Skip to comments.Personal request from Mark Zaid
Posted on 02/25/2007 12:11:09 AM PST by Bobibutu
Dear Friends, Colleagues and Servicemembers:
Many of you may know that since June 2006, I have served as co-civilian counsel, along with Neal Puckett who is lead counsel (and Of Counsel to my law office), for SSgt Frank Wuterich, USMC. Frank is now facing multiple counts of murder for the events arising from the deaths of 24 Iraqi civilians at Haditha, Iraq on November 19, 2005. He was the squad commander for the 3/1 that tragic day.
This is a highly unusual case for me. Other than the dozen or so military courts-martials I handled back in 1999-2000 dealing with anthrax vaccine refusers, I am not a criminal defense attorney much less a military criminal defense attorney (though I often represent military servicemembers in the civil context in administrative or litigation proceedings against their federal agencies).
Neal brought me in on this case due to the high-profile and sensitive nature of the allegations. This is not a typical military case. It has become highly politicized and, in our opinion, these young Marines are being sacrificed for foreign policy reasons. Indeed, one of the first things Neal and I did after I reviewed the facts of the case known at that time was to initiate, on August 2, 2006, a defamation lawsuit (which has no partisan agenda whatsoever) against Congressman John Murtha for incredibly inappropriate public statements he made that have already been proven by the government's alleged charges to be false. These statements created a further climate that contributed to the public pressures to file charges against our client.
I should point out that the Haditha case has nothing to do with the Hamdania case, which is constantly confused as one and the same. No one has pled guilty, much less confessed, to any crime with respect to Haditha. No one has been confined or shackled. The confusion between the two cases, and other clear examples of criminal conduct in Iraq, has also contributed to the negative - inaccurate - public image of our client and his fellow Marines.
I have reviewed thousands of pages of evidence that few have seen. The deaths of these Iraqi civilians was a terrible tragedy, but it was not a massacre as some in the media have portrayed. And I personally do not believe, based on what I know, that SSgt Wuterich committed a crime that day. War is a terrible thing. Innocent lives are lost. This was not the first time, nor will it be the last. Whenever women, children and the elderly are killed it is natural to want to blame someone. After all, how can it be possible that children are killed and no one is punished? But if the rules of engagement and the laws of war, especially under the circumstances such as existed in Haditha that day, are to mean anything, then SSgt Wuterich is innocent of all charges.
We are set to prove this and defend the law. The Article 32 hearing, which is the initial step within the military system, is scheduled to begin June 4, 2007. There will be a great deal of press, no doubt good and bad, that will appear in the coming months. This case is important enough to me that I am devoting a significant amount of my time to it. There is, in fact, far more at stake than just the eight Marines who have been charged with crimes arising from actions taken that day. What it means to be a U.S. Marine is being challenged. Indeed, the system, and some may even say the War, is on trial.
I wanted to make you aware of a website that has been set up to educate the public about Frank. It provides relevant information about the incident, routinely posts updates on the case and, more importantly, personalizes this young man. I encourage you to take some time and review it.
Moreover, your wide dissemination of this website would be appreciated. Frank needs as many voices in his corner as possible so that justice will be done.
Mmmmmm - link seems to be amiss.
Yeah ... a retired Marine Col. Intel guy gave me the heads-up on this. No credit due here.
Mark Zaid is not only the best clearance lawyer in DC, he's also a good guy as I think is evidenced by this letter.
Thanks for the heads-up.
Thanks for the info piasa.
I have not heard of this man until I read this thread.
What do we know about Sibel Edmonds?
She's a leaker. The press would have us call her a "whistleblower," but then, this is the same press that will not refer to Scooter Libby as a whistleblower because they are too busy accusing him of leaking the identity of Miss "Agent 99" Valerie Plame.
Sibel Edmonds is involved with this bunch of lowlifes:
The group is made up of 10 former employees of the Defense, Labor and State departments, the FBI and the CIA. It includes Daniel Ellsberg, a former Marine who leaked the Pentagon Papers about the Vietnam War to the media in 1971; Sibel Edmonds, who reported security breaches and cover-ups of intelligence within the FBI while working as a contract linguist; Ray McGovern, a 27-year CIA analyst who founded an organization opposed to the invasion of Iraq; and Mary Ann Wright, a career foreign service officer who resigned the day the Iraq war began.
The group compared Iraq to Vietnam, saying that government deception and the reluctance to publicize information carries a significant price in human life and national security. ... Members also issued a list of 12 specific documents they said are being wrongly withheld and should be disclosed by federal workers. The documents relate to prisoners in the war on terrorism, the 9/11 commission investigation, security breaches and misconduct within the FBI, estimates on how many troops were needed to invade and occupy Iraq, and requirements for the postwar restoration of Iraq.
"It is a time for truth-telling. It is a time for unauthorized disclosure," Ellsberg said. "There is a more patriotic and more effective way to serve your country as an official than either by resigning in frustration or continuing to participate as Americans are lied to death. And that way is to tell the truth."
