Tuesday, October 3, 2006

A Call to Help the Families of the Pendleton 8

I haven't written anything about the Pendelton 8 in awhile...there are other bloggers continuing coverage of their cases who are far more knowledgeable than I.

But yesterday I saw on several blogs that Kit Jarrell at Euphoric Reality has started a drive to "Help the Families of the Pendleton 8" and so I wanted to pass that on.

 The seven Marines and Navy Corpsman charged with kidnapping and murder in connection with an incident in Hamdania, Iraq are innocent. I believe this with all my heart, and the upcoming courts-martial will vindicate these heroes. Many have donated to their astronomical legal defense fees. Experts take money. Attorneys take money. Travel to Iraq to question "witnesses" takes money. A murder defense for any one of these men costs well over $100,000. Multiply that by 8.

Behind the news articles and interviews and drama are the families. The financial burden of these hearings and upcoming courts-martial have drained them completely. None of them were financially well off; they refinanced homes, took second, third, and even fourth jobs, and pulled other children from college to pay for the defense. Three of these men have very small children who need things like formula and diapers. But the question is inevitable: If every penny goes to defending their sons from being wrongfully convicted and having their lives ruined, what is left over for groceries? How do their everyday bills get paid? And why are they even in the position of having to choose between a defense and a package of diapers?

That’s where we come in.

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.


Also, someone in the comments on Uncle Jimbo's posting about this on Blackfive had a link to this site

So,you know me...I decided,of course, to Google the latest on the Pendleton 8. I had seen the Sept.25 news that three of the Marines were facing court martial but the death penalty was NOT going to be pursued against them (and should have passed that on then,mea culpa) Click here: Three Marines to face court-martial in Iraq murder probe: military - Yahoo! News

But then, while trolling articles about the case? I came across this below in a North Country Times article about the case Click here: Demand for immediate trial signals change in 'Pendleton 8' case North County Times - North San Diego and Southwest

An added element

On top of the request by half of the defendants to forego the Article 32 hearing is a new element: charges against additional Marines in an unrelated assault case. Three of the Marines charged in the slaying case are also facing charges in the alleged assault.

According to the charges in the homicide accusations, the men are alleged to have taken Awad, 52, from his home, bound his hands and feet, placed him into a hole and shot him repeatedly, then staged the scene to make it appear he was an insurgent planting a roadside bomb.

Five days after the shooting, Marine Corps officials learned from the Iraqis the allegations of wrongdoing and began their initial probe. Within a week, the criminal investigation began.

While looking into Awad's shooting, investigators caught wind of the alleged beatings of three Iraqi men, an alleged attack that came 16 days before Awad's killing, according to what Marine Corps officials said when the assault charges were announced.

Soon, 12 men ---- 11 Marines and one sailor ---- were pulled from their units, kept on house arrest in Iraq, then returned to Camp Pendleton two weeks later.

Eight of the men were jailed and charged on June 21 with premeditated murder, a charge which carries the possibility of the death penalty if they are convicted.

The other four men, including platoon commander 2nd Lt. Nathan Phan, were restricted to the local base ---- but not jailed.

Earliier this month, the Marines charged seven men ---- the four on base restriction and three of the Marines already jailed in the slaying case ---- with taking part in the alleged brutalization of three Iraqi men April 10.

The four men who were on base restriction ---- Phan, Lance Cpls. Saul H. Lopezromo and Henry D. Lever, and Pfc. Derek I. Lewis ---- remain out of jail.

The Marines facing charges in both cases are Hutchins, Thomas and Shumate.

On Friday, Nyhart said pretrial hearings for the three men would include the charges in both cases.

(Emphasis mine)


Which led me to get sidetracked...first I had heard of these other charges and these other 4 Marines...so I found this about 2nd Lt. Nathan Phan Click here: USATODAY.com - Marine charged with assaulting Iraqi civilians

and then I found THIS article, which lists the same charges against 2nd Lt Phan in the article above...only it says those charges are filed against Sgt. Hutchins?Click here: US marines charged with assaulting Iraqi civilians - World - smh.com.au

(Is anyone else besides me starting to get confused here?)

I did see that charges against Lance Cpl. Henry Lever in the APRIL 10 incident had been dismissed, at the bottom of the Yahoo news article about Corporal Marshall Magincalda, PFC John Jodka and Lance Cpl Jerry Shumate facing court martial.

I also came across this at Today's Alternative News, which references more about the separate assault case from another North County Times article.

Well, this is one case where I greatly regret deciding to try and find out more about something, as I just ended up feeling lost and confused. All these charges and countercharges, and other incidents popping up?...I can't quite keep up with it all. (Although I still have a sneaking suspicion that something somewhere stinks to high heaven about this whole mess, and the word 'railroading' keeps coming to mind.)

Suffice it to say that there is ,as Kit at Euphoric Reality said, a pressing need for help for the families, separate from the defense funds mentioned previously on this blog. So I'm doing my small part to pass the word about that.

And, if you are also inclined to send a word of support to any of the Pendleton 8? I came across this Click here: The "Pendleton 8" of 3/5/Kilo Co. - Support- - Marine Corps Community for USMC Veterans

which lists the address to send mail or postcards.

As for all the rest of this?...I suppose we just watch, and wait...and pray.

(And please give to help the families...and/or the defense funds..if you can.Thank You )


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