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> Torture, Abuse, and Response, ...on the west as a whole.
turnea
post May 10 2005, 06:50 PM
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QUOTE(Asia Africa Intelligence Wire @ July 24, 2002)
If you think UN peacekeepers are angels read on:[...]The blue helmets put hoods over Somali heads, then tied their legs and hands, and left them in the scorching sun without food or water for God knows how long. 
 
If the International Criminal Court had been there the so-called peacekeepers would have been charged. 
 
Luckily, a clever lawyer said that the UN was not a signatory to the Geneva Convention on war crimes and the soldiers were tried in their respective countries with little coverage of the cases and few got to know about them. 
 
There was also the case of two Belgian paratroopers - privates Claude Baert and Kurt Coelus - who were caught on camera roasting a Somali youth over a flaming brazier. There were also reports that at a UN base in southern Somalia some Belgian troops locked a child in a metal container, in the blazing sun, after he was caught stealing food from the base. The child did not survive the ordeal.


Prisoner abuse and torture are nothing new. We have an excellent contemporary example in the UN peacekeeping mission in Somalia in the mid nineties.
Photo's Reveal Belgian Paratroopers' Abuse
In the most publicized case we have a lot of the same factors.
QUOTE(Maclean's; 3/28/94 @ Vol. 107 Issue 13, p24)
For Canadians, torture is something that happens in Chile, or Iran, or almost anywhere else. The idea that young men with Maple Leaf shoulder patches on their khaki jackets would systematically beat and burn a bound and helpless youth for hours, while others watched and did nothing to protest, violates the country's strongest images of itself. The fact that the torture and death of 16-year-old Shidane Arone on the night of March 16, 1993, was the most serious blemish on Canada's long and much-cherished record of peacekeeping only made it worse.

The story was broken by the media, not the military, there are allegations of coverup and scapegoating. Low-ranking soldiers were the only parties convicted etc...
Commission Report on Somalia Abuse
Sentencing was rather light, Elvin Kyle Brown served one third of his five year sentence for manslaughter and torture. That was the longest sentence. The main soldier in the incident was found unfit to be tried after suffering brain damage from a suicide attempt while in custody.

In comparison Staff Sgt. Ivan "Chip" Frederick of Abu Ghraib infamy was sentenced to eight years Charles Graner caught ten years.
... and they didn't kill anybody...
The details of the murder of Arone and the situation surrounding it put Abu Ghraib to shame.
Questions that arise include:

Are parallels between Somali and Iraqi prisoner abuse useful?

Is even that enough? Is the US too lenient on abuses in the military?


Finding information of these cases was more difficult that it should have been. There were a deluge of stories on Abu Ghraib which leads me to ask
Did the international press unevenly target the US in comparison which the abuses by Canadian, Belgian, and Italian troops in Somalia?

It is often argued that prisoner abuse could not have taken place without sanction from above.

Did the UN sanction or at best overlook torture by peacekeepers in Somalia?

Given the current allegations of sexual abuse in Congo and Liberia are they doing so now?


This post has been edited by turnea: May 10 2005, 07:17 PM
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Hugo
post May 10 2005, 07:25 PM
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I think it is about time that we accept 1) the fact that torture will occur in war 2)That torturing the enemy is a morale booster and a stress relief device 3) Torture can prodeuce information key to accomplishing your mission and conclude with 4) The Geneva Convention Treaty is hopelessly idealistic. It's time America withdraws from such a hopelessly idealistic treaty.

Yes, the international press tends to keep a sharper eye on US violations.

This post has been edited by Hugo: May 10 2005, 07:27 PM
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turnea
post May 10 2005, 07:29 PM
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Hugo:
I disagree I think it's time the US and the international community as a whole recognize that torture can happen in anyone's military, that is entirely unacceptable and that addressing the situation with cover-ups helps no one.

Preventative measures, better training, and close supervision can tackle the torture problem, but not if those in charge insist on deceit and denial.
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Sevac
post May 10 2005, 07:54 PM
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I think this is just a topic to draw away attention from the current debate about the trial of those who are responsible for torture in Iraq.

I come to this conclusion, because the report is 8 years old. So the recommendations of the report could have been used to prevent torture and abuse of prisoners during the invasion and ongoing occupation of Iraq.

I find Hugos remarks very disturbing, though his recommended action is similar to the neoconservative thinking: "Don't obey treaties that don't help us".

No, it is important to focus on the illegal and horrible acts of American soldiers, and to prevent those acts in the future.
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turnea
post May 10 2005, 08:04 PM
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QUOTE(Sevac @ May 10 2005, 02:54 PM)

I think this is just a topic to draw away attention from the current debate about the trial of those who are responsible for torture in Iraq.

I figured this would be a likely reaction and would like to assure you this is not the case.

Personally, I've started a few threads on Abu Ghraib itself and am more eager than most to see the guilty punished in that case.

As I said in my previous post post I reject torture categorically anyone found participating in it should be imprisoned.

QUOTE(Sevac)

I find Hugos remarks very disturbing, though his recommended action is similar to the neoconservative thinking: "Don't obey treaties that don't help us". 

No, it is important to focus on the illegal and horrible acts of American soldiers, and to prevent those acts in the future.
*


I agree but that doesn't mean that other perspectives on the issue aren't worth consideration.

I did intend to dispel the notion that prisoner abuse in somehow a uniquely American problem, clearly it is not.

The questions address both past and current issues in the US and the larger international community, instead of making assumptions about their purpose how about attempting an answer huh.gif

This post has been edited by turnea: May 10 2005, 08:04 PM
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lederuvdapac
post May 10 2005, 08:11 PM
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QUOTE(Sevac @ May 10 2005, 03:54 PM)
I think this is just a topic to draw away attention from the current debate about the trial of those who are responsible for torture in Iraq.

I come to this conclusion, because the report is 8 years old. So the recommendations of the report could have been used to prevent torture and abuse of prisoners during the invasion and ongoing occupation of Iraq.

I find Hugos remarks very disturbing, though his recommended action is similar to the neoconservative thinking: "Don't obey treaties that don't help us".

No, it is important to focus on the illegal and horrible acts of American soldiers, and to prevent those acts in the future.
*



But what about UN Peacekeepers raping young girls in the Congo and then leaving those young girls with children to survive on their own? Havent heard about it? Well no surprise there. When the US abuses prisoners in Iraq with dogs and sleep deprivation it gets front page news for a month and constant use as a talking point against the government. But UN Peacekeeping forces forcibly rape young women and run a sex trade and you would be lucky to get a mention of it in the New York Times. Everyone was saying how we should listen to the UN and only proceed with UN approval. But with the Oil-for-Food scandal where millions went into Saddams pocket and where our supposed allies sabotaged us and now with the Rape scandal...is this organization truly an example to follow?

The UN has its problems and its coverups just like any other organization. The difference is that people rarely criticize it because they must keep up the charade of legitimacy. Of course there is a double standard with how people view both situations.
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Dontreadonme
post May 10 2005, 08:30 PM
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Did the UN sanction or at best overlook torture by peacekeepers in Somalia?
I'll address this question for now, as I'm trying to escape work........

According to Human Rights Watch in 1995:
QUOTE
In addition to the destruction of large areas of Mogadishu through aerial rocketing and shelling, the troops of several UNOSOM contingents were also found to have tortured or murdered Somali captives. Although Canadian military disciplinary procedures resulted in prosecutions and convictions of troops from their contingent that were responsible for gross abuses, no single UNOSOM office took effective responsibility for ensuring that uniform standards of discipline and accountability were enforced.31 Similarly, as this report goes to press, no single U.N. source has issued a comprehensive balance sheet of complaints made of abusive treatment by UNOSOM troops or of remedies offered in the form of criminal proceedings or compensation. U.S. Defense Department officials contacted by Human Rights Watch in March 1995 did not, in turn, identify any central repository of such information as it concerned the U.S. contingent in Somalia.

Although the body of humanitarian law is binding on the armed forces of all member states of the United Nations, provisions to monitor compliance with these standards by U.N. troops were notoriously absent under UNOSOM and UNITAF. Ironically, the U.N. has made no explicit commitment binding its own forces to observe the terms of humanitarian law, even though its component forces are so bound. Human Rights Watch has stressed that the U.N. itself is obliged to observe these standards in that humanitarian law has assumed the status of customary international law.

Link

The Somali incident, under UN auspices, led to the disbanding of the famed Royal Canadian Parachute Regiment. After numerous violations of the Rules of Engagement, lack of leadership and accountability, the regiment furled it's colors in 1995.
The Somali Inquiry Report is available here
The entire ordeal, to my recollection was not widely covered at all. The only way I knew about it at the time was because of my employment in the US Airborne community, news like that travels fast!
Arguably, the surge of internet news sources and pundits will blow even minor stories wide open these days, I would have expected the Canadian/Somalia incident to garner more attention.

I can divine a certain overlooking of this incident by the UN.
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Erasmussimo
post May 10 2005, 08:31 PM
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QUOTE(Hugo @ May 10 2005, 12:25 PM)
I think it is about time that we accept 1) the fact that torture will occur in war 2)That torturing the enemy is a morale booster and a stress relief device 3) Torture can prodeuce information key to accomplishing your mission and conclude with  4) The Geneva Convention Treaty is hopelessly idealistic. It's time America withdraws from such a hopelessly idealistic treaty.


