Saturday, September 30, 2006

On Righting a Wrong...

A travesty against human rights is underway that shouldn't happen in the United States.

Not against insurgents at Abu Ghraib. Not against terrorists at Gitmo. No, there are serious deprivation of human rights going on with our own citizens. Not ordinary citizens, mind you--these are citizens who have volunteered to go into harms' way at their country's call for service to defend our freedoms.

As you may have heard (not so much through the MSM, but certainly in the blogosphere and shows like Michael Savage and Hannity), there is a travesty of justice going on with 8 soldiers who were alleged to have murdered an Iraqi man. Michelle Malkin reports:
7 Marines and Navy corpsman being held in shackles with no charges against them as higher-ups investigate an alleged murder of an Iraqi man earlier this spring in Hamandiya. Excerpt:

Did you know there are seven young Marines and a Navy corpsman sitting in a military brig right now in leg and wrist shackles -- despite the fact that they've not been charged with any crime?

The men are in solitary confinement, locked in 8'x8' cells at San Diego's Camp Pendleton, as investigators probe an April 26 incident involving the 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment, 1st Marine Division. They are behind bars 23 hours a day; family members can only see them through inch-thick Plexiglas. Military blabbermouths have told the press that the service members are suspected of kidnapping and shooting a man in the Iraqi town of Hamdaniya. The Iraqi man's family reportedly came forward seeking payment for his death as media hysteria set in over the separate alleged atrocity in Haditha.

These men -- our men -- may be innocent. They may be guilty. Charges may or may not be filed this week. But this much is certain: The media leaks and the Murtha-fication of the case are already taking a heavy toll on the troops and their families
And Toni at the Bear Creek Ledger recently adds:

Each time I read something more on how the Camp Pendleton 8 have been treated in the hands of NCIS and the Marine Corps I become more baffled. I don’t understand how the chain of command sees their actions and conduct here as a good thing for the Corps. This is one of the worst PR Campaigns anyone could conjure.

The defense has proof the NCIS uses a rubber hose (on prominent display) as a psychological intimidation tactic. What is wrong with these people? These are OUR troops here, not terrorists.

Then there’s the Marine Corps itself. First they go after Ilario Pantano based on a liars testimony, then it’s Haditha charges against Marines (thanks John Murtha for condemning them before being charged) and finally we have the Pendleton 8. All are a disgrace and black mark against the Marine Corps and NCIS.

From Mr. Jodka who’s son JJ is being held;
As to the allegation of coerced statements, Pfc. Jodka’s father, John Jr., described to me the psychological torture he believes his 20-year-old son has endured:

“Immediately after my son was removed from the war zone, literally moments after his rifle was removed from his hands, he was placed in a room for 7 to 7.5 hours ? no food, no water, no sleep ? and he was told that he was a murderer. They hammered away at him to give statements of what it was they wanted to hear.”

While Rick Amato at Townhall relates:
They've been shackled in chains and held in solitary confinement, their defense attorneys have been denied access to key evidence of the case and now their right to request a waiver of a pre-trial hearing — known as an article 32 — has also been denied. Such has been the treatment of the men known as the Pendleton 8 in their quest to receive a fair, impartial hearing with a true presumption of innocence.

The Pendleton 8 are seven Marines and a naval corpsman being held in a brig at Camp Pendleton while waiting trial on charges of kidnapping and murder. On April 26, they were on an ambush mission in Hamdania, Iraq, designed to snare known local insurgents. The men are charged with allegedly taking an Iraqi villager, 52-year-old Hashim Ibrahim Awad, from his home, kidnapping him, placing him in a hole, shooting him repeatedly and staging the scene to make it appear he was an insurgent planting a bomb. The defendants deny the charges and claim they followed the rules of engagement. The federal government thus far has denied their defense attorneys access to evidence of the crime scene. Allegations are based upon witness accounts of Mr. Awad's neighbors. This case is separate from Haditha, Iraq, case.

