Thursday, April 26, 2007

Haditha - Murtha Doesn't Know Jack

Via Blue Star Chronicles

From NewsMax

Philip V. BrennanWednesday, April 25, 2007
Convincing evidence that corroborates’s accounts of the Haditha insurgent ambush has compelled the prosecution to take extraordinary steps to bolster their crumbling case.

The stunning announcement that all charges are being dropped against
Sgt. Sanick P. Dela Cruz, formerly accused of murder in the Haditha incident
where 24 Iraqis were killed during an insurgent ambush against the Marines, is
indication that the prosecutors have a very weak case against all the
defendants, lawyers for the some of the accused say.

Crumbling Case

“Dela Cruz provided several sworn statements to the government,” Mark Zaid said. Zaid is one of the attorneys representing defendant Sgt. Frank Wuterich adding that
as part of its obligations the government turned over statements to Wuterich’s
defense team.

“Unless there’s something new that he is suddenly going to come
forward with, it’s not entirely clear that it’s damaging to my client at all,”
Mark Zaid, one of the attorney’s representing Sgt. defendant Frank Wuterich,

“Those statements were available for the government to use,
and we found that there are numerous conflicting statements within his own

The announcement of the deal with Dela Cruz is further evidence
that the cases against the Kilo Company Marines and several of their superior
officers are in deep trouble. It comes on the heels of postponements of Article
32 hearings slated for Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani, the battalion commander and
two of the enlisted men charged with murdering civilians in Haditha on Nov. 19,

Baseless Charges

Although the prosecutors said they needed more time
to prepare their cases, there is much more to the story than that
has learned, and it paints a shocking picture of a prosecution that should never
have been pursued.

In a nutshell, the case exploded when an intelligence
officer dropped a bombshell on prosecutors during a pre-hearing interview when
he revealed the existence of exculpatory evidence that appears to have been
obtained by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and withheld from
the prosecutors.

This officer, described by senior Marine Corps superiors as
one of the best and most dedicated intelligence officers in the entire Marine
Corps, was in possession of evidence which provided a minute-by-minute narrative
of the entire day’s action — material which he had amassed while monitoring the
day’s action in his capacity as the battalion’s intelligence officer. That
material, he says, was also in the hands of the NCIS.

Much of that evidence remains classified, but it includes videos of the entire day’s action, including airstrikes against insurgent safe houses. Also included was all of the radio traffic describing the ongoing action between the men on the ground and
battalion headquarters, and proof that the Marines were aware that the
insurgents conducting the ambush of the Kilo Company troops were videotaping the
action — the same video that after editing ended up in the hands of a gullible
anti-war correspondent for Time magazine.

When asked by the prosecution team to give his copies of the evidence to the prosecution, he told that he was reluctant to do so, fearing it would again be suppressed or misused, but later relented when ordered by his commanding general to do so.

Confronted by the massive mounds of evidence that Marine Corps sources tell NewsMax proves conclusively that the cases against the Haditha Marines are baseless, the prosecutors were forced to postpone the Article 31 against Lt. Col. Chessani and two of the enlisted men in an attempt to regroup.

By granting immunity to the officer on the scene of the house-clearing effort, the prosecution, lawyers say, has further weakened its case.Because the intelligence officer was slated to return to Iraq for another tour of duty, arrangements were made prior to his departure to videotape his testimony for use in the hearings which would take place after his departure.

Those familiar with his testimony, which included masses of classified material, insist that the narratives of the day’s events disclosed by in a long series of stories about Haditha were accurate presentations of the true facts and a total repudiation of all the slanderous material leaked by the Pentagon to the media.

Thanks to this officer’s testimony, the defense team was able to present over one hundred classified exhibits, including video.

Lawyers for some of the accused told NewsMax that the officer’s eight hour-long deposition will be made available to the defense in all the cases for use at the various Article 32 hearings which begin with Lt. Col. Chessani in May. Because most of it remains classified, it will be reviewed in private by the hearing officers and not revealed in the open hearings.

NewsMax, however, can reveal that the facts of what happened early
that November morning clearly show that the incident was part of a planned
ambush by insurgent forces, that the civilians tragically killed in the were
used as human shields by the insurgents, and that despite claims by Rep. John
Murtha, there was indeed an ongoing firefight between the Marines and the

In short, what the intelligence officer provided, was a fully backed
up account that puts the listener at the scene of the action and takes him
though the entire day’s action. All of this information was made available to
senior officers up the command ladder including the Battalion commander Lt. Col.

