Skip to comments.The Haditha Marines-The Squad Leader-A Final Chapter (SSgt Wuterich-Master Thread)
Posted on 01/02/2012 10:28:48 AM PST by smoothsailing
January 2, 2012
It certainly seems appropriate that the last defendant in the Haditha case is the squad leader, SSgt Frank Wuterich. Leaders take responsibility, and SSgt Wuterich has taken full responsibility for the actions of his squad in Haditha. His stance from the outset has remained clear:
As the last Marine originally charged in the deaths of Iraqis in Haditha, Iraq in 2005, SSgt Wuterich will be seated at the defense table in his general court-martial two days from now, Wednesday, January 4th. Barring last minute motions or outright dismissal of charges, jury selection will begin Wednesday or Thursday. SSgt. Wuterich will be tried by a jury of combat-experienced Marines, and the panel will include at least two Marines from the enlisted ranks.
Much has been written over the last six years about Haditha, and links to some of the most recent news articles and commentaries are included at the bottom of this post to help bring readers up to date. For older Free Republic postings, please use this link or enter the keyword Haditha in the Free Republic search engine.
The purpose of this Free Republic thread is to serve as a "Master Post" where trial news and updates can be brought together in one place for easy reference by those interested in following the proceedings as they unfold.
Freepers Smoothsailing, Red Rover, and Jazusamo will monitor the thread, post updates, and attempt to answer questions or direct readers to information sources. Jazusamo maintains the Haditha Marine Ping List. Please ask Jazusamo to be added to the ping list if you wish to be alerted to updates.
Recent News and Commentary:
MILITARY TIMES-Haditha Marine Faces Trial
Count Down to the Last Haditha Trial
MILITARY: Two high-profile cases set for Pendleton courtrooms
Remember SSgt Frank D. Wuterich: The last Haditha Marine goes on trial
Dont rewrite Murthas legacy (Haditha Marines)
It was a Word document attachment to an e-mail. I saw it in the hacked files so I know it’s legit.
Attachments were separated from the e-mails (which are html documents) so that’s one reason among others that it’s hard to always get the context.
That explains it. Thanks Red.
Wow.. I guess I’ve made it pretty clear in my recent rants that Puckett is not somebody I would hire.
I thought Brian Rooney did a nice job.
Thanks, Red. I didn’t understand that but it makes sense now.
It is bound to lead to conspiracy theories, not just because of the involvement of Alan West. Puckett says some mysterious things below (especially in light of subsequent events)...
...as a retired Marine Officer (and possible TBS classmate of yours in 1977), I feel an obligation to brief you on issues that extend far beyond the court-martial and the interests of my client. There are serious concerns I have about what the world (read: Al Jazeera) and the country will learn about what did not happen as well as what did, with the investigation and prosecution if this case must go to trial. (Ironically and coincidentally, Al Jazeera called me 10 minutes ago to ask about the scheduling of the case). We have discovered, as a result of the passage of time and our own investigation, chilling facts about the case that will never be briefed by the prosecution team but which ought, in the best interests of the Marine Corps, to be considered at your level.
I want to assure you that since you are no longer the convening authority, but even if you were, there is nothing inappropriate about you speaking with me and my law partner and co-counsel, Retired Marine Major Haytham Faraj, about the wider implications of this case. We will not be bringing you a "deal" or any recommended courses of action. We're only interested in informing you about the results of our investigation and previously undiscovered facts and evidence that will be a necessary part of the trial. These, by the way, are facts that had they been discovered at the time, should have resulted in a completely different approach to the entire incident at Haditha. But then again we Marines have always been about "lessons learned."
Now that is odd. Their could be a simple explanation. Maybe he was trying to get a message to a former convening authority to pressure both the current convening authority and the prosecutors to reconsider their charges based on results from the defense’ investigations. If the defense investigation actually showed Dela Cruz was the more likely shooter vs. Wuterich, how would the military look if they had given the shooter immunity to lie about Wuterich....
This could have been nothing more than trying to influence getting a plea deal, getting charges dropped...maybe?
"There are serious concerns I have about what the world (read: Al Jazeera) and the country will learn about what did not happen as well as what did, with the investigation and prosecution if this case must go to trial."