Well, that approach certainly throws away all concepts of morality. I wonder if torture is a Judeo-Christian value?

You suggest that we accept the fact that torture will occur in war. The frequency of an undesirable event does not justify it. There are tens of thousands of fatal automobile accidents in this country every year. Would you recommend that we just accept that fact and stop trying to prevent these accidents?

You suggest that torturing the enemy is a morale booster and a stress relief device. This would be correct if soldiers were sadistic monsters. Yes, there are some sadistic monsters in any army, but I suspect that, were you to tell an American soldier to his face that he is a sadistic monster, he might beg to differ. Soldiers who are not sadistic monsters would enjoy no morale boost from torture. Moreover, armies forbid torture, rape, and pillage not so much because they are bad but because they lead to breakdowns in discipline. If you give the troops the impression that the rules don't apply anymore, then they won't follow the rules -- even the ones you make. It's an old military truism that the combat troops aren't as nasty to the civilians as the less-disciplined rear-area troops.

Your suggestion that the various Geneva treaties are hopelessly obsolete and should be withdrawn from will surely not gain any support from the military. It is also remarkably short-sighted. Such treaties protect Americans just as much as they protect others. At this moment we may not be engaged in hostilities likely to produce American POWs, but when we do, everybody in the military (and their families) will be much better off with some treaty protections for POWs.
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Lesly
post May 10 2005, 09:03 PM
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QUOTE(turnea @ May 10 2005, 01:50 PM)
The details of the murder of Arone and the situation surrounding it put Abu Ghraib to shame.
*

We can ask the families of nine Afghan detainees who died in U.S. custody and families of the twenty Iraq dead (currently under investigation) if Arone’s murder lifts some of the personal loss and grief. If the dead could speak one Afghan detainee who froze to death three years ago might dispute your claim, but a Ouija board won’t help in his case. He wasn’t important enough to even be logged as a ghost detainee and the CIA case officer who was in charge is not about to throw his promotion away from a sudden bout of guilt.

Finger-pointing other countries only works if it is decided it’s necessary to marginalize the ideals that once made the U.S. the exemplar nation so that the "benefits" from operating Salt Pits are possible.

Are parallels between Somali and Iraqi prisoner abuse useful?
Yes. It could be argued that no matter what a country/organization’s intentions may be placing one armed group in charge of a (relatively speaking) unarmed or inferiorly armed group invariably results in abuse of power.

Is even that enough? Is the U.S. too lenient on abuses in the military?
I think no military eagerly investigates “systemic abuse” allegations. As far as sexual assault goes I wish our military did a better job of reporting figures and leave very little for conjecture.

Did the international press unevenly target the US in comparison which the abuses by Canadian, Belgian, and Italian troops in Somalia?
Somalia was never under the radar. Had the press paid more attention to the atrocities taking place on the ground to begin with the coverage disclosing the abuses by “peace keepers” may’ve been proportionately greater.

It is often argued that prisoner abuse could not have taken place without sanction from above.
It’s possible for prisoner abuse to happen with or without higher up sanctions.

Did the UN sanction or at best overlook torture by peacekeepers in Somali?
Probably overlook for PR’s sake.

Given the current allegations of sexual abuse in Congo and Liberia are they doing so now?
If no one’s looking, why not? It amuses me when people of such and such a country unwaveringly defend the guys with guns because they're wearing said country's uniform (or in the UN's case, an international body) as if cotton and stitching have the power to fundamentally alter the wearer.

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carlitoswhey
post May 10 2005, 09:27 PM
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Are parallels between Somali and Iraqi prisoner abuse useful?

Is even that enough? Is the US too lenient on abuses in the military?

I'm going to say no. While the US has found (and disciplined) many excesses, this happens in every conflict. And the main reason the abuses in Iraq garnered so much attention was due to the sexual nature of the offenses - those pictures were much more interesting than some dry testimony. And even in this vein, the most graphic / sexual abuse appears to be on the watch of the UN, who has really botched it in Haiti, Congo, Liberia, Bosnia... The US example at least seems to be the exception rather than the rule.

In the NY Times, there is a very sad article on Lynndie England. Excerpts indicate that the perversion she initiated with prisoners had absolutely nothing to do with the chain of command. Just someone with a lack of moral compass and bad decision-making.
QUOTE
Just after the 372nd received orders to go to Iraq in February 2003, Private Graner, Private England and another soldier had a last party weekend in Virginia Beach. They drank heavily, and when their friend passed out, Private Graner and Private England took turns taking photographs of each other exposing themselves over his head.

