Tuesday, June 07, 2005

"A very cold day in hell" 

Here is yet another example of what the U.S. thinks about everyone else in the world and their legal systems:

A Spanish judge wants to question three U.S. soldiers as suspects in the death of a Spanish cameraman who was killed when a U.S. tank fired on a hotel housing foreign journalists during the 2003 assault on Baghdad.
"It would be a very, very cold day in hell before that would ever happen," said a State Department official, who asked not to be named.
The Pentagon has found no fault with the soldiers, but High Court Judge Santiago Pedraz wants to question the three men who were in the tank, a court official said on Tuesday.
Telecinco cameraman Jose Couso and Reuters cameraman Taras Protsiuk died and several other people were injured by a shell fired on the Palestine Hotel in the Iraqi capital on April 8, 2003, in the U.S.-led war to topple Saddam Hussein.
The Spanish court would only have jurisdiction in the death of the Spanish citizen.
The soldiers would be questioned as suspects for murder and for crimes against the international community, which carry sentences of 15 to 20 years in jail and 10 to 15 years respectively.
Pedraz on Tuesday agreed to send a request for U.S. cooperation in the investigation, but he is still only in the initial stages of the criminal investigation and several steps away from bringing charges.
Pedraz's investigation stems from a complaint brought by the Couso family.
Legal sources say the U.S. Army is unlikely to grant access to the soldiers, and if the case ever got far enough to warrant arrests the soldiers could only be arrested in Spain. The judge is willing to travel to the United States to take their statements, the court official said.
"I just cannot imagine how any U.S. soldier can be subject to some kind of foreign proceeding for criminal liability when he is in a tank in a war zone as part of an international coalition," the State Department official added.
A Pentagon report on the incident concluded U.S.-led forces bore "no fault or negligence."
The Pentagon released a brief summary of the report in August 2003, which ruled that American forces acted "in an appropriate manner" when they fired into the hotel, but the full report was classified.
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists obtained the 52-page report under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act and said it strengthened its own finding that the hotel shelling could have been avoided.

Am I the only person who has noticed that the U.S. Army seems more adept at shooting journalists than insurgents? I wonder why that is.

Also, is it just me or do all military inquiries always exonerate U.S. soldiers accused of wrongdoing? Except of course when those soldiers are being used as scape goats to cover up for the wrong doing of generals and the Secretary of Defense.


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