Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Former mayor and presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani has said that “the use of military force against Iran would be very dangerous. It would be very provocative. The only thing worse would be Iran being a nuclear power.”

Giuliani is absolutely right, but why are we sitting by as these frightful alternatives become the only two feasible options?
Seven recent developments have brought us closer than ever to Giuliani’s point:

• Results from last Friday’s second round of Iranian parliamentary elections show that the various hard-line principlist factions and their “independent” allies will once again dominate the Majlis with roughly 80% of the seats in their hands. Although not a surprise, the results do make the prospects of a negotiated settlement with Iran less likely.

• On April 25th, the U.S.’s top military officer, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen, said that the U.S. is planning for “potential military courses of action” against Iran. Mullen also said that Tehran was complicit in the death of American soldiers and was an “increasingly lethal and malign influence” in Iraq. Defense Secretary Robert Gates made similar comments a few days prior.

• On April 23rd, it was announced that Gen. David Petraeus will be nominated to take over as chief of U.S. Central Command (the head of all U.S. forces in the Middle East). Petraeus, a fierce critic of Tehran’s activities in the region, will be replacing Adm. William Fallon who stepped down after appearing to criticize the Bush administration’s hard line on Iran.

• The Russian news service RIA Novosti reported that Russian intelligence has information that the U.S. has completed preparations for a military strike against Iran and that everything will be ready for an attack as early as late April (the fact that this report came out on the day before President Bush visited Ukraine to back the former Soviet Republic’s bid to join NATO should not be dismissed).

• A report to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee revealed that if the Iranians were permitted to acquire nuclear weapons, the Saudis and Turks would almost definitely follow suit. Pakistan’s nuclear weapons already have the world on edge. A handful of additional nations with their very own Islamic Bombs will cause a decrease in regional stability and security that will severely endanger U.S. interests.

• A report by Reuters stated that Tehran has begun to install IR-2 centrifuges at its uranium enrichment facility in Natanz. These advanced centrifuges can enrich uranium at a rate that is two-to-three times faster than that of the centrifuges currently in use. This development further erodes the small window of opportunity that exists to solve the situation without force.

• On his nation’s National Day of Nuclear Technology, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad boasted that Iran has begun to install 6,000 new centrifuges (in addition to the 3,300 already in operation) at Natanz (it is not clear whether they are IR-2 or not). 3,000 fully operational centrifuges running for one year can produce enough fissile material for a nuclear bomb.

An attack on Tehran’s nuclear facilities would not be simple. Iran learned a lot from Israel’s 1981 Osirak strike on Iraq’s nuclear program. The Iranians have spread their nuclear plants around the country and have also built them deep underground and behind thick shields of reinforced concrete.

Assuming that a strike could be successfully carried out, the associated consequences would be very severe and may well consist of any number of the following:

• The 350,000+ American and foreign troops, contractors, and mercenaries stationed on Iran’s borders in Iraq and Afghanistan will almost certainly be targeted in some way as part of Iran’s response; as will Israel and nations in the Gulf and Caucasus that have a hand in the attack.

• Parts of Europe, all of Israel, and the Middle East (including the Gulf nations’ oil installations) are within the range of Tehran’s ballistic missiles.

• Iran has established biological and chemical weapons programs.

• Iran’s terrorist proxies could also be activated:

-- Iran’s militias in Iraq will cause as much havoc as possible, undoubtedly erasing all the security gains made in the past year.

-- Israel can expect to be attacked from all sides by Tehran’s proxies with Hezbollah’s Katyushas raining down from the north and Hamas/Islamic Jihad striking from the east and south.

-- Iranian funded Shia militias could also cause mayhem and unrest among the Shia populations in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

-- Terrorist attacks against Western and Israeli targets in South America (where Hezbollah has extensive terror networks and has struck on behalf of Tehran before), Europe, Africa, and Asia might also be part of the retribution.

• Iran can retaliate against the Strait of Hormuz, through which 30% of the world’s oil passes, sending the price of oil skyrocketing and dragging the economy down with it.

But what would this attack really accomplish? Domestically, the Iranian people, under attack, will presumably “rally around the flag.” In all likelihood, there will also be a vicious crackdown on all forms of dissent and opposition to the regime.

All of this, to, at best, set the nuclear weapons program back a decade.

Of course, if it comes down to bombing Iran or allowing their elementary school dropout Supreme Leader and his apocalyptic President to get within a button’s click of setting the world on fire, there really is no choice at all. However, with all of the associated consequences, military action must truly be a last resort.

So what should be done to avoid military action?

First of all, economic sanctions must be ratcheted up as much as possible. If there is any hope of getting Tehran to give up its nuclear weapons program the financial squeeze currently applied must be a lot firmer.

With Russia and China holding vetoes on any new UN Security Council resolutions, the likelihood of this within a UNSC framework is low. America and its allies could and should try to accelerate their own sanctions against Iran. But, the recent $28 billion gas deal between Swiss company EGL and the Iranians is a big step in the wrong direction.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has all but accepted that sanctions alone won’t do the trick, when she recently conceded that “this is not the time, I think, to expect changes.”

Since the prospect of sanctions alone doing the job is so minuscule, we must also do everything in our power to strengthen and support the various Iranian pro-democracy and opposition groups. Exiled groups such as the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the monarchist Constitutionalist

Party of Iran, the liberal nationalist Party of the Iranian Nation, and the Mossadegh founded National Front, as well as the various groups inside Iran representing ethnic Kurds, Azeris, Ahwazi Arabs, and Baluchis, must all be assisted.

While many of these groups have deficiencies and are far from perfect, the more hands that are pulling at this regime, the weaker, and more likely to fall, it will be.

While these may seem like obvious approaches to addressing the situation we currently face, it seems that the U.S. and Europe are doing just the opposite.

Dan Rabkin is a Middle Eastern Affairs and National Security analyst based in Toronto, Canada. He was Canada’s 2005 Governor General’s Medalist. He can be reached at

Saturday, April 26, 2008


The question is whether any of the gear -- especially the network of 3,000 spy cameras -- will really work as advertised.

The 1.7 square miles below Canal Street boasts the New York Stock Exchange, the American Stock Exchange, the Federal Reserve Bank, City Hall, and four major bridges and tunnels. A bomb at any of these places could kill hundreds, cost the city billions, and rattle the world financial system.

Al Qaeda has hit the neighborhood twice, in 1993 and 2001. Officials say that several other plots have been broken up since.

City agencies have done their best to harden the financial district in the years since 2001. Today, explosives-sniffing dogs and two truckloads of cops wearing military-style body armor and waving M-4 machine guns surround the flag-draped stock exchange.

Black metallic barriers rise out of the asphalt, blocking traffic on Wall Street, while concrete planters and strategically parked trucks keep vehicles off Broad Street. Some of the other streets surrounding the exchange have been cut off to pedestrians, and only invited guests are allowed inside. "Closed since 9/11," the guard tells visitors.

But you can't block off every street or have a guard by every door. There's no budget for that, and no one would want to live or work in that kind of armed camp anyway. "You can make a justification for putting bollards in front of every building," says a former high-ranking NYPD counterterrorism official.

"But pretty soon you can't walk anywhere. People leave."

So New York has an audacious blueprint to wrap a high tech cloak around lower Manhattan. It will provide the most sophisticated armor of any major urban area in the world — one that relies on brains as much as brawn, on barely visible technology as much as brute stopping power.

There will be upgrades citywide, including a new, next-gen cell network and an overhaul of the subway's security system.

Electronic license plate readers, both stationary and mounted on mobile police units, can already scan thousands of cars per day and instantly alert police if a suspect in their database approaches or enters the financial district.

Massive vehicle barriers will be able to block off the busiest streets on a signal from HQ, even shutting down the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel. An array of 3,000 cameras will turn the area into a 1.7-square-mile, open-air Panopticon.

And unlike London's surveillance system, the so-called Ring of Steel, New York's cameras are supposed to do more than identify terrorists after they've struck. Assistant chief John Colgan, who commands the police department's counterterrorism bureau, hopes they'll keep the next disaster from happening.

"This is about identifying and eliminating a threat, rather than dealing with the consequences," says Colgan, a compact redhead with a bushy mustache. "I'm not in the consequence-management business."

Of course, the same technology could be used to invade privacy more efficiently, and even some in the NYPD are concerned: "I certainly don't want my family to come under view just because they're walking through a certain part of town," one counterterrorism official told me.

But that's only a concern if the surveillance net actually works. So far, similar efforts have flopped, badly.

For example -- and this is an exclusive to DANGER ROOM -- Chicago officials promised in 2004 that a citywide array of 2,000 public and private cameras would be ready by March of '06.

Right now, there are only a few hundred cameras up, in the downtown "Loop," officials there tell me. All of them are city-owned. None are equipped with any kind of video analytics that would make it possible to interdict a terror attack.

The problem has been infrastructure: Chicago thought it had all the fiber it needed to put a camera ring together – over 500 miles worth; but when the city started building, it discovered it need 30 miles more, and right in the heart of town. Then the sidewalks starting collapsing.

Those are the kind of snags you run into, when you're slipping new infrastructure into hundred-and-fifty year-old streets. Now, at least, Chicago has its core network complete: the combination of wireless nodes and fiber, to string the cameras together; the 56 terrabyte storage area network, to hold the video; the hot backup site in an undisclosed location, in case it all goes down.

But it hasn't been easy. Or cheap.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Syria decided on Tuesday to postpone releasing the findings of its investigation into the Feb. 12 assassination of Hezbollah operations chief Imad Mughniyah just as Iranian media outlet, Fars News Agency, reported through its Persian language service that Syrian authorities had detained a Saudi Arabian intelligence official for allegedly participating in the assassination.

According to the Fars report, the Saudi official’s Syrian girlfriend bought the two vehicles used in the bombing that killed Mughniyah. We are also told that Prince Bandar bin Sultan, a top Saudi national security official, masterminded the operation.

While Damascus is refraining from officially implicating Riyadh in the assassination, the Iranians have decided to escalate matters with the Saudis, their chief rivals in the Arab/Muslim world.

In fact, the conflicts in both Iraq and Lebanon (and to a lesser degree in the Israeli-Palestinian theatre) represent a struggle between the Saudis and Iranians for influence over the predominantly Arab Middle East. However, this struggle did not begin with the rise of Iran and the Arab Shia when the Baathist regime was ousted in Iraq at the hands of the United States nearly five years ago.

Instead, the Saudi-Iranian rivalry truly began at the foundation of the Islamic republic in Tehran during the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Up until that point, Saudi Arabia saw itself as the virtually unchallenged leader of the Arab/Islamic world.

Saudi Arabia claimed unrivaled status as the preeminent nation-state in the largely Sunni Islamic world, given that its founding principle was Islam (albeit Wahhabi) coupled with the fact that that the Kaaba was housed in Mecca while the Mosque of the Prophet was located in Medina.

Alongside its identity as an Islamic state, Saudi Arabia is also a pro-western country with the largest oil resources in the Middle East. More importantly it was a key U.S. ally in the region. But, the autocratic nature of the regime coupled with its western alignment made Saudi Arabia a target of resentment among emerging radical Islamists.

The establishment of a radical Islamist (though Shiite) regime in Iran, which overthrew the pro-western Iranian monarchy of the Shah, led to the rise of the worst Saudi nightmare -- a regional state with comparable energy resources and a much larger military force.

This new power challenged Saudi Arabia for leadership of the Islamic world by employing a radical brand of Islam that appeared more attractive to the Arab/Muslim masses who were disillusioned with what they perceived as the moribund version of official Islam promoted by a corrupt Saudi regime.

For the longest time, the Saudis took comfort from the fact that the Persian and Shiite character of the clerical regime in Tehran would stifle an Iranian challenge.

Another key factor that kept the Saudis comfortable was the fact that Iraq was ruled by Saddam Hussein. This created a buffer separating the Iranians from the Arabian Peninsula. Furthermore, Iraq (a Shiite majority state dominated by the Sunni minority) kept Iran occupied with eight years of war and forced the newly formed Islamic republic to temper its regional ambitions.

Tehran therefore reached an informal and uncomfortable accommodation of sorts with Riyadh.

The most that the Iranians were able to do was help create Hezbollah in Lebanon and align with Syria. It was not until the U.S. invasion of Iraq, which removed a major threat to the Iranians, that Tehran was presented with an opportunity to revisit its regional ambitions by empowering pro-Iranian Iraqi Shia in Baghdad.

As a result, the return of the Iranian/Shiite threat has been the single largest security nightmare for the Saudis.

Realizing that there is not much that can be done to check Iranian gains in Iraq, the Saudis are trying to strike back in the Levant by creating a coalition against Hezbollah while forcing Syria out of the Iranian orbit. Here is where Saudi and Israeli interests converge.

A behind the scenes cooperation has emerged between the two with Prince Bandar playing a key role. This collaboration would explain why the Iranians linked him to the Mugniyah assassination. Emboldened by their growing influence in Iraq, the Iranians now feel that they can afford to up the ante with the Saudis, and hence the leak via Fars.

It is unlikely that the Iranians or the Saudis will come to blows because of these rising tensions, but their rivalry has just intensified. To what degree the Saudis can play the Persian/Shiite card against Tehran and how far the Iranians can exploit Saudi alignment with the United States and Israel against Riyadh in this race for regional domination remains to be seen.

From Washington’s point of view, so long as it exists, this conflict is perfect and one that it can use to advance its own regional interests.

Friday, April 18, 2008


Fethullah Gülen

by Michael Rubin

Few U.S. policymakers have heard of Fethullah Gülen, perhaps Turkey's most prominent theologian and political thinker. Self-exiled for more than a decade, Gülen lives a reclusive life outside Philadelphia, Pa.

Within months, however, he may be as much a household a name in the United States as is Ayatollah Khomeini, a man who was as obscure to most Americans up until his triumphant return to Iran almost 30 years ago.

Many academics and journalist embrace Gülen and applaud his stated vision welding Islam with tolerance and a pro-European outlook.

Supporters describe him as progressive. In 2003, the University of Texas honored him as a "peaceful hero," alongside Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, and the Dalai Lama.

Last October, the British House of Lords and several British diplomats celebrated Gülen at a high-profile London conference.

Later this year, Georgetown University scholar John Esposito will host a conference dedicated to the movement. As in 2001, Esposito will cosponsor with the Rumi Forum, an organization Gülen serves as honorary president.

The Gülen movement controls charities, real estate, companies, and more than a thousand schools internationally.

According to some estimates, the Gülen Movement controls several billion dollars.

The movement claims its own universities, unions, lobbies, student groups, radio and television stations, and the Zaman newspaper.

Turkish officials concede that Gülen's followers in Turkey number more than a million; Gülen's backers claim that number is just the tip of the iceberg.

Today, Gülen members dominate the Turkish police and divisions within the interior ministry.

Under the stewardship of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, one of Gülen's most prominent sympathizers, tens of thousands of other Gülen supporters have entered the Turkish bureaucracy.

While Gülen supporters jealously guard his image in the West, he remains a controversial figure in Turkey.

According to Cumhuriyet, a left-of-center establishment daily — Turkey's New York Times — in 1973, the Izmir State Security Court convicted Gülen of "attempting to destroy the state system and to establish a state system based on religion;" he received a pardon, though, and so never served time in prison.

In 1986, the Turkish military — the constitutional guardians of the state's secularism — purged a Gülen cell from the military academy; the Turkish military has subsequently acted against a number of other alleged Gülen cells who they say infiltrated military ranks.

In 1998, according to Turkish court transcripts cited in the Turkish Daily News, Gülen urged followers in the judiciary and state bureaucracy to "work patiently to take control of the state."

The following year, the independent Turkish television station ATV broadcast a secretly taped Gülen telling supporters, "If they . . . come out early, the world will squash their heads. They will make Muslims relive events in Algeria," a reference to the Islamic Salvation Front's overwhelming 1991 election victory in the North African state.

After party leaders spoke of voiding the constitution and implementing Islamic law, the Algerian military staged a coup leading to a civil conflict that killed tens of thousands.

Because of his statements and veiled threats, the judiciary in 1998 charged Gülen with trying to "undermine the secular system" while "camouflag[ing] his methods with a democratic and moderate image."

Convicted in absentia, but free to run his organized from his U.S. exile, Gülen continues a rather inconsistent approach to tolerance and secularism.

He often equates the separation of religion and state with atheism, an assertion many of Turkey's most secular officials find offensive:

Believing that religion is best kept to the individual rather than state sphere does not equate with any lack of belief in God. In 2004, Gülen equated atheism with terrorism and said both atheists and murderers would spend eternity in Hell.

Gülen has received a legal break, however. In 2002, Erdoğan's Justice and Development party (Adalet ve Kakınma Partisi, AKP) won a plurality in parliamentary elections and, because of a fluke in Turkish election law, was able to amplify one-third of the popular vote into a two-thirds parliamentary majority.

Erdoğan used this advantage to enact reforms which had the net affect of stacking not only the civil service, but also banking boards and the judiciary with his political supporters and religious fundamentalists.

Erdoğan's judges wasted no time. They placed liens against political opponents' property, seized independent newspapers and television stations including, not by coincidence ATV, and assigned sympathetic judges to hear appeals against earlier decisions levied against Islamists.

On May 5, 2006, the Ankara Criminal Court overturned the verdict against Gülen. While a public prosecutor — a secularist hold-out — appealed the court's action, the process is now nearing conclusion. Gülen's supporters are ecstatic.

His slate wiped clean, Gülen has indicated he may soon return to Turkey.

If he does, Istanbul 2008 may very well look like Tehran 1979.

UPDATE: the 11-man Appeals court has confirmed Gülen's acquital in MARCH 2008

Just as Gülen's supporters affirm his altruistic intentions and see no inconsistency between a secretive, cell-based movement and transparent governance, too many Western journalists also give Gülen a free pass.

If this sounds familiar, it should:

Three decades ago, the same phenomenon marked coverage of Iran. "I don't want to be the leader of the Islamic Republic; I don't want to have the government or power in my hands," Khomeini falsely told a credulous Austrian television reporter during the ayatollah's brief sojourn in Paris.

In November 1978, Steven Erlanger, the future New York Times foreign correspondent, penned a New Republic essay arguing that Khomeini's vision for Iran was essentially a "Platonic Republic with a grand ayatollah as a philosopher-king," and predicting the triumph of an independent liberal left worried more about labor conditions in Iran's oil fields than pursuing any theological tendency.

In Tehran then as in Ankara now, U.S. ambassadors preferred garden parties with the political elite and maintained contacts with only a narrow segment of the population.

They were blind. As the State Department and Central Intelligence Agency remained clueless or belittled concerns about Khomeini's intentions, millions of Iranians turned out to greet their Imam at Tehran's international airport.

Turks now say that similar crowds might greet Gülen when his plane touches down in Istanbul.

Gülen is careful. He will not order the dissolution of the Turkish Republic. But, ensconced in his Istanbul mansion, he could simply begin to issue fatwas prying Turkey farther from the secularism to which Erdoğan pays lip service.

As Khomeini consciously drew parallels between himself and Twelver Shiism's Hidden Imam, Gülen will remain quiet as his supporters paint his return as evidence that the Islamic caliphate formally dissolved by Atatürk in 1924 has been restored.

The secular order and constitutionalism in Turkey have never been so shaky. The government now controls most television and radio stations. Erdoğan has gained the dubious distinction of launching more lawsuits against journalists and commentators than any previous Turkish prime minister.

As Erdoğan discourages dissent, his and Gülen's supporters among prominent Turkish columnists and commentators equate Islamism with democracy, and secularism with fascism, a line too many Western diplomats eager to demonstrate tolerance with an embrace of "moderate Islam" accept.

Erdoğan himself has argued that it was secularism which led to Hitler; that Islamism would never produce such a result.

Last month, after one of the few independent judicial authorities filed a lawsuit against Erdoğan and the AKP for violating constitutional provisions separating religion from politics, the prime minister responded with a midnight round-up of leading academics and journalists who had criticized him.

Even Erdoğan's supporters were shocked to wake up on March 21 to learn that İlhan Selçuk, the bed-ridden octogenarian editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet described by Turks as their Walter Cronkite had been arrested in a pre-dawn raid on charges of plotting to launch a military coup; the police have yet to provide any evidence.

Nor is Selçuk the only victim in the most recent intimidation campaign. A Hürriyet columnist, Ahmet Hakan, has received threatening phone calls from lawyer Kemaletin Gülen, a relative of Fethullah.

When Islamists pursue campaigns of hatred, Western officials not only pretend nothing is amiss but also, as in the case of Palestinian leaders, often increase their support.

This week Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice will address the judicial case against Erdoğan and the AKP.

Members of her staff suggest she will lend subtle support to the prime minister. Indeed, it may be tempting to condemn the court action as a political stunt:

The prosecutor's legal brief is shoddily written and poorly argued. Despite its faults, however, the underlying legal issues are real.

Rice should be silent. Any interference will backfire:

Turks, already upset that U.S. ambassador Ross Wilson seldom meets with opposition leaders, will interpret any criticism of the case as White House support for the AKP.

Secularists will ask why Turkey's liberal opposition should not have the right to all legal remedies. They already ask why the West applauds legal action taken against Austrian populist Jörg Haider and French demagogue Jean Marie Le Pen, but the same U.S. and European officials appear to bless Erdoğan's legal exceptionalism.

By undermining judicial recourse, Rice may accelerate violence and lead support to those who argue — wrongly — that the government's disdain for the law and constitution should be met with the same.

On the off-chance, however, that Rice accepts that the court case should run its course, Turkey's religious conservatives will accuse her of masterminding the approach.

Over the past seven years, the Bush administration has made many mistakes. Bush was correct to recognize the importance of democratization; bungled implementation has turned a noble ideal into a dirty word.

By equating democracy only with elections, the State Department and National Security Council fumbled U.S. interests in Iraq, Gaza, and Lebanon.

One man, one vote, once; parties that enforce discipline at the point of a gun; and politicians who seek to subvert the rule of law to an imam's conception of God do little for U.S. national security.

Never again should the United States abandon its ideological compatriots for the ephemeral promises of parties that use religion to subvert democracy and seek mob rather than constitutional rule.

Turkey is nearing the cliff. Please, Secretary Rice, do not push it over the edge.

Monday, April 14, 2008


by Brooke Goldstein

The Islamist movement has two wings – one violent and one lawful, which can operate apart but often reinforce each other.

While the violent arm attempts to silence speech by burning cars when cartoons of Mohammed are published in Denmark, the lawful arm is skillfully maneuvering within Western legal systems, both here and abroad.

Islamists with financial means have launched a "legal Jihad," filing frivolous and malicious lawsuits with the aim of abolishing public discourse critical of Islam and with the goal of establishing principles of Sharia law (strict Islamic law dating back to the 9th Century) as the governing political and legal authority in the West.

Islamist Lawfare is often predatory, filed without a serious expectation of winning, and undertaken as a means to intimidate, demoralize and bankrupt defendants. The lawsuits range in their claims from defamation to workplace harassment and they have resulted in books being pulped and meritorious articles going unpublished.

Forum shopping, whereby Plaintiffs bring actions in jurisdictions most likely to rule in their favor, has enabled a wave of "libel tourism." At the time of her death in 2006, noted Italian author Orianna Fallaci was being sued in France, Italy, Switzerland and other jurisdictions by groups dedicated to preventing the dissemination of her work.

Libel Tourism has also resulted in foreign judgments against American authors mandating the regulation of their speech and behavior.

The litany of American anti-Islamist researchers, authors, activists, publishers, congressman, newspapers, television news stations, think tanks, NGOs, reporters, student journals and others targeted for censorship is long and merits brief mentioning here.

One of the earliest cases in the US dates back to 1937, where in Birmington, Alabama, an Arab Sheik sued the Birmington Post for libel over an article entitled "Arabian Sheik Asks Friend Here to Buy him an American Girl for Harem."

The Post reported that Sheik Fareed Iman, "who is 29 years old and fears he may reach 30 before he obtains a chief-wife for his four-wife harem, is ready to purchase a suitable girl from her parents. The lucky girl", the article continued, "will benefit from the traditional Arabian protective treatment of women but she can't be seen by those who are not members of the household."

The article read more like a parody of a personal ad in the dating section of a magazine and listed a telephone number should anyone reading be interested. Nevertheless, the Alabama court of appeals refused to dismiss the suit and judged the article libelous per se, or defamatory on its face, and remanded it for jury trial, where eventually the Plaintiff lost for his failure to state a cause of action.

Within the last ten years, however, we have seen a steady increase in cases pursued by Islamic organizations and Muslim individuals attempting to use Western courts to stop the flow of certain information.

They are achieving a degree of success in Europe because the judicial systems in England, France and elsewhere don't afford their citizens, or American citizens for that matter, the same free speech protections granted in America under the U.S. Constitution.

The cumulative effect of the suits abroad, and of the suits here at home even if they are not successful, and the looming threat of future suits is creating a detrimental chilling effect on dialogue concerning important matters of public concern because, naturally, people want to avoid costly litigation.

I want to mention briefly a few cases that have occurred here within the last ten years against American anti-Islamist authors and activists. It is imperative that our judicial system continue to enforce the authors' and activists' rights to free speech and free assembly against all parties attempting to stifle them here and abroad.

In 1998, America Online (AOL) permitted chat rooms in which voluntary participants could post comments and talk to one another about issues involving the Koran and tenants of Islam.

One Muslim visitor to the chat room named Saad Noah considered posts by other visitors blasphemous and defamatory against Islam. Noah then sued AOL for libel, attempting a class action on behalf of all Muslim chat room participants and claiming that AOL wrongfully refused to prevent participants from posting anti-Islamic comments.

The court properly dismissed the case against AOL, for failure to state a cause of action.

In 2003 the Council on American Islamic Relations (i.e., CAIR) sued U.S. Congressman Cass Ballenger after an interview with the Congressman was published in the Charlotte Observer wherein Ballenger exclaimed how living in Washington across the street from CAIR headquarters no longer appealed to him because CAIR was, "a fundraising arm for Hezbollah," and that the Congressman had reported such to the FBI and the CIA.

Fortunately, the judge ruled that Ballenger's statements were made in the scope of his public duties and were therefore protected speech in the interest of public concern.

The following year, CAIR sued Andrew Whitehead, an American activist and blogger, for $1.3 million for maintaining the website, on which Whitehead lists CAIR as an Islamist organization with ties to terrorist groups.

Ironically, after CAIR refused Whitehead's discovery requests, seemingly afraid of what internal documents the legal process it had initiated would reveal, CAIR withdrew its claims against Whitehead, the two parties came to a settlement – the terms of which have not been publicly disclosed – and the case was dismissed by the court with prejudice.

Whitehead's Anti-CAIR website, however, is still up and running along with the articles that were at issue.

Last year, When Joe Kaufman, an American activist and chairman of Americans Against Hate, traveled to Texas to lead a peaceful ten-person protest against the Islamic Circle of North America outside an event the group was sponsoring at a Six Flags theme park, he was served with a temporary restraining order and sued for defamation and harassment.

What is particularly troubling about Kaufman's case is that the suit was filed against him, not by ICNA, but by seven Dallas area plaintiffs who had never previously been mentioned by Kaufman, nor had they been present at the theme park. This suit currently is being litigated.

Another case that is ongoing is that of Bruce Tefft. Tefft is a former CIA official and worked as a counter-terrorism consultant for the NYPD.

After sending out emails to a voluntary list of police officer recipients in which he cut and pasted articles about terrorism – complemented with Tefft's own commentary – Tefft, along with the NYPD, was sued by a Muslim John Doe Police Officer alleging workplace harassment.

Often the mere threat of suit is enough to intimidate publishers into silence, regardless of the merit of their author's works. In 2007, when wealthy Saudi Arabian businessman, Khalid bin Mahfouz, threatened to sue Cambridge University Press for publishing the book Alms for Jihad, by American authors Robert Collins and J Millard Burr, Cambridge Press immediately capitulated, offered a public apology to Mahfouz, took the book out of print and ordered the destruction of all unsold copies and the removal of the book from the shelves of libraries – a directive certain libraries refused to follow.

Sometimes defendants targeted are able to take advantage of Anti-SLAPP statutes.

Anti-SLAPP statutes have been enacted in several, but not all, states and are aimed at preventing such lawsuits designed to hinder legitimate public participation.

In the book Hamas, author Matthew Levitt describes KinderUSA as a charitable front for terror financing. When Levitt, along with Yale Press who published his book, were sued by KinderUSA, he instituted a counter-claim against the plaintiff based on California's Anti-SLAPP statute. Shortly afterwards, KinderUSA dropped their lawsuit claiming it found the suit too costly to pursue.

Most disturbing, parties sued for reporting on U.S. government investigations into terrorist activities, or for formally appealing government authorities to conduct investigations, include The New York Times which, in 2001, reported on the US Government investigation of the Global Relief Foundation; The Wall Street Journal which, in 2002, reported on the monitoring of the Saudi bank accounts; and ADL which, in 2002, called for the investigation of a public school superintendent, Khadja Ghafur, based on indications that schools under his supervision were teaching religion.

Legal Jihad is gaining momentum with a ripple effect, and we must expect that Islamists will engage in future legal efforts along these lines. Indeed, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) have both stated publicly that they are considering filing defamation lawsuits against their critics. The Muslim World League has called for the establishment of a commission to take legal action against those who abuse Islam and its prophet Mohammed. During the recent two-day summit in Dakar, taking legal action against those who defame Islam was a key issue debated at length by Muslim leaders.
For its part, the Council on American-Islamic Relations has announced an ambitious fundraising goal of $1 million, in part to "defend against defamatory attacks on Muslims and Islam." One of its staffers, Rabiah Ahmed, has stated that lawsuits are increasingly an ‘instrument' for it to use." Moreover, CAIR's chairman, Parvez Ahmed, has stated that "People who make statements connecting CAIR to terrorism should understand the legal consequences of their attempted slander and defamation."
This is not a Left or Right issue.
The Islamist Lawfare challenge presents a direct and real threat to our constitutional rights and national security. Left unabated, this phenomenon has the potential to seriously hinder public debate on the threat of radical Islam. The United States was founded on the premise of freedom of worship, but also on the principle that one should have the freedom to criticize religion.
Should the voices of concerned Americans be intimidated into silence, a real possibility exists that the criticism of radical Islam will be stifled, and Sharia law will begin to creep into our system as we are seeing it do in the financial markets with Sharia banking.
Daniel Pipes, who founded and heads the Middle East Forum, recognized the seriousness of this threat and last spring established the Legal Project (LP) to counter it. The LP has been working to recruit and establish a network of attorneys who are willing to work as pro bono counsel for the defendants in these cases; it has also embarked on fundraising efforts to assist with the cost of litigation and is working to raise public awareness of this phenomenon. Moreover, the LP is capable of positioning itself on the offensive and has recently succeeded in causing The Muslim Weekly publication, a UK-based lslamist magazine, to issue an apology and retraction of an article in which one Tariq Ramadan made false and defamatory statements about Dr. Pipes.

Those parties who recklessly and wrongfully defame our counter-terrorism researchers should beware.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


INTERVIEW: Scott Taylor, Regarding a Secret Plan by the Western Alliance for Kosovo

NATO is preparing a "blitzkrieg."

During the next few weeks there will be an artificially provoked attack, bigger than March 17th, the borders around Kosovska Mitrovica will be closed, Serbian leaders arrested, the Serbs disarmed, the city handed over to the Albanians in the KPS, claims a well-known Canadian reporter, Scott Taylor, author of a number of books about the Balkans.

- "NATO is preparing a blitzkrieg on Kosovo which will enable them to tear down the Serbian resistance in the whole area, and as early as the next few weeks, will artificially provoke another attack bigger than March 17th's was. It will close the borders around Kosovska Mitrovica, arrest the Serbian leaders, disarm the Serbs and then hand over the city to the Albanians in the KPS.

Since the border between Kosovo and Albania doesn't exist, after this plan the northern part of "Greater Albania" will definitely be secured. American and Albanian leaders have come to a "deal" that NATO secures new borders, and everything that I have seen in this in my most recent visit to Kosovo, proves that such an agreement -- about which we found out from secret UNMIK papers -- really exists", says Scott Taylor during his interview with Glas.

Scott Taylor is a reporter from Canada who has followed the Kosovo crisis for years and who, based on more than twenty visits to the province, claims that nothing quite like this has happened before. "UNMIK and NATO know the truth about the suffering of the Serbs and the creation of a Greater Albania, but they intend to listen to the dictate of America", says Taylor and he adds:
"This time I met a number of people in UNMIK who know the truth and who have evaluated the situation, who pass on their advice, but their suggestions are ignored. They know what really happened on March 17th and they were critical about it, and now they are seeing that a new plan exists, which will give rise to even more violence and they are impatient to let others know what is ahead – maybe to soothe their own consciences. This is what they are saying…

- "They were expelled, and the customs buildings were burned. Now they have come back, and the American and French troops are in place and preparing to close the customs borders. They intend to use UNIMIK's police with the consent of KFOR to arrest the Serbian leadership, so that the Serbs will be provoked. Their aim is a response, a reaction – we can recall how it was the last time, but now they want to respond with more force.

For this action they will use Polish and Ukrainian troops who will move in an aggressive military attack on Mitrovica. The goal is to eliminate the Serbian leadership, to elicit a provocation in order to pronounce "Martial Law" when they close the Serbian part of Mitrovica and disarm the Serbs while the borders are closed. And then, under those conditions, they will hand over Mitrovica to the KPS."


"The Galluci document (UNMIK's head for the Mitrovica sector) states that there are not even attempts to enable the return of the Serbian KPS police; that was an open and later forgotten issue. They know that the Serbs will fight against this and they want just that kind of provocation to give them the excuse to use additional force.

But they came to this idea of using the Poles and Ukrainians because they have shown sympathy for the Serbs. If the Serbs fight back, which is the idea, then this will blacken the image of Serbs in the Ukraine and Poland. Therefore, they have come up with a plan which brings them rewards from every perspective – and will leave the Serbs without leadership as well as undermine international support for Serbia", says Taylor.

Serbian Elections are going the way they want.

- "The elections are coming and Kosovo is an important question for all sides. If they close that question by closing the borders, deploy the Albanians and maintain KFOR reinforcements at customs, there is no Serbian politician who can win with a campaign of fighting against NATO.

Serbs might be somewhat self-destructive, but not to that extent. That's why they want to finish this quickly. Going into the enclaves, one by one, is a long process. If they eliminate Mitrovica, the Serb enclaves are finished, because they will shrivel up and die."


- "In Kosovo the situation is such that nobody knows who is in charge. UNMIK is practically finished, it has no mission any more because its assignment is to enforce Resolution 1244, and that no longer exists. KFOR having entered with the task of protecting the UN and Resolution 1244 has converted into the protection force of an independent Kosovo.

The German NATO soldier with whom I spoke, and who is in his third tour in Kosovo, says that NATO will securely remove itself from Kosovo only after a another ten years at a minimum, because there is still no progress. Eulex has the manpower, but wants the area cleaned up before it take over."


- "The reason for these elections is that Kosovo should remain part of Serbia. The Americans know that if the Serbian electorate shows that nationalism is alive and well, taking away something from somebody will only make that person even more determined.

Therefore, they are counting on the window they have from Election Day until June or September, that is, until a strong enough government has been formed to take over this action in the UN. They have the whole summer to take care of such a "cleansing action".

Russia is an unknown quantity to them, because if she commits the same kind of act as at Pristina airport (in 1999), it could take them out of the equation. Even now we have countries that recognize, those who do not recognize and those that are undecided about Kosovo.

That, to Americans, Germans and the British, is a problem because they are in the minority in a big world. The Muslim world has not accepted their entanglement in Kosovo, and next to every Kosovo flag is the American flag. How would the Arabs, who so hate the "great Satan," like the creation of this American satellite? Even the Albanians won't disassociate themselves from the U.S. -- on the hotel in the middle of Pristina is a replica of the Statue of Liberty.

The brain behind this operation is the same man who planned March 17th. The goal of that attack was to test the Serbs, in order to better plan strategy for the final takeover of Mitrovica and crushing of the Serbian struggle in the whole of Kosovo and Metohija."

- "Everyone now looks toward the battlefield of Mitrovica, what the Serbs can do, whether they will offer a fight and how far they will go, what are their chances? NATO-- that is, the Americans--lead the project, but Larry Wilson of UNMIK's police is the ringleader.

He was an assistant then head of the operation, and now he is the "boss." Seventeenth of March was his plan, and now he's come up with a new one. To support my words, I have the Galluci document, which describes the old tactics of counting arms: you commit a small attack and you see where the guns are. Then you develop a plan.

That is how they provoked the Serbs, tested them, and now they know how long it will take them to react, how many people they can get out into the streets, what they are prepared to do and then they know what to expect. But the attack is likely during the next few days or weeks."

Do you have evidence that UNMIK and NATO are actively and consciously creating a Greater Albania?

- "We hear about it, but every official in the world will cover his ears and say that he knows nothing about a Greater Albania. However, when you look around in Kosovo, you can see that every flag is Albanian. Very few represent Kosovo, and even then, next to them are much bigger Albanian ones.

It is very clear what is going on and the Albanians, themselves, have never lied about their intentions, just as they now proclaim their plans for southern Serbia and Macedonia.

Their leaders have made agreements with the Americans, and our sources have confirmed to us that Hashim Thaci, together with the regional leadership, including Alija Ahmatija in Macedonia, was convinced at a meeting with the Americans would give
NATO a chance. That is how they came to agree that the Albanians should keep a low profile, and that NATO would take over control of the borders.

Everything that I have now seen in Kosovo supports this story and the work that NATO has done as its part of the bargain."

Essentially, Mitrovica is the main test for the creation of a Greater Albania -- that is the fall of the whole province?

- "I hope that there won't be any fatalities, but there will certainly be a big attack, because they cannot throw the Serbs out of Mitrovica unless they conquer them. A big test is coming – if Mitrovica falls, the enclaves fall with it.

That would then be the northern border of Kosovo, and the southern border would, in fact, no longer exist as such, because the way would already be opened to a Greater Albania?

- I have seen that the southern border (to Albania) does not exist, that it's completely open. I went down to the place where one should be able to see it (the border), but KFOR, who should be acting as border police behave like traffic conductors, just as one of them a German, joked, himself. He says that every vehicle goes through freely, and their only concern is to avoid traffic congestion.

The roads are open wide, drugs pass through freely. We were in Albanian villages, in Korcus, for example, where we were unsuccessful in trying to find any kind of border limit. There is nothing, no line, no fence, nothing, just one German soldier who went to the place where there should be a border gestured in plain air where the border (Kosovo's border with Albania) should be."

The Creation of a Greater Albania

What did the Gorani (Slvic Muslims) say? Are they loyal citizen of the southernmost tip of Serbia or are they in the middle part of a Greater Albania? How does UNMIK treat them?

- "Yes, loyal to Serbia and they get their pensions from Belgrade, but it is obvious that Kosovo and Albania are
one country. Albanians, from Albania mind you, not only steal their stock from Kosovo, cows, horses, and what is very significant, they freely cut forests. If Kosovo regarded Albania as an adjoining country, not the same country, they would protect their resources, but I saw for myself that the Albanians have no problem freely taking the Gorani's forests and in destroying the region.

It tells me that this is Greater Albania. NATO knows what is happening and they said that they have vehicles that can go up hills where they can see those that steal well enough to see the color of their eyes. We could stop this, but nobody will – that's what they told me. NATO, if it wanted, could but it cannot act independently of Kosovo's parliament -- that is, the Albanian leadership.

Everybody knows there are no borders, but nobody will close them. We have the same information in secret documents we have received from our sources in UNMIK."

Are there Russian volunteers such as the Albanian media writes about? Are there Albanian "volunteers?" How do these fit into the plan for Mitrovica?

- "There are no Russian volunteers, but NATO needs provocations in order to create an attack and that is why on the Albanian side we have the coming together of "undesirables." In the past there were extremists on both sides, and I believe that the Albanian paramilitary formations were started in opposition to the enclaves should the Serbs in Mitrovica form a resistance.

But I think that that would work against NATO's strategy and that the world would see through this – if the media showed the truth. But NATO will renew its principle with which it succeeded on 17th of March when one Ukrainian died, and another 63 from NATO were injured. That was shown immediately, but the violence against Serbs was not shown. Even now the focus will stay on Mitrovica and on the Serbs who throw stones."

The international community has easily accepted what UNMIK and NATO did to the Serbs on the 17th of March. Will the same deceit succeed in the case of a larger attack?

- "That day they tested the world community. Attacking Serbs did not touch many hearts and the sympathy was entirely with the wounded NATO soldiers. They now know that they can do, and will do it again.

You say that NATO is in a hurry to seal the "blitzkrieg" on Mitrovica. If they run into unexpected problems, it could become prolonged? You, yourself, say that the Russians are inclined to spoil their plans.

- Well, Russia maintains the strong position that only 34 countries have recognized Kosovo, and the rest have not. The general meeting of the UN is in September, and if NATO doesn't succeed now with its plans, there is a chance for Serbia that the talks will resume about the partitioning of Kosovo.

It could hurt the U.S. position if Serbia brings up a cooperative resolution and shows that she still pays pensions to people in Kosovo…"

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


To whom it may concern;

I, and several friends have been begging the media to pay attention to the actions of our government in the prosecution and conviction of the 7 Marines and 1 Navy Corpsman in the Hamdania incident, also known as the Pendleton 8.

Throughout the trial of these men, the families reported to the media on numerous occasions that their sons privately told a different story than what they were telling on the witness stand, and that they were being coerced into making statements that were self incriminating to avoid a potentially more serious charge.

All during the trials, the immediate cry was for these men to plead guilty to lesser charges, and to not fight the charges against them.

In the civilian world, people are considered innocent before being proven guilty, that was not the case in these matters.

Many documents not previously available to the public are now available and are being offered to the media who are concerned with exposing this travesty. This literally is a story of Military corruption, the framing of innocent persons, the falsification of evidence to convict, the dismissal of evidence to prevent exoneration, and the willingness of American Senators and Congressman who were informed on a regular basis of these events to intentionally ignore the severity of the events and to appear to only use it for personal political gain.

For the record, congressional representatives sat in many of the court proceedings, had private conversations with family members and their representatives, had detailed explanations concerning what was false evidence and what evidence was being withheld, and did nothing.

We have their names.

The following paper below is a copy of some information that has been compiled in this incident. It is NOT the original documents, it is a shortened version of events.

It is being released first to the blogosphere so as to have the widest dissemination. We wholeheartedly request that any and ALL media persons contact us concerning these documents and their importance.

Family members are willing to come forward and openly discuss these matters.

Please contact James Bancroft

From the blogosphere:

To All, After two years, the real story of the Pendleton 8 is finally coming out. A select few are in possession of the documents that show not only the actual events of that night in Hamdania, but the trail of corruption, incompetence, and blatant disregard for the lives of Marines under fire that resulted in unjust imprisonment and convictions or plea bargains for so many men. It's all on paper, it's all verified, and it's all coming out.

The documents and the story they tell will be appearing on Euphoric Reality beginning today with the first installment: Part 1 of a timeline explaining the events in the case over the last two years. I have chosen to put up this timeline because it's important for people to learn the players and their positions within the story--and it will give those unfamiliar with the case a chance to catch up on the events most of us are already quite familiar with. I will continue to put information up on the site over the next few weeks, and in doing so will name names, dates, places, and more, including documented and decisive links to sitting Congressmen, Senators, and higher.

For those of you who cautioned me about releasing potentially classified information or jeopardizing troops still in the field while discussing operational tactics, please be assured that it is not my intent to do so. In fact, all of us who have worked so diligently on this case for so long will NOT release anything that could put troops in harm's way, ever. That being said, this machine that the media and the Left have created, this "culture of corruption" so prevalent in the JAG Corps and NCIS needs to be exposed--not just because of its harmful effects in the Hamdania and Haditha cases, but because if left unchecked it will result in many more of these cases as the military attempts to fight a war while sacrificing its warriors for political expediency.

Please consider posting links to the story as it develops. While I'd be lying if I said I don't care about the exposure for my own blog, the bottom line truth is that the more people who know about this, the more chance we can actually make a difference.

Thanks to all of you, for each of you have contributed to this story, whether it be through covering it in the early stages, offering advice as we proceeded, or simply serving a sounding board for us when the sheer magnitude of it all made us half-crazy. This story is one of the most disgusting situations I've ever seen, and though in the last few days I've heavily weighed the pros and cons of actually following through with releasing it, I think my father's advice is most correct: Right is always right, and there is no substitute for truth.

Thanks for your time...let the firestorm begin. ;)



EXCLUSIVE: Pendleton 8 Exposed–The Real Story, Part 1 April 8, 2008 · Print This Article Two years ago the nation was shocked to hear of Marines coming home from the battlefield in shackles. This is not how we treat our heroes, not when they are highly decorated, highly trained, and even more experienced. It was preposterous, we said, to charge Marines with murder for shooting the enemy. Isn’t that what we train them to do?

Yet that is exactly what we did–and the seven Marines, together with their Navy corpsman, became known as the Pendleton 8. For the last two years, these men have seen their families disintegrate, their careers vaporized, and their freedoms taken, all because their government decided to turn its back on the men who fight to preserve it.

Now at last the real story is available. Over the next few weeks, I will tell you the real story of what happened that day in Hamdania. I will show you the autopsy reports, combat logs and diaries that prove them innocent (and that were barred from the trial!), and the tactics the government used to keep it all under wraps. What’s more, I’ll tell you what they were trying so hard to hide.

First, read the timeline below. It is the first part of a chronological narrative of the events of the last two years. This will give you an overview of the case, and will help you understand the documents in later installments of this story.

Be warned–this is not a pretty story. It’s long. It can be confusing. It will disillusion you, shock you, and devastate you. Most of all, it will make you angry. We have agonized over whether some of this info should be publicized, but in the end there can be no good purpose served by allowing this trend to continue. At the end of the day are a group of men who deserve the truth. After their double and triple combat tours, after their injuries and emotional scars in the line of duty, we owe them this, at least.

Hamdania Timeline (editorial comments in italics)

April 26, 2006 : Marines report Iraqi insurgent planting IED. The insurgent was killed in the ensuing firefight.

May 1, 2006: Five days after the incident, Hamdania Tribal members report incident to Marine Corps commanders, alleging murder of Hashim Ibrahim Awad, a policeman under Saddam’s regime. Why is it that, although Awad was ‘ well-known ‘ to Hamdania police, tribal, and family members, no one was able to identify him–not even his own brother?

Commanding officer, Lt. Col. Furness asked for a formal investigation.

“Haditha had just blown up and I believed it was prudent to protect the Command, the Marines, and the Marine Corps,” Furness stated later. He failed to protect his junior Marines.

May 4, 2006: Initial inquiry completed and briefed to Multi-National Force West. Regardless of conflicting and questionable testimony of Iraqi tribal and family members, NCIS was asked to investigate.

Original, so-called ‘witness reports’ were gathered and translated by what the Washington Post refers to as reporters. These are Iraqi stringers whose backgrounds, the Post admits, have not been checked. The testimonies of so-called witnesses in the reports are conflicting. The Post states that its information could “not be independently confirmed.” The Post also claims that:

1. “According to accounts given by Hashim’s neighbors and members of his family, and apparently supported by photographs, the Marines went to Hashim’s home, took the 52-year-old disabled Iraqi outside and shot him four times in the face. The assault rifle and shovel next to his body had been planted by the Marines, who had borrowed them from a villager, family members and other residents said.”

2. “The Marines grabbed Hashim by the front of his cotton robe as soon as he came to the door, pulling him from the house, said one of his sons, Nadir, 26, an arts student in Iraq…Less than an hour later, we heard shooting.”

Note: The prosecution charged that the Marines took Awad out of the home, marched him down the road to the hole, bound him and shot him. Family members and neighbors said Awad was shot in the face four times when he came to the door. One of Awad’s sons said he was pulled from the house and they heard shots less than an hour later. The Iraqis apparently couldn’t get ‘their’ version straight. How did the prosecution arrive at its version; toss a coin?

3. “The Post also obtained photos of a dead man, identified by the family and Iraqi authorities as Hashim, wrapped in a plastic sheeting in a wooden casket. What appeared to be at least four bullet holes could be seen in the photo-two in one cheek, one in the chin, and one in the lip.”

Awad’s brother stated, “And it was clear a bullet had been shot into the mouth and broke part of his bottom teeth.”

“At daylight, the family found a wide hole in the dirt road about 500 yards from their home, wet with bloodstains and littered with discarded plastic gloves.”

“Going in search of Hashim, family members were told that Marines had brought his body to a local police station, Nasir said.

Note: On October, 2006, five months after NCIS’ investigation, Navy Corpsman Bacos’ testimony, given during the investigation in May 2006, conflicts with Iraqi testimony.

Bacos said, “I witnessed Sgt. Hutchins dead check the man and fire three rounds into the man’s [head]. [Then] Cpl. Thomas fired 7 to 10 rounds into the man’s [head].”

Bacos’ testimony conflicts with Iraqi testimony, with squad members, and with Thomas, himself.

Cpl. Thomas, NCIS Agent James Connolly, and Lt. Col. Furness all said Sgt. Hutchins fired 3 rounds into the man’s head to put him out of his misery after Thomas shot him. Yet Bacos says Sgt. Hutchins performed a dead check then “Thomas fired 7 to 10 rounds into the man’s [head].” For Bacos to be believed, the deceased would now have a minimum of 10 holes in his head; performing the first military 10- to 13-hole (dual) (consecutive) dead check.

Bacos contradicts testimony by the other squad members (including Thomas). CPL Trent Thomas shot 7 to 10 rounds into the man’s torso. NCIS and the prosecution couldn’t even get the men who made plea deals to corroborate one another. NCIS, the Prosecution, Judges at the hearings and courts-martial for the accused, blindly accepted Bacos’ word. Then again, it was NCIS, after all, who gave the prosecution its version.

Note: Both, NCIS agent Connolly and Lt. Col. Furness, later, testified again in court that Sgt. Hutchins performed a dead-check to put the man out of his misery.

In Fallujah, 2004, a Marine was videotaped dead-checking an insurgent in a Mosque. After five months of investigating, no charges were leveled because the commanding officer understood the mind-set of this young Marine. He stated that it was an unfortunate but inevitable consequence of war – and not a criminal violation.

Sgt. Hutchins did not order anyone to shoot. He performed a dead check and put a man out of his misery; an unfortunate but inevitable consequence of war; not a criminal violation.

May 7, 2006: NCIS begins criminal investigation.

For eleven days, in a coercive environment, NCIS denied the Marines and Navy Corpsman their Constitutional right to presence of counsel. Agents failed to audio or videotape interrogations, which went on for as long as 12 hours. There was no corroboration; no proof of NCIS’ remarks.

May 10, 2006: Marines and Navy Corpsman were detained and restricted to living quarters at Camp Fallujah, Iraq pending return to Camp Pendleton.

Coercive interrogations continued at Camp Fallujah, where on their wall NCIS had a photo of a rubber hose on a white board, with the words, “My Psychological Friend”.

Note: The GAO claims that NCIS interview policies are in accordance with generally accepted federal law enforcement standards and applicable laws. Specifically; NCIS interview policies prohibit the indiscriminate display of weapons or the use of threats, promises, inducements, or physical or mental abuse by agents attempting to influence an individual during interviews.

Note: Article 31 of the UCMJ; Evidence acquired in violation of the rights of the accused can be inadmissible. NCIS, DCIS, and FBI policies permit audio or video recordings of witness or suspect interviews in significant or controversial cases. Hamdania and Haditha are both.

Note: “June 26, 2001, Chief Justice Rehnquist concluded that the Coercion inherent in Custodial Interrogation blurs the line between voluntary and involuntary statements, and thus heightens the risk that an individual will not be “accorded his privilege under the Fifth Amendment…Not to be compelled to incriminate himself.”

Note: “Agents do not have the authority to make any promises or suggestions of leniency or more severe action to induce a suspect to make a statement.” The accused testified they were threatened with the death penalty; “more severe action”.

May 24, 2006: Marines and Navy Corpsman arrive at Camp Pendleton.

The men traveled from Iraq to the U. S. on a commercial airliner unshackled, allowed to roam during layovers, and without real supervision. None of them made an attempt to flee. They obviously weren’t considered a flight risk.

May 25, 2006: Marines and Navy Corpsman were rounded up, shackled, and placed in “Maximum-In” restraint at the Camp Pendleton Brig.

Regardless of presumption of innocence and the fact that they were not a flight risk, they were shackled, placed in restraints and forced to remain in solitary confinement for three weeks. (Fourteen months later, September 23, 2007, NCTimes’ Mark Walker reported with reference to Lt. General James Mattis, the convening authority, “Mattis has said privately that keeping those men locked up ahead of trial was probably a mistake.”)

Sgt. Hutchins spent fourteen months in the brig before his court-martial. Unnecessary suffering while being presumed innocent because of a mistake? Is this acceptable treatment for our Marines?

June 1, 2006: Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki claims that American violence against civilians had become almost habitual. He said, “We cannot forgive the violations of the dignity of the Iraqi people.”

Sgt. Hutchins’ CO stated he wanted to protect the Command, the Corps, and the Marines.

June 14, 2006: Vice President Cheney stated that the Pendleton Eight were presumed to be innocent and should be treated as such.

June 15, 2006: Restraint level reevaluated and reduced to “medium-in” restraint.

June 21, 2006: The Pendleton Eight were officially charged with the death of Hashim Ibrahim Awad.

Colonel Stewart Navarre was accused July 27, 2006, by defense attorney Jeremiah Sullivan, of questioning his client and others in the brig before announcing charges. Attorneys also complained that NCIS agents attempted additional questioning of their clients without counsel’s knowledge or permission. Lt. Col. Sean Gibson did not deny the incident occurred.

July 11, 2006: Civilian attorneys complain that military attorneys assigned to assist their clients were bogged down with large caseloads. Counsel Jane Siegel said, “There are five experienced prosecutors with nothing else to do, sitting in offices and working these cases, and we are still sitting in starting blocks waiting for the assigned attorneys to be made available.” Siegel said a preliminary autopsy report she received was for an exam nearly seven weeks after Awad’s death. The report noted “severe decomposition” as well as a lot of bullet wounds.

July 25, 2006: Completed autopsy report lacked conclusive evidence that the man’s hands and feet were bound as the government had alleged. The badly decomposed body was exhumed several weeks after burial. No photos of the body were taken, or so the prosecution claimed. The body was returned to Hamdania and reburied. The defense pathologist was only given the opportunity to form an opinion on the report done by the government’s pathologist–he was not given access to the body. There are, in fact, photos of the body but the defense is not allowed access.

According to defense attorney Joseph Casas, the number of bullet holes could not be determined.

August 3, 2006: Additional charges filed against Sgt. Hutchins, Cpl. Thomas, and Lance Cpl. Shumate for assaulting an insurgent, Khalid Hamad Daham, two weeks before the April 26 incident. Charges also filed against Lance Cpls. Lopezromo and Lever, and Pfc. Lewis.

NCIS investigators had this information in Iraq and withheld it. Defense attorneys Victor Kelley and Joseph Casas believed this was an attempt by prosecutors to intimidate people to testify against each other. The prosecution was successful!

August 13, 2006: NCTimes interview; “Pendleton Bracing for Start of Alleged War Crime Case.” Military Law professor Gary Solis, in reference to convening authority Lt. General James Mattis, stated, “The General is going to rely on his staff who rely on the prosecutors…Once charges have been preferred, that train has left the station and everyone is pretty much on board.”

The General (Convening Authority) relies on his staff, who relies on the Prosecutors? That doesn’t assure an accused a fair or impartial trial. How does that assure that the accused receive justice?

August 16, 2006: Charges are filed against Lt. Nathan Phan (the squad’s platoon leader and senior commander) for an alleged assault on insurgent Daham and two other insurgents.

Sgt. Hutchins’ defense attorney, Rich Brannon, stated, “I don’t know any other reason that he (Phan) would be charged unless he is the person who issued the order…”

In a release announcing the charges against Phan, the Marine Corps stresses that he is presumed innocent, saying “The Marine Corps takes allegations of wrongdoing by Marines very seriously and is committed to thoroughly investigating such incidents. The Marine Corps also prides itself on holding its members accountable for their actions.”

August 22, 2006: Lt. General Mattis denies Pfc Jodka’s waiver of article 32 hearing. Jodka had requested to skip the Article 32 and go straight to trial. Mattis’ reason for denial is that Jodka should have the benefit of a thorough and impartial investigation that an Article 32 investigation can provide. Defense attorney Casas intended to waive the hearing because military prosecutors constantly refused him access to evidence necessary for his defense.

By now, Hamdania and Haditha have generated great public interest in military justice. Several bloggers, commentators and veterans groups have raised questions about whether the system is fairly treating soldiers and Marines facing court-martial.

“Moreover, military justice could benefit considerably from moving to a system where the members (or jury, in civilian terms) are chosen at random, rather than being handpicked by the convening authority. The convening authority is that official who is in charge of the command and the one who determines whether to bring charges in the first instance.”

“The current rules that require the convening authority to appoint members based upon detailed factors, such as “age, education, training, experience and length of service,” give the appearance that the panel is beholden to the commander who selected them for duty.”

“If our personnel are increasingly being asked to defend democracy abroad, it is only right that our public believe they are receiving the same considerations at home.”

August 23, 2006: Several defense attorneys request waivers of Article 32 hearings for their clients. Lt. General Mattis denies all of them. Reason: “in order to make a fair and impartial decision on the disposition of these cases.”

Defense attorney Joseph Casas says the Marine Corps has “systematically denied” their requests for evidence, including intelligence reports and the ‘rules of engagement’ in place at the time.

What happened to the investigative search for the truth at an Article 32 hearing? What happened to General Mattis’ claim to fairness and impartiality?

August 30, 2006: Article 32 hearings for Cpl. Magincalda and Pfc. Jodka.

The lead prosecutor, Lt. Col. John Baker, announces the prosecution does not intend to seek the death penalty against Pfc. Jodka.

Note: Uniform Code of Military Justice 845. Article 45: Pleas of the Accused.

(b) A plea of guilty by the accused may not be received to any charge or specification alleging an offense for which the death penalty may be adjudged.

The prosecution apparently never intended to follow through with the death penalty. The prosecution had an open door to get those who were no longer threatened by the death penalty to make plea deals in exchange for lesser sentences and testimony against the others.

Marine Corps Times, August 30, 2006:

“The lack of witnesses, including 11 NCIS agents who initially would have testified, shortened the legal proceedings and stunted the details of the alleged murder and government’s evidence that would have surfaced during questioning by either side.”

Convenient for the prosecution. Why allow the accused to face their accusers when you can coerce them into making plea deals; eliminating the necessity of corroborative evidence, which is required in the defense of an accused.

August 31, 2006: AP Article: “Confessions Key to Case Against Marine Murderers.”

Read the title to this article and let there be no doubt that the press tainted, and continued to taint, the accused’ chances of any fair or impartial hearing; much less court-martial.

Thomas Watkins, AP, states that alleged confessions appear to form the crux of the government’s case. Coercion can be very effective!

“Prosecutor Capt. Nicholas Gannon claimed the evidence included a confession by squad leader Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins and a confessional video by Cpl. Trent D. Thomas.”

“What exactly they confessed to was unclear; Prosecutors did not elaborate.”

September 12, 2006: Article 32 hearing for Lance Cpl. Jeremy Shumate.

Lt. Col. John Baker announces the prosecution does not intend to seek the death penalty. This assures the prosecution’s plan to obtain plea deals since it had no corroborating evidence. NCIS investigator, Kyle Casey testifies on the stand under oath that Shumate was very quiet, but did not make a statement. .

NCIS Agent Kelly Garbo’s testimony on January 15, 2007, describes the methods agents use in interviewing witnesses and preparing statements:

“Two or more agents will conduct an interview and later compile what they hear in the form of a single, typewritten statement, she said. The document is then given to the person interviewed, who is asked to initial each paragraph as having been read and then sign the report as a sworn official statement.”

This does not corroborate her testimony that she personally typed Shumate’s statement as she interviewed him. There is no audio or video record of the interrogation.

October 6, 2006: Navy Corpsman Bacos’ court-martial. Bacos accepted a plea bargain in return for his guilty plea and for testifying against the other defendants. Bacos’ testimony is entirely unchallenged, with no questions or cross-examination.

Bacos testified that Sgt. Hutchins played the major role in the incident, and that he came up with the plan. Later in the trial Bacos states that Hutchins and Thomas called him over to a huddle, and Thomas advised a plan to get Saleh Gowad. Bacos says that “they” began working out what they could do. Magincalda, Thomas, Hutchins, and Pennington were working on the plan.

They moved to a second position under the trees. When Hutchins told the rest of the men about the plan, the others just said, “I’m in.” Bacos says the agreement was to take Gowad from his house against his will. Bacos testifies that the agreement was sealed when squad members said, “I’m in, sir”. Others said, “Let’s do it.”

Bacos says he was “not ordered” to take part. Thomas later testifies that he, Thomas, was ‘ordered’.

October 16, 2006: Article 32 hearing for Sgt. Hutchins.

October 17, 2006: Charges referred to court-martial for Jackson, Pennington, and Thomas.

Lt. Col. Paul Vokey, Marine Corps’ western defense coordinator, concerning a trip to Iraq for defense attorneys, stated, “It’s difficult to coordinate and it’s dangerous, but it’s also incredibly important because of the seriousness of the charges…You need to make sure the physical scene matches the testimony. There may be some things in the statements that you find out are completely wrong once you visit the scene.”

The University of San Diego School of Law hosts a forum about the fairness of the military justice system. Defense attorney Joseph Casas objects to a system that doesn’t give the defense unfettered access to any evidence that may benefit the accused early on in the process before a judge is appointed. In reference to his client, Pfc. Jodka, he states, “We were asking for evidence and being unilaterally denied by the convening authority.” (Lt. General James Mattis)

Casas raises concerns over the fact that those who are under arrest and awaiting court proceedings in the military justice system are not entitled to post bail and remain free pending the outcome of judicial proceedings.

Former military prosecutor, Kevin Vienna, said that the right to bail “is often illusory.” He said that most people can’t afford the ten percent fee.

Casas raises questions about high conviction rates in military justice and the political influence and undue command influence that can be brought to bear on military juries and court officials.

Vienna says they’re not unique to military justice. He said they’re also high in civilian courts. Vienna adds that, like the military justice system, judges and court officials in the civilian system can also be the victims of political pressure.

Then he adds, “Do I think the system is fair …Yes.”

Therein lies the mind-set of the military judicial system: Prosecute and get a high conviction rate!

October 26, 2006: Articles continue to steer public opinion.

1: “Pendleton Plead Deals Spur Legal Concerns: Experts Fear Truth Could Stay in Iraq,” reads the headline. “Some military court experts question whether legal expediency will keep the truth from the public and from justice being served,” Gary Solis said.

“Plea Agreements Eliminate the Uncertainties Inherent in a Jury trial.” In the Hamdania case, he said, “they might also allow the military to limit testimony alleging that failed Marine Corps leadership and training have led to moral lapses in the combat zone.” “Guilty Pleas Minimize Marine Corps Exposure to Public Criticism.”

(The Prosecution’s purpose in dropping the death penalty: Under the UCMJ, 845 Article 45 (b), an accused may not make a plea of guilty to any offense for where the death penalty may be adjudged. This left the door open for the others to testify against Sgt. Hutchins, enabling the government to protect failed leadership, and appease Congress and Nouri al Maliki.)

2: “Encinitas Man Pleads Guilty in Hamdania Killing:” “He (Jodka) also acknowledged that he was among several of the men who fired at Awad, who had been placed in a makeshift hole…”

Jodka, in a calm and measured voice, answered a series of questions from Jones (judge) describing the plot and each man’s agreement to take part in it…”

“I couldn’t see the man in the hole at the time we were firing, sir,” Jodka said.

“I only saw him stand up and run down the road to the north.”

All the others, in return for their plea bargains, testified Awad was in the hole, hands and feet bound. Yet he ran down the road?

(a) “Marine Testifies to Details of Hamdania Killing”

“Before they grabbed the man from his house, however, Hutchins gathered the men in a circle.

“Sergeant Hutchins then went around to each member of the squad and asked individually,” Jodka said in court. “If any person had an objection,” the plan would be dropped. “I agreed to that plan,” he said, “and I agreed to go forward without objection.”

“Unclear from the limited questioning and testimony Thursday was whether Jodka knew at the time that the man the squad shot wasn’t Gowad, the initial target. But, the judge told him, “It’s Irrelevant who that individual is.” [emphasis added]

Irrelevant? An innocent Marine was unjustly convicted and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for something that was considered by the U.S. government to be morally and legally “relevant” or he would not be there. The media reported for over a year before Sgt. Hutchins’ court-martial that the man who was killed was an innocent, handicapped, (retired?) Iraqi policeman and family man. All the while, the prosecution knew full well they could not even prove the identity of the deceased. NCIS claimed they presented a report of a “thorough” investigation to the prosecution. NCIS’ claim was false.

(b) Marine Pleads Guilty to Assaulting Iraqi, Linda Deutsch, AP.

At his hearing Jodka told the judge he knew his actions would fuel anti-war sentiment. “Anything like this would present an argument against the war.” “The military judge, Lt. Col. David Jones, interrupted him and said, “I’m not interested in political implications.”

