Haditha Marine Case Politically Motivated

The prosecution of seven Marines accused in the killings of 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha is so politically motivated they cannot be guaranteed a fair trial, a Marine officer said in testimony played in court Wednesday.

Capt. Jeffrey Dinsmore, who was the intelligence officer for the battalion accused in the Nov. 19, 2005 killings, was called as a witness at the preliminary hearing for Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani, one of four officers charged with dereliction of duty for failing to investigate the deaths.

"You told me that politically, the Marine Corps had made a decision to hang Lieutenant Colonel Chessani out to dry,"
prosecutor Lt. Col. Sean Sullivan asked Dinsmore.

"Yes," he replied.

Dinsmore, whose testimony was videotaped in March, said he doubted prosecutors could be objective given the political climate surrounding the case, and said Chessani was "above reproach."

Sullivan said his job as a prosecutor was to ensure justice was done fairly.

The Haditha killings sparked the biggest criminal case against U.S. troops in the war in Iraq, with three enlisted Marines charged with murder and the four officers accused of dereliction.

The two dozen people were slain after a roadside bomb killed Lance Cpl. Miguel Terrazas who was driving a Humvee. In the aftermath, Marines went house to house looking for insurgents.

They used fragmentation grenades and machine guns to clear the homes, but instead of hitting insurgents, they killed civilians.

Anti-war observers seized on the deaths as evidence that the troops killed indiscriminately. The Marines who fired the fatal shots say they reacted to a perceived threat the way they were trained, and the officers say they saw no evidence of a law-of-war violation.

Chessani's defense team called Dinsmore as a witness to describe what was happening around Haditha in the months leading up to the killings. He said insurgents regularly used hospitals and mosques to launch attacks. Men pretending to be asleep in a house shot and killed a Marine when he entered.

"They would exploit any hesitation in order to gain an advantage,"
Dinsmore said.

After he learned of the roadside bomb blast, Dinsmore said he sent an unmanned aerial surveillance vehicle into the skies above Haditha, where it circled for much of the rest of the day.

The bomb that killed Terrazas was only the first of a citywide series of attacks that left several other Marines injured and insurgents dead, Dinsmore said. He recalled Nov. 19 as being the busiest day of combat in the battalion's tour.

Grainy, black-and-white images captured by the aerial drone were briefly displayed in the courtroom. The photographs showed views of Haditha and what Dinsmore described as insurgents meeting in a palm grove and a house in which they subsequently hid.

Marines went on to raid that house, but several were injured when insurgents threw grenades at them. The Marines then ordered a missile strike that destroyed the house and killed its occupants.

Dinsmore said the feeling among the Marine battalion at the end of the day was that they did well. The commanding general in charge of Marines in Haditha at the time, Maj. Gen. Richard A. Huck, was briefed about the day's combat actions three days later, including details about women and children dying in their homes.

Huck was "congratulatory" about the battalion's actions, Dinsmore testified.

Dinsmore and other Marines initially said eight of the 24 Iraqis killed were insurgents, a claim that was repeated up and down the chain of command and in a press release the day after the attack. But under cross examination from Sullivan, Dinsmore conceded he had no solid evidence to support the claim and said it was possible that all 24 of the Iraqi dead were innocent civilians.

At the end of Chessani's hearing, an investigating officer will make a recommendation about whether the charges should go to trial.

See This Also: Haditha slayings were seen as combat-related

Talk Show America 6/7/2007

Turkey Denies Troops Entered Iraq

Turkish troops crossed into northern Iraq early Wednesday to chase Kurdish guerrillas who attack Turkey from bases there, three Turkish security officials said.

Turkey's foreign minister denied its troops had entered Iraq.
However, the senior security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media, characterized the raid as a "hot pursuit" raid that was limited in scope.

They told The Associated Press it did not constitute the kind of large incursion that Turkish leaders have been discussing in recent weeks.

"It is not a major offensive and the number of troops is not in the tens of thousands," one of the officials told the AP by telephone. The official is based in southeast Turkey, where the military has been battling separatist Kurdish rebels since they took up arms in 1984.

"We can't confirm a thing at this time, but we are looking into it and obviously we are very concerned,"
said Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a military spokesman in Baghdad.

Meanwhile, U.S. officials in Washington told NBC News that Ankara has told the United States that there has been "no Turkish incursion into Iraq."

There was no immediate explanation for the differing statements.

