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At Marines’ Hearing, Testament to Violence « Thread Started

Daily newsbrief journal for September 2007, also see for a global 100-page perpetual brief and follow twitter @usdemocrats

At Marines’ Hearing, Testament to Violence « Thread Started

Postby admin » Sat Jan 28, 2012 4:37 pm

At Marines’ Hearing, Testament to Violence « Thread Started on Sept 1, 2007, 12:06am » --------------------------------------------------------------------------------At Marines’ Hearing, Testament to Violence By PAUL von ZIELBAUERPublished: September 1, 2007read at source> ... leeastCAMP PENDLETON, Calif., Aug. 31 — A Marine sergeant offered gruesome testimony on Friday against a former squad leader charged with killing 17 Iraqi civilians in Haditha nearly two years ago, suggesting that the defendant, Staff Sgt. Frank D. Wuterich, was predisposed to the violence, carried it out ruthlessly and sought to cover it up.Skip to next paragraph The Reach of WarGo to Complete Coverage » The prosecution witness, Sgt. Sanick Dela Cruz, was ordered to testify with immunity after murder charges against him for killing five of the men were dismissed in April. On Thursday, prosecutors dropped one charge against Sergeant Wuterich in the killing of an 18th victim, a man in the last of four homes that the sergeant and other squad members searched on Nov. 19, 2005, after a bomb hit the marines’ convoy.At Friday’s hearing, to determine whether the charges against Sergeant Wuterich should progress to a court-martial, Sergeant Dela Cruz testified that Sergeant Wuterich shot five unarmed men as they stood behind a car, some with their hands interlocked behind their heads in a surrender posture, in the moments after the bomb exploded. He also said Sergeant Wuterich fired more rounds into the bodies of all five men as they lay dead or dying near a car a short distance from the attack. Sergeant Wuterich has said he shot the five men, but only after they ran away, which he believed constituted a hostile act that allowed him to use deadly force.Sergeant Dela Cruz told prosecutors that a week before the Haditha episode, Sergeant Wuterich had reacted to an earlier roadside bombing by telling him and other marines in the unit, “If we ever get hit again, we should kill everybody in that area.” Sergeant Dela Cruz said that after killing the five men in Haditha, Sergeant Wuterich turned to him and said, “If anyone asks, say they were running away.”It is unclear how much weight the hearing’s presiding officer will give to the testimony of Sergeant Dela Cruz, whose credibility has been an issue in hearings for other marines charged in the Haditha killings. The presiding officer, Lt. Col. Paul J. Ware, will recommend to a Marine Corps general whether to try Sergeant Wuterich in a full court-martial. Sergeant Dela Cruz has admitted to lying to an Army colonel who initially investigated the Haditha episode, in which Marine riflemen killed 24 Iraqis, including at least 10 women and children, after a roadside bomb killed one of their comrades. In a sworn statement, he told the colonel that Iraqi Army soldiers traveling with his unit had killed the five men near the car, and that he had yelled at them to stop, to no avail. Sergeant Wuterich’s lawyers took pains to point out that Sergeant Dela Cruz’s immunity deal protected him from being charged in the Haditha episode, and they have said he lied about Sergeant Wuterich’s actions to cover up his own criminal behavior in Haditha.
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