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Thread: Troops cleared in one of 4 investigated incidents of Iraq deaths

  1. #1
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    Thumbs down Troops cleared in one of 4 investigated incidents of Iraq deaths

    Marines want to exhume Haditha victims
    Troops cleared in one of 4 investigated incidents of Iraq deaths

    BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Investigators in Haditha are hoping to exhume victims' bodies to look for forensic evidence that may explain how 24 Iraqi civilians were fatally shot in November, according to a senior U.S. military official with knowledge of the probe.

    In a separate investigation, the Pentagon on Friday cleared U.S. troops of intentionally killing Iraqi civilians in a village north of Baghdad.

    The families of the Haditha victims are refusing the exhumation request, contributing to a delay in the Naval Criminal Investigative Service's investigation into the November 19 deaths, the military said Friday.

    The investigation, requested by the Marines, is separate from the military's investigation of the events. The NCIS is an independent agency not in the military chain of command.

    NCIS investigators are interviewing witnesses, and its investigation is expected to wrap up in six to eight weeks, the official said.

    Sources said that military investigators strongly suspect that a small number of Marines snapped and went on a rampage after one of their own was killed by a roadside bomb in Haditha, a city on the Euphrates River northwest of Baghdad.

    Iraqi government officials are angry over the reports of daily violence by coalition troops, and on Friday, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said he would seek investigation files from the United States, according to Reuters.

    Balad raid
    Nearly a dozen Iraqi civilians during a U.S. raid in the Abu Seffa district of Ishaqi, near Balad, on March 15. (Watch bodies and bullets pulled from a ruined house -- 2:12)

    The investigation, which Friday cleared U.S. troops of misconduct, was one of several into the alleged killing of Iraqis, including women and children, by U.S. troops. Among the incidentsare the alleged massacre in Haditha and the death of an Iraqi civilian near Hamandiya, west of Baghdad, on April 26.

    Also under military investigation are reports that soldiers killed two women, one of whom was pregnant, in Samarra on Tuesday. Witnesses said the women were killed when their vehicle drove through a checkpoint.

    Iraqi police said 11 people were killed in a U.S.-led raid against a suspected al Qaeda in Iraq site. The dead included five children -- the youngest 6 months old -- as well as four women and two men, the police said.

    The U.S. military reported there had been deaths, including of civilians, but provided a lower casualty count, saying an insurgent, two women and a child were killed.

    At the time, U.S. military spokesman Tim Keefe said U.S.-led forces staged the raid and came under fire as they approached a building, and air support fired on the site.

    "Coalition forces returned fire, utilizing both air and ground assets," Keefe said, according to The New York Times. The target building was destroyed along with one vehicle.

    A man suspected of being a "foreign fighter facilitator" was taken into coalition custody and questioned.

    A Balad police official said at the time that witnesses claimed that U.S. soldiers kept an entire family in a room before spraying them with bullets randomly.

    U.S. soldiers destroyed the building and killed livestock belonging to people in the house, the official said.

    Police found bullet casings in the house that would have been used only by U.S. soldiers and started an investigation, filming inside and outside the house, the official said.

    A BBC report on Thursday ran video obtainedfrom a Sunni political group of the apparent aftermath of the incident. The BBC says the video shows dead bodies with gunshot wounds.

    Source: Murder charges likely
    Military prosecutors "likely" will file murder charges against seven Marines accused in the April 26 shooting death of an Iraqi civilian in Hamandiya, a source familiar with the investigation said Thursday.

    "Somewhere around seven Marines are likely to face charges," said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because charges have not yet been filed. "Murder charges are likely," the source added but they may not come on Friday.

    The Associated Press quoted a defense lawyer, Jeremiah Sullivan III, as saying that a Navy Corpsman is also expected to face charges, which include kidnapping and conspiracy.

    The Iraqi civilian reportedly was dragged from his home and shot. Both the Los Angeles Times and NBC News said troops may have planted an AK-47 and shovel near the body to make it appear the man was an insurgent burying a roadside bomb.

    Neither media outlet suggested a possible motive for the killing.

    The eight men are being held in the brig at Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base in California, the AP quoted Sullivan as saying.

    Training ordered
    Amid the series of allegations involving troops, the U.S. military has ordered all coalition personnel to undergo refresher courses in ethics and values.

    A military spokesman defended the two-to-four hour presentation on Friday, saying, "It's not a PowerPoint presentation per se. It's there as a guide. It's there as a tool.

    "This is serious business, and we're going to focus on doing the right thing."

    The spokesman, Brig. Gen. Donald Campbell, deputy commanding general of Multinational Corps-Iraq, said the training includes an introduction on "why this is a tremendous profession, and what we're doing, and then it leads through what we view (as) values."

    Interaction and discussion questions are included, as well as vignettes, ranging from finding a roadside bomb to engaging in combat at a mosque or a school. The purpose, Campbell said, is to make sure "soldiers react in a proper manner."

    Emphasizing repeatedly that 99.9 percent of U.S. troops in Iraq behave properly and ethically, he described factors that could lead to rare exceptions: "stress, fear, isolation, and in some cases they're just upset. They see their buddies getting blown up on occasion, and they could snap."

    CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq, Jennifer Deaton and Stan Wilson contributed to this report.

    Copyright 2006 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

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  2. #2
    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Default Re: Troops cleared in one of 4 investigated incidents of Iraq deaths

    Color me suspicious, considering they've been covering up 3 of the massacres so far..
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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