"The Article 32 hearing is a sham," said defense attorney Jane Siegal, who represents PFC. John Jodka III. "Because the government has denied our opportunity to waive the 32, it is costing the Jodka family tens of thousands of additional dollars in legal fees. All this so the government can parade its coerced statements in front of the media. Coerced statements paraded in front of the media which will potentially pollute the jury pool."
The charges, at best, appear to be trumped. Kit Jarrell notes:

Last night on the radio I was discussing this article by Chris Roach on the Innocent 8. Roach’s belief that the seven Marines and Navy Corpsman charged in the Hamdaniya case are guilty is based on “statistical probability” and his assertion that “there are likely very few false confessions in the American judicial system.”

There are quite a few problems with Roach’s research, however, and the conclusions that he makes are, by nature, also erroneous. The problem is that those who read Roach’s intellectual-sounding ramblings could very easily be swayed into believing that the Innocent Pendleton 8 are guilty, and nothing could be further from the truth. Let’s take care of this “confession” argument once and for all.

Errors + Errors = Wrong Conclusions

Before we get started, let’s take a look at something that should tell you right away about how much Roach knows concerning the case.

“…the foundation of [the Pendleton 8’s] defense are the alleged conditions of their clients’ confessions.” - 9/13/06

This shows a misunderstanding of the basic facts of the case, and especially the defense. The “foundation of the defense” is that the men did not commit the acts they are charged with. It’s not a complicated thing here. They’re not saying “We’re hoping to get off on a technicality.” They’re saying, “We did not kidnap, tie up, steal from, or murder this man.”

Now that you’ve seen the above statement from Roach, you can better understand my point. If you don’t even understand the facts, everything after that will be a faulty conclusion.

Roach goes on in the same article to talk about the “confessions” that the men supposedly made.

These incriminating statements are the key to the case.

Not so, says Donald G. Rehkopf Jr., who is a former Air Force prosecutor and defense attorney with a robust 30 years of experience trying cases.

“Confessions should be the icing on the cake,” he said. “If all the prosecution has are incriminating statements, then their case is weak.”

Weak? You mean confessions aren’t the “queen of proofs,” as Roach claims? If confessions are the icing, then where's the cake in this case? (WORTH THE ENTIRE READ)
The liberals have wailed and gnashed their teeth over some fraternity-like hijinx with some insurgents in Abu Ghraib, and over a bunch of non-issues at Club Gitmo--but where are the NYU fifth column lawyers from the ACLU to defend the civil rights of American citizens, held in shackles in 8x8 cells? Where are the ACLU pot heads who continually scream that the terrorists are being held without a trial at Club Gitmo?

Sorry for the long-windedness of this post, but this makes my blood boil to no end.

But, you CAN help the Pendleton 8. Write to your congressman and senators. Don't stop bugging them until action is taken.

And can also help with their families--families with children with no father to support them.

Kit Jarrell at Euphoric Reality has taken up this most worthy cause.

Click here to donate to the families of the Pendleton 8. This money will go toward meeting their daily necessities, like food and housing:

The Innocent Pendleton 8 Family Fund is not for legal fees. It is not for defense experts or trial costs. It is for phone bills so their sons can call home from the brig. It is for diapers for their babies, groceries for their cupboards, gas for their cars so they can get to work. It is to help them survive financially while these horrifying circumstances are going on.

A total accounting for all monies will be made public to all who ask, and the money will go directly from me personally to the families, in order of immediate need.

In front of Camp Pendleton, where these 8 men have been held in special confinement for over 130 days, there are rallies and media and national TV coverage. But back in little towns in Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Washington State, and other locations, their parents and wives don’t have enough money to feed their children. This story breaks my heart, and I hope that you can find it in yours to give even a few dollars to help these families.

I will continue to maintain a link on the sidebar.

This unjustice against fellow Americans cannot go on. Not in MY country.


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