Denmark Vesey's Plantation

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Sunday, February 12, 2006

The British behaving like animals.

World sees shocking images of British soldiers' brutality
By Dominic Kennedy
The assault on four Iraqi teenagers and the cameraman's mocking commentary have enraged people throughout the Middle East
A SHOCKING breakdown of military discipline is caught on video as eight burly British soldiers rain 42 kicks and blows on four puny young male Iraqi civilians, one of them a child.

The victims’ helpless cries for mercy and howls of pain and terror are ignored by groups of troops casually passing by. One man is heard to say: “In the f***ing head.”

The most senior soldier, thought to be a sergeant, does nothing to stop the brutality but instead delivers a vicious kick to one victim’s genitals.

The video’s soundtrack features a disturbing commentary from the cameraman, an excited sentry who laughs, sneers, encourages and mocks as the outrage unfolds before him.

Still images from the video, provided by a paid whistleblower and published in the News of the World, prove that the incident was far from being a unique atrocity perpetrated by the British forces in Iraq.

In another location an Iraqi civilian is seen being forced to kneel alone behind a brick wall by three soldiers who kick him hard in the chest.

A further episode sees a soldier display the corpse of a young Iraqi man, lift the victim’s head and display it to the camera. The cameraman defiles the body by twice kicking the dead face, a grievous insult to Arabs who regard shoes as dirty. A soldier laughs: “He’s been a bad motherf***er”.

But it is the casual savagery of the attack on the four young males, in effect prisoners of the British forces, which forms the most devastating two minutes of the video.

At first, groups of youths throw stones at the stronghold but they flee when lines of baton-wielding British soldiers emerge. A radio voice screeches targets for the troops: “Black top, blue bottoms — go on!”

Some of the Britons return, dragging their captives in headlocks. The moment they get inside the perimeter wall, out of sight of the civilian population, the violence begins.

The first victim, a boy no older than his early teens, is released from a headlock by a soldier still wearing his helmet who immediately head-butts him. The boy cries “No, please” and clings helplessly to the soldier’s baton. Another soldier grabs the boy’s neck and throws him to the ground. The first soldier brings his baton smashing down on to the child.

A second, slightly built youth is repeatedly dealt heavy blows with the baton until he crumples. A third victim is battered to the ground with a baton and kicked repeatedly like a football. In a distressing image the prisoner is last seen unconscious with a dark patch, resembling blood, around his head.

The cameraman shouts with delight when the captives are first brought into the compound. “Yes, yes, oh yes, you’re going to get it,” he says. “Yes, naughty little boys. Ha, ha, ha, ha. Phwoar. You little f***ers, you little f***ers. Die!” He mocks the captives’ pleas for mercy, adopting a high-pitched voice to say: “No, please don’t hurt me!”

The News of the World published extracts from the video on its website yesterday, allowing millions of people to download the images. The newspaper studied the video for several days, taking pains to confirm that it was genuine after hoax Iraqi abuse photographs cost Piers Morgan his job as Editor of the Daily Mirror. Stuart Kuttner, the News of the World’s managing editor, said: “We’ve made inquiries of the source, of people around the source, of military experts, of the Ministry of Defence and beyond.”

One of the key mysteries is how such a film could exist and be shown to military personnel for two years without the obvious crimes depicted being reported to the authorities.


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