Skip to comments.Captain Randy W. Stone: Article 32 Summary
Posted on 05/19/2007 5:49:37 AM PDT by RedRover
Key witnesses and testimony
Lt. William Kallop
Platoon CO, the only officer on the scene during most of the incident. The lieutenant (granted immunity) testified just prior to the 3/1's third deployment to Iraq.
Quote: I thought the Marines had operated as best they could in an uncertain environment, Kallop said. I had faith in my squad leader, who had told me what happened and why.
[Sources: Marines Corp Times, San Diego Union Tribune, New York Times]
1st Sgt. Albert Espinosa
As Kilo Company's first sergeant, Espinosa testified that one week after the Nov. 19, 2005, incident, he initiated a conversation with Stone at the battalion's command center in Haditha because, "I wasn't happy with the answers I was getting. I thought we need to do an investigation."
Stone told him that a probe was taking place at the battalion level, Espinosa said, later adding that a sergeant major also said it was being addressed at a higher level.
Espinosa said he thought that statements should have been taken from the Marines linked to the killing because that was what had happened in a 2003 incident when a 12-year-old Iraqi girl was slain. Espinosa assisted in that investigation.
Under questioning from Stone's attorney Charles Gittins, Espinosa said he was unaware of what reports were being filed at the battalion level.
[Source: North County Times]
Sgt. Sanick Dela Cruz
A corporal at the time of the incident, Sgt. Dela Cruz was granted immunity to testify. He was not involved in the house clearing, and his testimony only effects Sgt. Wuterich.
Quote: "They were just standing, looking around, had hands up," Dela Cruz said. "Then I saw one of them drop in the middle. I didn't know what was going on."
[Source: North County Times]
Maj. Gen. Richard Huck
Former commanding general of the 2nd Marine Division based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, who at the time of the incident, was in charge of troops in Haditha. The general testified via video hookup from the Pentagon.
Quote: Huck commanded 19,000 U.S. military personnel at the time and 12,000 Iraqi soldiers and said he relied on staff reports of battle incidents such as in Haditha. "If someone felt there was a need to investigate, it could have come up from a myriad of places," he said.
[Sources: North County Times, Associated Press, Reuters]
Sgt. Maj. Edward Sax
Testified that he only learned that civilians had died in Haditha when he saw the Sgt. Wuterich interview on 60 Minutes.
[Source: North County Times]
1st Lt. Adam Mathes
Kilo Co. executive officer.
Quote: My impression of Sergeant Wuterich is that he is a very decent, quiet, mature guy. I didnt have any reason to question their integrity.
Capt. Jeffery Dinsmore
Intelligence officer, 3rd Battalion.
Quote: The reality is then and the reality is now, you let loose marines in a T.I.C. against a hostile situation, taking small-arms fire, they dont have the training nor do they have the presence of mind to differentiate between civilians and insurgents. It stinks.
[Source: Reuters, San Diego Union Tribune, New York Times, North County Times]
Maj. Dana Hyatt
Civilian affairs officer, 3rd Battalion. He was given immunity to testify.
[Source: Associated Press, San Diego Union Tribune]
Col. John Ewers
Legal affairs officer, assigned by the Marine Corps to assist Army Maj. Gen. Eldon Bargewell in a review of how commanders responded to Haditha.
Quote: "[Capt. Stone] didn't cover himself with glory ... but without being asked by his commander to do an investigation, I didn't think it rose to the level of criminal dereliction."
[Source: North County Times]
Maj. Samuel Carrasco
Operations officer, 3rd Battalion.
[Source: North County Times, Associated Press]
Maj. Kevin Gonzales
Executive officer, 3rd Battalion.
[Source: North County Times]
Capt. Randy W. Stone
The accused gave unsworn testimony in his defense.
Quote:"I have never lied and have worked at all times to assist as best I could to shed light on what I knew and when I knew it. The most frustrating thing is the reality that even looking at this whole matter through 20/20 hindsight, I know I was trying to help.
"My firm belief that there was no law of armed conflict violation was the foundation for what actions I did take as well as action I did not take."
[Source: North County Times]
And in closing...
From the Associated Press:
Prosecutors portrayed Stone as a meek novice who overlooked the killings in an attempt to gain favor with the other Marines. In his closing argument, Lt. Col. Paul Atterbury said that Stone knew women and children were killed in their homes but that he did nothing in response.
