Dr. Dawg

Maj. Paeta Hess-von Kruedener: Canadian martyr

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Just after Christmas the Ottawa Citizen’s David Pugliese wrote an eye-opening article about the killing of a Canadian peacekeeper in the UN, and a subsequent cover-up by the Department of National Defence. In it he referred to a lengthier piece in the Legion Magazine, just about to appear. Adam Day’s incisive article is now available online, and it is a must-read.

Maj. Paeta “Wolf” Hess-von Kruedener was a Canadian soldier assigned to a UN bunker in Southern Lebanon documenting Israel-Lebanon truce violations when the one-sided 2006 war broke out. As Day notes,

This wasn’t a small skirmish, or limited retaliation, it was an attempt by Israel to destroy Hezbollah. In that attempt they became extremely destructive and ruthless. They employed a tactic of near-saturation bombing, destroying hundreds upon hundreds of homes and killing more than a thousand civilians.

Hess-von Kruedener didn’t like what he was seeing one bit:

“It is disgusting what [the Israelis] are doing here,” Wolf wrote in an email to Cynthia. “Yesterday I witnessed an [Israeli] attack helicopter fire missiles at a local school and destroy a brand new hospital. These [guys] are trying to cripple and destroy the infrastructure of Lebanon. What this has to do with the Hezbollah terrorists I have no idea and cannot make the connection. I agree that the [Israelis] have the right to protect themselves, but they are indiscriminately bombing and targeting the civilian population and infrastructure, which is a fucking WAR CRIME under the Geneva Conventions.”

Meanwhile, IDF forces kept sending shells and bombs towards the bunker until finally the place, along with its UN personnel including Hess-von Kruedener, was blown apart.

That this was deliberate, there is no doubt. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan didn’t mince words at first, although he was soon warned off:

“I am shocked and deeply distressed by the apparently deliberate targeting by Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) of a United Nations observer post in southern Lebanon,” said Annan. “This co-ordinated artillery and aerial attack on a long established and clearly marked United Nations post at Khiam occurred despite personal assurances given to me by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that United Nations positions would be spared Israeli fire.”

Many commentators simply blasted Annan without ever seeing the facts. Many believed the Israelis were actually trying to hit Hezbollah targets, but that wasn’t the case—there were no Hezbollah targets left there. In the face of this criticism, Annan backed down.

Much later it would turn out that Annan wasn’t wrong at all. Patrol Base Khiam was deliberately targeted. By their own admission, the Israelis were trying to blow it off the map. Why? Because it was on their targeting list.

The question of how and why it was on their targeting list has never been legally resolved. The Israelis claim it was a data-entry error—put on their target list by mistake. But they have prevented any organization or government from verifying that claim; including both the UN and the Canadian government.

As noted in an earlier post, a Canadian Board of Inquiry met in 2006 to investigate Hess-von Kruedener’s death, and issued a report in 2008 that was critical of the IDF, and was soon deep-sixed by the Department of National Defence. The outcry that arose after Pugliese’s article a few days ago, however, forced DND to reconsider: sometimes a cover-up can be more damaging than what is being hidden.

At the time, Gen. Rick Hillier, then the chief of defence staff, called Hess-von Kruedener’s killing a “tragic accident,” almost certainly knowing that this was a convenient political lie. But that’s been the official narrative until the last few days’ revelations.

So there we have it. Maj. Paeta Hess-von Kruedener and his UN colleagues were inconvenient witnesses: they had to be removed, and they were. And to Canada’s shame, our government and DND were accomplices after the fact. Anything goes, it seems, to avoid embarrassing Israel—even whitewashing the murder of a Canadian soldier.

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on January 6, 2013 10:36 AM.

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