The War Profiteers - War Crimes, Kidnappings, Torture and Big Money
The Drowning of Zaidoun Hassoun
Background - Samarra, January 3rd, 2004
“An Army platoon sergeant who ordered his soldiers to throw Iraqis into the Tigris River was sentenced Saturday to six months in military prison, but will not be discharged. Army Sgt. 1st Class Tracy Perkins also was reduced by one rank to staff sergeant, which cuts his pay and responsibilities. Perkins, 33, was convicted Friday of two counts of aggravated assault, assault consummated by battery and obstruction of justice. He was acquitted of involuntary manslaughter and making a false statement.
“He did not testify during his trial, but tearfully apologized and told the jury of Army officers and enlisted members during his trial’s penalty phase earlier Saturday that his actions were wrong - although he did not apologize to the Iraqis. He said he still loved the military and did not want to lose his job. ‘If I had to go back, I would definitely do something different on those days,’ Perkins said, wiping away tears. The six-man jury of Army officers and enlisted members considered a sentencing range of no punishment to a dishonorable discharge, rank reduction and 11 1/2 years in prison. Prosecutors had recommended five years in prison and a dishonorable or bad conduct discharge. […]”
Excerpt of a CBS News article from January 5th, 2005.
The Killers: Jack Saville & Tracy Perkins
The Victim: Zaidoun Hassoun
October 23rd, 2005 - The Fall of the Warrior King
1 news article by the New York Times
March 16th, 2005 - 45 Days’ Jail for US Officer who had Cousins Thrown into Tigris
1 news article by the Guardian
March 14th, 2005 - Platoon Leader Pleads Guilty to Assault in Iraqi Case
1 news article by the Associated Press
January 5th, 2005 - 6 Months For GI In Iraqi Drowning
1 news article by CBS News
December 14th, 2004 - Military Judge Allows Exhumation in Army Drowning Trial
1 news article by the Associated Press
July 30th, 2004 - Cover-Up of Iraq Bridge Incident Admitted
1 news article by the Associated Press
July 28th, 2004 - Soldier Says He was Ordered to Push Iraqi Into River
1 news article by the Associated Press
July 2nd, 2004 - U.S. Soldiers Charged in Iraqi Drowning Death
1 news article by the Washington Post
Court-Martial of Tracy E. Perkins
June 7th, 2005 - Court-Martial Record - Tracy E. Perkins - Volume 1
Record of the U.S. Army Judiciary (8,5 MB)
June 7th, 2005 - Court-Martial Record - Tracy E. Perkins - Volume 2
Record of the U.S. Army Judiciary (2,9 MB)
June 7th, 2005 - Court-Martial Record - Tracy E. Perkins - Volume 3
Record of the U.S. Army Judiciary (5,9 MB)
“[…] Marwan Fadhil, civilian, was called as a witness for the prosecution, was sworn, and testified, in substance, through Marwan Abdel-Rahman, Interpreter, as follows:
“Direct Examination/Questions by the trial counsel:
“My name is Marwan Abdul-Hakin Fadhil and I live in I am 25 years old. I'm a student. I have lived in from the time I was born.
“On the 3rd of January I was in Baghdad and I was bringing some material related to bathrooms for one of my relatives from - After I was done shopping on behalf of this relative of mine I headed to Samarra about 5 o'clock, around sundown. I had supplies for Western Style Bathroom Sets, ceramic tiles, and showerheads. I was with Zaydun that day. […]
“I arrived in Samarra at 10:45 because the car broke down and I was able to fix it. When I arrived in Samarra I was stopped by the ICDC Forces, they inquired about our ID cards, and then they allowed us to enter. I was then stopped by the American troops between 200 and 300 meters from my home. When the soldiers stopped us they asked for our identification cards, then they searched the car very thoroughly, returned our I D cards, and then they allowed us to leave. But then about 20 meters later they stopped us one more time, ordered us to get out of the car, then they tied our hands behind our backs with some type of a cotton thread or something, and they made us get into the armored vehicle. When we got into the armored vehicle we didn't know where we were going, they took us to an unknown place.
“The vehicle came to a sudden stop, the door opened, then I found that we were standing near the Samarra Dam, and then the ICDC soldiers shed some light on us, and that's when the American troops ordered us to get back into the armored vehicle. […]
“Once I was at the edge of the pump house the soldiers asked us to jump but we refused and we started to beg them not to throw us into the water and we kept saying in English please, please, but it was ignored. They first attempted to push Zaydun into the water so he clung to one of the soldiers, at that point they raised their weapons and directed them to his head and forced him into the water and I felt myself at that point going into the water too.
“I refused to go into the water because it was very cold. I don't know why I had no choice about going into the water. The soldiers asked us to jump into the water and they offered us no other choice and they insisted on doing so. If there was another choice we would have taken that other choice over the going into the water choice.
“When I was standing on the edge I could see the water because there was some lights on the dam and the bridge. I Zaydun went into the water first. At that moment I lost every sense of time, but I went into the water shortly after Zaydun. It could be a minute or less that I went into the water, or a few seconds, I don't know, I was in a state of extreme fear. […]
“Against my body the water was very cold and the weather was cold because we were in January. When I went into the water I was wearing pants and a short sleeve shirt. I wasn't wearing a jacket because I had been sitting in my car and the car was air-conditioned. I did have a jacket but I did not need to wear it while in the car. Zaydun was wearing a short sleeve shirt and pants.
