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EvanL
05-22-2004, 05:18 PM
http://www.thestar.com/images/thestar/img/040522_cdn_matchee_c_200.jpg

Canadian Master Cpl. Clayton Matchee holds the head of 16-year-old Somali Shidane Arone in March, 1993.

Evil is unspectacular and always human And shares our own bed and eats at our own table.

W.H. Auden



Five years ago last month, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold perpetrated the worst school shooting in U.S. history. They fell far short of their goal when poorly wired propane bombs in the cafeteria of Columbine High School failed to go off, sparing the lives of 600 classmates and teachers.

The Colorado murderers documented their motives extensively on Harris' Web site and in videos the two teenagers made of themselves, in which Klebold vows to bring about "the most deaths in U.S. history."

Initially depicted as victims of bullying and bent on revenge, Harris and Klebold were revealed by the videos as having "a messianic-grade superiority complex, out to punish the entire human race for its appalling inferiority," Dave Cullen, author of The Columbine Almanac, wrote recently in the online magazine Slate.

Quoting psychologist Dr. Robert Hare, author of Without Conscience, a definitive text on the psychopathic mentality, Cullen writes: "It may look like hate, but it's more about demeaning other people."

The wilful creation of self-incriminating evidence is surprisingly common.

It ranges from the venal escapades of Rob Lowe and Paris Hilton to Richard Nixon's obsession with taping Oval Office conversations for posterity.

But asking why wrongdoers so often make a record of their acts is like inquiring why the evil is done at all: The answers are never satisfactory.

In the ill-fated peacekeeping mission in Somalia in 1993, Canadian, Belgian and Italian soldiers had themselves photographed while inflicting indignities and worse on impoverished Somalis who were in the habit of stealing food from the soldiers' encampments.

Certain units of the Canadian Airborne Regiment were notorious for their merciless hazing rituals at the regiment's home base in Petawawa. It may have been a Rambo culture that conditioned Canadian peacekeeper Clayton Matchee, who graduated first in his class at the Meadow Lake Christian Centre Sunday school in Saskatchewan, to beat to death a 16-year-old Somali, Shidane Abukar Arone. But what possessed Pte. Kyle Brown, moments after suggesting to Matchee that his victim had suffered enough, to begin snapping pictures of Matchee torturing the helpless Somali images that ultimately led to the disbanding of the fabled Airborne. After exhaustive inquiries, no better explanation emerged than an assailant's desire to have a "trophy" image of the demeaning of a petty thief far from home.

Confronted with the same set of videotapes made by Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka of their unspeakable crimes in the early 1990s, defence lawyers for the two, who were tried separately, drew opposite conclusions from the devastating images.

Homolka's counsel depicted his client as a victim of battered-wife syndrome, shown to be a powerless pawn in tapes the couple made of their murder of teenagers Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French. Defence witness Peter Jaffe, a psychologist, testified that battered women sometimes engage in "maladaptive behaviour" in becoming accomplices to a partner's criminal acts.

Bernardo's counsel argued otherwise that the same videotapes showed Homolka as an enthusiastic conspirator in the brutality. The only point of agreement, it seemed, was psychologist and trial watcher David Wolfe's observation that the videos revealed Bernardo, like Harris and Klebold, to be devoid of any emotion toward the victims.

The estimated 1,800 images of Iraqi detainees abused by U.S. forces in Iraq late last year, relatively few of which have been released, once again present an interpretive challenge.


The peculiar confluence of war crimes with modern communications techniques prompted the New York Times last Thursday to offer the perspective of its photography critic, Sarah Boxer, who termed the Abu Ghraib images "war photography as tourist snapshots."

The line calls to mind the Portuguese soldiers who, in the twilight of Lisbon's rule over Angola, treasured as keepsakes the snapshots of themselves kicking the severed heads of slain insurgents in soccer matches.

In the Iraq photos, "Soldiers are cheerfully tormenting their captives for the camera," Boxer writes. But "many of the most wrenching pictures are like the ones people pose for as they pretend to hold up the leaning tower of Pisa or point to the ***** on Michelangelo's David. The picture of Pfc. Lynndie England with a ***** prisoner on a leash is a version of the classic I-caught-this-big-fish photo."

No fewer than four of the gender-balanced group of U.S. soldiers (four men, three women) charged with abuse of detainees at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison took turns chronicling abuses that violate the Geneva Convention. The shutterbugs at Abu Ghraib not only captured the now-infamous images of prisoners forced to *********e or stand in pails of their urine for hours. In other photos, they are also shown ******** cavorting with each other.

Again, there is no definitive explanation as to why the pictures were taken. According to varying accounts those of the soldiers, the military hierarchy and the White House the images were recorded as a frat-house lark; to break down the prisoners for interrogation; or in angry frustration over the constant mortar bombardment to which the prison was subject.

Lynndie England, native of a bucolic corner of West Virginia and herself a bundle of contradictions, told military investigators she took pictures of Iraqi prisoners heaped into a pyramid to simulate an orgy because "it looked funny." But more recently, she told a Denver TV station she was coerced: "I was instructed by persons in higher ranks to stand here and hold this leash."

Spc. Jeremy Sivits, sentenced Wednesday to a year in jail for his role in the Abu Ghraib scandal, was describing at his court martial the motivations for the abuse and the photographing of it when the judge cut him off.

Sivits, a Little League volunteer and member of the student council at Hyndman High School in the small Pennsylvania town where he grew up, testified that a fellow soldier at Abu Ghraib told him military intelligence officers had instructed the guards to "keep doing what they were doing to the inmates because it was working, they were talking."

That's the point at which Col. James Pohl, the judge, interrupted Sivits' testimony, abruptly ending any chance of gaining further insight into, for instance, the use to which the photographs were to be put.

There also seems to be no clear explanation of what the pictures mean. The U.S. senators and members of Congress who absorbed a private screening of the 1,800 images on Capitol Hill last week emerged with conflicting notions of what motivated the photographers.

It was not a bid to intimidate other prisoners into surrendering valuable intelligence, said Democratic Senator Mark Dayton, citing the feral *** antics among the guards themselves. "It was hard to think it was done for the disclosing of information," he said.

But Lindsey Graham, a Republican senator who helped prosecute Bill Clinton's impeachment, took the anti-White House line that the staged nature of the images suggests that the Abu Ghraib Seven were acting on orders from above. "It is much too elaborate," Graham said, "to not have some input from somebody else."

In their struggle to join the dots, critics of the Bush administration are trying to trace the decisions that created the casually supervised and cruel environment at Abu Ghraib and other U.S. detention centres up the chain of command, ultimately to the president.

It does happen that it was Alberto Gonzales, White House legal counsel, who advised George W. Bush in early 2002 that the post-9/11 world "renders obsolete [the Geneva Convention's] strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions."

It was also Gonzales, legal counsel to then Texas governor Bush, who endorsed the legitimacy of scores of executions of death-row prisoners, many of whose cases were later found to have been botched by incompetent lawyers, often poorly paid public defenders.

And it was Bush himself who joked to a friendly interviewer, Tucker Carlson, in a 1999 Talk magazine profile, about the 11th-hour pleas for mercy from murderer Karla Faye Tucker, the first woman executed in Texas in the 20th century. In Carlson's account, Bush imitates the born-again convict, whose cause was taken up by several Christian groups: "Please," Bush whimpered, his lips pursed, "Don't kill me."

"George Washington copied out an etiquette book when he was a teenager," a disgusted historian Richard Brookhiser wrote that year in the conservative National Review. "George W. squints his eyes and laughs at dead women."

Obviously, sadistic impulses have greatly influenced the course of history. But why that is, and why so much evil has been so assiduously chronicled by evildoers, continues to defy rational explanation.

William Shirer would not have undertaken his massive The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich had the Allies not seized an unprecedented archival trove from the Nazi regime at its collapse.

Joseph Goebbels and Alfred Jodl were compulsive diarists. Franz Halder, chief of the German Army General Staff and in daily contact with Adolf Hitler, recorded unfolding events from hour to hour. The intensely proud Nazis recorded everything, from the most obscure battlefield strategies to procedures for demeaning their millions of captives. The German Foreign Office alone yielded 440 tonnes of records.

Correspondent Shirer covered the rise of the Nazis in the 1930s, documented their wartime exploits and atrocities, and reported from the Nuremberg trials. No one will ever produce a more thorough account than Shirer's 1,600-page Rise and Fall.

Possibly the most disturbing line, though, comes in the preface, where Shirer acknowledges the limitations even of "the avalanche of documentary material" to which he had access. Did he, at last, understand the Nazis?

"I found it extremely difficult and not always possible," Shirer admits, "to learn the exact truth about Hitler's Germany."

fdt
05-22-2004, 06:15 PM
http://img19.imageshack.us/img19/3434/Falluja.jpg

UkrainianAmerican
05-22-2004, 10:34 PM
So the dude got punched in the face. How is that a war crime?

One?
05-23-2004, 12:52 AM
So the dude got punched in the face. How is that a war crime?

punched in the face? heh the dude died.

786mine
05-23-2004, 08:43 AM
So the dude got punched in the face. How is that a war crime?

punched in the face? heh the dude died.

:( RIP

Sabre
05-23-2004, 10:22 AM
A prisoner was killed by canadian troops and the whole unit was disbanded.

This was an elite airbourne unit, a frontline unit who are trained to fight, with many skills and many members who did not abuse prisoners, nor would consider doing so.

In the case of Abu Ghraib, many members of the 800th Military Police Brigade (EPW) (USAR) systematically abused prisoners and possibly killed at least one. How will the US respond to this? The whole purpose of the reserve unit is to process enemy PoWs. How could their entire training be so flawed that they fail in their only task? Surely there must be something done to investigate the training within the unit, or the selection of people accepted to serve in it?

The army has said that there were no orders given for this abuse to happen. Surely this does not negate the higher command's responsibility? It can only be seen as a failure of those in command that so many members of this unit were not only able but were willing to flaunt the Geneva Convention an behave wholly unprofessionally.

Brozozo
05-23-2004, 10:28 AM
The Canadian gov'ts decision to disband the entire CAR was complete bull**** and totally politicaly motivated. Oddly enough, the CBC showed a documentary on this very subject last night, focusing on the roles of Matchee, Brown and Gen. McKenzie.

Trident-za
05-23-2004, 04:45 PM
A prisoner was killed by canadian troops and the whole unit was disbanded.

This was an elite airbourne unit, a frontline unit who are trained to fight, with many skills and many members who did not abuse prisoners, nor would consider doing so.

In the case of Abu Ghraib, many members of the 800th Military Police Brigade (EPW) (USAR) systematically abused prisoners and possibly killed at least one. How will the US respond to this? The whole purpose of the reserve unit is to process enemy PoWs. How could their entire training be so flawed that they fail in their only task? Surely there must be something done to investigate the training within the unit, or the selection of people accepted to serve in it?



Good post, Sabre. I was sort of curious about that as well: this unit only had 1 primary task, and they weren't trained for it? Weird...

EvanL
05-23-2004, 04:56 PM
The CAR, was not the type of unit that should have been sent to do peacekeeping. Most of our regular units were tied up in Bosnia at the time and we didnt have many other options.
They are a fighting force, with a rought n tumble attitude, and should never have been used for peacekeeping.

Trident-za
05-23-2004, 05:25 PM
The CAR, was not the type of unit that should have been sent to do peacekeeping. Most of our regular units were tied up in Bosnia at the time and we didnt have many other options.
They are a fighting force, with a rought n tumble attitude, and should never have been used for peacekeeping.

Whats thats saying? If the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem starts looking like a nail? Something like that...

ArmedPacifist
05-23-2004, 05:25 PM
So the dude got punched in the face. How is that a war crime?

punched in the face? heh the dude died.

He wasn't bleeding that badly because he got "punched in the face" he was bleeding that badly because of other things that were done to him.

EvanL
05-23-2004, 05:31 PM
So the dude got punched in the face. How is that a war crime?

punched in the face? heh the dude died.

He wasn't bleeding that badly because he got "punched in the face" he was bleeding that badly because of other things that were done to him.
torture
The guy in that picture. Clayton Matchee, tried commiting suicide a few years afterwards, and is now mentally retarded from the attempt.
I believe one of the guys involved in the beating was a native, and he has since commited suicide.

ArmedPacifist
05-23-2004, 05:56 PM
Yes, Matchete tried hanging himself with a belt or something similar and he deprive himself of oxygen long enough to cause serious brain damage.

I think Brown is still alive though.

Brozozo
05-23-2004, 06:56 PM
Yes, Matchete tried hanging himself with a belt or something similar and he deprive himself of oxygen long enough to cause serious brain damage.

I think Brown is still alive though.

Yep, Brown is alive and well, but somewhat bitter.

UkrainianAmerican
05-23-2004, 07:35 PM
O my bad.
Anyways, why did he try to commit suicide?

EvanL
05-23-2004, 07:38 PM
O my bad.
Anyways, why did he try to commit suicide?
cus he ****ed up a whole regiment.
u can find more info here
www.commando.org

Brozozo
05-23-2004, 07:40 PM
O my bad.
Anyways, why did he try to commit suicide?

If you're talking about Matchey....he knew he was in a world of **** once they found out that he was responsible. He would be facing charges of murder, dereliction of duty, manslaughter, endangerment of prisoners etc., so he thought it would be better to take his own life than to face the charges. Now he's way too far gone for any court to charge him.