For those of you who read this blog will know we do not often discuss politics or the military. Real-Justice supplied me with the head up on this story. The US military is currently investigating all allegations.

Kristian Menchaca was given a heroes funeral in Brownsville Texas this past week. He was also given the purple heart that soldiers receive when they die on the battle field. At the funeral services the past week family were asking the question WHY this happened to Kristian.

Maria Vasquez, the dead soldier’s mother, sobbed with her cheek against his flag-shrouded coffin in Brownsville, asking repeatedly in Spanish, “Why? … Why my son?”

From Christina Menchaca before the attack happened.

Kristian Menchaca

“1/2 MY HEART IS IN IRAQ!!!” Christina Menchaca
WELL I REALLY NEVER HAD A HEROE UNTIL MY BROTHER JOINED THE ARMY AND THEN I MET MY HUSBAND AND THEN I KNEW WHAT A HEROE WAS AND HOW MUCH THEY MEAN TO PEOPLE. SO, YEA MY HEROES ARE MY BROTHER CONRAD AND MY HUSBAND KRISTIAN. I LOVE THEM SO MUCH AND I KNOW THEY ARE SAFE AND SO ARE WE BECAUSE OF THEM. AND THAT IS WHAT A HEROE DOES SO THEY ARE JUST 2 GREAT GUYS WHO HAVE MY HEART…. LOVE YALL…..

Kristian was a hero in the eyes of Christina. She seemed to have a lot going for a high school student, she was married and was raising her son. She felt Kristian was safe and her world came apart on June 16, 2006. Her life will never be the same. There are many questions that need to be answered.

“Here Without You” by Three Doors Down plays on Cristina’s Myspace, no doubt how she felt about Kristian in Iraq.

Kristian belonged to the 502nd Infantry Regiment, which is attached to the 4th Infantry Division. They were attacked on June 16, 2006. Pfc. Kristian Menchaca, 23, and Pfc. Thomas L. Tucker were both kidnapped in this attack and subsequently tortured, then murdered and one or both were beheaded.

War is war and many atrocities that happen are all part of the battlefield. On March 12, 2006, members of the 502nd Infantry Regiment were involved in the rape and murder of a young woman near her home in the town of Mahmoudiya, south of Baghdad. She was raped and murdered and then set on fire, three other family members were also killed including two children.

The victims were Kassim Hamza Rasheed Janabi, 36, a guard at a government-owned food warehouse; Fakhriya Taha Muhasen, 44, his wife; and their two daughters, 7-year-old Hadeel and 15-year-old Abeer.

Abeer Qasim Hamza pictureDATE OF BIRTH A citizenship identification card issued by the Iraqi government in 1993 shows Abeer Qasim Hamza al-Janabi with a date of birth of August 19, 1991, as translated from the identity card in this handout photo/picture from her relatives in Baghdad July 9, 2006. Five U.S. soldiers were charged in a rape and multiple murder case that has outraged Iraqis, as documents obtained by Reuters on Sunday showed the rape victim was a minor aged just 14, and not over 20 as U.S. officials say. (IRAQ)

Hadeel is a Arabic girls name, there have been other reports that the soldiers separated three males from the woman, probably a mistake by the newspaper/web site.

No disrespect, but when I saw the names and ages of the victims, I had my doubts on why four soldiers would plan for a week to rape a 44 year old lady. It did not make sense, I did think that the fifteen year old girl (Abeer Qasim Hamza) was likely their target. On top of everything these soldiers raped a fifteen year old child. New information appears like the mother was 34 and the father 45 See Reuters below

From Rueters More at link

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – A woman apparently at the center of a rape-murder probe by the U.S. military in Iraq was only 15 (Abeer Qasim Hamza) and voiced fears about soldiers’ advances before she and her family were killed in March, the Washington Post said on Monday.

The paper said death certificates from Mahmudiya hospital identified the victims as Abeer Qasim Hamza, 15, shot in the head and burned; her mother Fakhriyah Taha Muhsin, 34, killed by gunshots to her head; her father Qasim Hamza Raheem, 45, whose head was “smashed” by bullets; and Hadeel Qasim Hamza, 7.

Quoting the mayor of Mahmudiya, near Baghdad, an unnamed hospital official and neighbors of the alleged victims, the newspaper named the woman, her parents and 7-year-old sister as having been killed in their home in the town on March 11.

The paper did not affirm the woman, Abeer Qasim Hamza, was killed by Americans, but local people quoted appeared to believe the dead family was the one involved in the U.S. investigation.

