The so-called witnesses against the Marines charged with the murder of civilians in Haditha have some issues, to say the least.
First there is the videographer/student/old man/activist/terrorist supporter that started the whole story rolling. Then there are the multiple conflicting stories from the residents of Haditha who worship at the altar of Zarqawi. The child who covered her ears because she knew the bomb was going to go off. The reporters from Reuters who were jailed for terrorist ties. Now another "witness" has run into some trouble but has thrown out the "Haditha Defense" to excuse his lawlessness.
This from a local ABC news affiliate...
Prosecutors here in Kings County say they were not shocked to hear of the new charges against Corporal Briones. Military officers have been investigating the allegations for a year and finally felt they had enough evidence.The Valley marine accused of stealing a truck, driving drunk and then crashing into two houses in Hanford last April now faces five serious charges from the military. LT Estaban Vickers says, "He's charged with UCMJ Article 120, rape and false official statements, stealing, theft, violation of postal code so it's pretty heavy charges."
The US military says Ryan Briones sent seized weapons and military night-vision goggles to the U.S. It's not known to whom or where he sent them. Vickers says the military is also accusing Briones of having a female visitor in his room overnight and raping her. Legal documents show the rape occurred on or around July 14th of last year. Briones was out on bail at that time and based at Camp Pendleton. If he's convicted of these charges, it could be the end of his military career.
This is the young man I wrote about in May 2006...
He was not a witness to the actual event. In the LA Times story, Briones stated that his "team of five men was called to respond to a roadside bomb explosion about 300 yards outside of Kilo company's firm Base Sparta, located at an abandoned school." This was approximately 7am. After assisting in the evacuation of two other injured Marines, Briones went back to the base. He and his team were called back to the scene of the explosion at approx 1730 the same day.
Then there is this story about Briones, courtesy of the Hanford Sentinel from April 5, 2006... (there is no available link because the story is archived and you have to pay to read it)"Police said Briones stole a Ford pickup truck from the driveway of Michael Harris' house... and drove it a short distance before crashing into two houses... The truck lodged in the second house it hit. Briones climbed out the back window of the truck and ran down the street... Officers took Briones into custody after a short struggle, police reported. He was booked into Kings County Jail on suspicion of vehicle theft, hit and run, driving under the influence and resisting arrest."
According to a story in the Hanford Sentinel from the day before, the pickup "rammed through the front door of a house - scattering a playpen, children's toys and furniture inside the house... The second house hit sustained major damage with the cab of the truck entirely inside the home." Thank God no one in either home was hurt.
In the LA Times story, Briones' mother, who reports that her son is being treated for PTSD and alcholism, wrote a letter to local authorities seeking leniency in the criminal case. She wrote "My son saw what the Marines did, and he knew who did it before the Haditha investigations began." She also wrote "He saw the killings and knew who sent the word out to do the killings, he had to clean up the bodies of children who were sleeping in their beds and he saw his best friend die in front of his eyes." (actually he did not see the killings, was not privy to any commands at the scene and did not witness the car bomb explosion).
This guy is using his supposed "exposure" to death and destruction in Haditha for his bad behavior and criminal acts. I don't buy it for a minute. Hopefully the judge in Briones' cases won't either.
I'm anxiously awaiting to find out who was the leaker to the WaPo...