< HOME  Sunday, March 19, 2006

Lost Souls

Four days ago, I wrote a post on a news report about the US bombing an Iraqi household to smithereens, killing 11 of its inhabitants, women and children included.

It turns out that the gruesome story in its entirety is one hundred times worse than the initial report. According to the autopsies, the victims were bound and shot in the head BEFORE the house was bombed.
Major Ali Ahmed of the Ishaqi police said U.S. forces had landed on the roof of the house in the early hours and shot the 11 occupants, including the five children.

"After they left the house they blew it up," he said.

Another policeman, Colonel Farouq Hussein, said autopsies had been carried out at Tikrit hospital and found "all the victims had gunshot wounds to the head".

The bodies, their hands bound, had been dumped in one room before the house was destroyed, Hussein said. Police had found spent American-issue cartridges in the rubble.

"It's a clear and perfect crime without any doubt," he said.

Police in Salahaddin province, a heartland of the Sunni Arab insurgency and the home region of Saddam Hussein, have frequently criticised U.S. military tactics in the area.

Police officers said the U.S. military had asked for a meeting with local tribal leaders. The Joint Co-ordination Centre in Tikrit which coordinates between U.S. and Iraqi security forces said later the meeting would happen on Friday.

Ishaqi's town administrator, Rasheed Shather, said the town was shocked: "Everyone went to the funeral. We want the Americans to give us an explanation for this horrible crime."

Photographs of the funeral showed men crying as five children, who all looked under the age of five, were wrapped in blankets and then lined up in a row. One man who described himself as a relative said one was just seven months old.

"They killed these innocent children. Are these considered terrorists? Is a seven-month-old child a terrorist?" he said angrily, speaking close to the remains of the house.

Local teacher Faeq Nsaef was also outraged: "An entire family was killed. It's a barbarian act."

These are war crimes and crimes against humanity under international law. Even if they escape punishment on earth, the perpetrators of this crime will reap their reward in hell. They have sold their souls.

On a different detestable note, the enormity of this travesty appears to be lost on the vultures at AP and getty images who, in the name of greed, shamelessly stamp their filthy trademarks on the images of the murdered victims .

I've concealed it here out of respect for the victims. But, if you visit the link and scroll down to the copyrighted images, you'll see a number of images where those sleazebags stamped their logos on the faces of the dead victims.

How utterly tasteless and inhumane. They exploit both the living and the dead.


At Sunday, March 19, 2006, Blogger yusuf chun said...

moral relativism. it seeps up the chain of command all the way to the top. it's a policy decision. these men responisble on the ground are commanded by men, given leave to act as they do, protected by law. american soldiers cannot be charged with war crimes by any foreign nationals. they will not be charged here unless the powers that be find it politcally expedient to scapegoat them.

the thing is, these soldiers if they survive will return to society as either complete lunatics or completely broken when the reality of what they've done hits home. either way, americans lose. even if we "win" this war.

this act will of course not be classified as terror. but the soldiers with the least bit of a cinscience will know it for what it is. and the victims families will know it for what it is. the iraqi people know it for what it is.

and america in accepting these crimes will only contribute to its own downfall. the lack of ethics, the moral relativism is what will bring america to its knees, eaten up from within.

this modern idea that no one can judge me, that there is no wrong, there is no right carried to its logical extreme would mean there are no crimes committed. that is what will be postulated here, sadly enough.

the iraqis who've reported this will be defamed, their words discounted or doubted (this is already happening), they will be called liars, not outright, but essentially it will amount to this.

this is the palestine times 100 and payed for as with palestine with american tax payer dollars.

At Sunday, March 19, 2006, Blogger yusuf chun said...

Torture Judge

In a startling, ominous decision ignored by most of the press around the country Federal District Judge David Trager, in the Eastern District of New York, has dismissed a lawsuit by a Canadian citizen, Maher Arar, who, during a stopover at Kennedy Airport on the way home to Canada after vacation, was kidnapped by CIA agents.

Arar was flown to Syria, where he was tortured for nearly a year in solitary confinement in a three-by-six-foot cell ("like a grave," he said). He became, internationally, one of the best-known victims of the CIA's extraordinary renditions, the sending of suspected terrorists to countries known for torturing their prisoners.

Released after his ordeal, Arar has not been charged with any involvement in terrorism, or anything else, by Syria or the United States. Stigmatized by his notoriety, still traumatized, unemployed, he is back in Canada, where the Canadian Parliament had opened an extensive and expensive public inquiry into his capture and torture. The United States refuses to cooperate in any way with this investigation.

Maher Arar sued for damages in federal court here (Maher Arar v. John Ashcroft, formerly Attorney General of the United States, et al.). Representing Arar for the New York based Center for Constitutional Rights, David Cole predicts, and I agree, that if Judge Trager's ruling is upheld in an appeal to the Supreme Court, the CIA and other American officials will be told "they have a green light to do to others what they did to Arar" no matter what international or U.S. laws are violated in the name of national security.

