p2pnet view Crime:- Germany’s Der Spiegel on the weekend published pictures from a reported 4,000 videos and photos taken by members of a US army “kill team” in Kandahar province last year.
“Two of the photos show soldiers in the unit lifting the body of an Afghan civilian by the hair and posing thus for the camera”, says WL Central. The third, it says, “shows two Afghans apparently or possibly killed while handcuffed together back to back. The photographs are not yet available onsite at Der Spiegel; David Dayen at firedoglake links to them here, here, and here.”
Says the Guardian >>>
Commanders in Afghanistan are bracing themselves for possible riots and public fury triggered by the publication of “trophy” photographs of US soldiers posing with the dead bodies of defenceless Afghan civilians they killed.
Senior officials at Nato’s International Security Assistance Force in Kabul have compared the pictures published by the German news weekly Der Spiegel to the images of US soldiers abusing prisoners in Abu Ghraib in Iraq which sparked waves of anti-US protests around the world.
They fear that the pictures could be even more damaging as they show the aftermath of the deliberate murders of Afghan civilians by a rogue US Stryker tank unit that operated in the southern province of Kandahar last year.
Some of the activities of the self-styled “kill team” are already public, with 12 men currently on trial in Seattle for their role in the killing of three civilians.
Five of the soldiers are on trial for pre-meditated murder, after they staged killings to make it look like they were defending themselves from Taliban attacks.
Other charges include the mutilation of corpses, the possession of images of human casualties and drug abuse.
All of the soldiers have denied the charges. They face the death penalty or life in prison if convicted.
The guilty plea and sentencing of Army Specialist Jeremy Morlock, 23, of Wasilla, Alaska, marked a turning point in the most serious prosecution of alleged U.S. military atrocities during 10 years of war in Afghanistan.
Under questioning by the judge, Morlock recounted his role in the deaths of three unarmed Afghan villagers whose slayings by grenade blasts and rifle fire were staged to appear as legitimate combat casualties.
“I knew what I was doing was wrong, sir,” he said, adding that, contrary to his lawyers’ suggestions, his judgment was not impaired by drugs. He admitted smoking hashish three or four times a week during his deployment in Afghanistan.
According to WL Central, in a statement released by colonel Thomas Collins Sunday night, the US Army said:
“Today Der Spiegel published photographs depicting actions repugnant to us as human beings and contrary to the standards and values of the United States Army. We apologize for the distress these photos cause … The actions portrayed in these photographs remain under investigation and are now the subject of ongoing U.S. court-martial proceedings, in which the accused are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.” [Reconstructed from two media sources]
Adds WL Central:
“Granted, the statement calls the apparent mockery of a dead body ‘repugnant’ to members of the US Army. But the only straight apology it offers is for the photographs themselves and the impact they may have.
“That apology is all the more odd since the US Army did not release these photos and a US military court has attempted to suppress them.
“We are left to ponder the mindset that considers publication of evidence of a crime more worrisome than the crime itself.”
WL Central – US military blames photos of war crimes for causing “distress”, March 24, 2011
Guardian – US Army ‘kill team’ in Afghanistan posed for photos of murdered civilians, March 21, 2011
Reuters – U.S. soldier gets 24 years for murdering Afghans, March 24, 2011
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win ~ Mahatma Gandhi
World War III will be a global information war with no division between civilian & military participation ~ Marshall McLuhan
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