In Iraq, Private England was disciplined several times for sleeping with Private Graner, against military rules. She flouted warnings to stay on the wing where she worked as a clerk, and spent most of her nights in the cellblock where he worked the night shift.

One night in October, he told her to pose for photographs holding a leash tied around the neck of a naked and crawling detainee. He e-mailed one home: "Look what I made Lynndie do." The now infamous pictures of detainees masturbating, he said, were a birthday gift for her.
<snip>
Prosecutors advised defense lawyers against putting Private Graner on the stand, but they did it anyway. He testified that he had ordered Private England to remove a prisoner from a cell by a leash and that it had been a legitimate military exercise. This presented what seemed to be a contradiction - a defendant pleading guilty but presenting a witness who testified that she was innocent. The military judge threw out her plea agreement and ordered that the court-martial process start over.

"It's nothing you did," the judge, Col. James L. Pohl, told her, "It's what he did."

Private England turned to Ms. Morris. "Well, he screws everything up, doesn't he?" Ms. Morris recalled Private England saying.

"I have to agree with you," Ms. Morris replied.

The father of her baby (Grener) married the other woman in the bizarre love triangle and England didn't find out until the trial. The whole thing is a soap opera

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DaffyGrl
post May 10 2005, 09:33 PM
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While I won't defend UN human rights abuses, even if they happened 8 years ago, it irks me that there are many who categorize the abuses at Abu Ghraib (and other locations) as using "barking dogs and keeping prisoners up at night". Prisoners have died while in US custody.
QUOTE
Prisoner deaths investigated as involving criminal homicide or abuse by U.S. personnel:

_Mohammed Sayari, Afghanistan, April 28, 2002. Army Special Forces captain reprimanded.

_Mullah Habibullah, about 28, Bagram, Afghanistan, Dec. 3, 2002. Sgt. James P. Boland, 377th Military Police Company, charged with dereliction of duty; more charges possible against others.

_Dilawar, 22, Bagram, Dec. 10, 2002. Pfc. Willie V. Brand, 377th Military Police Company, charged with involuntary manslaughter, according to documents obtained by Human Rights Watch. Boland charged with dereliction, assault and maltreatment, more charges possible against others.

_Unidentified person, Wazi Village, Afghanistan, January 2003. Under investigation.

_Jamal Naseer, 18, Gardez, Afghanistan, March 2003. Under investigation.

_Unidentified person, Camp Bucca, Iraq, May 12, 2003. Soldier reprimanded for not using warning shots before killing someone trying to enter the camp.

_Abdul Wali, 28, Asadabad, Afghanistan, June 2, 2003. CIA contractor David Passaro charged with assault.

_Dilar Dababa, Baghdad, June 13, 2003. Died of head injury. USA Today reported he died during interrogation.

_Obeed Hethere Radad, Tikrit, Iraq, Sept. 11, 2003. Soldier discharged for voluntary manslaughter for not warning escaping prisoner before shooting him.

_Manadel al-Jamadi, Abu Ghraib, Iraq, Nov. 4, 2003. Died during interrogation. Several Navy SEALs charged; and two CIA personnel under investigation.

_Abdul Wahid, Helmand province, Afghanistan, Nov. 6, 2003. Badly wounded man dies in U.S. custody. No U.S. charges The Denver Post reported he died at interrogation facility while shackled and gagged.

_Muhamad Husain Kadir, Taal Al Jal, Iraq, Feb. 28, 2004. Pfc. Edward Richmond, 25th Infantry Division, received three years in prison for voluntary manslaughter.

_Karim Hassan, 36, Kufa, Iraq, May 21, 2004. Capt. Rogelio Maynulet, 1st Armored Division, facing court-martial over what he described as mercy killing of wounded Iraq militiaman.

_Unidentified person, 16, Sadr City, Iraq, Aug. 18, 2004. Staff Sgt. Johnny M. Horne Jr., Fort Riley, Kan., sentenced to three years in prison in another purported mercy killing. Staff Sgt. Cardenas J. Alban, also from Fort Riley, convicted and sentenced to one year confinement.

_Three unidentified people, Sadr City, August 2004. Sgt. Michael P. Williams and Spc. Brent May, from Fort Riley, facing murder charges.

_At least 6 more investigated by U.S. Army.