A U.S. military official in Baghdad told Reuters details of the incident they described were at odds with U.S. documents in the 10-day-old investigation of at least three soldiers. U.S. officials had the rape victim’s age as 20, he said. However, he added, he was not aware of any other such cases in the area.

The U.S. military has given few details publicly. Officials say at least three soldiers are under investigation over the alleged rape of a woman and the killing of three relatives, including a child, in their home at Mahmudiya on March 12.

Two are suspected of rape and one of these, since discharged from the army, is also suspected of murder, officials said.

Rape and killings were planned

One resident of the village of Mahmoudiyah al-Kasr al-Awsat told The Washington Post yesterday that the young woman had complained of harassment by U.S. soldiers each time she passed through an American checkpoint. The resident, Omar Janabi, said in an interview that the woman’s family had taken the precaution of sending her to spend nights with a neighboring family. But the soldiers attacked the family’s house during the daytime, when everyone was at home, said Janabi.

BAGHDAD — The U.S. military is investigating U.S. soldiers accused of raping an Iraqi woman near their guard post, killing her and three family members and burning their home with the bodies inside.

These two incidents are closely tied together. The raping and killing of this woman and her family members and the subsequent retaliation of Kristian Menchaca and Thomas L. Tucker.

The deaths in March occurred in the same area as the kidnapping and killing last month of two Army privates, an Army official said, and involve the same unit — the 502nd Infantry Regiment, which is attached to the 4th Infantry Division — but it was unclear whether there was a connection between the deaths of the family members in Mahmoudiya and the June 16 attack on the U.S. soldiers at an observation post near Yousifiya.

Claims US troops raped and killed Iraq civilians

Military officials are investigating allegations that US Army soldiers raped a young Iraq woman in her home near Baghdad before killing her and three members of her family.

The soldiers are from the same platoon that lost three members in a brutal insurgent attack on June 16.

Two of the dead soldiers, from the 502nd Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, were kidnapped and then tortured and beheaded.

The allegation of the March rape and slayings came to light in a battlefield stress counselling session for members of the platoon, when two soldiers raised the issue.

The military has said one and possibly both of the soldiers were tortured and beheaded. The official said the mutilation of the slain soldiers stirred feelings of guilt and led at least one member of the platoon to reveal the rape and killing on June 22.

Clearly this needs to be investigated, I am sure much more information will be coming out an these attacks in the upcoming weeks. This story is just breaking, what is important is that the truth comes out.
Secrets From Within Update July 2, 2006

‘Rape-murder ‘plotted for week’

From the Associated Press

July 03, 2006
BEIJI, Iraq: Investigators believe a group of US soldiers spent a week plotting an attack in which they raped an Iraqi woman, then killed her and her family in a town south of Baghdad.

A US official familiar with the investigation said flammable liquid — possibly petrol or lighter fluid — was used to burn the woman’s body in a cover-up attempt. If convicted of premeditated murder, the soldiers could receive the death sentence under US military law.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the attack appeared to have been “totally premeditated” and the soldiers had reportedly studied the family for about a week before carrying out the assault. According to the official, the Sunni Arab family had just moved into a new home in the religiously mixed area about 30km south of Baghdad.

The US troops entered the home and separated three family members from the woman, the official said. They raped her, then killed her and set fire to her body. The soldiers then killed the other three members of the family.

There were some discrepancies over how many soldiers were being investigated. The US official said it was at least four. Other US officials said earlier five were under investigation but one had already been discharged over charges unrelated to the killings.

The US command has said only that the commander of US forces in Baghdad, Major General James D. Thurman, has ordered a criminal investigation into the alleged murder of a family of four.

The soldiers under investigation are from the same platoon as two troopers kidnapped and killed south of Baghdad earlier this month. The official said the mutilation of the slain soldiers stirred feelings of guilt and led at least one member of the platoon to reveal the rape-slaying on June 22. One of the family members the soldiers killed was a child, a senior US army official said.

The allegations of rape could generate a serious backlash in Iraq, a strongly religious society where many women are sheltered from contact with males.

Michelle Malkin on Kristian Menchaca

Update 7-3-06

First name released in investigation. An arrest has been made. This information is coming in quicker than I can type, there are going to be a few inaccuracies among sources, some i have found so far are the different ages for the victims. I will as time goes on update this entry and make corrections and will start a new entry as i did not realize how much information would be coming out. The more I write on this the more I realize that it fits my writing style about children. A young girl, 15 was targeted and raped and a soldier close to home lost his life over this along with two other soldiers. Cristina Menchaca is a widow and a high school student at that same time, this is not suppose to happen like this.

