Saturday, October 13, 2007

Steele Goes on Trial

You may remember Lt. Col. William Steele, who we reported back in April would be put on trial for being a little too nice to some of the Iraqi detainees at Camp Cropper, a detention center outside of Baghdad. He's scheduled to go on trial on Monday. He was originally charted with nine counts that could have subjected him to the death penalty; instead he will be charged with the count "aiding the enemy" by smuggling a cell phone into the detainees, and with maintaining an inappropriate relationship with an interpreter, whatever that means. He's already pled guilty to charges of possessing unauthorised material on his computer, as well as pornographic videos (charges that I swear the military throws at you no matter what you've done wrong, or so it seems.) Unfortunately, the AFP article lumps Steele in with a "string of scandals" committed by other military personnel over the last year, though noticeably, those scandals all involve soldiers unlawfully killing Iraqis, not helping them. Instead, Steele appears to be the model soldier, or so claim people who know and work with him. You'll note that no senior military official has ever been charged for any detainee abuse at either Abu Ghraib or any of the other detention camps in Iraq. It would not surprise me at all if we were to find out at some later point that Steele's real crime was not really that he aided the detainees, but rather that he refused to treat them as poorly as some of his comrades have.

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