Tags: US military atrocities in Iraq, US War Crimes in Iraq
By David Swanson
December 19, 2011 “War Is A Crime” — Every American should read this letter:
December 18, 2007
To: Mr. Randy Waddle, Assistant Inspector General, Ft Carson, Colorado
CC: LTC John Shawkins, Inspector General, Ft Carson, Colorado
Major General Mark Graham, Commanding Officer, Ft Carson, Colorado
Major Haytham Faraj, USMC, Camp Pendleton, California
Lt General Stanley Greene, US Army Inspector General
Subject: Formal Notification of War Atrocities and Crimes Committed by Personnel, B Company, 2-12, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division inIraq
Dear Mr. Waddle,
My name is John Needham. I am a member of Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry division, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, (BCo,2-12INF,2BCT,2ID . I deployed with my unit toIraqfrom October 2006 until October 2007 when I was medically evacuated for physical and mental injuries that I suffered during my deployment. The purpose of my letter is to report what I believe to be war crimes and violation of the laws of armed conflict that I personally witnesses while deployed inIraq.
Upon arriving in Iraq in October of 2006 my unit was assigned to the ¼ Cavalry unit atCampProsperity. In March of 2007 I was sent back to my unit, B Company 2-12 at Camp Falcon. It was at Camp Falconthat I observed and was forced to participate in ugly and inhumane acts against the Iraqi citizens in our area of responsibilities. Below I list some of the incidents that took place.
In March of 2007, I witnessed SSG Platt shoot and wound an Iraqi national without cause of provocation. The Staff Sergeant said that he suspected the Iraqi be a “trigger” man. We had not been attacked and we found no evidence on the man to support the suspicion. As the Iraqi lay bleeding on the ground, PVT Smith requested to administer first aid to the Iraqi. SSgt Platt said no and “let him bleed out.” When SSG Platt walked away, Pvt Smith and PVT Mullins went to the Iraqi, dragged him to an alley, and applied first aid. They then drove him to the cache for further treatment.
In June of 2007 1SG Spry caused an Iraqi male to be stopped, questioned, detained, and killed. We had no evidence that the Iraqi was an insurgent or terrorist. In any event when we stopped he did not pose a threat. Although I did not personally witness the killing, I did observe 1sg Spry dismembering the body and parading of it while it was tied to the hood of a Humvee around the Muhalla neighborhood while the interpreter blared out warnings in Arabic over the loud speaker. I have a photo that shows 1SG Spry removing the victim’s brains.
On another occasion an Iraqi male was stopped by a team led by Sgt Rogers as he walked down an alleyway. The Iraqi was detained and questioned then with his hands tied behind his back, SGT Rogers skinned his face.
1ST Spry shot a young Iraqi teenager who was about 16 years old. The shooting was unprovoked and the Iraqi posed no threat to the unit. He was merely riding his bicycle past an ambush site. When I arrived on the scene I observed 1SGT Spry along with SSG Platt dismember the boy’s body.
In August of 2007, I responded to radio call from SGT Rogers reporting that he had just shot an Iraqi who was trying to enter through a hole that the platoon had blown in a wall to allow them observation of the area during a security patrol. When I arrived, I saw a one armed man who was still alive lying on a barricade. The man was about 30 years old. He had an old Ruger pistol hanging from his thumb. It was obvious to me that the pistol was placed there because of the way it hung from his thumb. The Iraqi was still alive when I arrived. I saw SGT Rogers shoot him twice in the back with hollow point bullets. The Iraqi was still moving. I was asking why they shot him again when I heard Sgt Hoskins say “he’s moving, he’s still alive.” SPEC Hoskins then moved to the Iraqi and shot him in the back of the head. SSG Platt and SGT Rogers were visibly excited about the kill. I saw them pull the Iraqi’s brains out as they placed him in the body bag. CPT Kirsey must have learned something about this incident because he was very upset and admonished the NCOs involved.
Tags: Academi, Blackwater, US presence in Iraq, Ze
No, the U.S. is not leaving Iraq
A private military contractor gestures to colleagues flying ovehead in a helicopter as they secure the scene of a roadside bomb attack inBaghdad (Credit: AP)
Thousands of armed U.S.private contractors will be based in the country, and the potential for violence is real
By Justin Elliott
BLACKWATER, then ZE, and now ACADEMI
In a speech atFort Bragg,N.C., Wednesday, President Obama declared that the war in Iraq is over.
