U.S. Marines in Haditha killings appear to have destroyed, withheld evidence

August 18th, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: U.S. Marines in Haditha killings appear to have destroyed, withheld evidence

Media: The Associated Press
Byline: n/a
Date: 18 August 2006

NEW YORK - U.S. Marines involved in the killings last fall in Haditha of two
dozen Iraqis, most if not all of them civilians, appear to have destroyed or
withheld evidence, The New York Times reported.

Pages from an official company logbook of the unit involved in the deaths
were missing, and an incriminating video taken by an aerial drone was not
given to investigators until a top commander asked for it, two Defense
Department officials told the newspaper. The Times posted the story on its
Web site Thursday night.

The Pentagon officials said a report about the Haditha killings does not
directly accuse Marines of attempting a cover-up, the newspaper said. The
report, based on an investigation by Army Maj. Gen. Eldon A. Bargewell, has
not been made public.

The Pentagon officials told the Times that the report faulted officers in
the 2nd Marine Division for not aggressively investigating the Haditha
killings and concluded that the commanders created a climate that minimized
the importance of Iraqi lives.

No charges have been brought in the Haditha killings. They immediately
followed a roadside bombing on Nov. 19 that killed a Marine lance corporal.

Initially, the Marine Corps reported that 15 Iraqis had died in the bombing
or were killed in crossfire between Marines and insurgents. Survivors of the
encounter and human rights groups, however, claimed that 24 Iraqi civilians
had been deliberately shot to death by Marines.

The Haditha incident is among recent cases of alleged killings of Iraqi
civilians. Five soldiers and a former soldier have been charged in the
alleged March 12 rape-slaying of an Iraqi teenager and the killings of her
relatives in Mahmoudiya. Seven Marines and one Navy corpsman have been
charged with premeditated murder in connection with the killing of an Iraqi
man in Hamdania on April 26.

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