Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Geneva Conventions & Taguba Report

Protocol I, Article 75: “(1)…persons who are in the power of a Party to the conflict…shall be treated humanely in all circumstances…(2) The following acts are and shall remain prohibited…whether committed by civilian or by military agents: (a) violence to the life, health, or physical or mental well-being of persons…(b) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment, enforced prostitution and any form of indecent assault…and threats to commit any of the foregoing acts.”

The investigation of the 800th Military Police Brigade by Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba found that “intentional abuse of detainees by military police personnel” included the following:

· Punching, slapping, and kicking detainees; jumping on their naked feet

· Videotaping and photographing naked male and female detainees

· Forcibly arranging detainees in various sexually explicit positions for photographing

· Forcing detainees to remove their clothing and keeping them naked for several days at a time

· Forcing naked male detainees to wear women’s underwear

· Forcing groups of male detainees to masturbate themselves while being videotaped

· Arranging naked male detainees in a pile and then jumping on them

· Positioning a naked detainee on a MRE Box, with a sandbag on his head, and attaching wires to his fingers, toes, and penis to simulate electric torture

· Placing a dog chain or strap around a naked detainee’s neck and having a female soldier pose for a picture

· A male MP guard having sex with a female detainee

· Using military working dogs (without muzzles) to intimidate and frighten detainees, and in at least one case biting and severely injuring a detainee

Protocol I, Art. 70: “The Parties to the conflict…shall allow and facilitate rapid and unimpeded passage of all relief consignments, equipment and personnel…even if such assistance is destined for the civilian population of the adverse Party.”

  • Convoys sent by the Iraqi Red Crescent to aid the remaining population (in Fallujah) have been turned back.
  • Marked ambulances were repeatedly shot at by U.S. troops during the April, 2004 siege of Fallujah and troops prevented the distribution of medical supplies.
  • In Saqlawiyah, Dr Abdulla Aziz told IPS that occupation forces had blocked any medical supplies from entering or leaving the city. “They won't let any of our ambulances go to help Fallujah,” he said. ”We are out of supplies and they won't let anyone bring us more.”

Protocol I, Art. 35: “In any armed conflict, the right of the Parties…to choose methods or

means of warfare is not unlimited…It is prohibited to employ methods or means of warfare which are intended, or may be expected, to cause widespread, long-term and severe damage to the environment.”

  • On April 1, 2003 the residential al-Hilla outskirts of Babylon were hit with an undetermined number of BLU-97 A/B cluster bombs. Each bomb releases 202 bomblets which scatter over an area the size of two football fields, with a dud rate of 5%-7%. Immediate reports stated that at least 33 civilians died and around 300 were injured in the attack. Amnesty International condemned the attack, saying that “the use of cluster bombs in an attack on a civilian area of al-Hilla constitutes an indiscriminate attack and a grave violation of international humanitarian law."

  • On March 22, 2003, reporters from CNN and the Sydney Morning Herald - Melbourne Age embedded with the 1st Battalion 7th Marines at Safwan Hill near Basra reported air strikes dropping napalm.

Convention III, Art. 5: “Should any doubt arise as to whether persons, having committed

a belligerent act and having fallen into the hands of the enemy (are prisoners of war

under this Convention), such persons shall enjoy the protection of the present Convention

until such time as their status has been determined by a competent tribunal.”

  • President Bush issued an order on February 7, 2002, specifying that the U.S. would not apply the Third Convention to members of Al Qaeda. That order set forth policies that led to the willful killing, torture, or inhuman treatment; and great suffering or serious injury to body or health, of prisoners in U.S. custody in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Guantanamo Bay.

Need more documentation? Try the 1996 War Crimes Act; the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, Article VI (par. 2); or the above-mentioned treaties such as the Geneva Conventions, the Nuremberg Principles, U.N. General Assembly resolutions, and others.

Just as the news media’s fascination with Abu Ghraib was way after the fact and limited in scope, so too, is its present fascination with the Haditha killings. As they used to say during WWII, “There’s a war on, ya know!” Exactly what do Americans think happens when their nation goes to war?

Dr. Jonathan Shay, a psychologist with years of experience treating Vietnam vets with PTSD and author of the seminal “Achilles in Vietnam,” gave his prescription for preventing that disease and preventing the breakdown of character that would likely happen to any of us in combat. It wasn’t better training, or better diagnoses, or better drugs. He said “Abolish war.” It’s time we took his advice seriously.

Mike Ferner served as a Navy Corpsman during Vietnam and is a member of Veterans For Peace, whose slogan is “Abolish War!”

The above article was taken from a report on Information Clearing House.

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