First of all, I'm sick up to here about what "the world" thinks about America and our troops. This lawyer needed to worry first and foremost about his client, not what "the world" might think. Screw "the world". Was Puckett more concerned about the reputation of a Marine Corps and Pentagon that chose to dump on eight of its young warriors than he was about the one he was supposed to be defending? It almost sounds like it.
He had to know that a veiled threat wouldn't get the charges dropped. How would the Marines Corps be expected to explain that to "the world"? To me the nagging question remains: Why, after the first few prosecution witnesses fell flat on their faces, did the trial suddenly screech to a halt so the defense could inexplicably snatch defeat from the jaws of victory?
By the way, I try to keep in mind that Defend Our Marines and six years worth of Free Republic 'Haditha' threads were about ALL EIGHT of those Marines who were charged, not just the last one. The more I think about this whole thing and how it ended, the more I think I understand where Dinsmore was coming from with his piece.
IMO, the events at Haditha were done with express consent and approval of the higher command. Just another day in Iraq. Until McGirk got to yowling. Along with his puke friends. Including Murtha.
Then it was run for the hills and CYA time.
The word debacle works well here.
Puckett believed charges against Dela Cruz never should have been dropped—that’s part, or maybe all, of what he means in his post-trial comments. There’s more than enough question about which man shot first.
Rumor has it that an exchange between Puckett and Sullivan started the deal negotiation.
At some point during the proceedings, Puckett (it’s been said) turned to Sullivan and remarked, “This was always a negligence of duty case. It should never have been about murder.”
Whether that exchange is entirely accurate or not, it does reflect Puckett’s view. And it seems Puckett would accept anything other than the government getting everything it wanted as a victory for Team Puckett.
So if I had to guess, Puckett told Gen Dunsford (if a meeting ever took place) that the Corps had given immunity to a bad guy and that would come out unless they’d make a deal for negligence.
But we don’t know if Dunsford agreed to meet with Puckett and Faraj or not.
The “world opinion” argument is pretty funny. The world doesn’t read past the headlines. The media told them it was a massacre and they believed it. Puckett’s best shot to influence world opinion would have been to win exoneration. And then to have told the world why it was not a massacre in his press conferences.
Agree with your theory, Red.
Pretty sad if Puckett thought SSgt Wuterich deserved this punishment vs being exonerated. Although I don’t know exactly what happened that day back in 2005, from everything I’ve read, I believe SSgt Wuterich DID deserve this exoneration. The Marines (in general) deserved this exoneration.
Puckett sure seems to worry a lot about other people who aren't his client..
Theres more than enough question about which man shot first.
In a "hot" area, and in response to a deadly ambush, I want to be in a squad full of guys who shoot first. Congratulations to whoever did shoot first. I don't see any relevancy to the case. If indeed the defense got mired in these kinds of details rather than developing a "big picture" defense about what the intel said about Haditha, what happened to Terrazas, the response that followed the ambush, and the bogus way the charges came to be brought in the first place, then that is more evidence of incompetence, IMO. (Those captioned pictures and detailed timelines always seemed... extraneous to me. Marines ambushed, Marine killed, Marines respond in accordance with their training and on order of an officer (1stLt Kallop). Is it really necessary to establish anything more? Case closed.)
At some point during the proceedings, Puckett (its been said) turned to Sullivan and remarked, This was always a negligence of duty case. It should never have been about murder.
Huh... that sounds just like something Puckett might have picked up from an earlier investigation... it also sounds like Puckett wanted a quick, easy way out... The more I read, the more I think this guy should be disbarred, if half this stuff is true.
So if I had to guess, Puckett told Gen Dunsford (if a meeting ever took place) that the Corps had given immunity to a bad guy and that would come out unless theyd make a deal for negligence.
Wow.. I don't think even Puckett could be that lame. Maybe, since Puckett is so concerned with other people's clients, he was pissed off about the officer who showed up and told Wuterich to clear the houses, then walked away with hardly another mention. Maybe it's not Dela Cruz, but Kallop, who Puckett was threatening to smear.
