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John Murtha -
Haditha timeline of events


"Murtha's remarks about the guilt of these people having killed civilians in cold blood is very reminiscent of John Kerry's Senate testimony" in 1971, when the current senator from Massachusetts stated he'd heard Vietnam veterans say they had "randomly shot at civilians" and "razed villages in a fashion reminiscent of Genghis Kahn."

"That hasn't proven to be true, either. Censure is too good for Murtha on this alone."

- IPW-PAC Chairman Roger Hughes



May 17, 2006

Murtha: "they killed innocent civilians in cold blood"

press conference transcript


REP. JOHN MURTHA: … on November 19th, we had an incident in Haditha in Anbar province, where a Marine was killed with an IED. Time magazine reported it, and it's kind of a puzzling report, because they're investigating экскурсия в Константиновский дворец в Стрельне it right now. Let me tell you what the consequences of this have been.

It's much worse than reported in Time magazine. There was no fire fight. There was no IED that killed these innocent people. Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood. And that's what the report is going to tell… 




May 17, 2006

Murtha: cites TIME Magazine as source for 'cold blood' charge

Murtha on HARDBALL with Chris Matthews

Transcript / May 17, 2006                  


MATTHEWS: Mr. Murtha, let me ask you about this accusation that you have come out with today, that U.S. service people fighting in Iraq killed civilians in cold blood. What evidence do you have on that now?

MURTHA: Well, "Time Magazine" ...

MATTHEWS:  Was this melee?  I mean, was this a case of -- when you say cold blood, Congressman, a lot of people think you're basically saying you have got some civilians sitting in a room or out in a field and they're executed just on purpose...

MURTHA: That's exactly what happened.

transcript LINK           YouTube LINK



May 19, 2006

Rep. John Murtha: calls Haditha a massacre

THE SITUATION ROOM with Wolf Blitzer
Aired May 19, 2006 - 19:00   ET            


BLITZER: There's an investigation of what happened at Haditha.'ve suggested this week that there in effect was a massacre. …

MURTHA: Well there was. There's no question about it...

BLITZER: The Marines say they're still investigating. They don't know what happened yet. The pentagon says the same thing. How do you know what happened?

MURTHA: Wolf, you read the "Time" magazine articles. There are pictures, there are photos. You don't have to talk to the military about the proof.




June 9, 2006

TIME Magazine finally corrects its Haditha story, no apology from Murtha


Sweetness & Light. com

The following "corrections" have been added to the very bottom of Time’s two blockbuster exclusives on Haditha in their current online versions:


In the original version of this story, TIME reported that "a day after the incident, a Haditha journalism student videotaped the scene at the local morgue and at the homes where the killings had occurred. The video was obtained by the Hammurabi Human Rights Group, which cooperates with the internationally respected Human Rights Watch, and has been shared with TIME"

In fact, Human Rights Watch has not ties or association with the Hammurabi Human Rights Group. TIME regrets the error.,10987,1174682,00.html

In fact, Time had originally reported that it was Human Rights Watch who had provided the tape. They then retracted that and claimed that it came from Hammurabi which works with Human Rights Watch. And now they have backed off even that.

Note that even now Time still does not correct the intentionally false portrayal of the source of the videotape that they gave in all of their original stories and interviews.

Time's source, Thaer Thabit al-Hadithi, is not a "young man." He is not a "budding journalism student." And al-Hadithi is not separate and apart from the Hammurabi Human Rights Group. Nor is he a man who wanted to remain anonymous because he feared for his safety.

Al-Haditha (see photo, left) is 43 years old. He "created" Hammurabi 16 months ago. (Before that he worked directly under the head of Haditha’s hospital, Dr. Walid al-Obeidi, who pronounced that all the victims had been shot at close range.)

In fact, al-Haditha is one of Hammurabi’s only two members. He serves as its "Secretary General" while the only other member, Abdul-Rahman al-Mashhadani, performs as its "Chairman."

Al-Haditha is the one and only person behind this tape. He made it. And he sat on it for four months before turning it over to Time magazine....

Here is another "correction" that is now buried at the bottom of another Time Haditha story from last month. It is by Matthew Cooper of Plame/Rove notoriety:

In the original version of this story, TIME reported the "one of the most damning pieces of evidence investigators have in their possession, John Sifton of Human Rights Watch told Time's Tim McGirk, is a photo, taken by a Marine with his cell phone that shows Iraqis kneeling -- and thus posing no threat -- before they were shot." While Sifton did tell TIME that there was photographic evidence, taken by Marines, he had only heard about the specific content of the photos from reports done by NBC, and had no firsthand knowledge. TIME regrets the error.,8599,1198843,00.html

Never mind that now "one of the most damning pieces of evidence" has already taken on the mantle of historical fact. Time regrets the error…





August 2, 2006

Haditha Marine Sgt. Wuterich files lawsuit against Murtha

Marine Names Murtha in Defamation Suit

Congressman Discussed Killings Involving Serviceman's Squad in Haditha, Iraq

By Josh White / Washington Post Staff Writer
August 2, 2006; Page A05


A Marine Corps staff sergeant who led the squad accused of killing two dozen civilians in Haditha, Iraq, will file a lawsuit today in federal court in Washington claiming that Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) defamed him when the congressman made public comments about the incident earlier this year.

Attorneys for Frank D. Wuterich, 26, argue in court papers that Murtha tarnished the Marine's reputation by telling news organizations in May that the Marine unit cracked after a roadside bomb killed one of its members and that the troops "killed innocent civilians in cold blood." Murtha also said repeatedly that the incident was covered up.

…In the court filing, obtained by The Washington Post, the lawyers say that Murtha made the comments after being briefed by Defense Department officials who "deliberately provided him with inaccurate and false information." Neal A. Puckett and Mark S. Zaid, suing for libel and invasion of privacy, also wrote that Murtha made the comments outside of his official scope as a congressman...




August 3, 2006

General Hagee denies being Murtha's info source

General briefed Murtha after 
murder comment, Corp says


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The head of the U.S. Marine Corps briefed Rep. John Murtha on the Haditha case after the vocal war critic publicly said Marines had killed innocent civilians in that Iraqi city, the Corps said on Thursday.

A group of Marines, while suspected in the killing of 24 Iraqi civilians, has not been charged, and official results from the military's investigation remain outstanding. A U.S. defense official said on Wednesday, however that evidence indicates Marines deliberately shot to death unarmed civilians.

Murtha, a Pennsylvania Democrat, is being sued by one of the accused Marines for libel. He had told The Philadelphia Inquirer that Gen. Michael Hagee had given him the information on which he based his charge that Marines killed innocent civilians.

But a spokesman for the Marine Corps said Hagee briefed Murtha on May 24 about Haditha. Murtha had made comments on the case as early as May 17.

On May 17, for example, he said at a news conference, "Our troops overracted because of the pressure on them and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood."

A spokeswoman for Murtha was not immediately available…




Dec. 22, 2006

Investigation: 4 Marines charged with murder


4 Marines Charged In Haditha Killings

Deaths of Iraqi Civilians Also Lead to Dereliction Counts Against 4 Officers

By Josh White and Sonya Geis / Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, December 22, 2006; Page A01

Four U.S. Marines were charged with multiple counts of murder yesterday for their alleged roles in the deaths of two dozen civilians in the Iraqi town of Haditha last year. The accusations set up what could be the highest-profile atrocity prosecution to arise from the Iraq war ...

... Attention to the case increased earlier this year when Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) alleged after briefings from military officials that the Marines had killed civilians "in cold blood."



July 13, 2007

Hearing officer: drop murder charge against Marine Sharratt

Marine's Parents Want Murtha Censured for Haditha Remarks

By Randy Hall / Staff Writer/Editor        July 13, 2007


( - The parents of a U.S. Marine accused of killing three Iraqis execution-style in Haditha in late 2005 said Thursday they would ask Congress to censure Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa) for saying that Marines "overracted" during the incident and killed civilians "in cold blood."

"It's too late for an apology," Darryl Sharratt of Canonsburg, Pa., told Cybercast News Service after the hearing officer in the case, Lt. Col. Paul Ware, released an 18-page report recommending that all charges against Sharratt's son, Lance Cpl. Justin Sharratt, be dismissed because his actions "were in accord with the rules of engagement and use of force."…

..."We need this man censured by our Congress," he said, because "he denied my son -- and the other Marines involved -- their constitutional rights to a fair trial and a presumption of innocence."

… Lance Cpl. Sharratt, who was on his second combat tour in Iraq with the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment when the incident took place, was the subject of a hearing at Camp Pendleton in California last month.

…"We did not execute any Iraqi males," Sharratt stated. "On Nov. 19, I did exactly as I was trained to do. I will always be proud of my service in Iraq, and I will always be proud to be a Marine."…

'Unsupported by independent evidence'

Ware agreed, stating in his report that "the government version is unsupported by independent evidence," and the Marine's actions "were in accord with the rules of engagement and use of force."

Further prosecution of Sharratt could set a "dangerous precedent that ... may encourage others to bear false witness against Marines as a tactic to erode public support of the Marine Corps and its mission in Iraq," Ware added. "Even more dangerous is the potential that a Marine may hesitate at the critical moment when facing the enemy."

