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Iraq

Mon May 29 2006 Haditha Massacre
The killing of more than 20 Iraqi civilians in an incident last November has become an international scandal after evidence from two official investigations was shown to members of Congress. The killings took place in November in Haditha, a city north-west of Baghdad. When reports of the deaths first emerged the Pentagon said one marine and 15 civilians were killed by a roadside bomb. It now appears a marine was killed by the bomb and that his colleagues then moved through the area, shooting five men standing next to a taxi and then entering at least two homes containing women and children where the killings continued. Eyewitness accounts by local people and a video shot by an Iraqi journalism student had already called into question the Marines' version of events in Haditha just over six months ago. But photographs by American forces could prove the crucial piece of evidence in an investigation that is now expected to result in charges of murder, dereliction of duty and making false statements against up to a dozen Marines.
According to reports in the US, military prosecutors may seek the death penalty for those found guilty of murder. Three Marines officers have already been relieved of duty, and more may be disciplined in a separate investigation into whether there was a cover-up after the killings.

Since the March 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, the civilian death toll resulting from the conflict remains a topic rarely discussed by American politicians or corporate media. While the Pentagon has refused to provide an estimate of Iraqi casualties, other groups have used various methods to arrive at the numbers of Iraqis killed. Iraq Body Count website states that up to 42,000 have lost their lives, while The Lancet, a respected British medical journal, reported that a study in 2004 found that over 100,000 Iraqi civilians had died due to the U.S. invasion.

George Bush and the Haditha massacre | Massacres Common in Iraq | War Crimes Start at the Top | Was it an Isolated Event and Did the Military Try to Cover it Up? | Lawmaker says Marines killed Iraqis 'in cold blood' | US Killing of Civilians "Fact of Life" in Iraq: Iraqis | Iraq's My Lai | US probes new Iraq massacre claim

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