Scroll down to item #3 to read the mountain of salt rubbed into the worst possible gaping wound : "The young Iraqi woman was in the wrong place at the wrong time"
Excuse me? Excuse the world's women, and all decent men! - Lynette
The Terror of Occupation: US Marines question men in a family house in Ramadi, Iraq. Photo: Jacob Silberberg/AP
Saturday July 1 2006
Rape, 4 killings by GIs alleged
5 U.S. soldiers suspected; probe is 5th of slayings of Iraqi civilians
By RYAN LENZ
BEIJI, IRAQ - A group of American soldiers in an insurgent-riddled town allegedly noticed a young Iraqi woman when on patrol and later returned to rape her, according to U.S. officials Friday. In an apparent cover-up attempt, she and three members of her family then were killed and her body was set on fire.
Five U.S. troops are being investigated, a U.S. military official said. It was the fifth known inquiry into alleged slayings of Iraqi civilians by U.S. troops.
Revealed during counseling
In Baghdad, the U.S. military issued a sparse statement, saying only that Maj. Gen. James D. Thurman, commander of the 4th Infantry Division, ordered a criminal investigation into the alleged slaying of a family of four in Mahmoudiya, 20 miles south of Baghdad.
However, the U.S. official said the suspects were assigned to the 502nd Infantry Regiment. That is the same platoon as Menchaca and Pfc. Thomas Tucker of Madras, Ore., whose mutilated bodies were found June 19, three days after they were abducted by insurgents near Yusifiya, southwest of Baghdad.
The official said the mutilation of the slain soldiers stirred feelings of guilt and led at least one member of the platoon to reveal the rape-slayings on June 22.
According to the senior Army official, the alleged incident was first revealed by a soldier during a routine counseling session. The official said that soldier did not witness the incident but heard about it.
A second soldier, who also was not involved, said he overheard soldiers conspiring to commit the crimes and then later saw bloodstains on their clothes, the official said.
Before the soldier disclosed the alleged assault, senior officers had been aware of the family's death but thought it was a result of sectarian violence, the official said.
One of the five suspects has already been discharged for unspecified charges unrelated to the killings and is thought to be in the United States, two U.S. officials said on condition of anonymity. The others have had their weapons taken away and are confined to a U.S. base near Mahmoudiya.
Anger stirred against U.S.
The case is among the most serious against U.S. soldiers allegedly involved in the deaths of Iraqi civilians. At least 14 U.S. troops have been convicted.
Last week, seven Marines and one Navy medic were charged with premeditated murder in the shooting death of an Iraqi man near Fallujah west of Baghdad.
U.S. officials are also investigating allegations that U.S. Marines killed two dozen unarmed Iraqi civilians Nov. 19 in the western town of Haditha in a revenge attack after a fellow Marine died in a roadside bombing.
Other cases involve the deaths of three male detainees in Salahuddin province in May, the shooting death of an unarmed Iraqi man near Ramadi in February, and the death of an Iraqi soldier after an interrogation in 2003 at a detention camp in Qaim.
The allegations have aroused public anger against the U.S. military presence at a time when the new Iraqi government and U.S. authorities are trying to reach out to disaffected Sunni Arabs to quell the insurgency and calm sectarian tensions.
#2 Saturday, July 1, 2006; Page A01
Troops Facing Murder Probe
Atrocities Against Iraqi Family Alleged
By Jonathan Finer
Washington Post Foreign Service
BAGHDAD, June 30 -- The U.S. Army is investigating allegations that American soldiers raped and killed a woman and killed three of her family members in a town south of Baghdad, then reported the incident as an insurgent attack, a military official said Friday.
The alleged crimes occurred in March in the insurgent hotbed of Mahmudiyah. The four soldiers involved, from the 502nd Infantry Regiment, attempted to burn the family's home to the ground and blamed insurgents for the carnage, according to a military official familiar with the investigation, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was providing details not released publicly.
PHOTO: Iraqi soldiers man a checkpoint on a bridge in central Baghdad, Iraq Friday, June 30, 2006 just before the Friday vehicle ban came into effect. The 11am to 3pm vehicle ban on Fridays was introduced by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in an attempt to prevent car bombings on Iraqis gathering to give traditional Friday muslim prayers. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed) (Khalid Mohammed - AP)
No charges have yet been filed in the case, which the official said was "in the very early stages."
Maj. Gen James D. Thurman, commander of the Army's 4th Infantry Division, to which the 502nd is attached, ordered the investigation into the killings more than a week ago, according to a terse statement released by the military Friday. A preliminary inquiry "found sufficient information existed to recommend a criminal investigation into the incident," the statement said.