Sources: U.S. Army, Navy, and other U.S. government officials and documents. SF Chronicle

And a very long list of “justified homicides” follows.
QUOTE
How did this culture of filth start in America's "war on terror"? The institutionalised injustice which we have witnessed across the world, the vile American "renditions" in which prisoners are freighted to countries where they can be roasted, electrified or, in Uzbekistan, cooked alive in fat? As Bob Herbert wrote in The New York Times, what seemed mind-boggling when the first pictures emerged from Abu Ghraib is now routine, typical of the abuse that has "permeated the Bush administration's operations".

Amnesty, in a chilling 200-page document in October, traced the permeation of Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's memos into the prisoner interrogation system and the weasel-worded authorisation of torture. In August [2003], for example, only a few months after Bush spoke under the "Mission Accomplished" banner, a Pentagon report stated that "in order to respect the President's inherent constitutional authority to manage a military campaign, [the US law prohibiting torture] must be construed as inapplicable to interrogations undertaken pursuant to his Commander- in-Chief authority." What does that mean other than permission from Bush to torture? Occupation Watch

Regardless of who is wielding the instrument of torture, they should be appropriately tried and punished. It would be nice to know that Americans are above this sort of thing, but that is obviously not entirely true.

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turnea
post May 10 2005, 10:02 PM
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QUOTE(Lesly @ May 10 2005, 04:03 PM)

QUOTE(turnea @ May 10 2005, 01:50 PM)
The details of the murder of Arone and the situation surrounding it put Abu Ghraib to shame.
*

We can ask the families of nine Afghan detainees who died in U.S. custody and families of the twenty Iraq dead (currently under investigation) if Arone’s murder lifts some of the personal loss and grief.
*


I agree that it wouldn't and that was not the point of the remark. I was merely commenting (without the grisly details) that the story wasn't under-covered for lack of sensational appeal
...Arone died painfully... let's leave it at that.
QUOTE(Lesly)
Yes. It could be argued that no matter what a country/organization’s intentions may be placing one armed group in charge of a (relatively speaking) unarmed or inferiorly armed group invariably results in abuse of power.

I don't believe prisoner abuse is inevitable, just as there are examples of abuse there are examples of exemplary service by guards.

I believe the value in the comparison is that we cannot allow the international furor or lack thereof to dictate the response to abuse. That justice must be sought in all cases whether or not the media feels it's a front-page story.
QUOTE(DaffyGrl)
It would be nice to know that Americans are above this sort of thing, but that is obviously not entirely true.

Exactly. One of the points of this thread is to explain that no nation is....

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moif
post May 10 2005, 10:07 PM
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QUOTE
Are parallels between Somali and Iraqi prisoner abuse useful?
In the context of judging one nation's actions, or lack of reaction, then it it is useful to draw comparisons to other nations, but otherwise, no. In the case of abuse by civil servants then each nation must be judged by its own laws and actions.


QUOTE
Is even that enough? Is the US too lenient on abuses in the military?
In my opinion the US military is very lenient on its soldiers, most especially those not highlighted by the media and especially officers and high ranking officials.


QUOTE
Finding information of these cases was more difficult that it should have been. There were a deluge of stories on Abu Ghraib which leads me to ask
Did the international press unevenly target the US in comparison which the abuses by Canadian, Belgian, and Italian troops in Somalia?
No. I was aware of these actions at the time. The fundamental difference between these earlier incidents and the Abu Graib/ Guantanamo scandal/s is that the latter have far greater significance to the progression of world peace.


QUOTE
It is often argued that prisoner abuse could not have taken place without sanction from above.

Did the UN sanction or at best overlook torture by peacekeepers in Somalia?
Yes. Very much so. The UN is rife with corruption and is in dire need of reform.
There have been many incidents which were allowed to happen and in which senior UN officials were not held accountable.


QUOTE
Given the current allegations of sexual abuse in Congo and Liberia are they doing so now?
It may well be so. I have seen several stories regarding abuse carried out by UN peacekeeping soldiers. I believe the reason why this has largely been ignored is because the UN itself has become marginalized by the USA and in the light of US global dominance the media chooses to focus on the exploits and antics of US civil servants and politicians and turns a blind eye upon the rest of the world.

This voluntary blindness towards criminal actions carried out by UN peacekeepers, in the name of the global community is intolerable and should not be excused. Our contemporary media is failing in its task to inform the public and without information our political processes, and the methods by which we choose our leaders are undermined and we fool ourselves if we think we are democratic under such delusion.

As nations we chose our laws. If we fail to uphold them, then we have violated ourselves.
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turnea
post May 10 2005, 10:21 PM
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QUOTE(moif @ May 10 2005, 05:07 PM)
 
In my opinion the US military is very lenient on its soldiers, most especially those not highlighted by the media and especially officers and high ranking officials. 
*
 

Do you have any examples you would point to that typify this behavior?

