Tuesday, November 13, 2007

'Redacted' & Bill O'Reilly: The Murders at Mahmudiyya

Bill O'Reilly's self-righteous rage has been directed at a new target (no, not the faux "war" on Christmas), Brian De Palma's latest film Redacted. The film, which is shot in a "documentary" format and has been criticized by right-wing commentators such as O'Reilly for portraying American soldiers in a negative light. He has called for protests at showings of the film. Many of the film's critics, including O'Reilly, appear to have based their opinions of the film without actually seeing it (but when has not knowing something about an issue stopped O'Reilly). Other critics have taken offense at De Palma's comments that the film shows the realities of what has happened during the nearly 5-year-long U.S. occupation of Iraq. What O'Reilly is less concerned about is what actually happened at Mahmudiyya, Iraq on March 12, 2006. The self-appointed "advocate" for abused children also claimed that the now teenage Shawn Hornbeck liked being kidnapped and held for four years against his will.

The film is a fictionalized account of the murder of 14-year-old Abir Qasim Hamza, her father Qasim Hamza Rahim (45), mother Fakhriyya Taha Muhsin (34), and little sister Hadil Qasim Hamza (5). Abir was gang raped after her father, mother, and little sister had been shot and murdered. The bodies were then set on fire by the guilty soldiers in an attempt to mask their crimes. The incident came to light after a soldier in the same unit as the guilty parties, who apparently knew about the murders, mentioned it to other U.S. military personnel.

In court proceedings it was revealed that the guilty soldiers had conspired to rape Abir beforehand. All were members of the 101st Airborn, according to a BBC article (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6384781.stm).

Three of the soldiers pled guilty, some to avoid the death penalty. Spc. James P. Barker received 90 years in prison; Sgt. Paul E. Cortez received 100 years in prison, both after pleading guilty to rape and murder. Pfc. Bryan L. Howard, who was not directly involved in the rape and murders but who knew about the others' plan, received 27-months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit rape, premeditated murder, and conspiracy to obstruct justice. Pfc. Jesse Spielman was convicted in August of four counts of felony murder, rape, conspiracy to commit rape, and breaking an entering with the intent to commit rape was sentenced to a mandatory term of life in prison though he is, despicably, eligible for parole after 10 years. He had pled guilty earlier to charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice, arson, and wrongfully touching a corpse.

The alleged mastermind of the attack, Pfc. Steven D. Green (born 1985), will be tried in federal court because he was discharged from the military before formal charges were brought. He has pled not guilty and faces the death penalty if convicted.

Steven D. Green

Jesse Spielman

Abir Qasim Hamza, as a little girl

No comments: