Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Those Bad Apples Just Keep Showing Up: American Soldiers in Iraq Run a Protection Scam

I only wish the title was hyperbolic. The meat of the story:

Among the allegations now under investigation is that at least six soldiers from the battalion took part in a scheme to extort money from Iraqi shopkeepers, apparently in exchange for protection from insurgents.

The payments allegedly exceeded $30,000, two sources said, and were made in U.S. currency, according to one member of the battalion who has been briefed on the investigation. Another soldier said the scheme allegedly was carried out during night patrols in the Baghdad area.

It is unclear whether any soldier has been charged in connection with those allegations.

The military revealed earlier this month that 11 U.S. soldiers have been charged with dereliction of duty in connection with the alleged mistreatment of detainees in Iraq but did not identify their names or unit. Baldwin confirmed on Tuesday that the soldiers are members of Alpha Company of the 1st Battalion of the 184th Infantry Regiment.

Boylan said some of the soldiers were also charged with mistreatment of a person under their control, assault and making a false statement. One soldier was charged with obstruction of justice.

The Army's Criminal Investigation Division will determine whether the soldiers will face court-martial.

Two members of the battalion who spoke on condition of anonymity said that as many as 17 soldiers are now under investigation in connection with the alleged mistreatment of detainees. All but one of the detainees who were allegedly abused have been released from custody.

The alleged abuse took place after an attack by insurgents in June on a Baghdad-area power plant, military officials said. The bulk of the investigation appears to be focused on an incident in which an electric stun gun was used to abuse or torture Iraqi detainees, several sources within the battalion said.

"They did a pretty good job on them," one soldier said.

The use of a stun gun to abuse one detainee — a man who had been handcuffed and blindfolded — was captured on videotape, one soldier said. A soldier happened upon the tape while using the computer, a member of the battalion said.

OH, Gee, more mistreatment. More video of mistreatment. But this shit is in no way systematic! Give me a fucking break. The whole story:

Army Probes Guard Unit

Posted by crimnos @ 9:12 AM