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US 'Justice': A Marine who Murdered Women and Children gets 3 Months
by staff report via stele - CBS Monday, Jan 23 2012, 8:50pm
international / injustice/law / commentary

Haditha Massacre Sociopath virtually Exonerated

As if to 'stick it' to the entire CIVILISED World, the US military -- now legally empowered by Obama to DETAIN civilians/anyone anywhere on suspicion, INDEFINITELY -- handed down a THREE month sentence to one of their own for MURDERING unarmed women and children in Haditha, Iraq -- have we had enough of this arrogant, CRIMINALLY CORRUPT NATION, YET? It is painfully apparent that War Crimes seem to apply to everyone EXCEPT the US military. So, how's this for a variation on a recent US theme: 'we came, we saw, we assassinated!' Brazen CORRUPTION and lawlessness gives license to EVERYONE to respond IN KIND!

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A Marine accused of killing unarmed Iraqi women and children pleaded guilty Monday to dereliction of duty in a deal that will mean a maximum of three months confinement and end the largest and longest-running criminal case against U.S. troops to emerge from the Iraq War.

Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich of Meriden, Conn., led the Marine squad in 2005 that killed 24 Iraqis in the town of Haditha after a roadside bomb exploded near a Marine convoy, killing one Marine and wounding two others.

It was a stunning and muted end to a case once described as the Iraq War's version of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam.

The incident in Iraq is considered among the war's defining moments, further tainting America's reputation when it was already at a low point after the release of photos of prisoner abuse by U.S. soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison.

Eight Marines were charged with killing the Iraqis, with Wuterich facing the possibility of life behind bars. In the end, seven Marines were acquitted or had charges dropped, and Wuterich pleaded to the single, minor charge.

The killings still fuel anger in Iraq after becoming the primary reason behind demands that U.S. troops not be given immunity from their court system.

Wuterich's plea interrupted his trial at Camp Pendleton before a jury of combat Marines who served in Iraq.

In a hearing to determine if the facts of the plea were accurate and that he agreed, Wuterich acknowledged he was negligent in his duties because he told his squad to shoot first and ask questions later, or words to that effect.

"Honestly, I probably should have said nothing," Wuterich told the judge, Lt. Col. David Jones. "I think we all understood what we were doing so I probably just should have said nothing."

Later he added: "I shouldn't have done that and it resulted in tragic events, sir."

Wuterich acknowledged he had been trained in rules of engagement before going to Iraq and again when he was deployed.

He admitted he did not positively identify his targets, as he had learned to do in training. He said he ordered his troops to assault the homes based on the guidance of his platoon commander at the time.

Wuterich faces a maximum of three months confinement, two-thirds forfeiture of pay and a rank demotion to private when he's sentenced, likely on Tuesday. The plea agreement calls for manslaughter charges to be dropped.

"No one denies that the events ... were tragic, most of all Frank Wuterich," defense attorney Neal Puckett told the North County Times. "But the fact of the matter is that he has now been totally exonerated of the homicide charges brought against him by the government and the media. For the last six years, he has had his name dragged through the mud. Today, we hope, is the beginning of his redemption."

Phone messages left by The Associated Press for Puckett and co-counsel Mark Zaid weren't immediately returned.

The issue at the court martial was whether Wuterich reacted appropriately as a Marine squad leader in protecting his troops in the midst of a chaotic war or disregarded combat rules and ordered his men to shoot and blast indiscriminately at Iraqi civilians.

Wuterich was charged with nine counts of manslaughter, among other charges.

Prosecutors said he lost control after seeing the body of his friend blown apart by the bomb and led his men on a rampage in which they stormed two nearby homes, blasting their way in with gunfire and grenades. Among the dead were women, children and elderly, including a man in a wheelchair.

Wuterich's former squad members testified that they did not take any gunfire during the 45-minute raid on the homes or find any weapons. Still, several squad members testified they do not believe they did anything wrong because they feared insurgents were inside hiding.

The prosecution was further hurt by the testimony of Wuterich's former platoon commander who said the squad was justified in its actions because the house was declared hostile, and from what he understood of the rules of combat at the time that meant any use of force could be used and Marines did not need to positively identify their targets.

Wuterich has said he regretted the loss of civilian lives but believed he was operating within military combat rules.

After Haditha, Marines commanders ordered troops to try and distinguish between civilians and combatants.

The trial was delayed for years by pre-trial wrangling between the defense and prosecution, including over whether the military could use unaired outtakes from an interview Wuterich gave in 2007 to "60 Minutes." Prosecutors eventually won the right to view the footage.