“I’ve come to speak to you about the end of the war inIraq,” he told gathered troops. “Over the last few months, the final work of leaving Iraq has been done. Dozens of bases with American names that housed thousands of American troops have been closed down or turned over to the Iraqis. Thousands of tons of equipment have been packed up and shipped out. Tomorrow, the colors of United States Forces-Iraq — the colors you fought under — will be formally cased in a ceremony inBaghdad.”
All the specifics were true. But what about Obama’s claim that the war has come to a end?
The truth is more complicated. It turns out the Obama administration is leaving behind a huge contingent from the State Department along with thousands of armed private contractors. The possibility for violence between Americans and Iraqis is very real.
To dig into the details, I spoke to Spencer Ackerman, who has been covering the issue closely for Wired’s Danger Room.
The administration is saying the war is over. Is the Defense Department leaving anyone behind?
There’s going to be something called the Office of Security Cooperation inIraqthat exists after the troop pullout on Dec. 31. That’s going to be under the auspices of theU.S.embassy, so there’s not going to be a military command inIraq. It’s going to be a pretty small, 150-person office that will do training — things like helping the Iraqi air force understand how to operate the F-16s we’re selling them. That’s a pretty typical relationship for countries who have bought American military hardware.
What about the State Department?
State is going to leave behind the largest embassy that it has on the planet. All told, there are going to be 18,000 people who work for this embassy. Very few of those will be diplomats. Others will be American civil service workers. A great number will be non-Iraqi contractors who do things like the laundry, mail services, cleaning, etc. Then there’s going to be a substantial component of armed private security contractors. Depending on whose numbers you believe, there will be 3,500 to 5,500 of them.
What is the mission of the State Department there?
It will be different than a typical embassy in the sense thatIraqis still a more dangerous place than most places the U.S.operates. There are more fortresslike consulates around the country than is typical. The mission is in theory like any other State Department mission: You manage commercial ties; you deal with bilateral political issues as they arise; you try to get favorable security cooperation. In reality, it’s going to be way different than usual. Iraqis going to be a battleground — using that term colloquially — between the U.S.and Iran. A hugely important mission of the U.S.ambassador in Iraq will be to try to get Iraq’s foreign policy not to back Iran. Look at the recent Arab League vote to condemn the regime in Syria, for example. Iraq abstained from that vote because Iran was upset about the condemnation of one of its proxies. So the U.S.will try to weaken Iran’s diplomatic ties toIraq.
On the mercenary — or armed private contractor — front, do we know who these people are going to be and what they’re going to be up to?
One is a big security company that’s been in Iraq since 2005 called Triple Canopy. Another is called Global. Another is SOC Inc. Interestingly, the CEO of Blackwater — now renamed Academi — told me on Monday they’re going to get their license back; they lost it after the Nisour Square massacre. They don’t have a contract to do work in Iraq now, but they want to do it again. Beyond that, we know nearly nothing. The State Department has stonewalled even the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction from finding out basic information like what the rules of engagement for the contractors will be. How close can Iraqis get to U.S.diplomats before these guys can open fire? I don’t know the answer to that. Most members of Congress don’t know the answer to that. Pretty much no one who doesn’t work in the State Department knows the answer to that.
The contract is for diplomatic protection. You’re not supposed to see Triple Canopy employees, say, go out on raids. Fifty-six days before the U.S.withdrawal, the State Department also put out a contract for aviation support. That’s an indicator of how this is being put together on the fly. It’s also an indication that the State Department is contracting for missions as sensitive as Medevac or close air support.
Do you think we’re going to see spasms of violence between Americans and Iraqis post-Dec. 31?
I think it’s inevitable. Look at it from the perspective of an Iranian Quds Force operative. You know you want to frustrate the U.S. in Iraq; and you know that Iraqis are burning U.S. flags in celebration of the withdrawal. That’s a tremendous opportunity for Iran right there. Because if you also know that there are these armed contractors helping diplomats get from point A to point B, you win if you provoke them into violence. And it’s really easy to place an IED on a road or to open fire on a convoy. Then if there are Americans in Iraq opening fire on Iraqis — after the Iraqi leaders have said Americans are gone — that’s a major propaganda win forIran. This is a really foreseeable disaster.
Another thing worth pointing out is that Leon Panetta has been saying recently that there are 1,000 Iraqis who are al-Qaida loyalists. If that’s true, Iraqis by far host to the largest al-Qaida presence in the world. It’s really hard to believe the CIA and the Joint Special Operations Command won’t find a way to go after those people. And remember, as Mary Wheeler has pointed out, Congress has not rescinded the authorization for military force inIraq.
