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[ Converted text/html to text/plain ] =============== TAREK AL-ISSAWI Associated Press Posted on Thu, Aug. 28, 2003 UMM QASR, Iraq - In a second day of testimony Thursday to determine whether charges of mistreating prisoners of war should be brought against four U.S. Army reservists from Pennsylvania, an officer testified he saw a prisoner being thrown to the ground and other prisoners being punched. "I saw what appeared to be a punch," Staff Sgt. Donald Bragg testified, in a tent courtroom at Camp Bucca, where the prisoners were being taken when allegedly mistreated in May. Possible charges against the four include dereliction of duty, assault, maltreatment of prisoners, conspiracy to obstruct justice and obstruction of justice. The hearing near Umm Qasr, a southern port city, is the equivalent of a civilian grand jury investigation that will produce a nonbinding recommendation to be forwarded to Gen. Janis Karpinski, commander of the 800th Military Police Brigade, for a final judgment. He could decide to ignore the allegations, set penalties or call for a courts martial. The four - Spc. Timothy Canjar, 21; Sgt. Shawna Edmondson, 24; Master Sgt. Lisa Marie Girman, 35, and Staff Sgt. Scott A. McKenzie, 38 - are all from the 320th Military Police Battalion, based in Ashley, Pa. They are alleged to have punched and kicked several Iraqis, breaking one man's nose, while escorting a busload of prisoners to the Camp Bucca POW processing center. The soldiers have said they acted in self- defense. Thursday's session was adjourned after a few hours to allow the defense counsel to consult with their clients. On Wednesday, several government witnesses said they saw prisoners being treated with excessive violence. Spc. Brian Taylor said he saw McKenzie kicking a prisoner in the groin. Spc. Diane Rider testified that Edmondson, a close friend of hers, told her the soldiers physically harmed a prisoner who was allegedly a rapist. "She said they did it to teach the prisoner a lesson on how to treat women because he was charged with rape," she said. Rider said Edmondson told her she met with other members of her unit after an investigation into the allegations was launched, prompting the government attorneys to add the possible charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice and obstruction of justice to the list of charges. Several of the reservists have experience in handling prisoners in their civilian jobs. Girman, a Pennsylvania state trooper for 14 years, served at a POW camp during the 1991 Gulf War. McKenzie, who was decorated for his previous service in Bosnia, is a lieutenant in a boot camp-style prison run by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. Edmondson is a campus security officer at the University of Scranton, where she also takes classes. The case has caused an uproar in Pennsylvania, where relatives of the accused have enlisted the help of politicians, veterans' groups and friends to support the four reservists. http://www.bradenton.com/mld/bradenton/news/world/6640333.htm 22222222222222222222222222222222222 ----------------------------------- Occupied Iraq Will Never Know Peace =================================== Tariq Ali The Age August 27, 2003 The recolonisation of Iraq is not proceeding smoothly. The resistance in the country (and in Palestine) is not, as Israeli and Western propagandists like to argue, a case of Islam gone mad. It is, in both cases, a direct consequence of the occupation. Before the recent war, some of us argued that the Iraqi people, however much they despised Saddam Hussein, would not take kindly to being occupied by the United States and its British adjutant. Contrary to the cocooned Iraqis who had been on the US payroll for far too long and who told George Bush that US troops would be garlanded with flowers and given sweets, we warned that the occupation would lead to the harrying and killing of Western soldiers every day and would soon develop into a low-intensity guerilla war. The fact that events have vindicated this analysis is no reason to celebrate. The entire country is now in a mess and the situation is much worse than it was before the conflict. The only explanation provided by Western news managers for the resistance is that these are dissatisfied remnants of the old regime. This week Washington contradicted its propaganda by deciding to recruit the real remnants of the old state apparatus - the secret police - to try to track down the resistance organisations, which number more than 40 different groups. The demonstrations in Basra and the deaths of more British soldiers are a clear indication these former bastions of anti-Saddam sentiment are now prepared to join the struggle. The bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad shocked the West, but as Jamie Tarabay of the Associated Press reported in a dispatch from the Iraqi capital last week, there is a deep ambivalence towards the UN among ordinary Iraqis. This is an understatement. In fact, the UN is seen as one of Washington's more ruthless enforcers. It supervised the sanctions that, according to UNICEF figures, were directly responsible for the deaths of half a million Iraqi children and a horrific rise in the mortality rate. Two senior UN officials, Denis Halliday and Hans von Sponeck, resigned in protest against these policies, explaining that the UN had failed in its duties to the people of Iraq. Simultaneously the US and Britain, with UN approval, rained hundreds of tonnes of bombs and thousands of missiles on Iraq from 1992 onwards and, in 1999, US officials calmly informed The Wall Street Journal that they had run out of targets. By 2001, the bombardment of Iraq had lasted longer than the US invasion of Vietnam. That's why the UN is not viewed sympathetically by many Iraqis. The recent Security Council decision to retrospectively sanction the occupation, a direct breach of the UN charter, has only added to the anger. All this poses the question of whether the UN today is anything more than a cleaning-up operation for the American Empire? The effects of the Iraqi resistance are now beginning to be felt in both the occupying countries. The latest Newsweek poll reveals that President Bush's approval ratings are down 18 points to 53 per cent and, for the first time since September 11, more registered voters (49 per cent) say they would not like to see him re- elected. This can only get worse (or better, depending on one's point of view) as US casualties in Iraq continue to rise. In Britain more than two-thirds of the population now believe that Tony Blair lied to them on Iraq. This view is shared by senior figures in the establishment. There was open disquiet within the armed forces before the war. Some generals were not too pleased by the sight of their Prime Minister, snarling at the leash like a petty mastiff, as he prepared to dispatch a third of the British army to help occupy one of the country's largest former colonies in the Middle East. After the capture of Baghdad, Sir Rodric Braithwaite, the former head of the joint intelligence committee and a former national security adviser to Blair, wrote an astonishing letter to the Financial Times in which he accused Blair of having deliberately engineered a war hysteria to frighten a deeply sceptical population into backing a war. Fishmongers sell fish, warmongers sell war, wrote Braithwaite, arguing that Blair had oversold his wares. This anger within the establishment came to a head with the alleged suicide of the Ministry of Defence's leading scientist, Dr David Kelly, and forced a judicial inquiry, a form of therapy much favoured by the English ruling class. This week Blair will be interrogated before Lord Hutton, but already the inquiry has uncovered a mound of wriggling worms. There is talk now that New Labour will offer the Defence Secretary, a talentless mediocrity by the name of Geoff Hoon, as a blood sacrifice to calm the public. But what if Hoon refuses to go alone? After all, he knows where the bodies are buried. And Australia? Here the Prime Minister - a perennial parrot on the imperial shoulder - managed to pull his troops out before the resistance began. They were badly needed in the Solomon Islands. Like Blair, John Howard parroted untruths to justify the war and, like Blair, he's lucky that the official Opposition is led by a weak-kneed and ineffective politician scared of his own shadow. And one day, when the children of dead Iraqis and Americans ask why their parents died, the answer will come: because the politicians lied. Meanwhile, there will be no peace as long as Palestine and Iraq continue to be occupied - and no amount of apologetics will conceal this fact. --------------------------------------------------- Tariq Ali has been in Australia as a guest of the Age Melbourne Writers' Festival. His next book, Bush in Babylon: The Recolonisation of Iraq, will be published by Verso in October. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Get MSN 8 and enjoy automatic e-mail virus protection.  ===References:=== 1. http://www.bradenton.com/mld/bradenton/news/world/6640333.htm 2. http://g.msn.com/8HMJENUS/2749??PS= _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk