Thursday, May 17, 2007

US Marines Kill civilians trying to surrender - and urinate on them

The US forces in Iraq continue with their bad behavior - and some believe these criminal soldiers are victims themselves of their circumstances. Following the new strategy in American law- some criminals are granted immunity from prosecution if they nark on someone else. Couldn't they just be given a reduced sentence - do they deserve complete immunity?

Marine admits urinating on dead Iraqi at Haditha

A US marine has admitted he urinated on the head of one of 24 Iraqi civilians killed by his unit in Haditha, saying he was motivated by anger over the death of one of his squad members.

Sergeant Sanick Dela Cruz, who has immunity from prosecution after murder charges against him were dismissed, also said he watched his squad leader shoot down five Iraqi civilians who were trying to surrender.

In dramatic testimony in a pretrial hearing for one of the seven marines charged in the November 2005 killings and reported cover-up, Sgt Dela Cruz described his bitterness after a roadside bomb ripped Lance Corporal Miguel Terrazas, known as 'TJ', into two bloody pieces.

"I know it was a bad thing what I've done, but I done it because I was angry TJ was dead and I pissed on one Iraqi's head," said an unemotional Sgt Dela Cruz in a military courtroom in Camp Pendleton, north of San Diego, California.

Sgt Dela Cruz said he had earlier watched squad leader Sergeant Frank Wuterich shoot five men whose hands were up near a car, then admitted to shooting them as they lay on the ground.

Sgt Wuterich "walked to me and told me that if anybody asked, they were running away and the Iraqi Army shot them," testified Sgt Dela Cruz.

Three marines have been charged with murder, and four officers have been charged with dereliction of duty and obstructing the investigation.

Prosecutors contend the killings were revenge for L Cpl Terrazas' death while the marines charged say it was a clearing operation, conducted under lawful orders that had disastrous results.

The Marine Corps initially reported the deaths as a result of the bombing and a firefight with insurgents.

Reporting by Time magazine in January 2006 finally prompted the Marine Corps to investigate the killings.

Sgt Dela Cruz said he was asked four times to lie about what happened in Haditha, although no one asked him about the killings for a time.

Another marine, Sergenant Albert Espinosa, testified that he pressed for an investigation of the killings almost immediately after they occurred in November 2005.

He testified that he was frustrated by the apparent indifference of his commanding officers.

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