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http://www.pressaction.com/pablog/archives/001137.html November 08, 2003 Collective Punishment for Downing Black Hawk? By Abu Spinoza Fox News reported http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,102449,00.html on Friday, Nov. 7, 2003 from Tikrit, Iraq: "The U.S. military swept through Iraqi neighborhoods early Saturday, firing at houses suspected to be harboring hostile forces in the wake of an apparent attack on a Black Hawk helicopter that killed six U.S. soldiers." The report quotes the commander of the 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regimen, Lt. Col. Steven Russell, as saying, "This is to remind the town that we have teeth and claws and we will use them." No doubt Iraqi civilians are finding out who has "teeth and claws." Lest one forgets that the Fourth Geneva Convention http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/92.htm , relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (Aug. 12, 1949), adopted after the world learned about the horrors of war crimes of World War II, states very clearly: In Article 33, a.. No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited. b.. Pillage is prohibited. c.. Reprisals against protected persons and their property are prohibited. In Article 53, Any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons, or to the State, or to other public authorities, or to social or cooperative organizations, is prohibited, except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations. Is the U.S. military committing war crimes? Who will hold Lt. Col. Steven Russell et al. responsible? Under international laws, it is a war crime to punish Iraqi civilians for the Iraqi resistance downing U.S. military helicopter(s). The international media, including the U.S. press, has responsibility to expose suspected war crimes and to investigate it thoroughly. The crimes being committed by the occupying powers of Iraq should not remain buried for years. Only recently the Toledo Blade published an account of war crimes http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?Category=SRTIGERFORCE committed by an "elite" military unit during the United States military intervention in Vietnam. The international press has recently revealed the collective burial grounds that existed under Saddam Hussein's regime and various other violations of human rights, but alas it was way too long after these crimes were actually committed. The media must not shut its eyes to the war crimes that are being committed right now and which can be prevented. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---- Abu Spinoza is a columnist for Press Action. _______________________________________________ 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 email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk