Friday, August 18, 2006

NYT: "Inquiry Suggests Marines Excised Files on Killings" (David S. Cloud)

In addition to faulting officers in the Second Marine Division for not aggressively investigating the Haditha killings, the Bargewell report said the commanders had created a climate that minimized the importance of Iraqi lives, particularly in Haditha, where insurgent attacks were rampant, the officials said.
"In their eyes, they didn’t believe anyone was innocent," said one of the officials, describing the attitude of the marines in the unit toward Iraqis. "Either you were an active participant, or you were complicit."

The above is from David S. Cloud's "Inquiry Suggests Marines Excised Files on Killings" in this morning's New York Times which details some of the apparent efforts to conceal the November 19th events in Haditha. Cloud's addressing the report from the investigation -- the report that has still not been released. Among the findings, reportedly, are that an earlier investigation into the events was constrained by what appears to have been intentional efforts to withhold video footage captured by drones (in the aftermath, no drone was reportedly flying over when a bomb went off), the logbook had been creatively edited (pages for November 19th have vanished), that despite claims of killing someone brandishing an assault weapon, no rifle had been seized . . .

For anyone who's confused (there are a number of incidents that have come to light with many all gaining attention in the months of May and June), from the article:

The Marine Corps issued a press release the next day saying that 15 of the civilian deaths had been caused by the bomb explosion. But several officers in the unit have said they knew even then that marines had killed all 24 of the dead Iraqis, 9 of whom were suspected insurgents.
Since then, the idea that any of the victims were insurgents has been challenged, both by Iraqi survivors and by some American military officials familiar with the case, noting that the victims included 10 women and children and an elderly man in a wheelchair. They have said that evidence suggests that the marines overreacted after the death of their fellow marine and shot the civilians in cold blood.

From destruction and questions to efforts at healing and answers, we'll turn to Camp Casey III with Tom's highlight, Geoffrey Millard's "Veterans Welcomed Home to Camp Casey" (Truthout):

Today at Camp Casey, CODEPINK built a garden that was, as co-founder Jodie Evans put it, "for all of the women and children killed or otherwise affected by the war." In a land where the dirt is often the most flattering color around, a garden of pink flowers lights like a beacon of hope and relief for those ships looking for any port in this storm. The Iraq war has seen its share of civilian deaths, though one could not find this out by attention to any mainstream media - nor could one gain this information by seeing the daily actions of the average American, who continues life as though the war were over. This garden is a sign of the war's everlasting effects on civilians, but the veterans were the true focus of the evening's innaugural celebrations.
[. . .]
The night, though, seemed to come to a head as IVAW members told of firsthand experience in the war. As I laid the boots I wore while in Iraq at the memorial to all veterans being dedicated this evening, only the sound of tears could be heard. The ominous silence of tears falling to this now sacred soil streamed steadily as Cloy Richards of IVAW read a letter he wrote in support of Lieutenant Ehren Watada, the lieutenant who has refused orders to Iraq and will begin his trial this week at Fort Lewis, Washington. After Cloy and I laid a wreath at the country's newest veterans' memorial, taps played and the crowd dispersed with a clear remembrance of why we all come to Camp Casey in the first place: an answer ... For what noble cause, George? For what noble cause?

Ehren Watada? As we noted last night (and will go over in the snapshot today), Watada's Article 32 hearing began testimony and arguments yesterday and ended as well. (We'll also try to touch on Watada in the next entry.) On Camp Casey, as noted before, it moves to DC September 5th and becomes Camp DC. For more on that, Melissa passed on this e-mail from Progressive Democrats of America:

Progressive Democrats of America is excited to be joining the growing sponsors of Camp Democracy
Camp Democracy will take place on the National Mall, September 5-21.
PDA will host a day devoted to organizing the progressive agenda on September 6. This day will include several progressive leaders including members of Congress, PDA Board members and activists. Please become a grassroots sponsor of this historic event by supporting PDA.
We Need Your Help!
Camp Democracy is a grassroots effort and will only succeed with the help of many, many people contributing the small amounts they can afford. This is our opportunity to do what the citizens of the Ukraine, of Mexico, and of other countries do when their democracies are taken from them. This is our chance to say "Enough is enough!" Please give a contribution on line today for $15, $25, $100.
Donate on line today for PDA to be part of Camp Democracy, or call us toll free (877) 368-9221
Camp Democracy Details
Camp Democracy is a camp for peace, democracy, and the restoration of the rule of law. Camp Casey will move from Crawford, Texas, to Washington, D.C., to create a larger camp focused not only on ending the war but also on righting injustices here at home and on holding accountable the Bush Administration and Congress. Tents will provide activist activities, trainings, workshops, and entertainment on these themes:
End War: Peace, nonviolence, accountability, and impeachment
Human Rights: Civil Rights, Immigrants Rights, Workers Rights, Women's
Rights, Voting Rights, Katrina
End Corporate Welfare,
Meet Human Needs: Healthcare/ Energy/ Education/ Environment
Communications and Creativity: Hands-on Media and Arts Training.
September 6th
PDA is part of a coalition of organizations supporting this event. On September 6, PDA will host several Progressive Congressional Caucus members as well as other progressive leaders who will address grassroots participants as well as further the discussion about progressive legislation.

September will contain a number of events and demonstrations to protest the ongoing (ongoing in reality, if not in most coverage), illegal war. If there's an event or organization a member wants highlighted, please e-mail (the private addresses for members). For all others, the e-mail address for this site is