Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Worthless and occupied

When I first saw the video footage of prisoners being mistreated, I was sure that here was incontrovertible evidence of the brutality of the occupation that should lead to convictions. Tying people up for hours in stress positions and beating them to make them stay in those positions is no less than torture. Julian Bevan QC:
One civilian, Baha Musa, died as a result, in part, from the multiple injuries he had received. There were no less than 93 injuries on his body at the post-mortem stage, including fractured ribs and a broken nose....Other prisoners received serious kidney injuries consistent with being kicked and punched..... We are dealing with systematic abuse against prisoners involving unacceptable violence against persons who were detained in custody, hooded and cuffed and wholly unable to protect themselves over a very long period of time.
Yet today, those connected with the events and charged with the crimes walked free and proclaimed their vindication. The BBC article on the matter notes:

"The fifth soldier, Cpl Donald Payne, 35, of the QLR, had became the first British soldier to admit to a war crime after pleading guilty to inhumanely treating civilian Iraqi detainees at the start of the trial. But he was cleared of Mr Musa's manslaughter and a further charge of perverting the course of justice. "
Despite one soldier admitting to a war crime and plenty of evidence that all these soldiers played a part in the brutality including video evidence, witness testimony and evidence of other soldiers, a British court today throw out the charges. This sends a powerful message to the Iraqi people. Your lives and people are worthless compared to the reputation of our soldiers. We will not punish anybody for crimes committed by our occupying army. Our soldiers do not answer to anybody and can do what they like as long as it is only Iraqis they abuse and kill. This judge has surely worked hard and will be thoroughly deserving of his knighthood or peerage in due course. That this is another in the long line of whitewashes and fixes by the British establishment is not in question. It does seem insignificant when you compare it to the rivers of blood that wash the streets of Iraq each day. Yet, to the family of Baha Musa it is more than rubbing salt and pepper into their wounds. It is spitting on the grave of Baha Musa and desecrating his memory. As injured children lie in the corridors of Baghdad's straining beleaguered hospitals, dying for lack of treatment that costs pennies compared to the thousands of dollars of each bomb that maims them, it is worth reflecting on how we would feel if it were our children dying instead. What crimes did these children commit that justify the carnage and chaos unleashed by our killer reshimes? Are their lives really so worthless that they merit not a single headline?


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