"The battalion judge advocate has a duty to make sure his Marines do not become desensitized to the mortally bruising combat environment that is Al Anbar, Iraq," Lt. Col. Atterbury said.
Defense attorney Charles Gittins said that the prosecution's case was based on the assumption that Stone knew the killings were wrong, but that prosecutors had the luxury of hindsight. More senior Marines saw no need to investigate the deaths because they were deemed to have been a lawful consequence of combat, he said.
"He had no more knowledge about the deaths than the division commander, who was actually briefed by the battalion commander," Gittins said.
Lt. Col. Atterbury said it was irrelevant that Stone's superiors saw no need for an investigation.
From the New York Times:
The presiding officer, Maj. Thomas McCann, seemed disconcerted about the testimony he had heard from several officers, from the general in charge of the Second Marine Division down to the first lieutenant whose men killed 24 civilians in Haditha on Nov. 19, 2005. Several officers described civilian deaths as unfortunate but justifiable if they occurred during combat.
On Friday Major McCann, an experienced Marine lawyer, interjected some unsettling questions about how many civilian deaths it would take to constitute a violation of military regulations.
Alluding to Haditha, he asked, At what point do we have to scratch our heads that we killed a lot more civilians than enemy?
Because so many witnesses had testified that civilian deaths from combat action need not be investigated, Major McCann said, Im trying to figure out what authority they are citing.
Maj. Carroll J. Connolly...a lawyer for the Marine regiment commanded then by Col. Stephen W. Davis, said he saw no need to investigate the civilian deaths in Haditha because they had come during combat with enemy fighters.
When Major McCann, the investigating officer, asked what the legal basis was for drawing that conclusion, Major Connolly, who was granted immunity from prosecution for his testimony, said he could not think of any.
From the North County Times:
...a prosecutor contended that Stone needed to be held accountable for failure to investigate a suspected violation of law, a suspicion that didn't arise until several weeks later when a Time magazine reporter said he had reason to believe a massacre had taken place.
"The evidence suggests he didn't do anything," Lt. Col. Paul Atterbury said of Stone. "The questions weren't asked (by Stone) of the right Marines."
The prosecutor also contended that Stone needed to serve as a moral compass for the battalion and therefore should have known to conduct at least a preliminary inquiry....
The case boils down to accountability, and Stone failed to carry out his job, the prosecutor said.
McCann also could consider additional charges of filing a false official statement for an e-mail Stone sent in late December to another Marine officer in which some of what he knew wasn't included, Atterbury contended, adding that a charge of conduct unbecoming an officer also could be levied.
Stone's attorney, Charles Gittins, said those suggestions typified the government's case, comparing the charging decision to a dartboard at which prosecutors blindly threw darts and filed criminal accusations on the basis of where the missiles landed.
"This entire case is an illusion of the truth," Gittins said during his closing argument. "This whole thing stinks -- this can't be the way the Marine Corps does business."
None of the testimony from government witnesses showed that Stone knew anything beyond the first account given by the Marines who would ultimately face murder charges in the killing, Gittins said. That account indicated that the civilians were "collateral damage" killed during the course of a combat action and no investigation was necessary.
The attorney said that if his client is guilty, legal officers and other Marine commanders far up the chain of command are similarly guilty. Three other officers, including the former battalion commander, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani, face similar charges.
So those are the facts regarding the first Haditha hearing. My prediction is that the case against Capt. Randy W. Stone will not go to a court marital. I predict that charges will be dropped sometime in June or July, after the enlisted men's Article 32s.
Defend Our Marines
Girl, do you remember where this business about the four men in the closet was reported? I meant to go back and look for it but couldn’t get the time today (too busy being appreciative!).
Where do you get all these pictures!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That one could be had at bonesuckin.com
They also have hot nuts.
It’s a gift? LOL!
I could only read a few paragraphs, got up, and went and sanded for a few hours....
Were you sanding a patch over where you kicked the wall?
The original claim came from the first article by McGirk in Times Magazine http://www.time.com/time/world/printout/0,8816,1174649,00.html
...”The Marines raided a third house, which belongs to a man named Ahmed Ayed. One of Ahmed’s five sons, Yousif, who lived in a house next door, told Time that after hearing a prolonged burst of gunfire from his father’s house, he rushed over. Iraqi soldiers keeping watch in the garden prevented him from going in. “They told me, ‘There’s nothing you can do. Don’t come closer, or the Americans will kill you too.’ The Americans didn’t let anybody into the house until 6:30 the next morning.” Ayed says that by then the bodies were gone; all the dead had been zipped into U.S. body bags and taken by Marines to a local hospital morgue. “But we could tell from the blood tracks across the floor what happened,” Ayed claims. “The Americans gathered my four brothers and took them inside my father’s bedroom, to a closet. They killed them inside the closet.” “...
