wars dirty. They're all unprincipled and lawless. It's official policy.
Exceptions don't exist. No-holds-barred barbarism is longstanding.
Rule of law principles don't matter. They never did. Modern technologies
make today's wars worse than ever. All forms of brutality are commonplace.
On March 6, London's Guardian discussed the Pentagon's link to Iraqi torture
centers. General David Petraeus was directly involved.
So was Col. James Steele. He's a retired special forces expert. He's a
Central America "dirty wars" veteran.
His Iraq mandate included establishing detention/torture centers. Innocent
victims were subjected to monstrous brutality. More on that below.
America's entire chain of command is culpable. The buck goes all the way
to the top. Bush administration officials bear main responsibility. Obama
continues what he began.
They're unaccountable so far. They authorized the worst of what went on.
Iraq reflects what's ongoing in all direct and proxy US war theaters.
Professor Stjepan Mestrovic's a valued Progressive Radio News Hour guest.
His book titled "The 'Good Soldier' On Trial: A Sociological Study of
Misconduct by the US Military Pertaining to Operation Iron Triangle, Iraq"
deserves careful reading.
It explains what everyone needs to know. He documented disturbing evidence
of "US government mistreatment of its own soldier-prisoners as well as
foreign 'detainees.' "
Iron Triangle soldiers were unjustly convicted. Irresponsible officials
hung them out to dry. They did so to protect higher-ups and themselves.
Military justice is sorely lacking.
US soldiers followed orders. They had no other choice. Disobedience assures
court-martials. Imprisonment follows.
In May 2006, Operation Iron Triangle targeted suspected Al Qaeda fighters.
US soldiers were accused of killing four Iraqis. They did so near Samarra.
Col. Michael Steele gave direct orders. "Kill all military age males"
on sight, he said.
He violated international, constitutional, US statute, and military laws.
They're clear and unequivocal.
US Army Field Manual 27-10 incorporates Nuremberg Principles. Paragraph
498 says any person, military or civilian, who commits a crime under international
law bears full responsibility.
Paragraph 499 defines a war crime. Paragraph 509 denies the defense of
superior orders as justification for committing crimes.
Paragraph 510 denies "act of state" justification to absolve them.
These and other provisions apply throughout the chain of command. Commanders
and civilian bosses bear full responsibility.
Mestrovic documented hundreds of lawless incidents. Brigade commander
Steele followed orders. His mandate was killing every military-aged Iraqi
Unconscionable war crimes were committed. He was never charged. Higher-ups
weren't implicated. Four low-ranking soldiers were for them.
They were tried, found guilty, or pleaded so as charged. They never had
a chance. "Law enforcement agents lied and tricked their own soldiers,"
They weren't read their Miranda rights. They were confined in 7 x 7 cells.
They were kept there 23 hours a day. Doing so violates army standards.
Required autopsies weren't performed. Nor were forensic tests. Sworn testimonies
were shredded. Others weren't passed up the chain of command.
Vital information was suppressed. Kangaroo proceedings assured convictions.
Hanging judges presided. Treatment reflects Bradley Manning's ordeal.
America commits mass murder, torture, and other unspeakable atrocities.
It betrays its own at the same time. Justice is systematically denied.
Media scoundrels suppress what's most important. They do so consistently.
Most Americans know nothing about Operation Iron Triangle. They know little
about unconscionable Iraqi war crimes. They persist in all US war theaters.
They reflect longstanding policy.
Fire-bombings, so-called humanitarian ones, search and destroy missions,
free-fire zones, execution squads, kill anything that moves orders, take
no prisoners, torture, and other atrocities reflect official US policy.
Rules of engagement are shrouded in secrecy. Iron Triangle trials prohibited
discussing written ones. Soldiers explained orders saying "kill every
military-aged male" on sight. Missions prioritize doing it. It's standard
practice. It's lawless. Low-ranking soldiers don't dare disobey.
Col. Steele didn't testify. No one forced him. His silence reflected complicity.
Low-level soldiers were charged. Guilt by accusation followed. Culpable
officials got off scot-free. It's standard policy. War crimes ordered
by higher-ups are suppressed.
Doing so violates Justice Robert Jackson's opening Nuremberg remarks,
"The common sense of mankind demands that law shall not stop with the
punishment of petty crimes by little people. It must reach men who possess
themselves of great power and make deliberate and concerted use of it
to set in motion evils which leave no home in the world untouched."
No commissioned officer faced war crimes charges in Iraq. None were charged
in Afghanistan or in connection with Washington's war on Libya and Syria.
Occasional "little people" are prosecuted. Doing so absolves higher-ups.
The Guardian called Col. James Steele "America's mystery man in Iraq."
Donald Rumsfeld chose him. At issue was organizing paramilitary operations
against Sunni insurgents.
Retired Col. James Coffman worked with him. They got millions of dollars
to establish detention/torture centers.
Coffman reported directly to Petraeus. He arrived in June 2004. He helped
organize and train Iraqi security forces.
Steele served in Iraq from 2003 - 2005. In 2006 he returned. He reported
directly to Rumsfeld. Allegations made against him were damning.
US and Iraqi witnesses provided evidence. He and US advisers were implicated.
For the first time, human rights abuses were cited. Petraeus was linked
through an adviser.
Coffman was his "eyes and ears out on the ground. They worked hand in
hand." They partnered in war crimes.
Iraqi General Muntadher al-Samari worked with them. "I never saw them
apart in the 40 or 50 times I saw them inside the detention centers,"
"They knew everything that was going on there - the torture, the most
horrible kinds of torture."
Detention centers had interrogation committees.
"Each one was made up of an intelligence officer and eight interrogators,"
"This committee (used) all means of torture to make the detainee confess
like using electricity or hanging him upside down, pulling out their nails,
and beating them on sensitive parts."
Petraeus, Steele and Coffman knew everything going on. Torture was systematic
"I remember a 14-year-old who was tied to one of the library's columns.
And he was tied up, with his legs above his head. Tied up. His whole body
was blue because of the impact of the cables with which he had been beaten."
New York Times photographer Gilles Peress visited a commando center. He
met Steele in Samarra. "We were in a room in the library interviewing
Steele, and I'm looking around I see blood everywhere," he said.
Reporter Peter Maass was there. While an alleged jihadi was being interrogated,
he heard "terrible screams, somebody shouting: 'Allah, Allah, Allah!'
But it wasn't kind of religious ecstasy or something like that. These
were screams of pain and terror."
Steele refuses to be interviewed. Coffman denies involvement. A Petraeus
"During the course of his years in Iraq, (he) did learn of allegations
of Iraqi forces torturing detainees. In each incident, he shared information
immediately with the US military chain of command, the US ambassador in
Baghdad….and the relevant Iraqi leaders."
He was directly involved. He knew everything. So did Steele and Coffman.
They committed war crimes. They remain unaccountable. So do higher-ups
Rumsfeld personally decorated Steele. He did so for services performed
in Iraq. His job was overseeing detention/torture centers.
He lives in Texas. He gives motivational speeches. He discusses counterinsurgency
operations in conflict areas.
He avoided prison where he belongs. So did Coffman, Petraeus and others
up the chain of command to the top.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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