Also Friday, the military reported the deaths of three soldiers in insurgent attacks Thursday. One was killed by a roadside bomb while on foot patrol in Baghdad. Another died in a roadside bomb attack in Balad, north of Baghdad. The third was killed by small-arms fire in the northern city of Mosul. No further information was provided.
The case in Mahmudiyah, a rural town in a Sunni Arab region dubbed the Triangle of Death for the insurgent attacks and crimes that are common there, was the latest in a string of allegations of unlawful killings -- and subsequent coverups -- by U.S. forces in recent months, beginning with reports in March that Marines killed 24 unarmed civilians in the western town of Haditha. Investigations continue into that case.
In June, seven Marines and a Navy corpsman were charged with murder and other crimes related to the shooting death of a crippled man in Hamdaniya, west of Baghdad. Residents there said the soldiers planted a rifle and a shovel near the victim's body to make it look as if he had been burying roadside bombs.
Later in June, three soldiers were charged with murdering three Iraqi detainees in U.S. custody and threatening to kill another soldier who saw the incident. And last week, two Pennsylvania National Guardsmen were charged with murder in the shooting death of an unarmed man in the western city of Ramadi and with trying to cover up the crime.
At least 14 U.S. service members have been convicted of crimes related to the deaths of Iraqi civilians or detainees, according to the Associated Press. Investigations have intensified in recent months following the high-profile Haditha allegations, pressure from the Iraqi government on military commanders to curtail excessive force by soldiers, and an initiative by Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the top U.S. ground commander in Iraq, to cut down on civilian casualties.
But the prospect that soldiers may have committed rape could make the Mahmudiyah allegations particularly incendiary. Charges that U.S. forces have killed civilians come as little shock to many Iraqis, but sex crimes -- especially those perpetrated against Muslim women by someone outside the faith -- can generate greater outrage in the Islamic world. The 2004 Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal inflamed passions in large part because of the sexual humiliations detainees suffered.
Ammar Jabouri, a spokesman for the Iraqi Islamic Party, Iraq's largest Sunni Arab political organization and a frequent critic of U.S. actions against Iraqi civilians, said he was unaware of previous charges of rape against American soldiers.
Jabouri said that when he and others have spoken to U.S. officials about abuses by troops, the officials "explain it as 'reckless behavior by soldiers under stress.' They promise to investigate, but nothing comes out of that."
The unit in Mahmudiyah had attributed the deaths of the four civilians to "insurgent activity, which is common in the area," until two soldiers from the 502nd came forward June 23 to say U.S. troops were responsible, the military official said. An investigation began the next day. Three of the soldiers are still in Iraq, and one has been discharged for reasons unrelated to the case, he said. None is under confinement.
"They cannot be held until or unless there is enough evidence," the official said.
Mahmudiyah police Capt. Maaly Hassan Felayh said the killings in March took place in a rural neighborhood called Stream Three, three miles south of the town center.
It was one of three cases since February in which U.S. forces killed Iraqi troops in the area, he said, including a shooting at a checkpoint in April that left 11 Iraqis dead.
Another local resident, Sadeq Muhammed al-Janabi, a farmer, said the woman who was raped and killed was an elementary school teacher.
In mid-June, two other members of the same brigade were abducted, their bodies later found mutilated in the town of Yusufiyah, near Mahmudiyah. The soldiers under investigation for the killings in Mahmudiyah were from the same platoon as those later abducted and killed, the AP reported, citing an account provided by an unnamed official with the unit who said the incidents were unrelated. Platoons usually number about 40 soldiers.
The AP, whose reporter was embedded with the 502nd in early June, also reported Friday that at least one soldier had confessed to involvement in the alleged crimes and was motivated to come forward when his fellow soldiers were kidnapped and murdered.
Elsewhere in Iraq on Friday, Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called on followers to prepare themselves to go to the predominantly Sunni Arab northern city of Samarra to help rebuild a Shiite shrine damaged in a February bombing that triggered months of sectarian violence. "Believers inside and outside Iraq should register their names as volunteers to build and protect the holy shrine," said Sadr, whose Mahdi Army militia terrorized Sunni neighborhoods following the bombing of Samarra's Askariya Shrine.
In Baghdad, the Association of Muslim Scholars, an influential Sunni religious organization with close ties to some Iraqi insurgent groups, rejected a plan for reconciliation between Iraq's rival sects proposed by Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Maliki offered amnesty to insurgents who had not committed major crimes and said some insurgent groups had responded positively to the offer.