I’m not sure when the first disclaimer came out. I didn’t realize until reading this again that Yousif Ayed (the guy you quote in your schematic) was the BROTHER of the four killed in that last house. He had plenty of reasons to lie about their status: 1. Prevent the Americans from tieing him in with insurgents, 2. Try to get compensation for 4 Brothers.
The military has a different account of what transpired. According to officials familiar with the investigation, the Marines broke into the third house and found a group of 10 to 15 women and children. The troops say they left one Marine to guard that house and pushed on to the house next door, where they found four men, one of whom was wielding an AK-47. A second seemed to be reaching into a wardrobe for another weapon, the officials say. The Marines shot both men dead; the military's initial report does not specify how the other two men died.
The Marines deny that any of the men were killed in the closet, which they say is too small to fit one adult male, much less four. According to the military officials, the series of raids took five hours and left at least 23 people dead. In all, two AK-47s were discovered. The military has classified the 15 victims in the first two houses as noncombatants. It considers the four men killed in the fourth house, as well as four youths killed by the Marines near the site of the roadside bombing, as enemy fighters. The question facing naval detectives is whether the Marines' killing of 15 noncombatants was an act of legitimate self-defense or negligent homicide. Military sources say that if the ncis finds evidence of wrongdoing, U.S. commanders in Iraq will decide whether to pursue legal action against the Marines.
That’s exactly why the Iraqis made up the story that Marines seperated the men, took them next door, herded them into a closet, and then killed them there. (Does any of that even make sense to Timmy?)
Of course, the “witnesses” didn’t see any of this happen but who are we to stand between McGirk and a cover story in Time?
A few hours later, Sharratt, Wuterich and Salinas approached a third and fourth house after noticing men they said were peering at them suspiciously.
The investigative reports show that what happened there is unclear. Iraqi witnesses said the Marines angrily separated men and women into two lines before marching the men into the fourth house and shooting them.
The three Marines told investigators they were searching for the men they had seen and separated the women into a safe area before Wuterich and Sharratt entered the house.
Sharratt told investigators that he saw a man raise an AK-47 rifle as if to shoot him. Sharratt said his gun jammed, but he grabbed his 9mm handgun and shot the attacker. He told investigators he saw another man with a rifle and shot him and two others because he "felt threatened." Wuterich also shot at the men, he said. Sharratt has been charged with unpremeditated murder in three of the slayings.
Gary Myers, a lawyer representing Sharratt, declined to comment yesterday.
You can read the original article at the link.
The only mention of closets in the Vanity Fair article, "Rules of Engagement" is at the end...
A man cries, "This is an act denied by God. What did he do? To be executed in the closet? Those bastards! Even the Jews would not do such an act! Why? Why did they kill him this way? Look, this is his brain on the ground!"
The boy continues to sob over the corpse on the floor. He shouts, "Father! I want my father!" Another man cries, "This is democracy?"
Well yeah, well no, well actually this is Haditha. For the United States, it is what defeat looks like in this war.
You can read that at this link.
Charles Gittins, Capt. Stone’s atty, indicated that compensation had been given for all 24 Iraqi’s killed that day. Does this mean that the father, Ahmed Ayed, and the brother, Yousif Ayed, of the four killed in that house received compensation? Even though they were determined to be insurgents at the time?
Looks like some powerful stuff.
That’s what I was thinking but I can’t remember where I read it.
RedRover has developed perhaps the most succint - and only -summaries of the current proceedings available, and while all data is based on news releases by the media (and the press briefs the Marine Corps releases), he's the best one stop source of info around, not taking away from those here who've helped him collect and disseminate, or other extremely diligent Investigative Patriots.
BTW, welcome to Free Republic.
Thank you for the welcome.
Yes there is alot out there and RedRover and friends have done an excellent job putting the info all in one place. I’ve been following this since the beginning, knew it was SO wrong, and then yesterday all of the little puzzle pieces began falling in place for me. Before that everything was just jumbled around in my mind. I should have come here a long time ago. =)