Talk Show America 6/7/2007

Iran Caught Red-Handed Shipping Arms to Taliban

NATO officials say they have caught Iran red-handed, shipping heavy arms, C4 explosives and advanced roadside bombs to the Taliban for use against NATO forces, in what the officials say is a dramatic escalation of Iran's proxy war against the United States and Great Britain.

"It is inconceivable that it is anyone other than the Iranian government that's doing it,"
said former White House counterterrorism official Richard Clarke, an ABC News consultant.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates stopped short earlier this week of blaming Iran, saying the U.S. did not have evidence "of the involvement of the Iranian government in support of the Taliban."

But an analysis by a senior coalition official, obtained by the Blotter on ABCNews.com, concludes there is clear evidence of Iran's involvement.

"This is part of a considered policy," says the analysis, "rather than the result of low-level corruption and weapons smuggling."


Iran and the Taliban had been fierce enemies when the Taliban was in power in Afghanistan, and their apparent collaboration came as a surprise to some in the intelligence community.

"I think their goal is to make it very clear that Iran has the capability to make life worse for the United States on a variety of fronts,"
said Seth Jones of the Rand Institute,
"even if they have to do some business with a group that has historically been their enemy."

The coalition analysis says munitions recovered in two Iranian convoys, on April 11 and May 3, had "clear indications that they originated in Iran. Some were identical to Iranian supplied goods previously discovered in Iraq."

The April convoy was tracked from Iran into Helmand province and led a fierce firefight that destroyed one vehicle, according to the official analysis. A second vehicle was reportedly found to contain small arms ammunition, mortar rounds and more than 650 pounds of C4 demolition charges.

A second convoy of two vehicles was spotted on May 3 and led to the capture of five occupants and the seizure of RPG-7mm rockets and more than 1,000 pounds of C4, the analysis says.

Also among the munitions are components for the lethal EFPs, or explosive formed projectiles, the roadside bombs that U.S. officials say Iran has provided to Iraqi insurgents with deadly results.

"These clearly have the hallmarks of the Iranian Revolution Guards' Quds force,"
said Jones.

The coalition diplomatic message says the demolition charges
"contained the same fake U.S. markings found on explosives recovered from insurgents operating in the Baghdad area."

"We believe these intercepted munitions are part of a much bigger flow of support from Iran to the Taliban,"
the message says.

Talk Show America 6/7/2007

Fourth Suspect in Terror Plot Surrenders




A Guyanese suspect in an alleged plot to attack New York's John F. Kennedy Airport surrendered to police Tuesday in Trinidad, a police official said.

Abdel Nur turned himself in at a police station outside the Trinidadian capital of Port-of-Spain, police spokeswoman Wendy Campbell told The Associated Press.

Nur is the fourth man in custody in the allege plot to blow up fuel lines that feed the airport. Two other men are already in custody in Trinidad and the fourth is in the United States.

Talk Show America 6/6/2007

Libby Sentenced in Obstruction and Perjury Case

Former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison Tuesday for lying and obstructing the CIA leak investigation.

Libby was convicted in March of lying and obstructing an investigation into the 2003 leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity.

The highest-ranking White House official convicted in a government scandal since the Iran-Contra affair, Libby has steadfastly maintained his innocence.

"It is respectfully my hope that the court will consider, along with the jury verdict, my whole life,"
Libby said in brief remarks to the judge.

Walton fined Libby $250,000 and placed him on probation for two years following his release from prison. Walton did not immediately address whether Libby could remain free pending appeal.

With letters of support from several former military commanders and White House and State Department officials, Libby asked for no jail time. His supporters cited a government career in which Libby helped win the Cold War and the first Gulf War.

"He has fallen from public grace," defense attorney Theodore Wells said. "It is a tragic fall, a tragic fall."


UPDATE:


Court advisers lean to leniency in Libby's sentencing today:

Former vice presidential aide Lewis "Scooter" Libby should be considered for leniency when he's sentenced today on perjury and other charges, says the office that helps federal judges calculate sentences.

Libby qualifies for a lighter sentence than the 15 to 21 months recommended by federal sentencing guidelines, says the U.S. district court's probation office. The office, which filed its recommendations in court papers, cites Libby's public service, damage already done to his career and the fact he was not charged with or convicted of the "underlying crime" for which he was investigated.