Roger Hughes, chairman of the Presidential Watch Political Action Committee -- the umbrella organization for the "Boot Murtha" and "Expose Murtha' campaigns -- told Cybercast News Service that he -- "unlike Murtha" -- would not comment on the Haditha investigations.

He did say, however, that "Murtha's remarks about the guilt of these people having killed civilians in cold blood is very reminiscent of John Kerry's Senate testimony" in 1971, when the current senator from Massachusetts stated he'd heard Vietnam veterans say they had "randomly shot at civilians" and "razed villages in a fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan."

"That hasn't proven to be true, either," Hughes added.

"Censure is too good for Murtha on this alone," Hughes said, even without considering such things in his past as questions regarding his war hero status and involvement in the Abscam scandal.




August 9, 2007

Hearing officer: drop charges against Marines Sharratt, Stone

Charges dropped for two Marines
in Haditha killings

August 9, 2007


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Charges have been dropped for two Marines accused in the 2005 killings of Iraqi civilians in Iraq, the U.S. Marine Corps said Thursday.

Lance Cpl. Justin I. Sharratt had been charged with shooting three Iraqi civilians in the aftermath of a roadside bombing in Haditha, and Capt. Randy W. Stone had been charged with dereliction of duty in failing to properly report facts connected to the murders.

Stone's error did not warrant any action under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, said Lt. Gen. James Mattis, the general overseeing the case.

"I am aware of the line that separates the merely remiss from the clearly criminal, and I do not believe that any mistakes Capt. Stone made with respect to the incident rise to the level of criminal behavior," Mattis said…

...Charges against Sharratt were dismissed based on the review of the evidence and the recommendation of the investigating officer, Mattis said...




August 23, 2007

Hearing officer: drop murder charge against Marine Tatum

Drop Marine murder case


SAN DIEGO --A Marine accused of murdering Iraq civilians, including children, in the town of Haditha should have all charges dropped against him because of weak evidence, an investigating officer recommended on Thursday.

Lance Cpl. Stephen B. Tatum, 26, is charged with unpremeditated murder of two girls and negligent homicide on suspicion that he unlawfully killed two men, a woman and a boy. He is also accused of assaulting another boy and a girl.

The investigating officer, Lt. Col. Paul Ware, said the evidence was too weak for a court-martial. Tatum, of Edmond, Okla., shot and killed civilians, but "he did so because of his training and the circumstances he was placed in, not to exact revenge and commit murder," Ware wrote.

…Ware's recommendation is nonbinding. Lt. Gen. James Mattis, the commanding general overseeing the case, has final say about whether Tatum will be court-martialed.

If Mattis accepts the recommendation to dismiss charges -- as he has with three of eight Marines who were initially accused -- that would leave one Marine charged with murder. Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, the squad leader, is charged with the unpremeditated murder of 18 men, women and children. He is scheduled to appear in court Aug. 30 for a preliminary hearing.




Sept. 29, 2007

Judge orders Murtha to testify in Haditha case

Murtha Must Testify in Defamation Case


A federal judge refused Friday to dismiss a defamation case against Rep. John P. Murtha and ordered the Pennsylvania Democrat to give a sworn deposition in the case.

A Marine Corps sergeant is suing the 18-term congressman for alleging ''cold-blooded murder and war crimes'' by unnamed soldiers in connection with the deaths of Iraqi civilians in the town of Haditha.

The deaths became prominent in May 2006 when Murtha, who opposes the Iraq war, said at a Capitol Hill news conference that a Pentagon war crimes investigation will show Marines killed dozens of innocent Iraqi civilians in the town in 2005.


The Justice Department wanted the case dismissed because Murtha was acting in his official role as a lawmaker. Assistant U.S. Attorney John F. Henault said the comments were made as part of the debate over the war in Iraq.

U.S. District Judge Rosemary M. Collyer said the congressman might be right, but said she won't know for sure unless Murtha explains himself. She did not set a date for Murtha's testimony but said she would also require him to turn over documents related to his comments.

''You're writing a very wide road for members of Congress to go to their home districts and say anything they choose about private persons and be able to do so without any liability. Are you sure you want to do that?'' Collyer said, adding later, ''How far can a congressman go and still be protected?''

Collyer said she was troubled by the idea the lawmakers are immune from lawsuits regardless of what they say to advance their political careers.




