Every day I learn something knew. Some days its good stuff. Some days its trivial stuff. Then there are days like today when I learn something that makes my blood boil and my stomach churn.
In Lance Cpl Justin Sharratt's Article 32 Hearing today, the NCIS investigator gave some disturbing testimony. Part of her testimony was disturbing because it highlighted just how biased the media has been in reporting the Haditha incident investigation... From the NC Times...
A lance corporal charged with murder in the death of three Iraqi brothers in 2005 passed a polygraph examination when asked whether he was being truthful when he said the first man he shot inside a home was holding an AK-47 assault rifle, according to testimony heard this morning.
The test administered last spring showed there was no apparent deception in the account provided by Lance Cpl. Justin Sharratt, said Naval Criminal Investigative Service Special Agent Nayda Mannle.
Yeah - yeah - I know all about polygraphs and how they are not allowed into testimony in civilian court cases. But this is a Military hearing and it's allowed. But put this little reminder in your pipe - the Washington Post and Vanity Fair each had access to the NCIS investigative report. Both reported lurid details of dead children in their pajamas and school boys gunned down in the street. BUT neither one bothered to report that LCPL Sharratt had passed a lie detector test. WHY? Would that dampen the flames of Murtha's My Lai Claim? Would it make those "innocent civilians" look like, God forbid, Terrorists?
Amazing, but not really considering the media, that the word of questionable sources was taken over the Marines. I mean we've come to expect that from the media. BUT do you expect that from NCIS Investigators?
"While acknowledging that the polygraph did not indicate that Sharratt's account to investigators was deceptive, Mannle also testified that the account the Marines gave of what happened when four homes were stormed by the Marines did not match what some family members of the slain Iraqis said occurred."
You mean that the "civilians" who knew about roadside bombs planted underneath the road and then paved over told a different story? I'm shocked...
But I've yet to touch on the most disturbing part of Mannle's testimony. Our Marines are being put on trial based on an incomplete NCIS investigation!
His attorneys are trying to show inconsistencies in the investigation, focusing many of their questions on why government agents did not pursue full background reports on the men who died inside the fourth home, particularly one man who worked on the Jordanian border and may have had several Jordanian passports in his possession.
Mannle said that probably should have been done and agreed that agents can still try to piece that information together. But she also said that none of the 24 victims who died in Haditha had any known ties to the insurgency.
"We ran them through the database and all came up as negative for insurgents," she said during telephonic testimony from an office in the Pentagon.
No that is not a typo or misprint. The NCIS investigator admitted to not thoroughly vetting the "civilians" killed in Haditha. No full background check despite evidence to the contrary - why did the "civilian" have several Jordanian passports? Was he a travel agent? But -they didn't show up in the database??? Good Grief - as if there have not been numerous cases of false names (remember the AP source Jamal Hussein?) fake bios (hello -what about the "journalism" student who turned out to be a terrorist sympathizer) and fake relatives crawling out of the woodwork for the compensation money.
Bloggers (including me) were able to round up more info in a matter of weeks courtesy of the Internet. Just do a search for Haditha on Chickenhawk Express... But the NCIS can't do it??? This is like a bad imitation of sloppy police work. I am sure the families of the accused Marines take great comfort in knowing that NCIS can go back and investigate the backgrounds of the "civilians" their sons are accused of "murdering in cold blood".
This has always been a travesty in my mind but today's testimony should seal it for rational people everywhere. All charges should be dismissed and the Marines exonerated.
So to recap - The Marines are charged with making a split second decision in the heat of a battle with their lives in the balance by the NCIS who can't be bothered to do even the basic investigative work in a yearlong investigation.
GIVE. ME. A. FREAKING. BREAK.
BTW - while Hannity, Rush and everyone else with BBS and IDS continue to beat up on the President and beat the immigration dead horse, THIS goes completely unreported. As of this post time, there is ONE article in Google News search about this testimony! ONE!!!!!!!
Update 6/12/07 2230:
NPR has a pdf of a document puported to be Marine Talking Points about Haditha and how to respond to Tim McGirk's questions. I can't vouch for the authenticity but it is damned interesting. Especially when talking about McGirk's source who had an axe to grind with the Marines after 8 of his brothers were put in Abu Ghraib for being terrorists. JEEZ LOUISE - as if McGirk didn't already have enough "questionable sources" in his black book. Now can someone tell me why McGirk is not ordered to testify?
Update 6/13/07 2100:
OK - it's been a day but STILL only ONE news article on Google News mentions Justin's polygraph. Fair and balanced my arse...