Libby attorney Theodore Wells argued in legal papers that Libby should receive probation, perhaps combined with community service.
Wells said Fitzgerald made "misleading" claims about Libby's role in the Plame investigation, and urged Judge Reggie Walton to reject Fitzgerald's "incomplete or distorted picture" of Libby.

Probation offices and prosecutors rarely differ on a suggested sentence, says Mark Allenbaugh, a former U.S. Sentencing Commission attorney now practicing sentencing law in California. "Usually, they're joined at the hip."

Talk Show America 6/6/2007

Recent Successes In Iraq in the War on Terror

Coalition and Iraqi forces killed a terrorist and detained 15 suspected terrorists during raids today in Baghdad, Mosul and Karmah, Iraq, official reported.

-- Based on information gained from a previous operation in Anbar province, coalition forces in Mosul captured a suspected senior terrorist leader connected to the al Qaeda network. Military officials said the individual also is suspected of making decisions on enforcing religious punishments and operating a smuggling ring transporting weapons and cargo.

-- Coalition forces detained 12 suspected terrorists tied to the al Qaeda senior leader network in Karmah. Officials said one individual is a close contact with several high-level terrorist leaders.

-- An individual detained today in a Baghdad raid is believed to be a member of the secret cell terrorist network known for facilitating the transport of weapons and explosively formed penetrators from Iran to Iraq for terrorist training, military officials said.

Coalition forces entered the roof of a targeted building. While on the roof, one armed terrorist attempted to engage coalition forces with an AK-47 rifle. Responding to the perceived threat, the coalition forces engaged and killed the armed terrorist. Intelligence reports indicate the suspected terrorist detained is an integral member of the bombing network. He also is believed to be responsible for numerous attacks against coalition forces, including heavy involvement in mortar attacks by personally observing and adjusting fire in recent days.

"Eliminating the (explosively formed penetrator) threat from the battlefield is a top priority for (Multinational Force Iraq)," said Army Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. "Captures like this one represent steady, deliberate progress against the network that brings them in to Iraq and uses them against coalition and Iraqi security forces."


In other recent operations, Iraqi special operations forces yesterday conducted an early morning operation in Baghdad targeting a suspected senior militia leader. The man is thought to be responsible for coordinating and conducting kidnappings, small-arms attacks against innocent civilians and coalition forces, inciting sectarian violence, and directing the placement of bombs.

While conducting this operation, forces came under heavy small arms fire from unknown insurgents, but suppressed the attack with well-aimed fire. This is one in a series of raids that Iraqi forces are conducting in support of Baghdad's "Enforcing the Law" security plan under the guidance of coalition forces.

Talk Show America 6/6/2007

What is it about Winning America does not understand?

The View of a Perplexed Veteran

Something has bothered me greatly since I became involved with "The Gathering of Eagles." That is when we are mentioned, if at all, by the "Main Stream Media,"
" they always refer to us as "PRO WAR VETERANS." I do not know any combat veteran that is "PRO WAR."
However, we veterans know that as one of our earliest patriots, Thomas Jefferson said,
"From time to time the tree of liberty must be watered with the blood of tyrants and patriots."
We, the combat veterans, know that unfortunate as it is, wars shall and must be fought until the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. This sad fact is borne out in Scripture in Jesus' own words as found in Luke 21:9.

But ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by. Lu. 21:9. KJV.

With these thoughts in mind, I have a few questions for my fellow citizens of this great nation.

Why is it that only the veterans fully understand that the freedoms we enjoy here have been paid for by the blood and sacrifices of brave men and women for over 230 years?

Why is it that these veterans wake up every morning and thank God that they breathe the fresh air of freedom?

Why is it that these veterans know without any doubt that the freedoms we so cherish can and will be taken away if we as a nation are not willing to fight for them?

Why is it that only the veterans seem to learn from history?

What has happened to the people of this great nation? Most of whom seem to be more interested in "what can I get from this country?" Rather than, "what can I do for MY country! Is it only the veterans who remember the words of our fallen President John F. Kennedy;
"Ask NOT what your country can do for YOU, ask instead what YOU can do FOR YOUR COUNTRY!"


I have a suggestion for my fellow citizens. Lets get off the "Appeasement" merry-go-round. This very bad habit started during the Korean War when those who have never fought on the front lines of any war, the politicians, totally ignored this nations history and the advice of one of this nations greatest generals, Gorge S. Patton Jr. General Patton said this about fighting a war;

"If we must fight a war then there is only one way to fight it. You grab your enemy by the collar and kick him in the butt until his nose bleeds. Then you shove an unconditional surrender document in front of him. If he refuses to sign it, you go back to kicking him in the butt until he begs to sign it."