© 2012 CBS Interactive Inc.

COMMENTS

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no doubt
by citizen Monday, Jan 23 2012, 9:08pm

thank you,

in view of the indefinite detention 'law' and now this outrageous travesty of justice there is no doubt that America is tearing at the seams of civilized society.

what!
by mike Monday, Jan 23 2012, 11:43pm

According to the report he wasn't even tried for murder but 'dereliction of duty' -- give the world a break!

Good choice Obama, granting the 'spotless military' the right to apprehend anyone and detain them indefinitely -- what high moral character and rock solid integrity the US military openly displays to the world!

Is the indefinite detention law followed by this military trial some sort of sick joke?

beyond reason
by midwife Tuesday, Jan 24 2012, 6:38am

this is not a miscarriage of justice, it's an abortion

where's the outrage?
by jules Tuesday, Jan 24 2012, 8:31am

i can't believe this shit, where is the O-U-T-R-A-G-E ???

American Justice: A Tale of Three Cases
by Glenn Greenwald via gan - Salon Tuesday, Jan 24 2012, 7:15pm

Developments in three legal cases, just from the last 24 hours, potently illuminate the Rules of American Justice. First, the Justice Department yesterday charged a former CIA agent, John Kiriakou, with four felony counts for having allegedly disclosed classified information to reporters about the CIA’s interrogation program. Included among those charges are two counts under the Espionage Act of 1917, based on the allegation that he disclosed information which he “had reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States and to the advantage of any foreign nation.” Kiriakou made news in 2007 when he told ABC News that he led the team that captured accused Terrorist Abu Zubaydah and that the techniques to which Zubaydah was subjected, including waterboarding, clearly constituted “torture,” though he claimed they were effective and arguably justifiable. He’s also accused of being the source for a 2008 New York Times article that disclosed the name of one of Zubaydah’s CIA interrogators.

What’s most notable here is that this is now the sixth prosecution by the Obama administration of an accused leaker, and all six have been charged under the draconian, World-War-I era Espionage Act. As EFF’s Trevor Timm put it yesterday: this is the “6th time under Obama someone is charged with Espionage for leaking to a journalist. Before Obama: only 3 cases in history.” This is all accomplished by characterizing disclosures in American newspapers about America’s wrongdoing as “aiding the enemy” (the alleged enemy being informed is Al Qaeda, but the actual concern is that the American people learn what their government is doing). As The New York Times‘ Charlie Savage wrote this morning, Obama has brought “more such cases than all previous presidents combined,” and by doing so, has won the admiration of the CIA and other intelligence agencies which, above all else, loathe transparency (which happens to be the value that Obama vowed to provide more of than any President in history).

Also yesterday in American justice, a three-judge panel of a federal appellate court in Virginia upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit brought against Donald Rumsfeld and other Bush officials by Jose Padilla, the U.S. citizen who was imprisoned for almost three years without charges or even a lawyer and was systematically tortured to the point of permanent mental incapacitation. Padilla sued the former Defense Secretary on the ground that he had authorized Padilla’s illegal imprisonment and torture. The Obama DOJ vigorously defended Rumsfeld, arguing (a) that Rumsfeld is entitled to immunity on the ground that he had reason to believe his acts were legal and (b) an American citizen has no right to sue a government official for the treatment he receives as a designated “enemy combatant” — even if the treatment in question is torture and prolonged imprisonment without charges.

The three-judge panel accepted those arguments and held Padilla cannot sue those responsible for his torture and lawless imprisonment (Padilla, by stark contrast, recently had his sentence increased when the Bush and Obama DOJs argued that his 17-year prison term was inadequate even in light of the abuse he has suffered). Thus continues the perfect streak of every single War on Terror victim — literally — being denied a day in America’s courts. That does not mean that every War on Terror victim has had their cases heard and lost. It means that each and every one has been denied the right even to have their claims heard in an American court; their cases have been, without exception, dismissed on the grounds of secrecy and/or immunity before the merits of their claims are examined. Even as they have been able to pursue claims against foreign officials in countries around the world, often successfully, the Bush and Obama DOJs have insisted, and courts have agreed, that they have no right even to be heard in an American court against the country and its officials most responsible for their (often savage) mistreatment — even if everyone acknowledges that they were completely innocent.

