More military murder
Another case in which three U.S. soldiers appear to have shot and killed four bound Iraqi prisoners has come to light. This one took place in the spring of 2007, in West Rashid, a Shiite neighborhood in southwest Baghdad.
As in the Fallujah case, the ranking officer on the scene shot two of the prisoners and ordered the men with him each to shoot the others. Other members of their company were aware of the group's crime, but did nothing to prevent it or to report it. They're being charged with conspiracy murder; the shooters will probably be charged with murder.
After taking small-arms fire, the patrol chased some men into a building, arresting them and finding several automatic weapons, grenades and a sniper rifle, they said. On the way to their combat outpost, Sergeant Hatley’s convoy was informed by Army superiors that the evidence to detain the Iraqis was insufficient, Sergeant Leahy said in his statement. The unit was told to release the men, according to the statement.
"First Sergeant Hatley then made the call to take the detainees to a canal and kill them," Sergeant Leahy said, as retribution for the deaths of two soldiers from the unit: Staff Sgt. Karl O. Soto-Pinedo, who died from a sniper’s bullet, and Specialist Marieo Guerrero, killed by a roadside bomb.
The execution-murders took place in April 2007. Guerrero was killed on March 17, Soto-Pinedo on February 27. How many other non-commissioned officers think it's fine to kill Iraqis in cold blood as payback for the deaths of U.S. soldiers?
Update: 4:15 pm, 27 August - While I'm posting on the subject, another recent case and an update on an older one:
Two soldiers were charged in early August with assault and premeditated murder in the death of Ali Mansur Muhammad at some point after his release from U.S. detention in mid-May. Very few details were released; I'll follow up if more comes out.
Steven Dale Green, the main defendant in the rape of Abeer Hamza and the murder of her family in Mahmoudiyah in March 2006, will be tried three years after the crime.
Update 2: 12:55 pm, 28 Aug - Remember the right-wing screechfest a year ago when soldier Scott Beauchamp wrote a pseudonymous article for The New Republic portraying his unit as having, among other things, run down dogs with Bradley vehicles? The Army outed Beauchamp, said that he'd fabricated the incidents in his article. Among those denying the account was none other than Sgt. Hatley, in whose unit Beauchamp served (credit Bernhard at Moon of Alabama for the catch).
So, while members of the unit were busily denying that honorable soldiers could possibly do anything as terrible as kill a dog or show disrespect to Iraqi remains, at least seven of them were aware that its officers had murdered live Iraqi human beings, handcuffed prisoners.
Spencer Ackerman recently released a backgrounder/update he wrote last year on Beauchamp, who was hung out to dry by TNR. He notes at his blog that the Army began an investigation into the murders this past January, though they wouldn't confirm at the time that the unit in question was Beauchamp's.
Update: 1:00 pm, 9 Jan 2009 - Hatley is being charged with murder in the killing of the four Iraqi prisoners, and "faces additional charges of murder for a separate incident in January 2007" for which the Army has not provided details.
Labels: Iraq mil