Winning the hearts and minds, one war crime at a time.
The US are supposedly champions of human rights, they uphold the ideals of freedom and democracy, they are beacons of light in an otherwise dark world, they reprimand others left right and centre for committing atrocities and invade other countries to bring peace and stability. Bizarrely, these champions of human rights are not a signatory to the International Human Rights Commission Acts. Perhaps they believe in leading by example, as is clearly shown by their actions in Afghanistan below.
The list below is merely the tip of the iceberg – the rise of the digital age has made it easier for these atrocities to be documented and used to bring the perpetrators to justice.
April 18, 2012:
Photos of US troops posing with body parts of insurgent victims are released.
Soldiers of the 82nd Airborne Division were supposed to inspect the body parts to try to get iris scans and fingerprints for identification. Instead they posed for photos, smiling as they held up the remains of a suicide bombers severed legs.
The same platoon later posed with the remains of three insurgents who had blown them selves up. The soldiers were grinning as they held a dead man’s hand up with the middle finger raised, before placing an unofficial platoon patch that said “Zombie Hunter” next to other body parts and photographing it. The photo below shows a US soldier grinning as another soldier places the hand of a dead insurgent on his shoulder.
March 11, 2012:
The gruesome murder of 17 innocent people, nine of whom where children, by a US soldier in Afghanistan.
Staff Sergeant Robert Bales broke into the homes of innocent Afghan families, went from room to room and woke his victims before violently murdering them in their beds and then burning some of the bodies.
February 21, 2012:
Burning copies of the Qur’an in Afghanistan – just another day at the office for the pride of America, the US Marines.
Hundreds of angry Afghans vented their fury over the incident as violent protests around the country broke out after reports that the US Military had burned copies of the Qur’an.
Leon Panetta, the US secretary of defence said in a statement that “These actions do not represent the views of the United States military. We honour and respect the religious practices of the Afghan people, without exception.” If this is the case, the US military have a funny way of showing it.
February 11, 2012:
US Marines in Afghanistan embrace Nazi sentiments and pose with a Nazi SS flag. The photos were taken in 2010, but only surfaced this year.
No disciplinary action will be taken against the Scout Sniper team, because apparently there was no malicious intent.
According to Maj. Gabrielle Chapin, a spokeswoman at Camp Pendleton, Calif. ” The Marines mistakenly believed the “SS” in the shape of white lightning bolts on the blue flag were a nod to sniper scouts – not members of Adolf Hitler’s special unit that murdered millions of Jews, gypsies and others.”
Is Nazi iconography and memorabilia really that vague? I can’t wait until US Marines brandish a swastika, to which they will have no doubt “mistakenly believed” to be an ancient Buddhist Sun sign.
Unfortunately the actions of US Marines resonate more with Nazi sentiments than that of anything remotely Buddhist.
January 11, 2012:
US Marines urinate on dead Taliban insurgents.
Earlier this year footage of US soldiers urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban insurgents circulated the internet.
The soldiers can be heard laughing and saying “golden like a shower,” “Yeeeaaah,” and “have a great day, buddy!” as they stand over the dead bodies and relieve themselves.
The anonymous person who uploaded the video wrote “Scout sniper team 4with 3rd battalion 2nd marines out of camp lejeune peeing on dead talibans.”
December 15, 2010:
In 2010 twelve US Marines, who referred to themselves as “Kill Team,” murdered at least three unarmed, innocent Afghan civilians, including Gul Mudin, a 15 year old boy. They collected their body parts as trophies and photographed themselves posing with the dead bodies immediately after they were murdered, grinning and lifting the head of Gul Mudin up by the hair.
Staff Sergeant Calvin Gibbs, the ringleader of “Kill Team,” apparently used medical shears to sever several fingers from his victims and kept them as a form of human trophy collecting. Gibbs also gave one of these body parts to a fellow Marine involved in the killings, Pfc. Andrew Holmes, who kept it in a zip-lock bag and tried to dry it out in order to “keep the finger forever.”
The following is from Wikipedia:
Staff Sergeant David Bram - Found guilty of assault, solicitation to commit premeditated murder, aggravated assault on Afghan civilians, failing to report crimes including murder, planting evidence and unlawfully discussing murder scenarios with subordinates. Bram was sentenced to five years in prison eligible for parole after serving about 3 years and four months of his five-year sentence.
Staff Sergeant Calvin Gibbs - The ringleader of the “kill team”, was the highest-ranking soldier in the case. He was charged with conspiracy and three counts of murder for plotting and killing three Afghan civilians. Gibbs apparently bragged of his exploits while serving in Iraq, saying how easily one could “toss a grenade at someone and kill them.” Prosecutors said Gibbs was found in possession of “finger bones, leg bones and a tooth taken from Afghan corpses.”
Gibbs was convicted by a military jury on 15 counts including the premeditated murder of Mudin, Agha and Adahdad as well as illegally cutting off pieces of their corpses and planting weapons to make the men appear as if they were Taliban fighters. In November 2011, Gibbs was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 10 years minus the 547 days of pretrial confinement.
Pfc. Andrew Holmes - In September 2011 Holmes pled guilty to murder and was sentenced to 7 years jail.
Sgt. Darren Jones - Faces charges that he beat up another soldier and fired at Afghan civilians who did not pose a threat to him. He was sentenced to seven months in prison and demotion to the rank of private.
Spc. Adam Kelly - Convicted of conspiring to harm the whistleblower Spc. Justin Stoner. He was sentenced to 60 days hard labor and discharged from the Army.
Pfc. Ashton A. Moore - Faced the fewest charges among the group.
