A Vital Command Center of U.S. Army
Solidarity Note for a Demonstration at U.S. Army Airfield Wiesbaden
For all those of you here for this demonstration, I regret not being able to make it here to this event, I have a commitment in the United States currently, but I would nevertheless like to send a statement of solidarity to those of you here. The importance of having a demonstration in front of this base cannot be understated, in comparison the US Military´s use of foreign bases in Germany to support its occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan makes Germany´s involvement in Afghanistan appear to be a small scale kindhearted humanitarian mission (to be clear this is only in comparison, I do not consider the Bundeswehr`s mission to be a small scale kindhearted humanitarian mission).
This airbase in Wiesbaden is supposed to be the future home of the US Army´s 5th corps, this is the US Army unit that was in charge of most other units in the invasion of Iraq during the push from Kuwait to Baghdad. It along with 1st Marine Expeditionary Force was put in charge of 7/8ths of the other units in Kuwait under the name Combined Joint Task Force 7.
Such a vital command center overseas from the United States enables the United States to launch and direct wars in Africa, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe with much greater ease, with or without the support of their European allies, extend US influence beyond what would oterwise be possible.
Up until recently this airbase was home to the 205th MI Brigade, it was a subordinate unit to the US Army´s 5th corps, and a unit that was found to be involved in the torture and interrogation at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Here is a piece from one of the Army´s investigations into Abu Ghraib:
„The investigation identified 23 MI Soldiers (from Wiesbaden) who were assigned to the 205th MI Brigade in Iraq, four civilian contractors working with the 205th and three military police Soldiers working at the prison who may have been involved beyond the seven already identified in previous investigations. Investigators also found that other Soldiers and civilians knew about the abuse and failed to report it.”
The names of the MI and MP Soldiers have been forwarded with the investigation results to each Soldier’s commander for determination whether the alleged abuser should be court-martialed under the Uniform Code of Military Justice or if other action is appropriate. The names and investigation results of the contractors have been forwarded to the U.S. Justice Department for possible criminal charges under federal laws.
„Our primary focus was to look at the 205th MI Brigade and how its Soldiers might have been involved in detainee abuse,“ said Maj. Maricela Alvarado, one of the Jones-Fay investigators and executive officer to Fay. „We found there was clearly some MI involvement in intentionally violent and abusive techniques in line with what we have all seen on TV and in the newspaper, some unauthorized use of guard dogs and the use of other unauthorized techniques, and numerous cases of failure to report abuse that Soldiers had seen or were aware of, knew was wrong, but did nothing about it.“
The investigation „ identified 44 alleged instances of detainee abuse committed by MP (Military Police) and MI Soldiers (205th soldiers from here in Wiesbaden), as well as civilian contractors. In 16 of these instances, MI personnel allegedly requested, encouraged, condoned or solicited MP Soldiers to abuse the detainees. The abuse, however, was directed on an individual basis and never officially sanctioned or approved. In 11 instances, MI personnel (people from Wiesbaden) were directly involved in the abuse.“
Is this who you want to have in your backyard? Is this so vital to your economy you would allow a military force that invades, tortures, and has lost it’s conscience to remain? An Army which fails to perform the simple act of prosecuting these heinous crimes to set an example for others who might take the same route? Nobody from the 205th was prosecuted for what happened in Abu Ghraib, although there are mountains of evidence with which to convict both the people who carried it out and those in charge.
As the mayors of Wiesbaden and Heidelberg both lobby Washington and crawl up Obama´s ass so that V corps comes to their town, are they posing even the most fundamental questions of what this will mean for their community beyond the influx of a weakining foreign currency? What will happen as the United States picks its next target, where will this war be launched from, and how is it possible for such an aggressive country to be stationed in Germany under the German constitution which specifically forbids wars of aggression?
This is not to say that every US soldier here who wears a uniform is a criminal or a horrible human being, but this Army as an institution seems to have completely lost its mind and any sense of decency, some soldiers here have truly lost their mind after repeated deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and may never be the same person again, while military culture has become so corrupt its values have allowed something as unthinkable as torture to become acceptable. As I have worked with Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) over the years, I have worked with several soldiers from many units who were stationed on this base right here, some have deserted, some have chosen to remain in the Army and organize on the inside, and still others are getting out through the Conscientious Objection process.
On a final note, I will leave you with this , here are some of the kinds of abuse that was documented in the US Army´s own investigation regarding Abu Ghraib but which the US Army itself never prosecuted:
"I find that the intentional abuse of detainees by military police personnel included the following acts:
a. Punching, slapping, and kicking detainees; jumping on their naked feet;
b. Videotaping and photographing naked male and female detainees;
c. Forcibly arranging detainees in various sexually explicit positions for photographing;
d. Forcing detainees to remove their clothing and keeping them naked for several days at a time;
e. Forcing naked male detainees to wear women’s underwear;
f. Forcing groups of male detainees to masturbate themselves while being photographed and videotaped;
g. Arranging naked male detainees in a pile and then jumping on them;
h. Positioning a naked detainee on a MRE Box, with a sandbag on his head, and attaching wires to his fingers, toes, and penis to simulate electric torture;
i. Writing "I am a Rapest" (sic) on the leg of a detainee alleged to have forcibly raped a 15-year old fellow detainee, and then photographing him naked;
j. Placing a dog chain or strap around a naked detainee’s neck and having a female Soldier pose for a picture;
k. A male MP guard having sex with a female detainee;
l. Using military working dogs (without muzzles) to intimidate and frighten detainees, and in at least one case biting and severely injuring a detainee;
m. Taking photographs of dead Iraqi detainees.”
(ANNEXES 25 and 26)
The report also stated:
“8. In addition, several detainees also described the following acts of abuse, which under the circumstances, I find credible based on the clarity of their statements and supporting evidence provided by other witnesses (ANNEX 26):
a. Breaking chemical lights and pouring the phosphoric liquid on detainees;
b. Threatening detainees with a charged 9mm pistol;
c. Pouring cold water on naked detainees;
d. Beating detainees with a broom handle and a chair;
e. Threatening male detainees with rape;
f. Allowing a military police guard to stitch the wound of a detainee who was injured after being slammed against the wall in his cell;
g. Sodomizing a detainee with a chemical light and perhaps a broom stick.
h. Using military working dogs to frighten and intimidate detainees with threats of attack, and in one instance actually biting a detainee.” (more)
Many of the people who did this are still in the Army, some still in Germany, and all of them walk among us as free people today because of the US Army´s lack of accountability.
Chris Capps-Schubert took part at Operation Iraqi Freedom 2005-2006. He deserted afterwards from U.S. army. Currently he is European Regional Coordinator of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) and member of DFG-VK.
Chris Capps-Schubert: A Vital Command Center of U.S. Army, August 6, 2008.