Green.jpg

Steven D. Green

Ex-soldier charged in Iraq rape, killing
TIM WHITMIRE
Associated Press Mercury news.com

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Federal prosecutors charged a veteran of the Iraq war with murder and rape Monday in connection with the killing of an Iraqi woman and members of her family.

Steven D. Green, a 21-year-old former private first class who was discharged from the Army, appeared in a federal magistrate’s courtroom in Charlotte Monday.

The charges grew out of a military investigation involving up to five soldiers in the March rape and killing of the woman in Mahmoudiya and three of her relatives.

Prosecutors said Green and other soldiers entered the home of a family of Iraqi civilians, where he and others raped a member of the family before Green shot her and three of her relatives to death.

Green was arrested in recent days in North Carolina, two federal law enforcement officials said Monday. He is being held without bond pending a transfer to Louisville, Ky. Green had served with the 101st Airborne, based at Fort Campbell, Ky. It was unclear why Green had been discharged from the Army.

On Friday, the U.S. military acknowledged that Maj. Gen. James D. Thurman, commander of the 4th Infantry Division, had ordered a criminal investigation into the alleged slaying of a family of four in Mahmoudiya.

Four members of the 502nd Infantry Regiment have had their weapons taken away and were confined to a U.S. base near Mahmoudiya, officials said. If convicted of premeditated murder, the soldiers could receive a death sentence under U.S. military law.

The suspects belong to the same unit as two soldiers kidnapped and killed south of Baghdad last month, a military official said on condition of anonymity because the case was under way.

The military has said that one and possibly both of the slain soldiers were tortured and beheaded. The official said the mutilation of the slain soldiers stirred feelings of guilt and led at least one member of the platoon to reveal the rape-slaying on June 22.

One soldier was arrested after admitting his role in the alleged attack on the family, the official said. The official said the rape and killings appeared to have been a “crime of opportunity,” noting that the soldiers had not been attacked by insurgents but had noticed the woman on previous patrols.

UPDATE July 4, 2006 Irag Speak out

Here is a post from writers within Iraq speaking out about Iraq conducting their own investigation. They are demanding their own investigation. Part of me says right on, let Iraq prosecute, it happened in Iraq. Let them extradite Steven D. Green back to Iraq and face trial there. If an Iraqi commits a crime on American soil, we do not send them back to be judged in Iraq. Why should it be any different when Americans commit crimes in other countries? Why not let Green and the others involved await their trials in an Iraqi jail cell?

By Alastair Macdonald
Reuters
Tuesday, July 4, 2006; 1:13 PM

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraqis demanded on Tuesday their new government launch its own inquiry into the suspected rape and murder of a teenager and the killing of her family by U.S. soldiers after one American was charged in a U.S. court.

“We demand an official investigation,” member of parliament Safiya al-Suhail told a news conference, urging Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to take the initiative.

“We cannot let this case pass without question. Justice must be done,” said the former ambassador and member of the secular Iraqi List party which controls the Justice Ministry.

The rape issue makes the case, the fifth U.S. inquiry into killings of Iraqi civilians in recent months, potentially more difficult for the military in its already fraught relations with Iraqis and the nation’s increasingly independent-minded leaders.

Taboos on discussing rape in Iraq’s Muslim society have also muted public commentary after U.S. commanders said on Friday they were investigating four killings in a family home in March.

But the charging of former U.S. soldier Steven Green, 21, on Monday appeared to loosen tongues. The discharged private is accused of shooting a couple and their young daughter near a checkpoint, then raping and killing the child’s teenage sister. Three other U.S. soldiers are suspected of taking part.

“The people should rise up because this is a matter of honor. What has happened to this girl today may happen to our sisters and wives tomorrow,” said Baghdad resident Hussein al-Shimeri.

LAMENT

Lamenting a failure by Iraqi officials to take a stand, he said: “We should keep the Americans out of our towns. This belies the Americans’ claims of democracy and shows their barbarity.”

Officials in Mahmudiya, near Baghdad, said they were holding an inquiry but that no national investigation was under way.

Ahmed Hamed, also speaking in Baghdad, said: “The Iraqi government should take a clear stand and put an end to disgraceful acts by the U.S. against the Iraqi people.”

In a sign of the sensitivities, however, Iraqiya state television only belatedly covered the case, noting Green’s U.S. court appearance in its foreign news — after a report on the Mexican election. Later bulletins dropped the item.

Maliki, who has voiced impatience with U.S. military “mistakes” since forming his national unity government six weeks ago, has been silent on the case.