“He (Jodka) said he ran with others into the darkness, shooting at a figure they could barely see, and found out only later it was the wrong target.” Yet Bacos, at his court-martial (hearing), said Awad was bound and dragged from his home with a gag in his mouth, then placed in a hole by the side of the road and shot 10 times.”

(c) Heat is on Rest of Hamdania Defendants to Plead.

Joseph Low, Magincalda’s attorney, said, “It was difficult for the men who took a plea deal because I know they didn’t want to do so, but were scared.”

Gary Solis, who teaches military law; “There’s not much stronger evidence than the testimony of an eyewitness participant,” Solis said, noting that the Jodka and Bacos plea agreements require that they testify truthfully or see their deals withdrawn.”

The “relevance” in that statement is the threat it implies.

Then Solis says, “Their pleas mean the attorney now can’t defend on the facts … they have to raise some other defense, such as they thought they were shooting at a lawful target.”

An insurgent is a lawful target!

November 6, 2006: 2nd Marine Pleads Guilty in Iraqi’s Death

“The judge questioned (Lance Cpl.) Jackson and accepted the plea, which is made as part of a pretrial agreement with the government in exchange for lesser punishment.”

Let there be no doubt about the reason for plea deals! (See November 16, 18, 2006).

”…Gowad, who was on the Battalion’s high-value target list…[emphasis added]”

November 8, 2006 : Motion hearings for Cpl. Magincalda. ‘Marine Denied Bid to Get Out of Brig.’

November 10, 2006 : Charges referred to general court-martial for Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins.

November 14, 2006 : Cpl. Thomas’ Arraignment. ‘Hamdania Defendant Enters Not Guilty Plea.’

“Bacos, Jackson and Jodka all told military judges that each of the men agreed to take part in the kidnapping and each knew that the intention was to kill.”

They were sent there to “capture or kill” insurgents.

November 16, 2006 : General Mattis, said he would not seek the death penalty for Sgt. Hutchins.

Quincy, MA. attorney, Gerald Kirby said the plea bargaining does not indicate a strong case against Hutchins. “I have done a lot of trials, and there has to be a heck of a lot of holes in the prosecution’s case to do all of this.”

November 17, 2006 : “Jackson Sentenced to 21 Months in Hamdania Killing.”

Judge, Lt. Col. Joseph Lisiecki had sentenced Jackson to 9 years and a dishonorable discharge, but “that punishment was set aside because of Jackson’s plea agreement with Lt. Gen. James Mattis, the convening authority over the case as head of the 1 Marine Expeditionary Force.”

November 18, 2006 : Plea Deals Pile Up for Accused Marine.

“Some observers of the military justice system find the developments mystifying.” Gary Solis said he was surprised by the number of plea agreements in this case.

David Glazier, who teaches the law of war, said that with such a large number of defendants, prosecutors may be weighing who may be most at fault.

Solis said he’s confident there will be trials in the case. “A trial serves many purposes and one is to achieve justice and exact punishment for criminal misconduct”. “The accused are well represented. But who speaks for the dead man? Who represents society? That’s the purpose of the trial.”

Solis should have said “dead Insurgent.” The identity of the man was not proven. It could just as well be Gowad. Why is there more concern for a dead insurgent the squad was ordered to capture or kill within 48 hours, than for the lives of Marines?

November 18, 2006 : Marine Corps May be Done Making Plea Deals in Hamdania Case

“Marine prosecutors will not comment on the case or their motivation for offering deals; however, the plea agreements reached thus far require that those men testify in court against their fellow platoon members, if called to do so.”

“…prosecutors presented a “charge sheet” laying out the government’s version of what happened.”

The government’s version? The version the government is not required to corroborate or prove?

November 21, 2006 : “Admissions Coerced, Says the Defendant.” (Lance Cpl. Pennington)

Pennington admitted he made two self-incriminating statements to NCIS agents but said he made them after feeling threatened by aggressive questioning by one of the agents and being denied a lawyer by another.

“(The agent) said that if I got a lawyer, he would not be able to help me..I felt that meant that I pretty much had to give them statements.”

Pennington said an NCIS agent also advised him that talking to a lawyer would be “the worst mistake” he could ever make and would hurt his chances of making a deal with prosecutors.

“Military judge, Lt. Col. Eugene Robinson will decide whether Pennington’s statements – and a series of his drawings – will be admissible as evidence.”

The military judge’ and NCIS’ testimony was acknowledged, but all of the accused’s statements concerning coercive interrogations were ignored throughout the proceedings.

At one point Pennington “disputed a prosecutor’s assertion’s that he tried to strangle Awad with an ascot.” “No,” Pennington said, “he tried to gag Awad with it.”

Another fine example of NCIS’ ‘thorough’ investigatory practices.

December 2, 2006 : Hutchins Arraignment Slated for Thursday

Military law expert, Gary Solis, said …”the chances of Hutchins pleading to a reduced offense, as four of the marines have done, are considered remote.”

Solis said Hutchins is the least likely to be able to negotiate a plea deal to a lesser offense.

“Given that four individuals have pleaded guilty and made statements pointing at him, he faces the strong possibility of conviction.”

Commanders taking the word of Iraqis, coerced interrogations, biased media coverage, zero presumption of innocence, unnecessary imprisonment, coerced plea deals forcing his men to testify “against” him in exchange for lesser sentences…all of this equals no chance for a fair or impartial trial.

December 7, 2006 : Sgt. Hutchins Arraignment. Article: “Marine Arraigned in Iraqi Slaying case.”

“Aside from the plea issue, one prosecutor, Lt. Col. John Baker, modified the kidnapping charge against Hutchins to read “carrying away Awad” instead of “seizing and holding him”. Baker said the wording change reflects his belief that Hutchins played a more active role in the abduction.

Shouldn’t prosecutor Lt. Col. Baker have been just as concerned with the role Lt. Phan played ?

Lt. Phan was the Sergeant’s immediate commander. The mission was his responsibility, and that of his senior commanders in turn. Where was the Investigatory search for the truth that the prosecution tried to portray as its objective? The unit’s members believed that Gowad was planning to attack fellow Marines. Sgt. Hutchins and his squad saved lives. Where was the credit for that?

December 26, 2006 : Mattis on the Marines: Pendleton Commander Upbeat About Morale, Progress in Iraq.

On media coverage in Iraq; “the enemy is getting its message across because it has denied the western press access to the battlefield. The media are relying on Iraqi stringers who bring no degree of objectivity. The enemy story gets out unchallenged, furthering the enemy agenda.

Commanders in Iraq and the Pentagon relied on a story that was unverified and unchallenged.

January 11-12, 2007 : Article 32 Investigation hearing for 2nd Lt. Phan .

January 12, 2007 : Attorney Says Agents Made Up Assault Case.

Defense attorney David Sheldon alleged that NCIS agents fabricated portions of statements that led to charges against 2nd Lt. Phan. Lance Cpl. Faulkner testified that the original statement he signed was typed by NCIS agents who came to him days later and asked him to sign it. He was on guard duty and didn’t have time to go over it.

Why was NCIS not questioned by the Court or by the convening authority?

NCIS agent Kelly Garbo testified they never put falsehoods in official statements provided to prosecutors. What is her proof of that statement? She doesn’t tape interrogations. She then said she’d never read her NCIS manual. That, with assertions of fabricated statements should have been enough to warrant appointment of special counsel to investigate NCIS’ policies.

January 15, 2007 : NCIS Investigative Methods Come Under Fire Over Prosecution of Marine Lieutenant.

Agent Garbo “acknowledged” that agents don’t audiotape or videotape their investigations or interrogations.

The GAO report on NCIS says, NCIS, DCIS, and FBI policies “permit” audio or video recordings of witness or suspect interviews in significant or controversial cases”.

It’s incomprehensible that agents wouldn’t find the Hamdania case significant and controversial. With worldwide attention, NCIS had a moral and legal duty to assure the accused of their Constitutional right to properly defend themselves.

During her testimony Garbo described the methods agents use in interviewing witnesses and preparing statements : Two or more agents will conduct an interview and “later” compile what they hear in the form of a single, typewritten statement. The statement is then given to the person interviewed, who is asked to initial each paragraph as having been “read” and then sign the report as a sworn official statement.

NCIS agents are not infallible . They should not be trusted to “compile” statements “later.”

How much later? Proof of a witness’ statement is important enough to have the witness or suspect write, in his own hand, his own statements rather than to “later” give him a “typewritten” statement, that could be easily changed…“later.”

Note :“The Lance corporal who testified said agents brought his statement to him while he was on guard duty in Iraq several days after he was interviewed. He said he had little time to read the document, so he asked if it reflected what he said but did not fully review it. He testified that when the agents told him it accurately described what he had told them, he signed it.”

January 18, 2007 : Marine Pleads Guilty to Murder in Killing of Retired Iraqi Police Officer

(Cpl.) “Thomas’ pleas came as a result of an agreement with prosecutors and the Convening Authority, Lt. Gen. James N. Mattis.

“During his daylong court-martial, Thomas told the judge, Lt. Col. Tracy A. Daly, that neither he nor any other member of the squad had any information that Awad had ties to insurgents…”

When Judge Meeks denied the defense’ testimony and evidence concerning Awad, he used the excuse that information on Awad was classified.

Tired yet? As you can see by the above timeline, the railroad job was quite tidy. However, it gets much worse. In Part 2, I’ll continue the sequence of events that kept the cover-up going. Stay tuned.

Written by Kit Lange · Filed Under Latest