Subject: Haditha - Political Strategy
From: "Mark S. Zaid" Mark@MarkZaid.com
Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2011 20:25:07 -0400
Authentication-results: mx.google.com; spf=neutral (google.com: 184.108.40.206 is neither permitted nor denied by best guess record for domain of email@example.com) firstname.lastname@example.org br> Cc: Mark Zaid
Thread-topic: Haditha - Political Strategy
Guys, I spoke privately yesterday with Congressman Duncan Hunter about Wuterich's situation. He is willing to help see about making this whole case go away. He wants me to talk with one of his staffers and I am waiting to hear back from the guy (another Marine).
I also met with Col G.I. Wilson USMC (ret) who I know through a client. You may know him. He knows Brahams and about the case. He is also willing to do what he can, including talking with the current Marine Commandant who he knows, about dropping the case
Hunter blew you off and Wilson doesn't have the horsepower. Please hold off.
Oral arguments at NMCCA (Navy Yard) are set for 8 Aug. You're invited! Time TBD.
Yes, it’s always been about all eight.
I do know the lawyers of the seven cooperated with each other and wanted to cooperate with Puckett but he wouldn’t have it.
One lesson is that cases of military justice go best for the defendants when they stay united. Compare the Haditha case to Hamdaniya (or however it’s spelled) where there was a great splintering.
I’m just a civilian puke, but I think squads should be tried as squads—all eight on trial at once—for reasons Lancey spelled out above.
The pdf at the link you posted contains 13 e-mails, some we’ve already talked about.
The one from Bob to Puckett in reference to the Grayson promotion removal letter is a new one I hadn’t seen before. It’s the first even vaguely remote connection to DOM I’m aware of.
Yes, I tipped Bob off about it.
Hey Red !
Have you uncovered any emails resembling this yet?
To: Free Republic
Subject: Re: Haditha massacre
Date: Tue, 24 Jan 2008 18:14:54 +0900
Your wishes came true! I won AND got done today and will be ready for departure tomorrow. Prosecutor argued strenuously for manslaughter. They convicted my client of negligent dereliction. Max authorized sentence was 30 days. They gave a pass on jail time and demoted him to private. Fair, in my mind. The whole case was in the verdict though, not the sentence. As I told you, I didn’t care if they gave him 30 days. Because remember the best the gov’t offered was life, but he was required to plead guilty to unpremeditated murder (a charge that Wuterich doesn’t face any more). Wasn’t going to happen. So instead they LOSE the trial and get ony 15% of what they thought is was worth. Another win for Team Puckett! There will no doubt be a 3rd feature article in Stars and Stripes to conclude the case. If not tomorrow, then on Friday. Perhaps we can post all 3 on the website and/or blog?
Neal A. Puckett, Esq.
LtCol, USMC (Ret)
The Law Firm of Puckett & Faraj, PC
Washington DC - San Diego CA
Oops. The year on that email should be 2012, not 2008. (Obviously!)
Wow, that really fits as his mentality, doesn’t it?
This is now being reported on various websites...
Haytham Faraj, one of the partners in Puckett and Faraj, posted this response to the hack on Facebook page:
Anonymous hacked into my business email account and stole over 3 gigs of email communications. Ironically, I am a supporter of Anonymous’ declared mission of exposing corruption, injustice, hypocrisy and governments acting in secret. I also supported Wikileaks. I volunteered to defend Bradley Manning and did a 30 minute interview on BBC TV about him. Anonymous will not find a smoking gun in the Haditha emails. In fact they will discover that which I stated all along. Wuterich did not shoot or kill women and children. He was entitled to a defense like everyone else in a free society. By putting my emails in the public sphere Anonymous did not violate my privacy. There is nothing in those emails about me. It violated the privacy rights of hundreds, perhaps thousands of other people who were entitled to their privacy by publishing their personal email and telephone information, to disclosing private and personal information that clients share with lawyers believing that the information will remain private and confidential. I am upset by Anonymous’ thoughtless acts.
I was a little taken aback by the quote from Faraj on Gawker--not related to the SSgt Wuterich--regarding "war crimes" by Israelis...
Major WTF. What would a "competent authority" be? Why just Israelis and not Palestinians?
I don't know if it is as sound as bad as it sounds ~ and it indeed it does sounds self serving to the point of being callous.
He could just be whooping up a huge victory, probably the biggest he's had, for both his firm and his client....and this would be his firm's victory dance.
I'm not as inclined to dwell on how big the victory as much as Frank being able to be with his family tonight..and tomorrow, and for now on.
2nd sentance tied in knot...
He’s absolutely right about those turkeys violating the privacy rights of hundreds or thousands of people but I am very surprised he supports Wikileaks and Manning.
Exactly. I found the Faraj comments troubling. Is he an anti-Semite? Maybe Frank is lucky his name is Wuterich and not Weinstein.
It surprised me too. One minute I think Puckett & Faraj are solid conservatives, and then stuff like this pops up. (Shaking head)
I agree absolutely about Frank.
But Puckett is another matter.
If Puckett had just left the court and disappeared then I wouldn’t have a word to say about him. But when he starts giving press conferences and says true justice wasn’t possible because Marines were given immunity in exchange for testimony, I have a major problem.
He attempted to cast a shadow of doubt on every previous exoneration. And that is so unnecessary, so uncalled for, it pisses me off no end.
So it all comes back to trying to understand the man and his character.
It was pretty easy to do.
I simply copy-and-pasted Puckett's own email and changed a few words here and there.
Wow. That's for sure.
This, and volunteering to defend Bradley Manning tells me more than I need to know about Faraj...
Did Faraj "volunteer" to "defend" Frank Wuterich?
I hadn’t read the Gawker /Israeli tracking, generally avoid logging on sites like that...now I wonder long how he’s been practicing this unfortunate pass time.
I picture you writing that while sitting in a bar, reviewing the steps that lead to that “Boyene” tattoo.
LOL....best laugh I’ve had all day!
I still got it! Jump back, kiss myself!
>> as much as Frank being able to be with his family tonight..and tomorrow, and for now on.
We’ve seen the zealotry and endless resources thrown at prosecuting the Haditha Marines. I don’t fault SSgt Wuterich for the decision to wrap up this witch hunt. But I tell ya’, this unexpected powder keg is raising a lot of questions about the process.
This is getting really weird. Defense team psy-ops?
For those that had a problem with it, I guess Chessani’s team, TMLC, is looking pretty good right now...
Could be, and why not! Puckett & Faraj are Marines, we should expect them to fight back.
I second that!
"We feel bad for our clients," he said. However, those who hacked the firm "don't appear to be posting or calling attention to" the stolen emails.
Girl, he read your mind...
Given the firm's track record of defending soldiers against the U.S. government that Anonymous frequently criticizes, the firm seems like a strange target for the group, he points out.
"If you have a problem with injustice, how about hacking the prosecutors?" Puckett jokes, adding: "We've been trying to laugh so we won't cry about all this."
This hack was just not all that sophisticated. So either (as I speculated) it was dumped on Anonymous or (as they claim) it wasn't them.
Never had a problem w/ TMLC.
They showed righteous indignation from the very beginning and did a great job, IMO.
If Puckett and Faraj ain’t sweating it (and it sure sounds that way), I’m just going to relax and enjoy it all.
See you round, kiddo!
This is one of the comnments from below the story:
Feb 7, 2012 9:30 AM CST
First of all, there isnt any equipment that can crack a password with a brute force method method, that; rapidly tries out all possible combinations of google email passwords. That type of method was rendered virtually impossible many years ago by the use captchas, meaning that after 5-10 incorrect password attempts, the user will be presented with a test, such as a distorted word, that they are required to read and retype correctly before proceeding. Automatic computer programs can not read the captacha, so if a correct answer is typed, the user is assumed to be human. With each subsequent guess, a new captcha is generated, that must be answered correctly, for the very purpose of making it impossible to use an automatic program that rapidly tries out all possible combinations.
Second, there is no such thing as a hacking collective named Anonymous. The is a name that is just being used by, oh, just about any and every basement dwelling script kiddie on the planet, most of who couldnt hack their way out of a paper bag without being handed a sharp stick and a 20 page tutorial.
Third, if all that was hacked (and I use that word loosely) were passwords to email accounts, most likely the perps. used either a password stealer program or just went phishing. Both methods rely primarily on the use of social engineering, meaning that they just tricked some dumb sap(s) into opening a spoofed email and downloading an infected attachment, or into inputting their username and password into a faked (phished) websitesite.
A companys security system is only as strong as its most gullible employee