Friday, July 07, 2006

Rape, murder -- and conspiracy
Rape, murder -- and conspiracy
Joseph Cannon, Cannonfire
July 6, 2006

Most of you know about Steven Green, the soldier accused of raping a 15-year-old girl and then murdering both her and her family last March. Green hails from Midland, Texas, the same town the Bush family used to call home.

Even progressives seem to have accepted the official version of the event. Unfortunately, something larger, even more disturbing seems to be going on here.

Green was dismissed due to an unspecified "personality disorder," diagnosed after the crime came to light. Or so we have been told. But evidence suggests that military officials knew all about the massacre the night that it occurred.

We also have good reason to suspect that someone made the decision to scapegoat Green. Initial reports in the American press, as well as detailed reports in the foreign media, reveal that Green had plenty of accomplices. Why have no other names floated to the surface? Why do all fingers point to one guy?

I find this eyewitness account persuasive:

On an afternoon in March 2006, a force of 10 to 15 American troops raided the home of Qasim Hamzah Rashid al-Janabi, who was born in 1970 and who worked as a guard at a state-owned potato storehouse. Al-Janabi lived with his wife, Fakhriyah Taha Muhsin, and their four children - 'Abir (born 1991), Hadil (born 1999), Muhammad (1998), and Ahmad (1996).

Abir, also spelled Abeer, was the rape victim. By all accounts, she was a pretty girl. Her youthful beauty was the family's undoing.

The FBI says that the murder party consisted of but four men (including Green), and that the incident came to light only after one of the other perpetrators spoke of it during psychological therapy. (I guess patients don't have confidentiality rights in the military.)

I do not dismiss the higher figure, and I refuse to believe that one man -- one private -- could order soldiers into such an action. Who led the unit? This matter must involve someone of higher rank. At the end of this piece, I will suggest one reason why someone higher-up may have wanted this act of barbarism to occur.

Even if we posit a highly unlikely scenario in which the commanding officer had no advance knowledge of an attack of this kind, the person in charge still must take responsibility for the actions of his unit. Why does this officer's name remain unknown?

The Americans took Qasim, his wife, and their daughter Hadil and put them in one room of their house. The boys Ahmad and Muhammad were at school since the time the Americans invaded the home was about 2pm. The Americans shot Qasim, his wife, and their daughter in that room. They pumped four bullets into Qasim's head and five bullets in to Fakhriyah's abdomen and lower abdomen. Hadil (7 years old) was shot in the head and shoulder.

After that, the Americans took 'Abir into the next room and surrounded her in one corner of the house. There they stripped her, and then the 10 Americans took turns raping her. They then struck her on the head with a sharp instrument - according to the forensic medical report - knocking her unconscious - and smothered her with a cushion until she was dead. Then they set fire to her body.

The following account comes from a neighbor who saw the aftermath:

"Then I went into 'Abir's room. Fire was coming out of her. Her head and her chest were on fire. She had been put in a pitiful position; they had lifted her white gown to her neck and torn her bra. Blood was flowing from between her legs even though she had died a quarter of an hour earlier, and in spite of the intensity of the fire in the room. She had died, may God rest her soul. I knew her from the first instant. I knew she had been raped since she had been turned on her face and the lower part of her body was raised while her hands and feet had been tied. By God, I couldn't control myself and broke into tears over her, but I quickly extinguished the fire burning from her head and chest. The fire had burned up her breasts, the hair on her head, and the flesh on her face. I covered her privates with a piece of cloth, God rest her soul. And at that moment, I thought to myself that if I go out talking and threatening, that they would arrest me, so I took control of myself and resolved to leave the house calmly so that I could be a witness to tell the story of this tragedy.

Hiding emotion under such conditions must have taken a superhuman act of will. The "piece of cloth" is a detail which coincides with the crime scene photo, as described by various news reports.

Here's the part of the story most Americans do not yet know: The authorities soon put a (rather threadbare) cover-up into place.

"After three hours the [American] occupation troops surrounded the house and told the people of the area that the family had been killed by terrorists because they were Shi'ah. Nobody in town believed that story because Abu 'Abir was known as one of the best people of the city, one of the noblest, and no Shi'i, but a Sunni monotheist. Everyone doubted their story and so after the sunset prayers the occupation troops took the four bodies away to the American base.

If Steve Green was the only guilty party -- if we must place all blame on a classic "lone nut" -- then who authorized the official lie? How can we believe the claim that the crime remained unknown until after Green was diagnosed, when an official falsehood went out within hours of the massacre? Are we really supposed to believe that four privates could initiate such a strike and put a cover-up in place?

The American media has carried hints that the Iraqi resistance (we are allowed to use that term now) killed American soldiers in retaliatory strikes. The neighbor's account would seem to verify this notion:

The neighbor went on: "Then we decided that we must not be silent so we asked the mujahideen to respond as quickly as possible. They responded with 30 attacks on the occupation in two days, bringing down more than 40 American soldiers.

So. A number of troops -- perhaps as many as 15 -- planned a horrifying rape and mass murder, which officialdom tried to cover up with a transparent lie. The all-too-predictable result: Vengeance attacks on 40 other Americans. (That number seems high. Of course, it includes non-fatal casualties.) Green's unit has Iraqi and American blood on its hands.

Apparently, Green's unit targeted poor Abir about a week before the atrocity:

"I personally wasn't surprised that Umm 'Abir ['Abir's mother] came to me on 9 March 2006 and asked that 'Abir be allowed to spend the night with my daughters. She was afraid because of the way the occupation troops looked at her when she went out to feed the cows..."

Who are Green's co-conspirators?

Another mystery: What happened to Abir's body, which could divulge important DNA evidence? According to the account given above, the bodies were taken away to an American base. However, NPR has said that the military is "working with the family" to get the body. (Or so reports a DU poster, whose word I see no reason to doubt.) Have you seen any reports of a funeral?

The semen in that poor girl's corpse would identify her assailants. The perpetrators understood that fact -- thus, the attempt to burn the evidence. The conflicting accounts of the body's whereabouts will lead many to suspect a cover-up.

More mystery: Initial reports said that Green and the others changed into civilian clothes before the attack. Why? Obviously, they did not intend to pass as American tourists. Obviously, authorites would not give a cover story for an atrocity commit by four Americans disguised as civilians. Obviously, the soldiers hoped to pass as Iraqis -- as mujahideen.

Was this whole operation a bungled psy-op? Were the soldiers instructed to commit an atrocity while posing as insurgents? That theory may be speculative -- but to me, it makes more sense than does the official story.

Think about it. A group of Ameican soldiers leave base -- supposedly without their commanding officer's knowledge. They are dressed as insurgents. They commit a despicable act. They return. Other military men immediately come to the scene and ascribe the crime to the insurgency. The cover story falls apart because the Americans foolishly got the victims' religion wrong.

If you don't like the psy-op theory, feel free to come up with another one that covers all of these facts.

By the way, the above picture comes from an Army News Service article which appeared last December. The caption: "Pfc. Steven Green, B Co. 1-502 prepares to blast a lock off the gate of an abandoned home during a search of homes in Mullah Fayed on Dec. 2." The original article seems to have been changed; you can read about it here.

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