However, the civilian politicians ignored history and General Patton's advice, and sat down to talk with the enemy. While brave young men were still fighting and dying, they talked until the enemy was "APPEASED." That "APPEASEMENT" led the United States into the war in Vietnam where once again, as our brave young men were still fighting and dying the politicians sat down with the enemy and talked. This old combat veteran wrote a poem on this subject some years ago, several lines from that poem apply here.

In Paris the two sides sat at nice big tables and talked
while in the jungles and rice paddies we still walked

While they toasted each other with fine champagne
we fought bloody battles in the monsoon rain

As they partied late into the night
my brothers died in firefights

This on going attitude of "political appeasement" has led us to where we are today. So why don't "WE" the American people tell our elected SERVANTS in Washington, DC to let our military do what we pay them to do? That is fight the enemies of our nation until they fully and unequivocally understand they have chosen to fight with the wrong dog! That American's will NOT go peacefully into that long good night. The WE, as a nation of freedom loving people, will NOT allow our freedoms to be either taken away, nor given away by our elected SERVANTS! That we the AMERICAN PEOPLE, have placed deep in our collective hearts, and not just the hearts of the veterans, the words of President John F. Kennedy;

"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of LIBERTY!"

Now, I have one last question for you; Does any part of that statement sound even remotely like "APPEASEMENT?"

God Bless Our Military

God Bless Our Veterans

God Bless The USA

Rev Ernie (Smiling Hawk) Tucker
SFC US Army Airborne (Ret)
Chaplain Aaron A. Weaver Chapter 776
Military Order of The Purple Heart
Scout/Sniper Vietnam 68-69

Hat Tip To: My Good Friend Gunner at Gunner's Blog

Talk Show America 6/6/2007

Military Judges Dismiss Charges Against 2 Gitmo "Enemy Combatants"

Two Military Judges dismissed charges against two Gitmo detainees yesterday. Charges were dismissed against Canadian Omar Khadr and later dismissed against Yemeni detainee Salim Ahmed Hamdan.

The reason for the dismissals ?

The issue in both cases was the status of the detainees as determined by their Combatant Status Review Tribunals. Both detainees were classified as "enemy combatants," one of only two designations offered by the administrative hearings, but the Military Commissions Act of 2006 requires that a detainee be classified as an "unlawful enemy combatant" to be tried by military commission.


In announcing his decision, Allred said that the CSRT determination, in 2004, was made to determine the proper detention of detainees, not their qualification for military commissions. Also, the CSRT finding used a much less stringent definition for "enemy combatant" than the Military Commissions Act uses for "unlawful enemy combatant," he said.

Allred also noted that the CSRT was conducted two years before the Military Commissions Act was signed into law, and Hamdan may well have acted differently if he knew the hearing would determine whether he would be tried by military commission.

Hamdan was charged with conspiracy and providing material support for terrorism. The specific allegations included that he was a bodyguard and personal driver for Osama bin Laden and transported weapons, ammunition and supplies for al Qaeda.

Joseph McMillan, one of Hamdan's civilian attorneys, argued that U.S. law establishes that jurisdiction of military courts is very limited and must be specifically defined. The charge sheet against Hamdan fails to state the facts on which jurisdiction depends, and instead is very vague, McMillan said.
He urged Allred not to ignore the word "unlawful," as it was inserted into the law purposefully to ensure lawful enemy combatants are not subject to the law of war.

(Huh? What is the definition of a "lawful enemy combatant" ? The very term suggests that the enemy combatant's actions are "Unlawful" Talk about political correctness and splitting hairs, WOW.)


Allred allowed that the prosecution may have evidence that proves Hamdan is an unlawful enemy combatant, but making that determination will require either reopening the 2004 CSRT or establishing a new one. The prosecution asked for 72 hours to consider appealing Allred's decision, and their request was granted.

Read More Here

Talk Show America 6/5/2007

Iraqi Army Kills Al-Qaeda Leader in Baghdad

Iraqi soldiers have killed a senior Al-Qaeda leader in a clash inside one of Baghdad's historic Sunni quarters, military spokesman Brigadier General Qassim Atta said Monday.

