Justifiable Murder

The killing of the defenseless and wounded man in the masjid in Fallujah brings to mind a similar incident in Chicago 35 years ago. In fact the circumstances are almost identical.

Fred Hampton, the Chairman of the Black Panther Party, was asleep in his bed when paramilitary troops of the Chicago police department stormed their West side office. Like Fallujah, Chicago is an urban area containing people who, for the most part, are considered hostile, threatening and expendable and the Chicago policemen that riddled the walls of the Panther sanctuary with bullets were under the same operational orders as the marine battalions in Fallujah; shoot first and ask questions later.

Once the initial shots were fired and the smoke had cleared, it was discovered that Chairman Fred, although seriously wounded, was still breathing. And just as described in the masjid in Fallujah, one of the troops was heard to exclaim "He’s breathing" followed by shots delivering the coup de grace and the pronouncement, "Well, he’s good and dead now."[1]

The apparent murder of the unarmed man in Fallujah is smoothed over and justified just as the assassinations of members of he Black Panthers in particular and non-Whites in general in America and throughout the world.

Some of the statements used to justify the killing of the Panthers were that they were dangerous people who were not to be afforded the assumption of innocence or the niceties of established legal proceedings. And the Iraqi civilians (whether found in masjids, in their homes or on the streets are also portrayed as dangerous, vile, and untrustworthy. The statements of American civil and military personnel

in the wake of the killings of Iraqis in Fallujah are that the Iraqis are known to booby trap their bodies. This is said to justify the killing of defenseless Iraqis regardless if they are sitting down, laying down, walking, running, standing or sleeping. It is all the same to the American occupation forces; the bottom line is that they are in the way of American designs and are thus a threat and must be eliminated by any and all means, fair of foul.

It is also assumed that any Iraqi encountered, despite the situation or the surroundings, is an "insurgent." Even Iraqi children are targets for killing because, after all, they are known to be armed and dangerous as well. Or at the very least they are perceived as lending support to the "insurgents" and the "terrorists." And as a U.S. army officer was heard to say during the 19th century, when American soldiers showed a propensity to kill Natives regardless of how young."Nits make lice."

This was also the justification used by American authorities during the carnage in Vietnam where hundreds of thousands of children were riddled with bullets, burned alive with napalm, or blown to pieces with bombs. The justification to murder these children was that Vietnamese children, as young and innocent as they may be, where known to strap explosives to themselves and set themselves off as human booby traps. So when you happened upon one, it was better to be safe than sorry.

Amandou Diallo, was a Muslim from West African who immigrated to the United States and lived in the Bronx section of New York City. On February 4, 1999 he was shot at 41 times by four White police officers at close range. 19 of the shots perforated his body. His only crime was standing in the vestibule of his apartment building and looking up and down the street and then, (according to police) reaching for his wallet.[2] Almost immediately he was blamed for his own murder. It was said that he should not have gone further into the vestibule, even though he lived there and was merely walking to his apartment door. And dubious overtones were assigned to his supposed motion of reaching for his wallet. (Predictably the police interpreted this innocent action as life threatening when performed by a Black man). Often times such reports are sterilized in the jumble of facts and statistics. Let us not forget that Amandou Diallo was a human being, with all the attending qualities a! nd characteristics. It is with this thought that I relate a brief description of the horrible damage that was done to him:

"One bullet went through Amodou Diallo’s chest, his aorta, his left lung, his spinal cord. Another bullet went through his spleen, his left kidney and his intestines Three more bullets went through his left hip, causing perforations of his pelvis and his intestines. Another bullet went through the left side of his back, his spine, his spinal cord, his liver, and his right lung. Another bullet broke the bone in his right arm above the elbow.

Another bullet fractured both bones in his left shin. Another bullet went through his thigh, exited his groin and grazed the scrotum. Another bullet went into his right leg, traveled upward and lodged behind his knee.

Nine more bullets struck him from torso to toe."[3]

In the early 1990’s Rodney King, a Black motorist, was viciously beaten and tortured with electric stun guns by Los Angeles police officers for no other reasons than he was Black and gifted with an imposing physique.

When four policemen were put on trial, their defense was that they beat King because they felt threatened by him. How they could feel threatened by Rodney King when they were armed with pistols, shotguns, stun guns, police clubs, handcuffs and helicopters, and Mister King had no weapons at all, was never fully explained. The officers were found not guilty by a predominately White jury even though the assault was caught on video tape and had outraged the world.

During a press conference in the early stages of the bombardment and aerial assaults against the people of Afghanistan, a US military spokesman was asked about the deaths of thousands of Afghani civilians. He responded that although the deaths of civilians was "unfortunate" we need to understand that this is war and in war people die. Of course the same could be said of the fatalities of 9-11. Perhaps those that instigated that carnage which resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent people, also felt that they were involved in a "war."

Even the dastardly deeds (captured on photographic evidence) inflicted by American soldiers and agents on the prisoners in Abu Ghraib were minimized and excused away as nothing more than college -style pranks and fraternity-type antics. After all, as the saying goes "boys will be boys."

Renowned scholar and psychologist, Amos N Wilson provides an overview:

"The White American and the worldwide European ruling classes in general, refuse to accept and repent of their historical and contem-porary theft of the lands, resources, and taking the lives of their own and other peoples; their enslavement, serfdom, and peonage of their own and African peoples; their colonization and rapacious exploita-tion of virtually all non-White peoples; their eradication of whole ethnocultural groups; their mass murders of millions of persons; their scandalization and assassination of the character of African peoples; their destruction of many of the earth’s streams, rivers, lakes and oceans (ecocide); the raping and wasting of its natural treasures; their loosening of incurable diseases on vulnerable populations; their development and use of weapons of mass destruction; their assassination of national leaders, overthrow of duly elected governments and their intrigues against legit-imate organizations; their warmongering and dissemination of murderous arms among nations for profit and political advan-tage; their addicting of whole populations to self-destructive habits, appetites and drugs; their falsification of the consciou-ness of the Earth’s peoples, and numerous other heinous crimes against Man and Nature."[4]

The double standard is clear and obvious. Those who are non-White are to be considered less than human, practically on a level with cock roaches or vermin to be exterminated at the slightest imagined provocation or (baring that) no provocation at all, but simply to further the illegitimate interests and agendas of greedy and wicked men.

For what provocation can their be when a wounded, unarmed man is lying in pain on the floor of a religious sanctuary. A place of prayer that has been reduced to rubble by the pounding artillery shells, bullets, and missiles of occupation forces. A floor that had been polluted and disrespected with the feces and the urine of jeering American marines.[5] Perhaps if we pay closer attention to what was said by his killers. If we hear it and understand it for what it is, we can begin to understand. Seconds before the helpless Iraqi was perforated with bullets; seconds before his blood splashed against the war torn war of the masjid, a marine was heard to say, "He’s breathing" Thus for him, as for the millions of others in Falluja, in Afghanistan, in Africa, in North, South, and Central America; the fact that he was breathing, the mere rising and falling of his chest, was a crime punishable by death.

Notes and References:

[1]. Ward Churchill and Jim Vander Wall, "Agents of Repression: The FBI’s Secret Wars Against the Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement" South End Press (1990), p.p. 71,72,73

[2]. "Diallo’s Parents Sue New York" accessible online at: www.courttv.com/archive/national/diallo/index.html

[3]. Excerpt from the opening statement by District Attorney Eric Warner in the trial of: "The State of New York versus Kenneth Boss, Sean Carrol, Edward Mc Mellon and Richard Murphy" accessible online at:

[4]. Amos N Wilson, "Black on Black Violence," Afrikan World InfoSystems, (1994), p. 62