Anorak | The Killing Of Baha Mousa: It’s Not Manslaughter It’s Just A Few Bad Apples

The Killing Of Baha Mousa: It’s Not Manslaughter It’s Just A Few Bad Apples

by | 9th, September 2011

BAHA Mousa’s killing is Britain’s Abu Ghraib. Baha Mousa was beaten to death by the British Army in Iraq. No-one has been charged and convicted of his killing. In Britain the horror is hidden away until all the main players are long dead.

Baha Mousa, 26, was a widower and father of two young children. He was seized with nine other Iraqi men. He died after 36 hours in custody, during which time he was deprived for food water and sleep. He suffered 93 separate injuries as a result of being kicked, punched and restrained by soldiers in Basra. Nineteen British men were involved in the abuse.

The 1st Battalion Queen’s Lancashire Regiment inflicted “gratuitous” violence on a group of 10 Iraqi civilians, who were kicked and hit in turn, “causing them to emit groans and other noises and thereby playing them like musical instruments”. This humiliating practice was nicknamed “the choir”.

Who can be blamed? Richard Norton-Tyalor writes:

Another, probably relevant, factor is that the army was not ready and was badly trained for Iraq. General Sir Peter Wall, the head of the army, admitted as much in his statement following the publication of Sir William Gage’s report.

“It is clear from the inquiry report that we were ill-prepared in 2003 for the task of handling civilian detainees”, he said, adding that the army had “made strenuous efforts since then to transform the way we train for and conduct detention operations”.

The Sun asks Andy McNab a man who appears as a silhouette to explain that things are all transparent and there is nothing to hide:

THIS was an isolated incident where the command and control structure completely broke down. But don’t judge the rest of the Army on the behaviour of this bunch. The Army is not a knitting club, we train our men to be aggressive, to fight and to kill. Their lives depend on it. But that aggression must be controlled. What happened here was the chain of command did not have a grip on it. They lost control and the consequences were tragic. But it is an isolated incident. You have to welcome this report, no one is covering up.

Baba Mousa was killed in September 2003. Plenty of time has passed for justice to have been meted out. Only one man has been censured for the brutal and sustained torture and eventual killing of Baha Mousa. He’s Corporal Donald Payne. He assaulted the victim until he stopped struggling. A cout martial acquitted him of manslaughter. It also fond six of his colleagues not guilty. The Army look after its own they who obey orders and take the heat when things go badly.

The savagery meted out to Mr Mousa and fellow detainees in Basra in 2003 were not the actions of a few “bad apples”. Rather, they were the result of systemic, “corporate” failures that meant neither the abusive soldiers, nor their superiors, were aware that forcing detainees to wear hoods and adopt excruciating stress positions contravened both British law and the Geneva Convention.General Michael Jackson says the death of Baha Mousa was an “isolated incident”. The ugliness does not reflect the British Arm as a whole. No, it does not. But it stains the reputation. Seven men appear at a court martial and only one is charged. Is that justice?

Sir William Gage’s 1,366-page report details what went

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Posted: 9th, September 2011 | In: Key Posts, News Comments (2) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink