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Archive for Saturday, August 19, 2006

Report: Marines withheld Haditha evidence

August 19, 2006

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— U.S. Marines being investigated in the killings last fall in Haditha of two dozen Iraqis, most if not all of them civilians, appear to have destroyed or withheld evidence, The New York Times reported Friday.

Pages from an official company logbook of the unit involved in the deaths were missing, and an incriminating video taken by an aerial drone was not given to investigators until a top commander asked for it, two Defense Department officials told the newspaper.

The Pentagon officials said a report about the Haditha killings did not directly accuse Marines of attempting a cover-up, the newspaper said. The report, based on an investigation by Army Maj. Gen. Eldon A. Bargewell, has not been made public.

No charges have been brought in the Haditha killings.

Initially, the Marine Corps reported that 15 Iraqis had died in the bombing. Survivors of the encounter and human rights groups, however, claimed that 24 Iraqi civilians had been deliberately shot to death by Marines.

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