Following the dismissal of Arar's case by Trager (former dean of Brooklyn Law School), Barbara Olshansky (deputy legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights) underscored the significance of what Trager has done to legitimize the Bush administration's doctrine that in the war on terrorism, the commander in chief sets the rules. Said Olshansky: "There can be little doubt that every official of the United States government [involved in the torture of Maher Arar] knew that sending him to Syria was a clear violation of the U.S. Constitution, federal statutes, and international law . . . This is a dark day indeed."

To fathom the darkness of Trager's decision that Maher Arar has no constitutional right to due process in an American court of law for what he suffered because of the CIA, it's necessary to be aware of a decision directly on point by New York's Second Circuit Court of Appeals in 1980.

In this landmark decision, Fil·rtiga v. PeÒa-Irala, David Cole points out, the appeals court decided that "the prohibition on torture was so universally accepted that a U.S. Court could hold responsible a Paraguayan official charged with torturing a dissident in Paraguay . . . The [U.S.] court declared that when officials violate such a fundamental norm as torture, they can be held accountable anywhere they are found." (Emphasis added.)

That 1980 Second Circuit Court of Appeals decision proclaimed: "The torturer has become the pirate and slave trader before him . . . an enemy of all mankind." (Emphasis added.)

The kicker is that this decision giving American courts jurisdiction over cases of official torture in other countries was reaffirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2004 (Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain).

Now let us hear how Judge Trager justifies his dismissal of Maher Arar's suit for the atrocities he endured in Syria because of the CIA. In his decision, Trager said that if a judge decided, on his or her own, that the CIA's "extraordinary renditions" were always unconstitutional, "such a ruling can have the most serious consequences to our foreign relations or national security or both."

A judge must be silent, even if our own statutes and treaties are violated! What about the separation of powers? Ah, said Trager, "the coordinate branches of our government [executive and legislative] are those in whom the Constitution imposes responsibility for our foreign affairs and national security. Those branches have the responsibility to determine whether judicial oversight is appropriate."

Gee, I thought that the checks and balances of our constitutional system depend on the independence of the federal judiciary, which itself decides to exercise judicial review.

Judge Trager went further to protect the Bush administration's juggernaut conduct of foreign policy: "One need not have much imagination to contemplate the negative effect on our relations with Canada if discovery were to proceed in this case, and were it to turn out that certain high Canadian officials had, despite public denials, acquiesced in Arar's removal to Syria."

"More generally," Trager went on, "governments that do not wish to acknowledge publicly that they are assisting us would certainly hesitate to do so if our judicial discovery process could compromise them."

But judge, the Canadian government itself is now actively involved in an inquiry to discover, among other things, what happened to Arar, and how. And in Europe, there is a fierce controversy over whether governments there have been covertly involved in facilitating the CIA's kidnapping of terror suspects from other lands.

Is it the job of a federal judge here to protect other governments from embarrassment and eventual punishment by their own courts for helping the United States commit crimes?

And what about our own government's criminal accountability? The February 17 New York Law Journal noted that "Judge Trager said that even assuming the government had intended to remove Maher Arar to Syria for torture, the federal judiciary was in no position to hold our government officials liable for damages 'in the absence of explicit direction by Congress . . . even if such conduct violates our treaty obligations or customary international law.' " (Emphasis added.)

If independent federal judges cannot hold our government accountable, who can? Fortunately, Judge Trager is not on the Supreme Court. But look at whom George W. Bush has appointed to be our custodians of the Constitution!


welcome to "the future, it is murder" L Cohen.

At Sunday, March 19, 2006, Blogger qrswave said...

I am surprised. Very surprised. It's not like him.

I can only conclude that he is scared, so he left it for the Supreme Court to decide, either expressly or impliedly.

At Sunday, March 19, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, just think of it: if u were Jews in charge of the empire--u'd encourage such atrocities by imperialist enforcers as victim people will (some anyway, as Jews-media will encourage) blame stupid "Judeo-Christians"--and all Christians. This is just the way to maintain Orwellian "perpetual war for perp. peace," eh? As the Romans would point out: "Cui bono"? Keep up all ur outstanding journalistic/blogging efforts. Honest elections and death to the Fed. Thor

At Monday, March 20, 2006, Blogger Citisucks said...

It is always so sad to see the victims of the rich white male (predominantely) corporate terrorists (rethugs and demoncrats. Neither party really cares to do anything except continue to engage class war fare against the poor (the party formerly known as the middle class).

At Monday, March 20, 2006, Blogger qrswave said...

tri, you are right. But, the internet is shifting the circles of influence ordinary people have. Maybe one day soon, our children will look back and say remember when...

At Tuesday, March 21, 2006, Blogger Citisucks said...

Yup, hopefully the revolution is coming soon. I wonder how bad it will have to get before average person actually really start fighting back.


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