Briton admits beating Iraq captive
Tuesday, January 18, 2005 Posted: 1333 GMT (2133 HKT)
OSNABRUECK, Germany (AP) -- A British soldier has pleaded guilty to one count of beating an Iraqi captive, while he and two others pleaded not guilty to all other charges as their court-martial opened on allegations they mistreated Iraqis.
Photos of alleged mistreatment published in a British newspaper in the spring of 2003 led to investigations against the three men, and it is the first case of alleged abuse of Iraqis by British soldiers to go to trial. The defendants, all from the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, showed little emotion Tuesday as they entered their pleas at a British base in Germany, answering Judge Michael Hunter only with "guilty" or "not guilty."Lance Cpl. Darren Larkin, 30, pleaded guilty to battery for assaulting and beating an Iraqi in his custody as the trial opened. But he pleaded not guilty to indecent conduct for allegedly forcing two Iraqi detainees to undress in front of others. Cpl. Daniel Kenyon, 33, and Lance Cpl. Mark Cooley, 25, pleaded not guilty to all charges.
It was the first time the charges were officially announced, and it was not immediately clear what possible punishments they face.Cooley is accused of placing an Iraqi captive with bound hands on the front of a forklift and driving it around, and also simulating punching and kicking a detainee while someone else took photographs. Kenyon, who outranks the other defendants, is accused of being present while abuse was taking place -- including naked captives being forced into simulated sex acts -- and not reporting it. He also faces a charge of being an accessory in the battery to which Larkin pleaded guilty. The abuse allegedly happened in May 2003 while the three soldiers were stationed at a food warehouse compound outside Basra in southern Iraq, according to British media reports.The photographs showed an Iraqi detainee gagged and bound, suspended in the air in a cargo net hoisted by a forklift. Other pictures showed simulated sexual acts involving stripped Iraqi detainees. A fourth soldier, 20-year-old Fusilier Gary Bartlam, went on trial last week in the same case at a different British base in Germany but Hunter imposed a gag order on journalists, banning any reporting about the process.
My own country, the UK, is as complicit in the utter clusterfuck that is Iraq as is the US. When I criticise America harshly, you may assume that I include Britain as well; I feel Tony Blair is in many ways worse than Bush. You can see just by looking that Bush is as dumb as a bag of hammers (other then his low cunning and seemingly infinite capacity for self-delusion), but Blair is clever enough to know exactly what he is doing. He has dragged us into a pit of despair, destruction and violence beyond anything we could have imagined, he has lied openly, he has connived at torture and the dismantling of the rule of law both at home and abroad, and he has done so with his eyes wide open, in full knowledge of the likely consequences. I'd like to see Blair impeached, then tried at Den Haag, then jailed. Just a pity we don't still do the hanging, drawing and quartering thing.
No-one has resigned or been fired over Iraq, except the Director-General of the BBC and the editor of the Daily Mirror. So when is Piers Morgan
getting his job back?