Finally in American justice yesterday, the conclusion came to the criminal process arising from a horrific 2005 incident in which 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians were slaughtered in the town of Haditha during American raids conducted in the aftermath of an explosion of a roadside bomb. The Marine Staff Sgt. who ordered his soldiers to “shoot first, ask questions later,” Frank Wuterich, was in the midst of a manslaughter trial that could have sent him to prison for life (first-degree murder charges were previously withdrawn by the Government). Instead, prosecutors “offered Wuterich a deal that stopped the proceedings and could mean little to no jail time.” Instead, he “pleaded guilty Monday to negligent dereliction of duty” and “now faces no more than three months in confinement.” Lest you think that’s too lenient: “he could also lose two-thirds of his pay and see his rank demoted to private when he’s sentenced.” The facts underlying this development are as unsurprising as they are familiar:

Wuterich was seen as taking the fall for senior leaders and more seasoned combat veterans, analysts say. . . .

It still fuels anger in Iraq today.

Kamil al-Dulaimi, a Sunni lawmaker from the Anbar provincial capital of Ramadi, called the plea agreement proof that “Americans still deal with Iraqis without any respect.”

“It’s just another barbaric act of Americans against Iraqis,” al-Dulaimi told The Associated Press. “They spill the blood of Iraqis and get this worthless sentence for the savage crime against innocent civilians.”
The Rules of American Justice are quite clear:

(1) If you are a high-ranking government official who commits war crimes, you will receive full-scale immunity, both civil and criminal, and will have the American President demand that all citizens Look Forward, Not Backward.

(2) If you are a low-ranking member of the military, you will receive relatively trivial punishments in order to protect higher-ranking officials and cast the appearance of accountability.

(3) If you are a victim of American war crimes, you are a non-person with no legal rights or even any entitlement to see the inside of a courtroom.

(4) If you talk publicly about any of these war crimes, you have committed the Gravest Crime — you are guilty of espionage – and will have the full weight of the American criminal justice system come crashing down upon you.

So warped but clear are these Rules of American Justice that they produced darkly sardonic applications yesterday. Mazahir Hussein said: “Bradley Manning should’ve really considered committing some war crimes instead of exposing them.” Regarding this heinous story about a campaign manager of a Democratic House candidate in Arkansas coming home to find his child’s cat murdered with the word “LIBERAL” scrawled on the cat’s corpse, a picture of which made its way to the Internet to highlight how horrible a crime it was, one commenter applied the Obama mentality as follows: “We should look forward, not back on this cat killing. But perhaps whoever released that photo should be prosecuted.” And about the Kiriakou case, John Cole sarcastically celebrated: “At Long Last, Someone Will Face a Waterboarding Related Prosecution, and then added: “He’s being prosecuted for blabbing about what happened- not the actual crime itself.”

It’s long past time to rip those blindfolds off of the Lady Justice statues. When the purpose of American justice is to shield those who with the greatest power who commit the most egregious crimes, while severely punishing those who talk publicly about those crimes, it’s hard to imagine how it can get much more degraded or corrupted than that.

* * * * *

Part of the DOJ’s criminal investigation in the Kiriakou matter included investigating whether criminal defense lawyers representing GITMO detainees, from the ACLU and elsewhere, committed crimes by attempting to learn of the identity of the CIA agents who tortured their clients (so that they could sue or otherwise hold those torturers accountable: exactly what any competent lawyer should do). Although the DOJ ultimately decided yesterday against indictments of those lawyers, the very fact that the DOJ criminally investigated them at all is self-evidently dangerous. About that investigation, ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero told Savage that “it — and the Obama-era leak investigations more broadly — had had a ‘chilling effect on defense counsel, government whistle-blowers, and journalists’.” That, of course, is exactly its purpose.

© 2012 Salon Media Group, Inc

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America: Drowning in Corruption and Hypocrisy
by Paul Craig Roberts via reed - ICH Tuesday, Jan 24 2012, 7:25pm

The US government is so full of self-righteousness that it has become a caricature of hypocrisy. Leon Panetta, a former congressman who Obama appointed CIA director and now head of the Pentagon, just told the sailors on the USS Enterprise, an aircraft carrier, that the US is maintaining a fleet of 11 aircraft carriers in order to project sea power against Iran and to convince Iran that “it’s better for them to try to deal with us through diplomacy.”

If it requires 11 aircraft carriers to deal with Iran, how many will Panetta need to project power against Russia and China? But to get on with the main point, Iran has been trying “to deal with us through diplomacy.” The response from Washington has been belligerent threats of military attack, unfounded and irresponsible accusations that Iran is making a nuclear weapon, sanctions and an oil embargo. Washington’s accusations echo Israel’s and are contradicted by Washington’s own intelligence agencies and the International Atomic Energy Agency. Why doesn’t Washington respond to Iran in a civilized manner with diplomacy? Really, which of the two countries is the greatest threat to peace?

Washington sends the FBI to raid the homes of peace activists and puts a grand jury to work to create a case against them for aiding a nebulous enemy by protesting Washington’s wars. The Department of Homeland Security unleashes goon cop thugs to brutalize peaceful Occupy Wall Street demonstrators. Washington fabricates cases against Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, and Tarek Mehanna that negate the First Amendment by equating free speech with terrorism and spying. Chicago mayor and former Obama White House chief-of-staff, Rahm Israel Emanuel, pushes an ordinance that outlaws public protests in the City of Chicago. The list goes on. And in the midst of it all Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other Washington hypocrites accuse Russia and China of stifling dissent.

Washington’s grotesque hypocrisy goes unremarked by the American “media” and in the debates for the Republican presidential nomination. The corrupt Obama “Justice” Department turns a blind eye while goon cop thugs commit gratuitous violence against the citizens who pay the goon cop thugs’ undeserved salaries.

But it is in the War Crimes Arena where Washington shows the greatest hypocrisy. The self-righteous bigots in Washington are forever rounding up heads of weak states whose countries were afflicted by civil wars and sending them off to be tried as war criminals. All the while Washington indiscriminately kills large numbers of civilians in six or more countries, dismissing its own war crimes as “collateral damage.” Washington violates its own law and international law by torturing people.

On January 13, 2012, Carol Rosenberg of McClatchy Newspapers reported that Spanish judge Pablo Rafael Ruz Gutierrez re-launched an investigation into Washington’s torture of prisoners in Guantanamo Prison. The previous day British authorities opened an investigation into CIA renditions of kidnapped persons to Libya for torture.

Rosenberg reports that although the Obama regime has refused to investigate the obvious crimes of the Bush regime, and one might add its own obvious crimes, “other countries are still interested in determining whether Bush-era anti-terror practices violated international law.”

There is no question that Bush/Cheney/Obama have trashed the US Constitution, US statutory law, and international law. But Washington, having overthrown justice, has established that might is right. No foreign government is going to send its forces into the US to drag the war criminals out and place them on trial.

The War Crimes Court at the Hague is reserved for Washington’s show trials. No foreign government is going to pay Washington several hundred millions of dollars to turn Bush, Cheney, Obama and their minions over to them in the way the US bought Milosevic from Serbia in order to create the necessary spectacle at the War Crimes Tribunal to justify Washington’s naked aggression against Serbia.

No government can be perfect, because all governments are composed of humans, especially those humans most attracted by power and profit. Nevertheless, in my lifetime I have witnessed an extraordinary deterioration in the integrity of government in the United States. We have reached the point where nothing that our government says is believable. Not even the unemployment rate, the inflation rate, the GDP growth rate, much less Washington’s reasons for its wars, its police state, and its foreign and domestic policies.

Washington has kept America at war for ten years while millions of Americans lost their jobs and their homes. War and a faltering economy have exploded the national debt, and a looming bankruptcy is being blamed on Social Security and Medicare.

The pursuit of war continues. On January 23 Washington’s servile puppets--the EU member states--did Washington’s bidding and imposed an oil embargo on Iran, despite the pleas of Greece, a member of the EU. Greece’s final ruin will come from the higher oil prices from the embargo, as the Greek government realizes.

The embargo is a reckless act. If the US navy tries to intercept oil tankers carrying Iranian oil, large scale war could break out. This, many believe, is Washington’s aim.

It is easy for an embargo to become a blockade, which is an act of war. Remember how easily the UN Security Council’s “no-fly zone” over Libya was turned by the US and its NATO puppets into a military attack on Libya’s armed forces and population centers supportive of Gaddafi.

As the western “democracies” become increasingly lawless, the mask of law that imperialism wears is stripped away and with it the sheen of morality that has been used to cloak hegemonic ambitions. With Iran surrounded and with two of Washington’s fleets in the Persian Gulf, another war of aggression seems inevitable.

Experts say that an attack on Iran by the US and NATO will disrupt the flow of oil that the world needs. The crazed drive for hegemony is so compelling that Washington and its EU puppets show no hesitation in putting their own struggling economies at risk of sharply rising energy costs.

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