Three soldiers ordered discharged for abusing Iraqi prisoners

Discussion in 'Middle East - General' started by bamthin, Jan 6, 2004.

  1. bamthin
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    WASHINGTON (AFP) - Three US Army soldiers have been found guilty of mistreating Iraqi detainees at a prisoner of war camp in Iraq (news - web sites) and ordered discharged from the service, an army spokeswoman said.


    The charges stemmed from an incident May 12 at Camp Bucca in Iraq in which at least one detainee was held down while soldiers beat and kicked him at the urging of their superior, Master Sergeant Lisa Girman.


    Girman was found guilty of dereliction of duty and maltreatment of an Iraqi detainee "by knocking him to the ground, repeatedly kicking him in the groin, abdomen and head and encouraging her subordinate soldiers to do the same," an army statement said.


    Girman was stripped to the rank of private, ordered out of the theater immediately and given an "other than honorable condition discharge," said the US 3rd Army, which commands US land forces in Iraq.


    Also found guilty of the same charges were Staff Sergeant Scott McKenzie and Specialist Timothy Canjar, who also were found to have made false statements to investigators, the army said.


    "All three soldiers are being separated," said Martha Rudd, an army spokeswoman in Washington. "And all are being sent back home."


    McKenzie mistreated an Iraqi prisoner "by dragging him by his armpits across the ground and holding him down while others were allowed to kick him, and throwing an Iraqi detainee to the ground on his face and stepping on his previously injured arm," she said.


    McKenzie held the detainee's legs apart, "encouraging others to kick him in the groin while other US soldiers kicked him in the abdomen and head," the army statement said.


    Canjar also held a detainee's legs apart while others kicked him in the groin, and violently twisted a detainee's previously injured arm "causing him to scream in pain," according to the army statement.


    It was unclear how many detainees were subjected to abuse.


    A fourth soldier charged in the case, Sergeant Shawna Edmondson, accepted a discharge "under other than honorable" conditions in November in lieu of court martial, the army said.


    All four were members of the 320th Military Police Battalion, an army reserve unit based in Ashley, Pennsylvania.


    Brigadier General Ennis Whitehead III, the acting commander of the 143rd Transportation Command, presided over the non-judicial hearing that handed down the verdict and non-judicial punishment against the three.


    Their punishment included forfeited pay, 30 days extra duty and 30 days restricted duty at their base.


    The three chose not to appeal the verdict, the army said.


    In separate administrative actions, McKenzie was reduced in rank to a sergeant and Canjar to a private.


    McKenzie and Canjar "will receive a separation from the military for commission of a serious offense, given a General, Under Honorable Conditions Discharge, and be immediately redeployed from the theater of operations," the army said.


    Whitehead directed that Girman "be separated from the military for commission of a serious offense, given an Other Than Honorable Conditions Discharge, be reduced to the lowest enlisted grade of Private (E-1), and be immediately redeployed from this theater of operations," the army said.


    LINK


    I have having second thoughts that I agreed that only a mild punishment was OK for West. This is the kind of stuff that happens when the public tolerates inhumane behavior of prisoners. I am not saying that this is the reason these soldiers acted this way, only speculating that it didn't help matters.

    -Bam
     
  2. jimnyc
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    What does this have to do with anybody tolerating inhumane behavior? Looks to me like it wasn't tolerated at all and now their respective careers are over.

    This I would agree was unacceptable behavior. Sounds like they beat prisoners for fun. What Colonel West did was in the midst of battle, extracting information which ultimately saved lives. I don't see these as similar, nor do I see anyone tolerating inhumane behavior.
     
  3. DKSuddeth
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    DKSuddeth Senior Member

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    what colonel west did was NOT in the midst of a battle. It was prior to a troop movement, from what I understand, and upon rumors of the attack the iraqi cop was apprehended and interrogated. Not captured during a battle.
     
  4. lilcountriegal
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    lilcountriegal Senior Member

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    Let me clear some things up on these four soldiers discharged for abusing Iraqi prisoners.

    First of all, the incident was on May 12. That's quite a while ago. They were all stationed in Camp Bucca (sp), which is in Southern Iraq. At times, there were 100 MP's watching 8,000 prisoners. There were FREQUENT riots started by those prisoners. At one point, a high ranking official retreated, leaving soldiers stranded in the prisoners' living quarters. Sgt Girman led the rescue.

    In reference to the alleged wrongdoing, here is the account given by one of the four soldiers:

    Sgt Girman was apparently complaining to the higher ups of the poor conditions at the camp, the MP/prisoner ratio, etc. At one point, she had a complaint that the prisoners were even allowed to roam into the MP's living quarters.

    This story reaks of something more.

    (Oh... and the prisoner that was kicked in the balls? He was an alleged rapist)

    Excuse me if I dont shed a tear for these prisoners. This is a completely different story than Col. West, however, I felt no sorrow for either Iraqi prisoner.
     
  5. DKSuddeth
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    DKSuddeth Senior Member

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    sounds to me like this is a story that should have the gag order violated in a huge way. the truth needs to come out.
     
  6. jimnyc
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    I didn't say they were in a battle at that very moment, but the troops were being attacked by insurgents on a daily basis. I would say that he was on 'active' duty involved in urban warfare. His life and that of his soldiers were in danger. He responded and saved lives. This is FAR from being anything like what happened to the discharged soldiers.
     
  7. bamthin
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    Yes I agree. If the Army and the Bush administration are short changing the troops and forcing them to live and work in this type of environment and then forcing them out when they complain, I think this is an even bigger issue.

    Please supply more valid links and evidence of this. I will be vigilant. I don't know about you guys, but I think we should be providing the absolute best we can to these people who are risking their lives. And then, to issue other than honorable discharges on top of it. That's the equivalent of a criminal record when it comes to looking for a job. Very bad mark on your permanent record.


    -Bam
     
  8. lilcountriegal
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    lilcountriegal Senior Member

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    First, let me say if the conditions were as described, then someone should be held accountable. The "Bush Administration" is reaching, at least. This is a solitary case that somehow, somewhere got dropped by someone in command. I'm sure Dubya didnt get an e-mail from Girman herself and delete it without second thought. Someone dropped the ball, a Colonel stationed on the base, his superior, etc. etc. To claim it reaches to the White House is laughable.

    As far as the link... I got most of my information from two sources. I didnt save the second source, however, the first source was an article in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. I have linked that article for your review. If it is absolutely positively detrimental that I link the second source, let me know and I'll re-search the same routes to come up with my prior information.

    Post Gazette Article
     
  9. bamthin
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    Sounds as if they had the trials and the MPs were allowed to tell their side and present evidence. Unfortunately, as with nearly all court martials, the defendants never win.

    I would be intersted in seeing the transcript from the legal proceeding and the evidence that the enlisted people had.

    I think that the Bush administration IS responsible for the conditions that these defendants were describing. Bush is the CINC and is ultimately responsible for the success or failure of this mission in Iraq. The buck stops on his desk.

    Bush didn't actually capture Saddam, but he is getting credit. You take the good with the bad.


    -Bam
     

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