Tuesday, May 30, 2006

UAV Footage Could Play Role In Haditha Inquiries

Defense lawyers likely to represent Marines implicated in the killing of civilians in Haditha are beginning their public relations offensive by releasing some details that may be helpful to their cases should any courts-martial ensue from the events of that day.

Military investigators piecing together what happened in the Iraqi town of Haditha on Nov. 19 -- when Marines allegedly killed two dozen civilians -- have access to video shot by an unmanned drone aircraft that was circling overhead for at least part of that day, military defense lawyers familiar with the case said in interviews.

It is unclear whether the video obtained from that day's flight captured the violence, said the lawyers, who have consulted with Marines who were there. One lawyer said investigators have reviewed surveillance footage taken hours after the shootings, which showed the Marines returning to the town to remove the bodies of the Iraqis...

In addition to video from the drone, investigators have records of radio message traffic between the Marines and a command center, said military defense lawyers who have discussed the investigation with Marines who were at Haditha but who have not yet been formally retained by them.

"There's a ton of information that isn't out there yet," said one lawyer, who, like the others, would speak only on the condition of anonymity because a potential client has not been charged. The radio message traffic, he said, will provide a different view of the incident than has been presented by Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) and other members of Congress. For example, he said, contrary to Murtha's account, it will show that the Marines came under small-arms fire after the roadside explosion...

The presence of the drone is potentially significant because such surveillance craft are in high demand in Iraq and their use is supervised by senior officers -- which could indicate there was interest among higher officers about what was occurring in Haditha.

No one should blame the defense lawyers for trying to obtain fair trials for the Marines involved. The cover-up and a determination of how high up the chain of command it went may turn out to be the more important inquiry to be conducted.

That is, if the top brass and the civilian bosses at DOD allow the investigations to follow where they may.

4 Comments:

Blogger Dawn Benko said...

If the Marines did nothing wrong (which, of course, we do not know yet) then there's no coverup.

5/31/2006 12:08 AM  
Blogger Jon said...

Dawn,

There is no evidence of a coverup and what Rep. Murtha has said publically is appalling and unfair to the Marines involved. He should have kept his mouth shut until the facts came out, instead he is attempting to use it to further his political agenda.

5/31/2006 3:47 AM  
Blogger Effwit said...

Dawn:

It has been established that the Marines on the ground lied to superior officers about the circumstances of the incident.

That is a cover up.

5/31/2006 7:07 AM  
Blogger Effwit said...

Jon:

You are a fucking idiot.

Re: Murtha. He has received briefings from the Marine Corps at the Pentagon about this incident. He knows more facts about this than you think.

Unlike you and your chickenhawk brethren, he views war crimes and the breakdown of military discipline as serious matters. As do professional military everywhere.

You are so busy defending the indefensible war in Iraq that you seem to have lost the ability to tell right from wrong.

And from that vantage point, you criticize Murtha.

5/31/2006 7:21 AM  

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