Hamandiya, not Haditha

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Hamandiya, not Haditha

Post by Corlyss_D » Thu Jun 15, 2006 4:13 pm

I saw Terry Pennington, father of one of the Marines being held in this incident, interviewed last night. When he was asked why the shackles and severe restrictions when they haven't even been charged with anything yet, he said it was because the likes of Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International had complained that the Marines weren't being treated like criminals they obviously were. The Marines, nervous about the several different investigations, buckled to the criticism. Still waiting for the indignant MSM to "support the troops."

We can expect more of these kinds of allegations not because the Marines did anything wrong, but because the Iraqi insurgents know that reporting such incidents fabricated or real will take units off the line and tie them up literally in endless investigations while the MSM try and convict them in the press. It reminds me of what the ex LA police officer said last year about the gangs in LA: they know that bogus brutality allegations take the cops out of the fight and tie up resources at headquarters while the charges are investigated, so they file these bogus claims routinely. The only cops they don't do this to are the ones they aren't afraid of for whatever reasons.

June 07, 2006

Still not charged with crime, sailor wears shackles
Lawyer says ‘cruel and unusual’ treatment is worse than what some alleged terrorists receive

By Gidget Fuentes
Times staff writer

Attorney Jeremiah Sullivan speaks during a news conference at his law office in San Diego on Tuesday. He represents a Navy hospital corpsman who, along with seven Marines, is being held at the brig at Camp Pendleton while an investigation continues into the killing of an Iraqi man in Hamandiya, Iraq, in April. — Denis Poroy / AP Photo

SAN DIEGO — The attorney for a 20-year-old corpsman — one of a dozen in an infantry company suspected in the April shooting death of an Iraqi man — criticized his treatment at the Camp Pendleton brig, where he’s shackled at the hands and feet and held in solitary confinement for all but one hour a day.

Jeremiah “Jay” Sullivan III, a former Navy lawyer, said the sailor’s treatment is worse than what some terrorists receive. “Even in Supermax (the federal high-security prison) people get to exercise,” Sullivan said Tuesday during a press conference at his downtown office.

Sullivan would not reveal the identity of the sailor, who is married to another corpsman and who was on his second combat tour in Iraq.

No charges had been preferred against the third-class hospital corpsman assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, as of Tuesday afternoon, although Sullivan expects the Marine Corps to charge the sailor with murder, kidnapping, and conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to commit kidnapping in the coming days.

The sailor and seven Marines with 3/5 are being held at the brig at Camp Pendleton, where four other members of their infantry company are being restricted to the base. The rest of the battalion, which deployed in January, remains in Iraq.

“Anytime he is out of the room, he is shackled,” Sullivan said, noting that even during an hour-long exercise period, a brig guard keeps one hand on the sailor’s waist belt.

“It’s cruel and unusual,” he added.

Sullivan complained about reports circulated in the news media and in Washington about the actions of the unit, which have come amid allegations that Marines with another unit, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, may have killed 24 Iraqis, including children and women, in Hadithah last November. The men “are being tried on the five o’clock news, and that’s wrong,” he said.

The attorney believes that his client and the 3/5 men are getting hammered because of the ongoing 3/1 investigation. “There’s no question,” he said, noting comments made by senior leaders, including President Bush. “There’s a huge prejudicial effect,” he added.

Sullivan also took offense at reports of purported confessions. “I’m not saying there are confessions,” he said. He would not detail the sailor’s alleged role in the incident, which he noted was brought to the attention of military authorities by an Iraqi family who wanted payment for a wrongful death.

The sailor has been visited by his wife, who gave birth last year to the couple’s daughter, and by Sullivan, who spent several hours on Sunday conferring with him.

The corpsman, a “young-looking kid” who comes from “America’s heartland,” graduated from high school in 2003 and enlisted in the service. He first deployed to Iraq in 2004 with an infantry battalion that lost 19 men killed in combat, seven of those from the sailor’s company. Two of those men, Sullivan said, “died in my client’s arms.” The corpsman was wounded on that tour and received the Purple Heart medal, although Sullivan did not detail his injuries.

The allegations against him and his unit are “a crushing blow” to the sailor, Sullivan said. But he noted that the dozens of calls his office has received are helping lift his spirits.

The corpsman and the other 11 men from 3/5 were sent from Iraq to Camp Pendleton, where they were immediately placed into confinement or restriction. Sullivan said the corpsman had initially contacted his wife when he got back. But she didn’t hear from him until she “got a collect call two days later from the brig,” he said.

The sailor’s wife has set up a defense fund and a Web site to raise money to help defray the costs of defending any charges in court.

The young couple can talk only through inch-thick Plexiglas. “During the visits, my husband’s arms and legs remained shackled at all times,” she wrote in a statement posted on the Web site. “I can only speak to my husband through the glass with a guard posted in the room. When I told my husband about the support he has received from across the country, it immediately lifted his spirits.”

In related developments:

• The Senate will hold hearings soon into the alleged massacre, a committee chairman said Tuesday as Republicans and Democrats urged the military to finish its investigations into the accusations quickly.

“We’ve got our duty and we’ll do it. We’ll go wherever the facts lead,” Sen. John Warner, the Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, said of the allegations that U.S. Marines killed up to 24 Iraqi civilians last November in the town of Hadithah without cause and then engaged in a cover-up.

The Virginia Republican told reporters he wanted to hold the first of what he expected to be a series of hearings on the allegations as soon as Army Maj. Gen. Eldon A. Bargewell finishes his investigation into whether military personnel lied about what occurred at Hadithah. Warner said Bargewell likely would be the first witness called.

• Military investigations into alleged U.S. atrocities in Iraq, including the killings in Hadithah, shine the spotlight anew on a question raised by the abuses of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib: How far up the chain of command should officials be held accountable, if the misconduct is confirmed?

At this stage, with the investigations not yet complete, it appears that a small number of Marines could face murder charges in connection with the killings at Hadithah on Nov. 19. Several other Marines are expected to be charged soon in relation to the alleged April 26 murder of an Iraqi civilian in Hamdaniyah that investigators believe was planned in advance.

But the accountability question broadened when the military discovered that some officers in the Marine chain of command may have covered up the true circumstances of Hadithah or were derelict in their duty to report what they knew. Aside from the legal liability of those directly involved in killings, more senior officers could be relieved of duty or face other administrative discipline if they are faulted for leadership failures.

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Post by Ralph » Thu Jun 15, 2006 7:44 pm

Persons accused of capital crimes in the services have always been treated harshly. That's been true since the Republic began and was certainly the case for low profile investigations when I was in the Army.

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