The shootings last November at Haditha, a city in the Anbar province of western Iraq that has been plagued by insurgents, were covered up, said Rep. John Murtha.
“Who covered it up, why did they cover it up, why did they wait so long?” Murtha said on “This Week” on ABC. “We don’t know how far it goes. It goes right up the chain of command.”
A powerful Republican concurs
Sen. John Warner, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he would hold hearings on the killings but cautioned against reaching conclusions until the military concluded its investigation.
“There is this serious question, however, of what happened and when it happened and what was the immediate reaction of the senior officers in the Marine Corps when they began to gain knowledge of it,” Warner said.
US Marines could face the death penalty after one of their number took horrific photographs of a massacre in Iraq on his mobile phone, The Independent on Sunday has learned.
As in Abu Ghraib, what brought them down was the ubiquitous cell phone camera. Here’s a tip for deranged young murderers. Don’t take photos of your victims as this makes you much easier to catch.
The photographs, seized by the US Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), show many victims shot at close range in the head and chest, execution-style, according to sources who have seen them. One image shows a mother and young child bent over on the floor as if in prayer. Both have been shot dead.
So the alleged humans responsible for this atrocity then took photos of it…
It’s crucial to understand that the Penatgon lied and deceived about this from Day One and only opened the investigation after an Iraqi Human Rights group got the videos and forced the issue. Until then, it was the usual making-shit-up.
The Independent article continues, and details clearly and precisely how the Pentagon twisted and distorted the truth, lying continually and steadily.
The official account of what happened in Haditha on 19 November has gradually unravelled since the initial claim that one Marine, 20-year-old Lance-Corporal Miguel Terrazas, and 15 Iraqi civilians were killed when a roadside bomb went off next to a convoy of Humvees passing through the town.
Gunmen “attacked the convoy with small-arms fire”, a statement added, and the Marines returned fire, killing eight insurgents and wounding one. It appears that the wounded man later died, bringing the number of Iraqis killed to 24. The Marines did not begin to change their story until an Iraqi human rights group obtained the journalism student’s video, which showed that no Iraqis were killed in the bomb explosion. The houses where they died were bullet-riddled inside, but had no external marks, casting doubts on the soldiers’ claims that there had been a firefight.
After Time magazine took up the story, an infantry colonel was sent to Haditha for an inquiry which concluded that the 15 civilians, including several women and six children, died as a result of the Marines’ actions rather than the bombing. But at this stage the deaths were called “collateral damage”.
As the IoS reported on 26 March, the Marines were still claiming then that the nine young men who died – five in a taxi close to the scene of the bombing, plus four brothers in a nearby house – were armed fighters. One military spokeswoman blamed them for the deaths of the other 15 Iraqis, because they “placed non-combatants in the line of fire as the Marines responded to defend themselves”.
Details emerging from the official investigation since then have confirmed the IoS report that all the Iraqis killed were civilians, and that all the shooting that day was by the Marines. According to local people, the rampage lasted three to five hours, and one man shot by the Marines was allowed to bleed to death for hours while his pleas for help were ignored.
Andrew Murray, chair of the Stop the War Coalition, said: “It’s clear that what happened in Haditha is a war crime. It would be idle to think this is the first war crime that has been committed in the last three years. It must be assumed that more of this is going on.”