"He was from Al-Qaeda, they called him the 'Governor of Adhamiyah'," Atta told AFP. "He was killed during clashes with the 11th Division's first brigade this morning, and 11 of his aides were arrested."

Adhamiyah is a Sunni enclave in north Baghdad, a cluster of streets around an historic mosque surrounded by a US-built concrete security barriers and hostile Shiite districts roamed by militia fighters.

Atta said the alleged Al-Qaeda chieftain was an Iraqi citizen known as Abu Abdullah al-Adhab -- "Abu Abdullah with the crippled arm."

Abdullah's death is the second reported killing of an Al-Qaeda street captain since last week, when nationalist insurgents in the Sunni suburb of Amiriyah violently turned against Al-Qaeda's Islamists.

Talk Show America 6/5/2007

LA. Rep. Jefferson Indicted

Congressman William Jefferson, D-La., has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Alexandria.

The 16 count indictment has just been returned.

The charges include racketeering, solicitation of bribes, honest services wire fraud, money laundering, obstruction of justice, violating the foreign corrupt practices act, and conspiracy. The indictment relates to a bribery scheme for him and his family and his bribing a Nigerian official.

The indictment is 94 pages. If convicted on all charges Jefferson would be sentenced to 235 years in prison.

Jefferson has been under investigation for some time for accepting bribes in relation to help steer contracts to businesses in Nigeria.

FBI agents searched his home and congressional offices last year. FBI agents recovered $90,000 in cash from his home which was stored in a coffee can in his freezer.

Talk Show America 6/5/2007

NY Times Buried Airport Terror Plot Story

A major terror plot to blow up fuel tanks and a pipeline feeding New York’s JFK airport and nearby residential communities made front-page news this weekend across the nation. The terror story also led all the major network and cable news shows.

But The New York Times didn't think the story was so important.

In fact, on Sunday the country's leading liberal daily carried a simple one-paragraph reference to the story on its first page, buried in the news brief section. The Times brief said the plot posed "no imminent danger."

The front-page brief referred the reader to a full story on Page 30 in the "New York Metro" section of the day's paper.

Interestingly, the Times story acknowledged the seriousness of the threat, noting that one of the four suspects in the plot, Russell Defreitas, had boasted that the destruction at the airport would be so vast that "even the twin towers can't touch it."

The Times reported: "Officials said the four men determined to carry out their attack, having conducted 'precise and extensive' surveillance of the airport using photographs, video . . . and satellite images downloaded from Google Earth.

"They said the men had also traveled repeatedly to Guyana and Trinidad in recent months, seeking to obtain the blessing and financial backing of an extremist Muslim group based in Trinidad and Tobago called Jamaat al-Muslimeen, which was behind a failed coup attempt in Trinidad in 1990."

But in downplaying the story, the Times stressed that the airport was "never in imminent danger because the plot was only in a preliminary phase."

What did the Times deem fit to print on its front page ? The two featured stories on the page were headlined: "A legal debate in Guantanamo on boy fighters" and "President's push on immigration tests GOP base."

Talk Show America 6/5/2007

Al Qaeda: Captured US Soldiers Killed

Al-Qaida linked insurgents killed three American soldiers after capturing them last month in Iraq, according to a militant video released Monday that claimed to show footage of the ambush.

The video, which was made available to The Associated Press by the Washington-based SITE Institute, showed confused and jerky night battle scenes, and later offered close-ups of two identification cards.

"The Americans sent 4,000 soldiers looking for them," said an unidentified voice on the video, which was made available to The Associated Press by the Washington-based SITE Institute. "They were alive and then dead."

At the end of the 10-minute 41-second video, the identification cards of the two missing soldiers were shown, with the headline: "Bush is the reason of the loss of your POWs" written on the screen above the cards. SITE did not say how it obtained the video, which featured the logo of media production house of the Islamic State of Iraq.

Along with the identification cards, the footage also showed credit cards, American and Iraqi money and other personal items that they called the militants called the "booty."

The video also showed footage, apparently taken before the ambush, of three masked men standing around a stand displaying a sketch of the area, mapping out the attack plan. One of the three men, who were all dressed in black, talked to the camera and pointed to the sketch. Another stood by him carrying a gun.

"I have urged you to bring me American prisoners. We will review now a previously prepared study in our zone to bring the enemy to a good area, and with God's help we will be able to storm their place and capture them at night,"
said the man, whose name was not given but was identified as one of the militant group's leaders.

Talk Show America 6/5/2007