So in your estimation, is the war actually over?
It’s going to shift into a more sotto voce form. It’s going to be a lot subtler. But it most certainly is continuing. Just because we don’t have a U.S.troop presence anymore or a formal U.S.chain of command anymore, does not mean that the war is over.
Justin Elliott is a Salon reporter. Reach him by email at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @ElliottJustin
Tags: Hasan Özmen Albayhati
Tags: Barbara Lochbihler, Hasan özmen, Metin Kazak, Turkmen Hearing at the EU Parliament
SUBCOMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS (DROI)
PUBLIC HEARING ON HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION OF TURKMEN IN IRAQ
5 December 2011
Please click on the link below to follow the Public Hearing:
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Tags: Iraqi Turkmen Hearing at EU Parliament
Landmark Turkmen Hearing at European Parliament
UNPO in coordination with the office of Metin Kazak MEP have organized the first hearing which will focus on the debilitating abuses facing this subjugated community including kidnappings, assassinations, and questions over the management of Kirkuk’s natural resource wealth.
Below is a press release issued by the Office of Metin Kazak MEP and UNPO:
At the initiative of Mr Metin Kazak MEP, Vice-Chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights, the European Parliament will convene the first hearing to examine the human rights situation of Turkmen communities in Iraq when the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights meets on 5 December 2011 at 15h30. The hearing comes amid the withdrawal of American combat forces from Iraq, continued debate over the long-delayed implementation of Article 140 of Iraq’s Constitution, and the ongoing targeted assassination, discrimination and marginalization of Turkmen in Kirkuk and throughout Iraq.
Caught in the midst of disputes between Iraq’s communities, the Turkmen of Kirkuk live atop the vast oil wealth of Kirkuk that makes resolution of the disputed territory politically contentious but also key to the economic development of Iraq as a whole. Overlooked but caught up in the instability and insecurity of Kirkuk and other Turkmen areas are questions of reparations for dispossessed Turkmen, kidnapping of civilians and minors for ransom – all of which has contributed to a debilitating brain-drain of Turkmen from Iraq that is undermining the country’s recovery and historic cultural heterogeneity.
Mr Kazak noted his belief that “a constructive discussion is urgently needed, both to deepen understanding and to raise the level of debate so that new policies and new thinking can meet the challenges facing Iraqi Turkmen.” The hearing will complement the EU’s growing interest and capacity in Iraq, something Mr Busdachin, General Secretary of the UNPO, believed “builds upon a cross-party interest – our past conferences on Kirkuk, Article 140, and the situation of Iraq’s communities have proved this, and for the Subcommittee to take this further is incredibly valuable at this time.”
The hearing will include perspectives from Professor Stefan Wolff (University of Birmingham), Mr Hasan Özmen (Member of the Iraqi Council of Representatives), Professor Ibrahim Sirkeci (Regent’s College), and the European External Action Service, before closing remarks by Ms Barbara Lochbihler, Chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights. The hearing is organised by the Office of Mr Metin Kazak MEP and the Secretariat of the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights, with the collaboration of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization and supported by Iraqi Turkmen organizations from the European Union and Iraq.
This press release is issued by the Office of Metin Kazak MEP
Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization
For more information on the situation facing the Iraqi Turkmen, please contact the
Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization
Avenue Louise 52 | Brussels | B-1050 | Belgium
Telephone: +32 (0) 251 31459 | Fax: +32 (0) 251 31495 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tags: Iraqi Turkmen Hearing at EU Parliament
Subcommittee on Human Rights
Public Hearing on
Human rights situation of Turkmen in Iraq
5 December 2011
15.30 – 16.30
Room: Altiero Spinelli (ASP) 1 G 2
European Parliament, Brussels
- Introductory remarks by Mr Metin Kazak, MEP
- Professor Stefan Wolff, Professor of International Security at the University of Birmingham,
On minority rights in Iraq and prospects for the Iraqi Turkmen within Iraq
- Mr Hasan Özmen, Member of Parliament, Council of Representatives of Iraq,
On the plight of the Iraqi Turkmen since 2003
- Professor Ibrahim Sirkeci, Director of the Centre for Transnational Studies at Regent’s College,
On the effects of migration and the future security of the Iraqi Turkmen
- EEAS Representative
- Concluding remarks by Ms Barbara Lochbihler, Chair
The hearing can be followed online: