Blog & Features: International RSS

What a War Crime Looks Like

| March 12, 2007

The account below is compiled from testimony given at the courts martial of Paul Cortez and James Barker, from accounts of the Article 32 Hearing and other court proceedings in the cases, and from previous WMC and newspaper reports. Former Pfc. Steven Green, Pfc. Jesse Spielman and Pfc. Bryan Howard are still awaiting trial. References to them are to alleged actions on their part according to the above sources. More »

The Casualties of War Crimes—Who Weeps for Abeer?

| March 12, 2007

Sandwiched between International Women’s Day on March 8 and the fourth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq on March 19 is another date that marks a tragic nexus of the two: the day one year ago when 14-year-old Abeer Qassim Al-Janabi was stalked, gang-raped, shot in the head and her corpse burned in her own home in Mahmoudiya, Iraq. Four U.S. soldiers and one former soldier are charged with the crimes committed March 12, 2006. More »

“I’m Down With That”

February 26, 2007

“I’m down with that.” According to prosecutors, this was Pfc. Jesse V. Spielman’s response when hearing of a plan to rape 14 year-old Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi. Spielman is undergoing court martial on various charges involving her rape and murder and the murder of her mother Fikhriya, father Qassim, and little sister Hadeel. More »

100-Year Sentence for Second Soldier Convicted of Rape and Murder

| February 23, 2007

Sgt. Paul Cortez, the second soldier to plead guilty to the rape and murder of Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi, as well as the murder of her parents and sister, was sentenced on Thursday, February 22, to 100 years in prison and a dishonorable discharge. Under the terms of a plea agreement made before the court martial took place, Cortez avoided life imprisonment without possibility of parole in sentencing handed down by the judge, Colonel Stephen Henley. More »

Notes from the Court Martial of Sgt. Paul Cortez

| February 22, 2007

“She screamed and cried and tried to keep her legs together.” That is how Sgt. Paul Cortez described the reason he was fully aware that his premeditated rape of 14-year-old Abeer Qassim Rasheed Al-Janabi was not consensual but criminal. More »

The Surge: Moral Waivers and Legal Triage

The Surge: Moral Waivers and Legal Triage

| January 18, 2007

Brace yourself. Bush’s Iraq escalation, euphemized as “surge,” sends just over 20,000 more troops into that bottomless pit, and flirts with an invasion of Iran. But because Iraq has depleted our armed forces—and recruitment levels plummet as our population wises up—Bush’s plan requires still more: the entire Army active-duty force must swell to 547,000 over the next five years (an increase of 39,000), and the Marine Corps grow by 23,000 (to 202,000). Constitutionally, Congress must approve or disapprove the expansion—but one never knows whether this particular executive branch recognizes that the legislative (or judicial) branches exist. More »

Iraq Series Update: Sentencing Belies Death Penalty Risk for Rape-Murder Defendants

| December 20, 2006

U.S. Army spokesmen and defense attorneys keep talking about a possible death penalty for defendants in the gang rape and murder of 14-year-old Abeer Al-Janabi and her family in Mahmoudiyah, Iraq, in March 2006. Yet the death threat is inconsistent with recent history in U.S. military courts. More »

Soldier Sentenced to Life in Rape-Murder Case

| November 17, 2006

A military judge in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, yesterday sentenced U.S. Army Spec. James P. Barker to life in prison with the possibility of parole. Barker had pled guilty to 16 crimes related to the gang rape and premeditated murder of 14-year-old Abeer Al-Janabi and her family in Mahmoudiya, Iraq, earlier this year. More »

Soldier Pleads Guilty—First Sentencing Expected Today

| November 16, 2006

U.S. Army Spec. James P. Barker on Wednesday pleaded guilty to 16 crimes related to the gang rape and premeditated murder of 14-year-old Abeer Al-Janabi and her family in Mahmoudiya, Iraq, earlier this year. He is to be sentenced today, Army officials and his civilian defense attorney said. More »

Obscure Beginnings to Justice for Abeer

November 9, 2006

While most of the country was focused on the election aftermath, former U.S. soldier Steven D. Green was quietly arraigned today at a U.S. courthouse in Louisville, Kentucky, three blocks from the Show n’ Tell Lounge advertising “girls, girls, girls.” More »