I am perplexed by what I see as short sentences for some offenses. However these sentences are short measured by my own scale of justice. As I pointed out in the opening post offenders in Abu Ghraib who humiliated prisoners suspected of being enemies in a war are being punished far more than Canadian soldiers who beat a 16-year old boy (who, at worst, stole from their camp) to death.

Comparatively speaking I don't see the US as lenient at all...

QUOTE(moif)
No. I was aware of these actions at the time. The fundamental difference between these earlier incidents and the Abu Graib/ Guantanamo scandal/s is that the latter have far greater significance to the progression of world peace.

How so exactly?

The main reason as it seems to me is because the media made it so, with the amount of coverage (which I feel was appropriate by the way) which discounts it as a reason.

Is it the proximity to the Middle East?

Abu Ghraib was frontpage news the world over. for days on end. I only found one news source that ran it front page in my research, Canada's "Maclean's". They ran it as a cover story twice.

I can't be sure as I don't remember the coverage (I was eight) but the brevity of the articles in non Canadian sources leads me to believe that the murder of Arone was undercovered in comparison.
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Lesly
post May 10 2005, 11:28 PM
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QUOTE(turnea @ May 10 2005, 05:02 PM)
QUOTE(Lesly @ May 10 2005, 04:03 PM)
QUOTE(turnea @ May 10 2005, 01:50 PM)
The details of the murder of Arone and the situation surrounding it put Abu Ghraib to shame.
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We can ask the families of nine Afghan detainees who died in U.S. custody and families of the twenty Iraq dead (currently under investigation) if Arone’s murder lifts some of the personal loss and grief.
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I agree that it wouldn't and that was not the point of the remark. I was merely commenting (without the grisly details) that the story wasn't under-covered for lack of sensational appeal.

...Arone died painfully... let's leave it at that.
*


When is beaten to death not painful, and how can dying during interrogations be anything except painful? At least in Arone's case we have the grisly details that led to disbanding a regiment. As for sensational appeal, maybe you're right, though I doubt we'll be "lucky" enough to come across grisly details in our own investigations. However, since we're not on a peace keeping mission, it's an all out good guy v. bad guy, you're with us or against us war, I'm not sure an American Arone would have the same impact.

QUOTE(turnea @ May 10 2005, 05:02 PM)
QUOTE(Lesly)
Yes. It could be argued that no matter what a country/organization’s intentions may be placing one armed group in charge of a (relatively speaking) unarmed or inferiorly armed group invariably results in abuse of power.

I don't believe prisoner abuse is inevitable, just as there are examples of abuse there are examples of exemplary service by guards.
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I like giving people the benefit of the doubt but not when it comes to charging someone with the care of others--especially when the others are trying to kill you and your friends. The U.S. military does go through pains to minimize casualties, but the main objectives of war and peace keeping have never and never will perceive the care of insurgents and criminals as high priority items. Without public pressure/transparency exemplary and unbecoming service are possible.

QUOTE(turnea @ May 10 2005, 05:02 PM)
I believe the value in the comparison is that we cannot allow the international furor or lack thereof to dictate the response to abuse. That justice must be sought in all cases whether or not the media feels it's a front-page story.
*


I agree, but sadly, I think the Western media reflects public disinterest and/or prejudice when Somalia, Rwanda, and Darfur go largely uncovered.
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ralou
post May 11 2005, 05:13 AM
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Are parallels between Somali and Iraqi prisoner abuse useful?

Depends on whether parallels are being drawn in an effort to stop torture and other war crimes from happening anywhere, to anyone, under any flag, or whether it's just another, "They did it, so we can, too" parallel.



Is even that enough? Is the US too lenient on abuses in the military?

I concur with moif. I add, "The US is far too lenient."




Did the international press unevenly target the US in comparison which the abuses by Canadian, Belgian, and Italian troops in Somalia?


To be honest, I don't know. I don't remember. But if they did, it doesn't excuse what happened there, and it doesn't excuse what happened in Iraq, and it excuses no present and future war crimes.



Did the UN sanction or at best overlook torture by peacekeepers in Somalia?



Again, I don't know. Probably.



Given the current allegations of sexual abuse in Congo and Liberia are they doing so now?


Again, probably, just as the US regime is doing in many places around the world. I hope everyone responsible, whether Iraqi, American, UN peacekeeper or official, pays very dearly someday for these things. There is no justification, there is no excuse. A few things are relative, including murder (that's why there is no 'self-defense' law in my state, it's called, 'justifiable homicide'). But rape (including that which the Taguba report states happened in Abu Ghraib), is never justifiable. Neither is torture, nor is the deliberate targeting of civilians.