Spc. Corey Moore - Pled guilty that he kicked a witness and stabbed one of the corpses. He was sentenced to 60 days hard labour and a bad conduct discharge.
Spc. Jeremy N. Morlock - Has been sentenced to 24 years in prison by a military tribunal after pleading guilty to three counts of premeditated murder, conspiracy, obstruction of justice and illegal drug use. He will be dishonourably discharged from the military. During his hearing he was asked by Judge Lieutenant Colonel Kwasi Hawks “Were you going to shoot at (civilians) to scare them and it got out of hand?”. Morlock replied: “The plan was to kill people, sir.”
Spc. Emmitt Quintal - Given a bad-conduct discharge and sentenced to 90 days hard labour in a plea deal for frequently using drugs during his combat deployment, joining an assault on a comrade and keeping digital photos of Afghan casualties.
Staff Sergeant Robert Stevens - Pled guilty to four charges including shooting “in the direction of” two Afghan farmers for no reason. Stevens said Gibbs ordered him to shoot on the two farmers and that he regretted “not trying to stop Staff Sgt. Gibbs from trying to kill innocent people.”
Spc. Adam Winfield – Christopher Winfield, the father of platoon member Spc. Adam C. Winfield, attempted to alert the Army of the “kill team’s” existence when his son explained the situation from Afghanistan via a Facebook chat after the first killing.
Officials became alerted after an unnamed soldier reported hashish use by Morlock and Gibbs, and after reporting the incident to a sergeant, Spc. Winfield was accused of “snitching” and was physically assaulted. The assailants warned the private to stay silent, but he contacted investigators, and informed them about hash and alcohol use by members of his company, and further raising his suspicions that some of his fellow soldiers had slain civilians while on patrol.
On August 5, 2011, Winfield, charged with premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit murder, pled guilty under a plea deal to involuntary manslaughter and use of an illegal controlled substance. Under the plea deal he didn’t admit to the killing of Mullah Adahdad. He claimed that he fired his automatic weapon away from Adahdad but that he did nothing to stop the murder. He was sentenced to 3 years in prison.
Spc. Michael Wagnon - In 2011 Wagnon faced the following charges: possessing a human skull fragment, conspiracy to harm Afghans, premeditated murder, assaulting non-combatants, trying to destroy evidence. After pre-trial hearings an Army investigating officer twice recommended that prosecutors drop the charges and in February 2011, Lewis-McChord senior commander Maj. Gen. Lloyd Miles dismissed them ending the Army’s prosecution.
December 4, 2002:
Torture of innocent Afghans by US forces at Bagram Prison.
In 2002 Dilawar and Habibullah, two detainees at Bagram prison were victims of such repeated torture, that it resulted in their deaths.
Both men had been shackled by the wrists to the ceiling of their cells and both incurred repeated, violent beatings. So bad were the injuries sustained, that the coroner for Dilawar, Dr Elizabeth Rouse, said “I’ve seen similar injuries in an individual run over by a bus.” Dr Rouse testified that had Dilawar survived the torture, his legs would have had to be amputated.
Some US interrogators involved in the deaths of both Dilawar and Habibullah were then sent to Iraq, where they were assigned to Abu Ghraib prison where the torture continued.
The following is from Wikipedia:
Habibullah died on December 4, 2002. Several U.S. soldiers hit the chained man with so-called “peroneal strikes,” or severe blows to the side of the leg above the knee. This incapacitates the leg by hitting the common peroneal nerve. According to the New York Times:
“By Dec. 3, Mr. Habibullah’s reputation for defiance seemed to make him an open target. [He had taken at least 9 peroneal strikes from two MPs for being "noncompliant and combative."]… When Sgt. James P. Boland saw Mr. Habibullah on Dec. 3, he was in one of the isolation cells, tethered to the ceiling by two sets of handcuffs and a chain around his waist. His body was slumped forward, held up by the chains. Sergeant Boland … had entered the cell with [Specialists Anthony M. Morden and Brian E. Cammack]…kneeing the prisoner sharply in the thigh, “maybe a couple” of times. Mr. Habibullah’s limp body swayed back and forth in the chains.”
When medics arrived, they found Habibullah dead.
Dilawar, who died on December 10, 2002, was a 22-year-old Afghan taxi driver and farmer who weighed 122 pounds and was described by his interpreters as neither violent nor aggressive.
When beaten, he repeatedly cried “Allah!” The outcry appears to have amused U.S. military personnel, as the act of striking him in order to provoke a scream of “Allah!” eventually “became a kind of running joke,” according to one of the MPs. “People kept showing up to give this detainee a common peroneal strike just to hear him scream out ‘Allah,’” he said.” It went on over a 24-hour period, and I would think that it was over 100 strikes.”
The Times reported that:
“On the day of his death, Dilawar had been chained by the wrists to the top of his cell for much of the previous four days. ”A guard tried to force the young man to his knees. But his legs, which had been pummeled by guards for several days, could no longer bend. An interrogator told Mr. Dilawar that he could see a doctor after they finished with him. When he was finally sent back to his cell, though, the guards were instructed only to chain the prisoner back to the ceiling. ”Leave him up,” one of the guards quoted Specialist Claus as saying. Several hours passed before an emergency room doctor finally saw Mr. Dilawar.”
By then he was dead, his body beginning to stiffen.
It would be many months before Army investigators learned a final horrific detail: Most of the interrogators had believed Mr. Dilawar was an innocent man who simply drove his taxi past the American base at the wrong time.
There has been a movie created about the incident called Taxi to the Dark Side. In this movie they claim Dilawar was not captured driving past Bagram air base, but while driving through militia territory. He was stopped at a roadblock and given over to the U. S. Army for money reward, because the militia said he was a terrorist.