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Killing of Iraqi Civilians Index

Killings Database – Year 2004

 

 

The Killing of Badea’a Hasan Ali

 

Background

Media Reports

Government Reports

Photo Credits

 

Background - September 22nd, 2004

 

“[…] I remember interviewing a gentleman, I believe, on the 3rd of October, one man’s first name was Osam. […] I did receive an email with the AIR on it. I spoke to the grandson a Master Saef, a Mr. Abass, who was a neighbor […]

 

“The grandson was the person with the victim when she was shot while they were walking through the alley. She had just bought a dress and they were walking in the direction of the tower at the time of the shooting. He said that he saw a soldier in the window and he specifically said an Afro-American soldier. He said he saw this person scanning with a weapon and the next thing he knew he saw his grandmother lying on the ground having been shot. […]”

 

Excerpt of Irene Cintron’s testimony at the Court-Martial of James Combs.

Sketch of the killing scene

 

Media Reports

 

September 4th, 2007 - Documents Show Troops Disregarding Rules

1 news article by the Associated Press

 

 

Government Reports

 

January 17th, 2007 - Court-Martial Record - James E. Combs III - Volume 1

Record of the U.S. Army Judiciary (5,0 MB)

 

“[…] General Court-Martial Order - 9 July 2005

 

“Private First Class James E. Combs, 111, U.S. Army, 272d Military Police Company, 720th Military Police Battalion, 42d Military Police Brigade, Camp Cuervo, Iraq, APO AE 09390, was arraigned at Camp Victory, Baghdad, Iraq, on the following offenses at a General Court-Martial convened by Comrnander Multi-National Corps - Iraq.

 

“Charge I. Article 119. Plea: Guilty. Finding: Guilty.

 

“Specification 1: On or about 22 Sep 04, by culpable negligence, unlawfully killed B.H., by shooting B.H. in the head with an M4 rifle. Plea: Guilty. Finding: Guilty.

 

“Additional Charge. Article 107. Plea: Not Guilty. Finding: Not Guilty.

 

“Specification 1: On or about 22 Sep 04, with intent to deceive, made to 1LT N.P. an official statement, to wit: that his M4 rifle had been in the safe position when the trigger was squeezed, which statement was totally false, and was then known by him to be so false. Plea: Not Guilty. Finding: Not Guilty.

 

“Specification 2: On or about 22 Sep 04, with intent to deceive, made to Special Agent I.C. an official statement, to wit: that, when asked if he had switched his weapon from safe to fire, he answered, I am sure I didn’t touch it, which statement was totally false, and was then known by him to be so false. Plea: Not Guilty. Finding: Not Guilty

 

“Sentence - Sentence adjudged on 24 March 2005: To be reduced to the grade of Private (E-l), to forfeit all pay and allowances, to be confined for six (6) months, and to be discharged from the service with a bad conduct discharge. […]

 

“Action - The sentence is approved and except for that part of the sentence extending to a bad conduct discharge, will be executed. […]”

 

January 17th, 2007 - Court-Martial Record - James E. Combs III - Volume 2

Record of the U.S. Army Judiciary (10,1 MB)

 

“[…] Direct Examination

 

“Staff Sergeant Connie Julian, 272nd Military Police Battalion, 75gth Military Police Brigade, Camp Cuervo, Baghdad, Iraq, was called as a witness, duly sworn and testified in substance as follows:

 

“I [came] into the Army in July of 1993. I’ve been to California, Korea, Fort Knox, Bosnia, Fort Bliss, Germany and here in lraq. I arrived in lraq in the beginning of April. I have known PFC Combs since he came to 2nd Platoon, in the fall of 2003. I am currently his squad leader and have been since July 1st.

 

“I have been to IP 10 twenty four to twenty five times and have been on the roof the same amount of time. I have been to six or seven other IP stations. I am up on a roof at an IP station every time I go out. I know COL Hay them he is the station commander at IP 10. I know him very well and I trust him. IP 10 has a nick name called the Wild, Wild West. IP Station 10 has a parking lot right beside of it where all the people come into Baghdad and park their vehicles. A lot of them are insurgents. There is an intersection. IP 10 sits on the corner of Pennsylvania and Main Street which is a very well traveled route, even from the locals. I am familiar with the day that this incident occurred. There was a need for heightened awareness that day due to a General coming in. The soldiers were briefed and were told to be on their toes. We hear a lot of gunshots at IP 10, it is a dangerous place. There is a lot of gang activity there.

 

“It’s different working with the IPS. A lot of the IP's we run into are corrupt. IP’s will do something in front of you to make you think that they are doing their job when in all actuality they are doing something different. We run into a lot of station commanders that need rounds, station commanders themselves or other IP’s will sell their rounds. They beat their subjects into admitting truths, confessions of things they never did. It is a different world out there. They are always after money. They will do just about anything to get money.

 

“It does not shock me that the station commander asked if anyone was going to be paid directly after the shot. They are all after money.