Oct. 4, 2007

Hearing officer: drop murder charge against Marine Wuterich

Marines recommend no murder charge
in Haditha case

Thu Oct 4, 2007 4:39pm EDT


SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 4 (Reuters) - An investigating officer has recommended that no murder charges be brought against U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich in connection with a massacre of civilians in the Iraqi town of Haditha in 2005




March 28, 2008

Charges dropped against Marine in Haditha case

Mar 28 02:11 PM US/Eastern


Charges against a US Marine allegedly involved in the killing of 24 Iraqi civilians in the town of Haditha were dropped on Friday ahead of his trial, the military said in a statement.

A court martial for lance corporal Stephen Tatum had been due to start on Friday on charges of involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment and aggravated assault.

However in a statement released from the Marines Camp Pendleton base outside San Diego, the military said the charges had been dismissed "in order to continue to pursue the truth seeking process into the Haditha incident."



June 5, 2008 

Marine acquitted of all charges in Haditha killings

A court martial on Wednesday acquitted a US Marine for his role in the deaths of 24 civilians in Haditha in Iraq in 2005, the sixth man to be exonerated in the affair, a military official said...

Lieutenant Andrew Grayson, 27, was declared "not guilty on all charges" by a jury, said a spokesman for the Camp Pendleton military base in southern California where the hearing started on May 28.

Grayson had been charged with making false statements and attempting to fraudulently separate from the Marine Corps. He was also charged with obstruction of justice, but the military judge dismissed this charge Tuesday...

... Six have now had charges against them dropped, while charges of murder against squad leader Frank Wuterich were changed to the lesser offense of manslaughter.

Wuterich faces trial later this year, along with Colonel Jeffrey Chessani, the highest ranking officer accused over the incident who has been charged with dereliction of duty and violation of a lawful order.




June 17, 2008 

Haditha charges dropped against top Marine officer

Military Judge Col. Steven Folsom dropped all charges against Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani, who was accused of violating a lawful order and dereliction of duty, at a hearing at the Camp Pendleton Marine base in Southern California.

Folsom's decision means that, out of eight Marines originally charged in December 2006, six have won dismissals of their charges and one has been cleared at court martial.

The accused ringleader, Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, still faces court martial. The proceedings against him, however, have been put on hold pending the appeal of a pretrial ruling.

Folsom threw out the charges against Chessani, a 44-year-old Colorado native, after finding that a four-star general who oversaw the case could have been influenced by an investigator who later became his adviser.




June 19, 2008 

Haditha Marine prepares to sue Murtha, Time Magazine over smear

With most of the eight Marines charged in the Haditha, Iraq, incident now exonerated, the highest-ranking officer among the accused is considering a lawsuit against Democratic Rep. John Murtha, who fueled the case by declaring the men cold-blooded killers.

In an interview with nationally syndicated radio talk host Michael Savage, the lead attorney for Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani said he and his client will look into suing Murtha and the Time magazine reporter, Tim McGuirk, who first published the accusations by Iraqi insurgents...

The Time magazine story, according to Rooney, was planted by an insurgent propaganda agent. Publishing of the story was soon followed by a May 17, 2006, news conference by Murtha. The congressman announced he had been told by the highest levels of the Marine Corps there was no firefight and Marines "killed innocent civilians in cold blood."

"All the information I get, it comes from the commanders, it comes from people who know what they're talking about," Murtha told reporters at the time.

Murtha's assertions, however, conflicted with results from the military's own investigations. An initial probe by Army Col. G.A. Watt found no indications coalition forces "intentionally targeted, engaged and killed noncombatants." Later, Army Maj. Gen. Aldon Bargewell found no cover-up.

Nevertheless, the Marine Corps eventually brought charges against Chessani and seven other Marines.

But now the cases against Lance Cpls. Stephen Tatum and Justin Sharratt, Capts. Randy Stone and Lucas McConnell and Sgt. Sanick P. Dela Cruz have been dropped. First Lt. Andrew Grayson has been acquitted, leaving only the case of Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich untested in court and Chessani prosecutors facing the hurdles of the appeal process.

WND previously reported a military jury of seven officers acquitted Grayson of all charges.

The ruling by Col. Folsom yesterday followed a previous decision in which he confirmed evidence of unlawful command influence.

The evidence indicated two generals who controlled Chessani's case were influenced by Marine lawyer Col. John Ewers, who was allowed to attend at least 25 closed-session meetings in which the case was discussed...

Rooney was asked by Savage why he thought Murtha, a former Marine himself, accused the officers and enlisted men.

"In my opinion, it's clear it was done during the election cycle, it was done to bolster himself in the party," the attorney said. "He was vying for a leadership position, and if he had to throw some Marines under the bus to do so, that was the cost of power for him."





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