Personally, I think the behavior of the UN in various places (including its current support for a brutal, US installed regime in Haiti), is a very good reason for Americans to never look for outside help, should the worst happen, and a dictatorship topple our liberties. Keep your Second Amendment handy, and don't look to the blue helmets to save you.

This post has been edited by ralou: May 11 2005, 05:16 AM
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moif
post May 11 2005, 09:39 AM
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QUOTE
Do you have any examples you would point to that typify this behavior?
Yes, and I believe I have made mention of them plenty of times in multiple other posts. I am refering to the lack of any accountability for the human rights injustices at Guantanamo as much as in Afghanistan or Iraq, as well as older examples of Vietnam war atrocity's which were covered up or brushed over.


QUOTE
I am perplexed by what I see as short sentences for some offenses. However these sentences are short measured by my own scale of justice. As I pointed out in the opening post offenders in Abu Ghraib who humiliated prisoners suspected of being enemies in a war are being punished far more than Canadian soldiers who beat a 16-year old boy (who, at worst, stole from their camp) to death.
Yes. The US political/legal system, when it does impose a sentence can be very hard on the convicted person but I believe this is a hypocrisy that is endemic in the US political/legal system.

Graner is the perfect example. He has been given a charge of 10 years for abusing prisoners which I find rather a severe, but necessary, sentence. At the same time, his superior officers have not been punished in a similar fashion. Karpinski has been punished, yes, but no one who gave the orders for the abuse to happen has been brought to account. I believe Graner and Karpinski are scape goats and the severity of Graner's sentence is a punishment for being caught, not for having committed the crime.


QUOTE
Comparatively speaking I don't see the US as lenient at all...
Compared to who?

If you compare the USA with other nations then you have to specify which nations you are using as a basis for comparison. For my part I see nothing special about the way the USA holds its soldiers to account.


QUOTE
How so exactly?

The main reason as it seems to me is because the media made it so, with the amount of coverage (which I feel was appropriate by the way) which discounts it as a reason.
Yes, the media carries a responsibility for its lack of objectivity in what it chooses to tell us, but the truth is, even today's global media is not omnipresent and due to the nature of our profit fuelled world, only the most 'important' story's will get the air time needed.

In comparison, the UN does not have the media significance to shift global geo politics in any one direction where as the USA, by virtue of its power and size can do much damage by even the slightest wrong movement because all eyes are upon it.

This is the fundamental lesson of global hegemony that the people of the USA do not seem to want to come to grips with. With power comes responsibility and it seems, to me, that the majority of Americans are not interested in that responsibility. Laying the blame on the media for focusing only on US matters is a form of denial where by people are killing the messenger for bearing bad news but ignoring those responsible for the bad news.

That the messenger does not bring us other messages, those pertaining to the actions of non American forces, is a clear indication of how little any one cares about these other actions in this greedy world of consumerism and profit.

I constantly ask myself, why don't people care? And the only answers I have are that most Americans don't care because they shun the guilt of being so privileged and most every one else doesn't care because they have allowed the USA to carry the burden of responsibility for so long that they have absolved themselves of any share in the responsibility.


QUOTE
Is it the proximity to the Middle East?
No, I don't think the middle east is so great a factor in this regard. Its just the current hot spot. The main factor is the participation of the USA. For as long as America is the axis around which global attention spins then its actions will continue to be regarded as more important than any other powers.

As much as I hate to admit it, I think Chirac is correct in that the world needs a multipolar world. Neither the world, nor the USA is best served by this unipolar world where by the USA carries a burden of responsibility its people don't really want.


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turnea
post May 11 2005, 01:12 PM
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QUOTE(Lesly @ May 10 2005, 06:28 PM)
When is beaten to death not painful, and how can dying during interrogations be anything except painful? At least in Arone's case we have the grisly details that led to disbanding a regiment. As for sensational appeal, maybe you're right, though I doubt we'll be "lucky" enough to come across grisly details in our own investigations. However, since we're not on a peace keeping mission, it's an all out good guy v. bad guy, you're with us or against us war, I'm not sure an American Arone would have the same impact.

Actually the last straw against the regiment was a videotaped hazing scandal which again wasn't lacking in sensational appeal. Racial overtones violence, the whole nine yards.

You assume that grisly details are being hidden of at best overlooked in our own investigations, if your going to accuse Americans of like behavior we'll need evidence.

...and I think if US soldiers beat a 16 year old boy to death for stealing and took pictures posing with his bloodied body is would have the same impact, yes.