The memo notes that whistleblowers have little legal protection and often end up losing their jobs. Ellsberg said a new support network for whistleblowers is being established. The network includes pro bono legal counsel from the American Civil Liberties Union and advice from the Project on Government Oversight. The network also includes Ellsberg's Truth Telling Project and McGovern's group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. ------- "Whistleblowers urge workers to disclose classified information ," By Chris Strohm, firstname.lastname@example.org , govexec.com, daily briefing, september 9, 2004
The group is called National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC)
take a look at this Ziad guy
To leave a message for the families on Free Republic, please visit these threads.
SSGT. FRANK WUTERICH, OUR SON, OUR HERO posted by Rosemarie and David Wuterich
JUSTIN SHARRATT- MY SON posted by Darryl Sharratt
Like where? What do you propose exactly?
It was rumored early on that Bud Day would be involved with the defense. He is not. The families are getting no support at all expect for small numbers of people on sites like Free Republic.
You're expecting way too much from the families. Their sons could end up in prison and they could be wiped out financially by the legal process. You also want them to research the ideology and memberships of the lawyers involved? And then, do what? Go into a trial empty handed?
So far, Mark Zaid has been a very effective voice for Wuterich and all the Haditha Marines. See, instance, this August 3, 2006 interview on Hardball after Zaid and Puckett filed a lawsuit against John Murtha: Interview with Mark Zaid, attorney for S/Sgt Frank Wuterich.
Getting into all this other stuff doesn't serve any practical purpose. The vigorous defense of the accused is all that should matter.
Why do you think he didn't take the case?
Did you know that Zaid has a security clearance?
Have you personally spoken with him?
Have you seen him act in defense of his clients?
Zaid is a hard working attorney, and does a great deal of work which borders on pro-bono.
You should rethink your position, or at least not launch into a wrongheaded tar & feathers job.
Despite your two posts, you clearly don't know much about him.
Name the one lawyer in DC with the experience and willingness to take on this defense at nearly pro-bono compensation.
Here's an article re. Col.Bud Day and the Haditha Marines
From the article, .."Colonel Day is trying to make sure these young men receive proper treatment, as well as someone to watch over their rights.
I have been contacted to try to sort out whether or not there is a need for civilian council as opposed to military council."
Not only could Day represent these Marines, but he is also gathering the evidence about the case to help make sure they are properly defended.
But gathering the information he needs is becoming extremely difficult.
"Everyone involved in this investigation is keeping this information very close to their vests, and I'm concerned about why and I want to make sure that the marines are well represented.""
My comments - So maybe he was just trying to ensure these Marines got good council and proper treatment? At least these Marines weren't held in the brig in shackles prior to charges and hearings. Maybe his level of involvement got stretched in the rumor mill.
And maybe, the Haditha Marine family members could give Col. Day's office a call, now, and request some PR help.
I know Mark Zaid's name but from another context, I think. Thanks for the ping and information, piasa.
All the civ lawyers are charging reduced rates, but only one is defending a Marine pro bono. He is Daniel Marino, representing SGT Dela Cruz.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Marino has been an absolute zero at defending his client in public (which of course is what a civ attorney can do that a defense JAG can't).
When the Washington Post cherrypicked incriminating evidence from the leaked NCIS Haditha report, Dela Cruz sounded like a heartless killer. Marino was "unavailable for comment" and has yet to make a single public comment.
Only one Marine who was present at Haditha has a PR firm representing him. He is LT William Kallop and he wasn't charged.
You know, bringing up Col. Bud Day is a reminder of what's needed in the Haditha incident. A good PR offensive to counteract all the negative media, politicians, etc. When Col. Day speaks, people, especially military, listen. He may not have the time or resources to take on such a huge and time-consuming case on his own, but maybe he can be enlisted for some good PR for our Marines.
Who else to counteract Murtha? Col. Day. He took on Kerry quite effectively, lending his support to the Vietnam Vets for Truth (I think that was the org.?). He didn't initiate the campaign, but when he appeared in a commercial, it was powerful. Maybe the Haditha Marine families could contact Col. Day's to enlist his support?
Thanks for the ping!
The media has zero interest in the Haditha Marines at the moment. That may change when the Article 32s start in a couple months.
Thank you for posting Mark Zaid's letter in support of SSGT Frank Wuterich.
Since my nephew's a Marine over there and the antiwar wingnuts threaten to undermine what he's fighting for I'm getting a really bad trigger finger on this keyboard. I shouldn't use it so readily, instead pinging others and just asked them to add what they know about the guy without saying more.
As to the question "Should clients inquire about their lawyer's membership in groups which could have a conflict of interest with the case?" They shouldn't have to ask. The lawyer should be absolutely transparent on such things so their clients can weigh the pros and cons of using his services. He should be transparent even if he's the only choice the client has.
That's not to say that this gentleman is a member of anything or that he hasn't been transparent to his clients. I certainly didn't prove his membership in anything and only the clients can judge his transparency, so I requested that my post be deleted.
Prayers up the safety of your nephew. And thank you, FRiend.