One of the first newspapers to report the case, Azzaman, criticized the government on Tuesday. “A crime by a U.S. soldier against a pure Iraqi girl has Iraqi politicians bowing their heads and fiddling with their ears, pretending they have not heard of it,” Fateh Abdul Salam wrote in an opinion piece.

Describing sanctions against a handful of soldiers jailed over the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal of 2004 as “holiday camp punishments,” he forecast more of the same.

The fate of the Janabi family, members of Iraq’s Sunni Arab minority from which insurgents draw their support, vexes Sunnis. Their main clerical body called it the “ugly face of America.”

U.S. commanders, anxious to leave a friendly Iraq as they reduce their forces, acknowledge the harm that can be done by cases like Abu Ghraib and accusations that U.S. soldiers unlawfully killed 24 people at Haditha in November.

This year U.S. military units have been told to tighten procedures on treating civilians. Last month, 12 murder charges were brought, more than in the rest of the three years since the U.S.-led invasion.

(Additional reporting by Aseel Kami and Hiba Moussa)


July 10, 2006 UPDATE

HARRISBURG, Pa. AP – A 2002 high school graduate from a central Pennsylvania town is one of the American soldiers charged in the alleged rape-murder of a young Iraqi woman and the killing of three of her relatives.
speilman.jpg
Pfc. Jesse Spielman (pictured above), of Chambersburg, is charged with premeditated murder, rape, obstruction of justice, housebreaking, arson and other offenses and could face the death penalty.

A television station said Spielman’s mother, Nancy Hess, told a reporter she was shocked by the charges and hoped to speak with her son soon.

“I don’t believe the charges and I’m still proud of him,” WGAL-TV in Lancaster quoted Hess, who did not appear on camera.

A man who answered the phone at Hess’ home in Chambersburg, about 50 miles southwest of Harrisburg, referred questions about Spielman to the military. He declined to give his name.

On MySpace.com, the popular networking site, a soldier identifying himself as Spielman and as a 2002 high school graduate from Chambersburg says he joined the Army in March 2005 and is in Iraq for a year.

On the Myspace page that Jesse Speilman had up he describes himself as an Atheist.

THE ACCUSED AND CHARGES From Reuters

— Steven Green, 21, pleaded not guilty on July 6 in a U.S. federal court in Kentucky, home of his former unit the 502nd Infantry Regiment, to four counts of murder and one of rape over the deaths of four people near Mahmudiya, south of Baghdad, “on or about” March 12. Green was a private first class for under a year before being discharged for a “personality disorder”.

— Private First Class Bryan Howard: conspiracy to commit rape and pre-meditated murder (under Article 81 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice), conspiracy to obstruct justice (Article 81), pre-meditated murder (118), rape (120).

— Specialist James Barker: same as Howard, plus violation of a general order (92), arson (126), house breaking (130).

— Sergeant Paul Cortez: same as Barker

— Private First Class Jesse Spielman: same as Barker and Cortez plus indecent acts (134) and obstruction of justice (134).

— Sergeant Anthony Yribe: dereliction of duty (92) and false official statement (107).

THE VICTIMS

— Abeer Qasim Hamza al-Janabi died of “gunshot wounds in the head, with burns”, according to the death certificate. That and her identity card, which relatives showed Reuters, show she was a minor aged 14, and not 20 or 25 as stated in U.S. official documents which say she was raped.

— Her father Qasim Hamza Rasheed al-Janabi, 34, a labourer, his wife Fakhriya Taha Muheisin al-Janabi, 43, and their younger daughter Hadeel Qasim Hamza al-Janabi, 6, also all died from gunshot wounds; two sons, now aged 10 and 13, were absent.

UPDATE July 11, 2006

Evver since this story first broke, it has been obvious that Tucker and Menchaca were kidnapped and murdered for the attack on a 14 year old Iraqi girl Abdeer Qasim Hamza. Al Qaeda has claimed responsibility for the attack on Menchaca and Tucker.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An al Qaeda-led group released a video on Monday showing gruesome footage of two U.S. soldiers killed in June and links the killings to a rape and murder case that has outraged Iraqis, according to a group that monitors extremists’ Web sites.

The video, issued by the Mujahideen Shura Council in Iraq shows the mutilated corpses of the two American soldiers the group claimed to have abducted June 19, the SITE Institute said in a statement on its Web site.

The video is “extremely graphic footage” and opened with a statement that it was presented as “revenge for our sister who was dishonored by a soldier of the same brigade,” according to SITE.

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