QUOTE(Lesly)

I like giving people the benefit of the doubt but not when it comes to charging someone with the care of others--especially when the others are trying to kill you and your friends. The U.S. military does go through pains to minimize casualties, but the main objectives of war and peace keeping have never and never will perceive the care of insurgents and criminals as high priority items. Without public pressure/transparency exemplary and unbecoming service are possible.

Did you mean impossible?

The fact is that the "extenuating circumstances" are just an excuse. Military discipline is worthless if it cannot prevent such behavior.


QUOTE(moif)
Graner is the perfect example. He has been given a charge of 10 years for abusing prisoners which I find rather a severe, but necessary, sentence. At the same time, his superior officers have not been punished in a similar fashion. Karpinski has been punished, yes, but no one who gave the orders for the abuse to happen has been brought to account. I believe Graner and Karpinski are scape goats and the severity of Graner's sentence is a punishment for being caught, not for having committed the crime.

...and who pray tell, "gave the orders for the abuse?"
QUOTE(moif)
Compared to who?

If you compare the USA with other nations then you have to specify which nations you are using as a basis for comparison. For my part I see nothing special about the way the USA holds its soldiers to account.

So far in my research compared to Canada, Belgium, and Italy.
QUOTE(moif)
In comparison, the UN does not have the media significance to shift global geo politics in any one direction where as the USA, by virtue of its power and size can do much damage by even the slightest wrong movement because all eyes are upon it.

This is the fundamental lesson of global hegemony that the people of the USA do not seem to want to come to grips with. With power comes responsibility and it seems, to me, that the majority of Americans are not interested in that responsibility. Laying the blame on the media for focusing only on US matters is a form of denial where by people are killing the messenger for bearing bad news but ignoring those responsible for the bad news.

I hope you don't think that's what I'm doing here....

As I explained before I do not blame he media for reporting on Abu Ghraib, I applaud it.

I do blame them for what I see as undereporting abuses against Somalis and I suspect it is because the prospect of (justifiably) criticizing America was much more attractive.

This post has been edited by turnea: May 11 2005, 01:13 PM
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Vermillion
post May 11 2005, 02:09 PM
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The premis of this post was that 'Torture takes place and is not dealt with very seriously', and as an examnple the case of Canadian soldiers torturing a boy to death in Somalia was cited.

However, the facts presented about the case were vastly distorted.

The reality is, two men on their own initiative captured and tortured to death a young boy they found creeping around inside the base. There was no 'interrogation', there was no military policy or command, this was two guys getting their kicks by torturing a young boy for fun. They did not even report the captive, the intrusion or the incident to their supreriors. It was in every way a case of two evil men acting entirely on their own initiative. One did the majority of the torturingm the other took pictures and watched.

The two men were arrested and brought to trial. The main torturer hanged himself in his cell, unsuccessfully, but the attempt left him with severe brain damage resulting in the IQ of a 4 to 5 year old and extremely limited motor control of his limbs. Given his condition, his prosecution was halted. The other man was given 5 years in military prison then kicked out of the military.

The commander of the unit, even though it was demonstrated in the inquiry that he had no knowledge of the events as they ocured was given a reprimand and reduced in rank regardless, for failing to properly command his troops, for whose actions he is in the end responsible as their commander. The mission leader in Somalia was removed from his post and sent back to Canada, his career essentially over. The government then DISBANDED THE ENTIRE COMMANDO UNIT and retired the name, stating that the shame of this group had shames the entire Canadian military.


So you were saying something about it not being taken too seriously? One can only wish that the US military had treated the Abu Graib scandals with one-tenth the seriousness that Canada did when dealing with a scandal of one-onehundreth the importance.
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aevans176
post May 11 2005, 02:20 PM
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QUOTE(Vermillion @ May 11 2005, 09:09 AM)
So you were saying something about it not being taken too seriously? One can only wish that the US military had treated the Abu Graib scandals with one-tenth the seriousness that Canada did when dealing with a scandal of one-onehundreth the importance.
*




I disagree, my disgruntled Canadian friend.
One tenth the seriousness? A boy was totured then killed... none the less by your country men, and you denounce this as 1/10 as serious as some Muslims being harassed? We didn't kill anyone, sir. Not to mention one of the men that killed a young boy and hid it from his officers only got a few years in jail. Had this soldier been American... I'm confident that a child murderer in a American federal prison would've proven fatal in itself.

Frankly, if your logic applies to two Canadian soldiers, then it would apply to a handful of American soldiers. Secondly, the prisoners at Abu Gharib were captive insurgents. These men and their associates had killed Americans, etc. They were only humiliated... not killed or physically tortured. Finally, they were grown men as opposed to a young boy. Your "Canadian-ness" sir, does not make you a pillar of moral fortitude, nor does it insert logic into your post.
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