35:

"In any armed conflict, the right of the 
Partiesto choose methods or means of warfare is 
not unlimitedIt is prohibited to employ methods 
or means of warfare which are intended, or may be 
expected, to cause widespread, long-term and severe damage to the environment."

On April 1, 2003 the residential al-Hilla 
outskirts of Babylon were hit with an 
undetermined number of BLU-97 A/B cluster bombs. 
Each bomb releases 202 bomblets which scatter 
over an area the size of two football fields, 
with a dud rate of 5%-7%. Immediate reports 
stated that at least 33 civilians died and around 
300 were injured in the attack. Amnesty 
International condemned the attack, saying that 
"the use of cluster bombs in an attack on a 
civilian area of al-Hilla constitutes an 
indiscriminate attack and a grave violation of international humanitarian law."

On March 22, 2003, reporters from CNN and the 
Sydney Morning Herald - Melbourne Age embedded 
with the 1st Battalion 7th Marines at Safwan Hill 
near Basra reported air strikes dropping napalm.

Convention III, Art. 5:

"Should any doubt arise as to whether persons, 
having committed a belligerent act and having 
fallen into the hands of the enemy (are prisoners 
of war under this Convention), such persons shall 
enjoy the protection of the present Convention
until such time as their status has been determined by a competent tribunal."

President Bush issued an order on February 7, 
2002, specifying that the U.S. would not apply 
the Third Convention to members of Al Qaeda. That 
order set forth policies that led to the willful 
killing, torture, or inhuman treatment; and great 
suffering or serious injury to body or health, of 
prisoners in U.S. custody in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Guantanamo Bay.

Need more documentation? Try the 1996 War Crimes 
Act; the U.S. Constitution's Supremacy Clause, 
Article VI (par. 2); or the above-mentioned 
treaties such as the Geneva Conventions, the 
Nuremberg Principles, U.N. General Assembly resolutions, and others.

Just as the news media's fascination with Abu 
Ghraib was way after the fact and limited in 
scope, so too, is its present fascination with 
the Haditha killings. As they used to say during 
WWII, "There's a war on, ya know!" Exactly what 
do Americans think happens when their nation goes to war?

Dr. Jonathan Shay, a psychologist with years of 
experience treating Vietnam vets with PTSD and 
author of the seminal 
"<http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0684813211/counterpunchmaga>Achilles 
in Vietnam," gave his prescription for preventing 
that disease and preventing the breakdown of 
character that would likely happen to any of us 
in combat. It wasn't better training, or better 
diagnoses, or better drugs. He said "Abolish 
war." It's time we took his advice seriously.

Mike Ferner served as a Navy Corpsman during 
Vietnam and is a member of Veterans For Peace, 
whose slogan is "Abolish War!" He can be reached 
at: <mailto:mike.ferner at sbcglobal.net>mike.ferner at sbcglobal.net


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