But in an interview with the Agence France-Presse news agency, Muthana Hareth Dhari, a Muslim Scholars official, said that "the main resistance factions have rejected" the plan and called it "nothing but a public relations campaign to brighten the image of the government."
#3 Sydney Morning Herald -- Saturday July 1 2006
Correspondent Ellen Knickmeyer, special correspondents Naseer Nouri and K.I. Ibrahim and other Washington Post staff in Iraq contributed to this report.
Iraq rape and murder claims probedThe young Iraqi woman was in the wrong place at the wrong time - in an insurgent-riddled town when a group of American soldiers happened to pass by on patrol, noticing her.
What happened next, according to US officials, was that the soldiers returned to rape her, then in an apparent cover-up attempt, she and three members of her family were killed and her body set on fire.
Five US troops are being investigated, a US military official told The Associated Press on Friday.
It is the fifth pending case involving alleged slayings of Iraqi civilians by US troops.
The suspects in the killing, which took place in March, were from the same platoon as two soldiers kidnapped and killed south of Baghdad this month, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case.
One soldier was arrested after admitting his role in the alleged attack on the family, the US official said. The official said the rape and killings appear to have been a "crime of opportunity," noting that the soldiers had not been attacked by insurgents but had noticed the woman on previous patrols.
One of the family members they allegedly killed was a child, said a senior Army official who also requested anonymity.
Some of the suspects allegedly burned the woman's body to cover up the attack, the US official said.
In Baghdad, the US military issued a sparse statement, saying only that Maj. Gen. James D. Thurman, commander of the 4th Infantry Division, ordered a criminal investigation into the alleged slaying of a family of four in Mahmoudiya, 30 kilometres south of Baghdad.
However, the US official said the soldiers were assigned to the 502nd Infantry Regiment.
The official told the AP that the suspects were from the same platoon as two slain soldiers whose mutilated bodies were found on June 19, three days after they were abducted by insurgents near Youssifiyah southwest of Baghdad.
The military has said one and possibly both of the slain soldiers were tortured and beheaded. The official said the mutilation of the slain soldiers stirred feelings of guilt and led at least one member of the platoon to reveal the rape-slaying on June 22.
According to the senior Army official, the alleged incident was first revealed by a soldier during a routine counselling-type session. The official said that soldier did not witness the incident but heard about it.
A second soldier, who also was not involved, said he overhead soldiers conspiring to commit the crimes and then later saw bloodstains on their clothes, the official said.
Before the soldier disclosed the alleged assault, senior officers had been aware of the family's death but believed it was a result of sectarian violence, the official said.
One of the five suspects has already been discharged for unspecified charges unrelated to the killings and is believed to be in the United States, according to another two US officials speaking on condition of anonymity.
The others have had their weapons taken away and are confined to a US base near Mahmoudiya.
The allegations of rape could generate a particularly strong backlash in Iraq, a conservative, strongly religious society in which many women will not even shake hands with men who are not close relatives.
The case is among the most serious against US soldiers allegedly involved in the deaths of Iraqi civilians. At least 14 US troops have been convicted.
Last week, seven Marines and one Navy medic were charged with premeditated murder in the shooting death of an Iraqi man near Fallujah west of Baghdad.
US officials are also investigating allegations that US Marines killed two dozen unarmed Iraqi civilians Nov. 19 in the western town of Haditha in a revenge attack after a fellow Marine died in a roadside bombing.
Other cases involve the deaths of three male detainees in Salahuddin province in May, the shooting death of unarmed Iraqi man near Ramadi in February, and the death of an Iraqi soldier after an interrogation in 2003 at a detention camp in Qaim.
The allegations have aroused public anger against the US military presence at a time when the new Iraqi government and US authorities are trying to reach out to disaffected Sunni Arabs to quell the insurgency and calm sectarian tensions.
On Saturday, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki leaves for a whirlwind trip to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates to seek support for his national reconciliation initiative, which includes an amnesty for the mostly Sunni insurgents.
Al-Maliki is also expected to brief the Sunni leadership of those three countries on his efforts to deal with the divisions between Shi'ites and Sunnis. Iraq's neighbours in the Persian Gulf fear sectarian tensions will spill over into their countries, which are dominated by Sunnis but have large Shi'ite minorities.
On Friday, radical Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr rejected al-Maliki's initiative because it does not include a timetable for the withdrawal of US-led foreign troops.
"We demand the occupation forces to leave the country, or at least a timetable should be set for their withdrawal," al-Sadr said during a sermon.
Despite al-Maliki's efforts, there has been no letup in Iraq's violence. The US military reported four more American service members have died, including a Marine killed Friday in fighting west of Baghdad. Three Army soldiers died in combat the day before, the military said.