Sunday, December 05, 2004

This is disgusting -- Israeli officer: I was right to shoot 13-year-old child.
An Israeli army officer who repeatedly shot a 13-year-old Palestinian girl in Gaza dismissed a warning from another soldier that she was a child by saying he would have killed her even if she was three years old.
More on this from Ha'aretz: Officer on tape says he 'confirmed kill' of Gaza girl
Channel Two's documentary show Fact broadcast last night the army communications network tape recording of the real-time events, including videotape, in which R. is heard explicitly stating he "verified the kill." The tape showed that the soldiers at the outpost kept firing at the girl even after she had been identified by soldiers as "about 10 years old."

The October 5 event took place around 7 in the morning, when a soldier on duty at the outpost spotted a "suspicious figure" about 100 meters from the outpost. Soldiers immediately began firing at the figure while R., the outpost commander, together with some officers and soldiers, left the outpost and took up a position behind a sand rampart next to the outpost.

The soldiers said they thought she was planting a bomb. The girl's family said she was on her way to school when she was shot. According to the indictment, R. charged the girl after she was shot and fired two rounds at her from close range. He began walking away, then turned around and shot her again.

"The accused stood similarly to the way he stood when he shot her twice - pointed his weapon downward and shot, this time on automatic, approximately 10 bullets until he emptied his magazine," the indictment says. It is not known whether the girl was already dead when he shot her. At the time, Palestinian hospital officials said the girl was shot at least 15 times, mostly in the upper body.
Here's another Ha'aretz article on the same horrible incident Analysis / Absolutely illegal:
But that is far from the key question in the case. At least from the moral aspect, the main question is why the company commander and his soldiers fired at the girl who was 100 meters away from the outpost, was not armed, was not a danger to the soldiers inside the protected outpost, and when at least some of the soldiers knew that it was a little girl. A soldiers is explicitly heard saying "it's a little girl," and that she is "scared to death." Nonetheless, the shooting went on. Moreover, R. himself reports later that he shot "the girl."

No less important is the tone of the voices on the tape. Officers trying to explain what happened constantly said that the areas is dangerous, and that the soldiers were under threat. But that does not come across in the voices of the soldiers. They don't sound worried or pressured, but almost apathetic. They seem to be shooting because those are the orders - to shoot at anyone who comes close, even if some know it's only a girl, and there is no sense of fear. It seems, at least, that the order to shoot is blatantly illegal, and therefore the soldiers should have refused it. The question becomes, therefore, why only the company commander is being prosecuted, and only for illegal use of his weapon and not for manslaughter at the very least.
And so is this: Torture Can Be Used to Detain U.S. Enemies.
U.S. military panels reviewing the detention of foreigners as enemy combatants are allowed to use evidence gained by torture in deciding whether to keep them imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the government conceded in court Thursday.

The acknowledgment by Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General Brian Boyle came during a U.S. District Court hearing on lawsuits brought by some of the 550 foreigners imprisoned at the U.S. naval base in Cuba. The lawsuits challenge their detention without charges for up to three years so far.

Attorneys for the prisoners argued that some were held solely on evidence gained by torture, which they said violated fundamental fairness and U.S. due process standards. But Boyle argued in a similar hearing Wednesday that the detainees "have no constitutional rights enforceable in this court."
And so is this: Red Cross Finds Detainee Abuse in Guantanamo.
The International Committee of the Red Cross has charged in confidential reports to the United States government that the American military has intentionally used psychological and sometimes physical coercion "tantamount to torture" on prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

The finding that the handling of prisoners detained and interrogated at Guantánamo amounted to torture came after a visit by a Red Cross inspection team that spent most of last June in Guantánamo.

The team of humanitarian workers, which included experienced medical personnel, also asserted that some doctors and other medical workers at Guantánamo were participating in planning for interrogations, in what the report called "a flagrant violation of medical ethics."

Doctors and medical personnel conveyed information about prisoners' mental health and vulnerabilities to interrogators, the report said, sometimes directly, but usually through a group called the Behavioral Science Consultation Team, or B.S.C.T. The team, known informally as Biscuit, is composed of psychologists and psychological workers who advise the interrogators, the report said.
So tell me, what does differentiate us from our enemies?

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