WikiLeaks: UN query into never-prosecuted civilian deaths in Iraq

Amid the release of 35,000 new cables by WikiLeaks this week comes new and tragic, but perhaps not so surprising news about the five deaths of Iraqi civilians, reportedly at the hands of U.S forces in the early to mid-2000’s. In each case the military investigated, but declined to prosecute the perpetrators, therefore resigning these Iraqi killings to the grimy dustbin of the war’s history.

Until now. This May 2007 cable from Philip Alston, U.N  Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, to the U.S Secretary of State, which at the time would have been Condoleezza Rice, sheds light on how alleged  “accidents” and extrajudicial killings by U.S soldiers and Marines may have been adjudicated internally, punishments waived and the truth summarily cordoned off from public view. Whatever became of these cases, and how many there ultimately were, we may never know.  They call it the fog of war. If what is in this cable is true, we can call it obstruction, a deterrence of justice, and one huge reason why we were never destined to “win” the Iraq war in the first place.

As for the memo, it includes the story of a journalist who was killed outside Abu Ghraib in 2003 when his camera was supposedly mistaken for a rocket launcher, and a wounded Iraqi who was shot repeatedly by a Marine as he lay dying in front a mosque. The second incident was apparently captured on video, where the  marine, sounding unhinged, kept repeating, “He’s f-cking faking he’s dead! He’s faking he’s f-cking dead!” After shooting him several times, another Marine is heard saying, “he’s dead now.”

5 thoughts on “WikiLeaks: UN query into never-prosecuted civilian deaths in Iraq”

  1. I remember a video from that time where the shooter said those exact same words. It was inside some kind of damaged building. A wounded Iraqi was lying close to a window inside, in a room with two American soldiers, of whom one wasn't paying any attention to him, but the other shot him from point blank range (or maybe it was a third soldier who wasn't in the room previously). The video became relatively well known at the time as many commentators made excuses for the soldier, with a few contributors criticizing them. I think the video was shot by a journalist who was embedded with them, and while he made the video public earning himself the ire of hawk commentators, even he refused to condemn the killing.

    That is if I remember correctly and am not mixing up two or more incidents together, it is all kind of hazy that being 2003, but I think I'm right.

    1. "He's dead now," he said with a casual drawl, as if this were just an action movie. The star; the cool Badass who can shoot a man point blank and deliver a simple, but memorable one-liner.

      I'll sure as hell never forget that video.

  2. What have we become as a people? What frightens me is that Americans continuously make excuses for all of the atrocities committed around the world by our leaders. We excuse killing, torture, renditions, the displacement of millions on human beings, etc by our government.

    How will we be judged in the future, when the empire falls? How should we be judged? Perhaps we should be judged the same way Americans judged the German people after WW-II, when we condemned them for not seeing the crimes committed by their dictatorial government and not stopping it all. We blamed the German people. Shouldn´t the American people be blamed for the atrocities committed by their “democratic” government? Don´t they carry a higher burden of guilt than the German citizens, who didn´t have any means to speak out under the Nazi regime?

    Wasn´t it Jesus who said, “You will be judged as you judge others”? In our legal system, isn´t there a scale of justice that says something about being equal under the law?

    God help us from ourselves.

  3. I hate hate hate hate hate hate hate the American government along with Israel and usless britan and France and being Canadian hate Harper.We were always peacekeppers untill 9/11 and that scumbag.

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