 

“[…] I don’t trust the Iraqi’s because they are crooks. Not all of them, but the majority of the ones that I have run into. I did not say that Iraqi lives are not as important as American lives. I said most of them I do not trust. When it comes to his IP’s I trust the station commander at IP 10. 1 do not completely trust him, but I trust him with his IP’s. I don’t know if this is a set up for some Iraqi’s to get some money. I have gone through the case file but I have not investigated this incident. I have read through some of PFC Combs’ statements. If Combs said he did it, he did it. I don’t know if this was a set up by the IP’s. I can’t tell you that. The possibility is out there that it could be. I’m not saying that it is a set up and I’m not saying that it isn’t. […]”

 

January 17th, 2007 - Court-Martial Record - James E. Combs III - Volume 3

Record of the U.S. Army Judiciary (5,4 MB)

 

“[…] Memorandum for Record

 

“[…] 2. An investigation into the circumstances behind the shooting death of an Iraqi National by PFC Combs, James E. III is complete.

 

“3. On 22 September 2004 at approximately 1345 PFC Combs’ assigned M-4 weapon (S/N W053730) was discharged at IP station #10 (A1 Babal Shikh) fatally wounding an Iraqi Local National.

 

“4. On 27 September 2004 I was appointed as the AR 15-6 Investigating Officer, tasked with investigating the circumstances surrounding the death. I was informed that CID was working the case and was able to obtain a copy of their initial report, which is enclosed. It was in the CID report that I learned the fatally wounded local nationals’ identity to be Mrs. Husaene, Babea’a. The CID report said she resided adjacent to IP Station #10. I was also able to obtain the original statements fiom SFC Pryor, SGT Duran, and PFC Combs. These statements were taken directly after returning to Camp Cuervo after the incident. (Statements Enclosed)

 

“5. On 1 October 2004, at 0945 I responded to IP station #10. Upon arrival I was able to meet with PFC Combs’ team leader SGT Duran. (Statement Enclosed) According to SGT Duran, PFC Combs was inside the bunker on the top of IP Station 10 conducting force protection duties, when PFC Combs’ weapon discharged. SGT Duran said he did not actually see PFC Combs fire the rifle, but knew he had done it because PFC Combs was the only one in the tower, and he observed the dust being blown out of the bunker ports. SGT Duran said he had been checking on PFC Combs at times throughout the shift. The last time SGT Duran checked on him PFC Combs was seated in the chair weapon in lap facing out of the bunker. According to SGT Duran, PFC Combs had been briefed on the proper weapon status, handling procedures, and weapon composure, such as weapon at the low ready. SGT Duran said in his original statement that following the shot, he observed a crowd gathered in the alley. He said he observed men carry what could have been a woman or child to a vehicle and drive off.

 

“[…] 8. After reviewing the statements on 4 October 2004 I responded to Camp Cuervo to interview PFC Combs. The interview took place at approximately 1200. (Statement Enclosed) In speaking with PFC Combs I learned the true status of his weapon to be on burst. This is in contradiction with his original statement and the statement to CID. According to PFC Combs while seated in the tower prior to the discharge he heard loud yelling coming from the alley in front of him and observed a sedan pull up. He said he saw several males jump out of the vehicle and open the trunk. PFC Combs said he had been bored and was trying to stay alert playing out scenarios in his head as to what he would do if confronted with a threat. Combs said while having these thoughts he placed his weapon on burst status, possibly when he saw the males jump out of the car and open the trunk quickly. PFC Combs told me he then decided the threat was no longer there and lowered his weapon failing to place the selector switch back on safe. PFC Combs said a short time following he raised his weapon again to scan his lane and accidentally discharged the weapon.

 

“9. Conclusion. PFC Combs was negligent in his duties while conducting force protection at the IP station. His weapon should have been on safe unless he had identified a threat and was responding in accordance with the ROE for theater. PFC Combs also should not have had his finger in the trigger well, or on the the trigger of the weapon unless he was ready to fire the weapon. This is what caused the round to be discharged fatally wounding Mrs. Husaene. […]”

 

January 17th, 2007 - Court-Martial Record - James E. Combs III - Volume 4

Record of the U.S. Army Judiciary (8,9 MB)

 

“[…] Appendix I to Offer to Plead Guilty […]

 

“I, PFC James E. Combs, 111, offer to plead guilty as stated in the Offer, provided the convening authority limits the punishment as follows:

 

“a. Confinement Limitation: The Convening Authority agrees to disapprove any confinement in excess of 30 months. b. Characterization of Discharge Limitation: The Convening Authority agrees to disapprove any punitive discharge other than a Bad Conduct Discharge. c. The Convening Authority agrees to dismiss the Additional Charge. d. Other Punishment: Any other lawful punishment adjudged, including a fine, may be approved. […]

 

“The foregoing is accepted. Date: 21 Feb 2005 - John R. Vines, Lieutenant General USA, Commanding […]”

 

 

Photo Credits

 

Background

 

1) Exhibit: Sketch of the killing scene - Court-Martial Record, James E. Combs III, Volume 3, page 2417;

 

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