Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Haditha Marines Cleared Of Charges
A US military judge has dropped charges against a marine officer accused of failing to investigate the 2005 killing of 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha.
Lt Col Jeffrey Chessani, 44, was the highest-ranked soldier to have been accused of involvement in the incident.
Prosecutors say that US marines indiscriminately killed 24 unarmed Iraqis, including women and children.
Seven of the eight men initially accused have now had all charges dismissed or been acquitted.
The charges against Mr Chessani were thrown out after the judge ruled that a four-star general who oversaw the investigation was improperly influenced by an investigator who later became his adviser.
The judge has indicated that prosecutors can refile the case, but they did not immediately announce an intention to do so.
"We are grateful for the judge's ruling today. He was truly the last sentinel to guard against unlawful command influence," said Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, which represented Mr Chessani.
Of the eight marines accused, six had all charges against them dropped, and a seventh - Lt Andrew Grayson - was acquitted after facing a court martial.
Only one marine - Sgt Frank Wuterich - still faces charges in relation to the incident.
Sgt Wuterich will be tried on nine counts of voluntary manslaughter later this year.
A US military jury has acquitted a marine of charges that he helped cover up the killing of 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians in Haditha in 2005.
Lt Andrew Grayson had been charged with obstruction of justice and making false statements - charges he denied.
He had been accused of instructing a sergeant to delete digital photographs of the incident.
Four marines and four officers were initially charged in the case, but the case against five of them was dropped.
The marines were charged with murder and the officers with failing to investigate the deaths.
The trial is being held at Camp Pendleton, a military base in California. Lt Grayson was the first to be tried.
In closing arguments the prosecution claimed Lt Grayson had lied to investigators five times, while the defence said the case was the result of a botched investigation conducted under heavy media scrutiny.
Cheers erupted as his acquittal was announced, the Associated Press news agency reported. The killings occurred after a roadside bomb in Haditha on 19 November 2005 left one marine dead and injured two others.
"I will not excuse murder, and this is what happened," Murtha said. "This investigation should have been over two or three weeks afterward and it should have been made public and people should have been held responsible for it."
Nor should anyone hold their breath for Madman Murtha to apologize. He's far too busy playing the roll of the Pork King and catering to whatever type of divisive rhetoric his party of Cut and Run vaginas asks of him.
This story is yet another opportunity for me to plug the very fine site Boot Murtha. Boot Him. Boot him the hell out of the House of Representatives and retire him to the porch, where he can sip lemonade and is permanently removed from the American political scene. We doesn't need his type in government.
I thought Libs like Murfuck were all about presuming innocence until guilt is proven in a courtroom. Oh wait, they don't apply that to the Members in the U.S. Military.
There's a special place in Hell reserved for the likes of Murtha.
He called these guys cold killers, before even a jury had been called.
"Innocnet until proven guilty" seems to only work for the Gitmo mooks.
Murtha is a sad example of a person that totally supports your comment.
WTF is it with these people (i.e. Liberals) that they identify more with terrorists and detainees at Gitmo more than with U.S. Military Memebers?
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