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Marine Told to Destroy Haditha Photos

Marine Says He Was Ordered to Destroy Photos of 24 Iraqi Civilians Killed in Haditha
The Associated Press

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- A Marine assigned to take photos of the 24 Iraqi civilians killed in Haditha testified Thursday that he was later ordered to destroy the images.

Staff Sgt. Justin Laughner was called as a witness at a preliminary hearing for Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani, one of four officers charged with dereliction of duty for failing to investigate the Nov. 19, 2005 deaths.

Testifying under immunity, Laughner said Lt. Andrew Grayson told him to delete the photos so they would not be part of a statement being prepared for top-ranking officers and a Time magazine reporter. Laughner said he felt the order amounted to obstruction of justice but that he complied and later lied when asked whether any pictures had been taken.

Grayson, who has also been charged, faces a preliminary hearing on June 18.

"It was wrong," Laughner said. "Somebody was asking for them, and we're not going to give them to them? It's not right, but I didn't say anything."

Although Laughner deleted the pictures from his computer, the images remained on his digital camera and are now part of the biggest criminal case against U.S. troops in the war in Iraq.

Three enlisted Marines have been charged with murder.

Two dozen people were slain after a roadside bomb killed Lance Cpl. Miguel Terrazas, who was driving a Humvee. In the aftermath, Marines killed five young men outside their car and went house to house looking for insurgents.

The Marines have said they believed they were taking fire from the houses. They used fragmentation grenades and machine guns to clear the homes, but instead of hitting insurgents, they killed civilians.

Laughner arrived several hours after the roadside bomb. He said Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, who led the troops involved in the shootings, told him the men in the car had "engaged" the Marines with weapons, that Marines encountered an insurgent firing at them in one house and that weapons were found in the houses.

Laughner testified that when he went to the houses to look for evidence of insurgents, he instead found a wounded girl screaming hysterically. Through an interpreter, she said the Marines came into her house and killed her family, Laughner said.

Chessani's attorney said he did not attend Thursday's hearing and could not comment on Laughner's testimony.

At the end of Chessani's hearing, an investigating officer will make a recommendation about whether the charges should go to trial.


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Not one of those Marines should have been in that situation, not the one who died or the ones who killed. They were all there because Bush/Cheney and their minions lied to the American people.

Will they be charged for their crimes?

they will!

As per the Nuremberg judgment following the post-WWII Nazi trials, an illegal war of aggression against a sovereign nation is the most supreme of all war crimes.

As the main perpetrator of just such a crime, GWB is not just responsible for the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq that continues to this day, but also responsible for every crime that happens as a result of the invasion.

This means he may as well have been in that house in Haditha pulling the trigger himself.

This means he may as well have been in that house in Mahmoudia, taking a turn raping the 14 year-old girl before she and her entire family were murdered.

This means he may as well be present at every incident of torture committed under his command, administering the treatment himself.

This means that his hands bear the blood of not only over 3500 dead American soldiers, but also nearly 700,000 dead innocent Iraqis.

And he actually had the nerve to come out publicly this week to announce sanctions against the government of Sudan, for what he called the genocide in Darfur, which has reportedly so far killed 200,000 and turned another two million into refugees.
(Darfur details:

His word. He used it. Yet his illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq is responsible for more than triple the amount of deaths and double the amount of refugees in Darfur.

Is there a word that's worse than genocide?

There are not enough grains in the sands of time to equal the length of the incarceration this bastard deserves. Death row is far too good for him. He should be made to sit silently, in solitary confinement, flipping through a book with nothing but pictures of the faces of every single person whose death is his responsibility, until he takes his last breath and the devil calls him home.

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They should die for what they did to america, I'm a conserative democrat soon to be libertarian and I Believe in the death penalty and this war based on lies that they have committed should give them that, they don't deserve solitary confinement nor life in prison.

They deserved the death penalty and now they want to attack iran now.

If this happens, it would be even more disastrous.

Who provided direction to destroy war crimes evidence?
To destroy something, one would have to know that the photos had something of value. It's a subsequent war crime to tamper with, or destroy war crimes-related evidence. Pattern of evidence destruction appears consistent across multiple combat theatres, suggesting this is an official policy, not an one-off:

  • 1. What did the Joint Staff fear after WH and DOJ earned about the photos; and how many other photos in Iraq, Afghanistan, Abu Ghraib, and Guantanamo were destroyed under similar directions?
  • 2. How many photos related to Eastern Europe and NAVAL-based interrogation chambers have also been ordered destroyed?
  • 3. Who issued the guidance, policy, and official memoranda promulgating this policy to destroy war crimes evidence?
  • 4. What role did the JAGs play in investigating, prosecuting, or reviewing violations of the laws of war as it related to evidence destruction?
  • 5. Which legal counsel has certified in writing they have done a full review of the UCMJ [US Code] in re obstruction of justice, war crimes evidence tampering/destruction, and witness intimidation?
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