“When I was in the water I don't know how deep it was but while I was there it felt like it was deeper than the ocean. […] The water was over my head and I was far away from the shore. From here I landed here […]
“I would say that I am a mediocre swimmer, I don't swim that well, but I can carry myself. Zaydun swam a little less than I did. […] They certainly didn't know if we could swim. I saw the soldiers and I heard them when I was in the water, they had their rifles aimed towards us. […] I could hear the soldiers laughing.
“I swam to the shore. Zaydun didn't make it to the shore. I tried to rescue Zaydun but it didn't work. I was able to touch his hands but he slipped out of my hand because of the strength of the water current. After Zaydun slipped out of my grasp I heard Zaydun's voice and he kind of floated and sank but it was mostly his voice that I heard. I don't know what direction Zaydun's voice was coming from but it was going towards the gate. I'm not sure how steep the slope was but I grasped a tree branch and by doing so I was able to lift my body up over the shore. After I got to the shoreline I went to the ICDC. The ICDC soldiers went with me to look for Zaydun in that same place after I got out of the water that night.
“As soon as I reached them we went back to look for Zaydun. I went home the day after. I spent that night to the following morning at the ICDC Headquarters. After I got home I returned with family members to the same location of the incident trying to find him. Then I went back home and I stayed there for a while because I was suffering from a lot of psychological stress because of the incident.
“My brothers, Zaydun's brothers, sons of my uncles and aunts, our family in general, and friends went daily to look for Zaydun. I was present when Zaydun was found 13 days later. When we found Zaydun he was in the middle of the river and he was face down in the water. The distance between the dam and where we found Zaydun was about a kilometer or kilometer and a half south to the dam.
“When we found Zaydun he was wearing his white, short sleeve shirt and his jeans pants, and his vest was found four days after the incident, which was the same clothes he was wearing the night we were both pushed in. We could identify the body as Zaydun because his wallet was there with his personal ID card and the ring that he wore. How could I not recognize him considering that we have been together since we were children.
“After we found Zaydun's body we took him to the family house and we completed the proceedings of his funeral. Before his burial the lawyer ordered us to take photos of his body and we recorded the burial and when the body was at the house by Zaydun's brothers. I was present when they recorded it. We buried Zaydun the same day after the afternoon. […]”
June 7th, 2005 - Court-Martial Record - Tracy E. Perkins - Volume 4
Record of the U.S. Army Judiciary (8,8 MB)
June 7th, 2005 - Court-Martial Record - Tracy E. Perkins - Volume 5
Record of the U.S. Army Judiciary (9,0 MB)
Court-Martial of Jack M. Saville
March 7th, 2007 - Court-Martial Record - Jack M. Saville - Volume 1
Record of the U.S. Army Judiciary (8,3 MB)
“[…] First Lieutentant Jack M. Saville, [redacted] U.S. Army, Headquarters and Headquarters Company. 3rd Brigade, 4th lnfantry Division (Mechanized), Fort Carson, CO 80913, was arraigned on the following offenses at a General Court-Martial convened by the Commander, 4th lnfantry Division (Mechanized).
“Charge I. Article 81. Plea: Not Guilty. Finding: Not Guilty.
“Specification: Did, at or near Samarra. Iraq, on or about 3 January, 2004, conspire with another, to commit an offense under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, to wit: to assault two others, and in order to effect the object of the conspiracy, he along with four others detained the said two others and transported them to a bridge in the city of Samarra, Iraq, where the he gave an order to push them into the Tigris River. Plea: Not Guilty. Finding: Not Guilty.
“Charge II. Article 107. Plea: Not Guilty. Finding: Not Guilty.
“Specification: Did, at or near Tikrit, Iraq, on or about 16 January 2004, with the intent to deceive, make to a CID agent a sworn official statement, to wit: that two others were stopped, searched and released to walk to their vehicle and that he personally witnessed the two individuals on the side of the road as his convoy departed the area, which statement was totally false and was then known by him to be false. Plea: Not Guilty. Finding: Not Guilty.
“Charge III. Article 119. Plea: Not Guilty. Finding: Not Guilty.
“Specification: Did. at or near Samarra, Iraq, on or about 3 January 2004. while perpetrating an offense directly affecting the person of another, to wit: push him into the Tigris River at nighttime, unlawfull kill the said other by drowning. Plea: Not Guilty. Finding: Not Guilty. […]
“Sentence - The sentence was adjudged on 15 March 2005. To forfeit $ 2000.00 pay per month for six (6) months, and to be confined for 45 days.
“Action - Only so much of the sentence as provides for forfeiture of $ 1,000.00 pay per month for six (6) months and confinement for forty-five (45) days is approved and will be executed. […]”
March 7th, 2007 - Court-Martial Record - Jack M. Saville - Volume 2
Record of the U.S. Army Judiciary (8,1 MB)
1) (left) Jack Saville at his court-martial - March 2005 - Associated Press;
2) (right) Tracy Perkins at his court martial at Fort Hood, Texas - January 2005 - Associated Press;
1) & 2) Zaidoun Hassoun - undated - Family photo;