It was so complete it eliminated any need for further investigation.

Robert Muise, the Thomas More Law Center attorney who
questioned the officer, told NewsMax in a statement, “The intelligence officer
is a crucial witness in this case. During his testimony, he effectively
described the enemy situation prior to, during, and after the November 19
terrorist attack, providing the necessary context for the decisions that were
made as a result. His testimony shows the complexity of the attack this day, the
callousness of the terrorists toward the local civilians, whom they use to their
advantage, and the error of viewing this incident in a vacuum.

“The officer also showed how the insurgents used allegations of wrongdoing by Marines as propaganda to support their cause. In fact, another witness, who was the
assistant intelligence officer during the attack and is now the current
intelligence officer for the battalion, testified that since the Haditha
incident received so much negative attention, terrorist propaganda alleging law
of war violations against American servicemen in Iraq has ‘ballooned.’”

Addressing this point, Richard Thompson, the president and
chief counsel of the Thomas More Law Center said, “The government’s politicized
quest to find wrongdoing in this case will ultimately harm the war effort, and
it has already resulted in an incredible expenditure of time, money, and scarce
resources, which could be better used fighting the terrorists.

“Our job is to allow the facts of November 19, 2005 and beyond to be presented to the investigating officer rather than the scurrilous and unfounded accusations from
anti-war politicians and media who rely on insurgent sources for their stories
about our decent and hard fighting men in uniform.”

In the past few days, as an apparent part of the prosecution’s damage control effort, some Pentagon officials leaked the once classified 130-page report, by Maj. Gen. Eldon A. Bargewell of the Army, to the New York Times and The Washington Post. That report, however, failed to conclude that any officers covered up evidence or
committed a crime — the basis of the charges against Lt. Col. Chessani and the
other officers charged.

In previous attempt to stir up animosity to the defendants, some people in the Pentagon leaked information allegedly compiled by the NCIS to the Washington Post.

As NewsMax demonstrated, that information was false.

Biased Media Weighs In

A shocking example of the sort of slanderous material being leaked to the media was this story broadcast by WKRN in Nashville, Tenn., which reported that military prosecutors said marines went on “a killing rampage in November 2005 in Haditha, Iraq, after their Humvee was destroyed by a roadside bomb killing one marine and injuring two others.”

According to the WKRN report, “The surviving marines went on a
killing spree shooting two dozen Iraqi civilians including unarmed men in the
street and men, women, and children in their homes.”

They went on to quote one Gen. Jack Keane, rescribed as an ABC News consultant, who said that “at that point, there was a fundamental . . . breakdown in the chain of command. They became more like a gang than a military unit. The order and the discipline fundamentally broke down and they were seeking revenge.”

The Pentagon report, WKRN admitted, “did not find specific evidence of a cover-up but concludes that nobody was interested in investigating the allegations.”
The facts show that these reports are blatantly false, and typical of the shamefully distorted media coverage of the Haditha killings.

On April 3, the prosecution granted immunity to talk to prosecutors to Lt. Max Frank, who arrived at the scene after the IED blast of the explosion. The grant was made as part of an order to “cooperate and truthfully answer all questions posed by investigators.”

He has not been charged in the case.

According to Muise and Brian Rooney of the Thomas Moore Law Center both former Marine officers now representing Lt. Col. Chessani, Frank, who personally witnessed the scene of the attack shortly after the fighting and assisted with removing the civilian bodies from the insurgent-occupied homes, insisted that there was no evidence of “executions” and that he saw no evidence of misconduct.

Muise observed that Frank was testifying under a grant of immunity by the government, which he said added further credibility to his testimony.

Lt. Col. Shelburne, the military defense counsel for Chessani who questioned Kallop, noted, “This officer’s testimony is significant. He was on the scene shortly after the attack. He saw the location of the bodies. He personally observed the damage caused by the attack. And yet, he saw nothing that caused him to suspect any wrongdoing on the part of the Marines. Moreover, this officer was given immunity by the
government, so the only way he can get in trouble is if he testifies

Reid, Pelosi and Murtha should go. As starters.