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Marine Names Murtha in Haditha Defamation Suit

The Washington Post is reporting :

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.

Murtha argued that the questionable deaths of 24 civilians were indicative of the difficulties and overpowering stress that U.S. troops are facing. The congressman, a former Marine, has been a leading advocate for withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq.

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.

Republican Pundit has commentary and Newsbusters wonders why this was not front page news.

Comments (14)

How do you defame cold-bloo... (Below threshold)

How do you defame cold-blooded murderers?

(emphasis added)

Evidence collected on the deaths of 24 Iraqis in Haditha supports accusations that U.S. Marines deliberately shot the civilians, including unarmed women and children, a Pentagon official said Wednesday.

[snipped for brevity

The Marines initially reported after the Nov. 19, 2005 killings at Haditha that 15 Iraqi civilians had been killed by a makeshift roadside bomb and in crossfire between Marines and insurgent attackers. Based on accounts from survivors and human rights groups, Time magazine first reported in March that the killings were deliberate acts by the Marines.

A criminal investigation was then ordered by the top Marine commander in
Iraq, Maj. Gen. Richard Zilmer.

A parallel investigation is examining whether officers in the Marines' chain of command tried to cover up the events. The probe, which has not been made public, faults some officers for failing to pursue obvious discrepancies in the initial reports about what happened in Haditha and for not launching an early investigation.

Public attention on the Haditha case grew after Rep. John Murtha (news, bio, voting record), D-Pa., a former Marine, asserted publicly on May 17 that he had learned from Marine Corps officials that innocent Iraqis had been killed "in cold blood."

Lawyers for Staff Sgt. Frank D. Wuterich, one of the Marines under investigation, argued in a lawsuit filed Wednesday in federal court that Murtha falsely accused Wuterich of murder and war crimes. The suit maintains that Pentagon officials "who have briefed or leaked information to Mr. Murtha deliberately provided him with inaccurate and false information" and that the congressman subsequently "has made repeated statements .... that are defamatory" to Wuterich and his fellow Marines.

Oh, I see - the Pentagon lied. Thanks!

It probably would have been... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

It probably would have been front page news if Source: Haditha evidence implicates Marines was not the headline story.

and on a serious note - the... (Below threshold)

and on a serious note - the fact that Wizbang bloggers have repeatedly covered for and defended these murderers is beyond despicable.

Murdering civilians is terrorism, but all of the Republican tough talk on terrorism is just political wrangling for votes. Whores, nothing less.

It's almost tragic that the... (Below threshold)
Red Fog:

It's almost tragic that the USMC protect closed-head-injury hissy-fit reactionaries such as yourself. Hey, is that the 'short bus' waiting for you and mantis outside? Back to the house of horrors without your meds tonight.

Lee, I do not know why I am... (Below threshold)
Zelsdorf Ragshaft III:

Lee, I do not know why I am even addressing this. Why is it that if it were a democrat, they deserve due process, no matter what the crime, yet if it is a cause with which you disagree, you are ready to hang the guilty bastards without the benefit of trial? Jack Murtha had absolutely no business making statements about the guilt or innocence of the accused Marines. None, zilch, zero. BDS obviously causes advanced stupidity, and you wee Lee, have it bad.

I wonder how many of those ... (Below threshold)

I wonder how many of those DoD officials were left over Clinton era DoD lawyers?

I notice that the news repo... (Below threshold)

I notice that the news reports seem to be being extra careful to include words like "suggest" or "implicate" or some other qualification. No "Haditha Marines Guilty!" It seems that even reporters understand they aren't supposed to declare people guilty of crimes before the trial.

The military is still deciding whether or not to even bring charges. The investigation wasn't a trial it was an investigation to see if there's reason to charge anyone and *then* have the trial.

Yes, Lee. People here defend these guys. We defend their right as American citizens to the presumption of innocence. A presumption that our justice system demands be given to the most depraved murderer. Only you don't think our Marines deserve that presumption.

Says more about you than it says about what may or may not have happened at Haditha.

Wow!!! the conservative bl... (Below threshold)
dr lava:

Wow!!! the conservative bloggers mention Iraq, but only to try to diss Murtha again.

Even Reagan had the sense to pull out of Lebanon and let them have their civil war.

Is there anyone left who believes in this delusional president.

Is there anyone around here that will admit that Murtha had it exactly right a year ago?

Bush only has himself to bl... (Below threshold)
Bob Jones:

Bush only has himself to blame for NOT cleaning house of all the Clintonistas left in place. What a fricking idiot. They are leaking and planting things like a farmer with a colander.

Dr Lava: Murtha had what ri... (Below threshold)

Dr Lava: Murtha had what right a year ago? What "right" did Murtha have to publicly convict US Marines. If he wanted to bring the story out - fine. If he wanted to alert the nation of an on-going investigation - fine. But he is damned to hell for taking the next step in making himself the judge, jury and, if he had his way, the executioner. There is a name for slime like him and it is "SEMPER ONE". Find yourself a Marine and ask him what that means.

PS - As for who continues to support this "delusional president" - ME!

Lee: "The Pentagon lied"</... (Below threshold)

Lee: "The Pentagon lied"

Note there is no mention of "The Pentagon" in his cut and pasted "evidence," nor any references that prove that the Marines involved were "cold blooded murders."

The allegations against the Marines so far appear to be a cut and paste from the Hezbullah playbook [see Qana-2].

Sadly, for the Murtha-types who knee-jerk condemnation/libel at every request of our enemies, the current Hanoi Janes of the 21at Century, dispassionate analysis before placing the mouth or keyboard in gear is not part of their playbook.

Interestingly, the latest l... (Below threshold)

Interestingly, the latest leak to the media is from an un-named Pentagon official stating there is evidence to charge the Marines:


epdador belched: Lee: "T... (Below threshold)

epdador belched: Lee: "The Pentagon lied"

Note there is no mention of "The Pentagon" in his cut and pasted "evidence,"

I guess the bold faced type in the quote I provided wasn't enough for morally-challenged republican defenders of cold-blooded murders... but I'll try again.

The suit maintains that Pentagon officials "who have briefed or leaked information to Mr. Murtha deliberately provided him with inaccurate and false information"

I suppose to republicans "deliberately provided him with inaccurate and false information"" isn't lying - it's just, uhm, let's see --- "spinning facts for a strategical advantage"? lol

[email protected] Lee<p... (Below threshold)


@ Lee

1. The only problem that Murtha, and you, will have to deal with at this point is that Murtha claims to have been spouting facts derived from a briefing by the Commandant of the USMC.

Only problem is that the Commandant of the USMC briefed Murtha **2 weeks after** Murtha started spouting off that the Marines were guilty of murder.

So Murtha was obviously informed about this case prior to the briefing by the Commandant and Murtha is obviously lying about the timing to cover not only his rather large posterior but those of others.

2. Another problem is that you're making an unfounded assumption that any official at the Pentagon is by definition a Republican. This is not true at all as there are people of all political stripes there. So it's entirely possible, and even probable, that the unnamed people who supposedly told Murtha about this are in fact Democrats.






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