The Haditha case unravels even more:
A former Marine from Kilo Company wounded at Haditha, Iraq on the day of the alleged massacre told Naval Criminal Investigative Service investigators he saw Kalashnikov assault rifles propped against a white taxicab next to the bodies of five Iraqi men killed when the fighting started. His report contradicts prosecution contentions that the Iraqis were innocent civilians.
Joshua Cash Karlen, 23, from Westminster, Colorado, said Monday that he is positive he saw the weapons while he was being evacuated from the battlefield. The following spring Karlen says he reported his observations to NCIS investigators while being interrogated by two special agents.
“They grilled me over why I was there, why I was driving through the cordon and what I saw,” Karlen said. “I was in there for about four hours.”
Karlen says he repeatedly told the two agents what he witnessed at the ambush site.
“The area was cordoned off when we drove by,” Karlen said in a telephone interview from his home. “I was hit by a grenade and had a severe concussion so I had to be evacuated out. I was on the south side of Chestnut (code name for the road running on the south side of the ambush site) being driven through the cordon. We were going real slow so I could see a white car, a pile of bodies, and weapons piled against the car. There were three or four AKs stacked leaning against a white car and some Marines were standing around. ”
Despite a lengthy interview Karlen’s statement was never included in the evidence obtained by the defense, according to defense attorney Brian Rooney. The former Marine Corps Staff Judge Advocate represents Lt. Col Jeffrey Chessani. Chessani is the former commander of 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines. Chessani is currently waiting to discover if he will stand general courts-martial over his role in Kilo’s alleged murder rampage.
“This is the first I have ever heard of this!” Rooney exclaimed.
Rooney said the NCIS failure to provide Karlen’s eyewitness account to Marine Corps prosecutors was a “very serious omission” that undoubtedly harmed his client’s case.
Wow! Testimony that puts AK-47’s near that white car with the dead Iraqi’s is quite damaging to the prosecution and the fact that it was never given to the defense speaks volumes.
Karlen also describes how harrowing the gunfight was:
He was on guard duty on top of a building when he heard a loud boom. He didn’t know what had happened except it came from the direction Wuterich’s four-HUMVEE patrol had just taken. The IED explosion was followed by a strong exchange of gunshots, he said.
“It was blatantly obvious somebody was getting hit,” Karlen said. “Corporal Haman was the senior Marine NCO on the C.O.P. so he could hear the radios, know what all was happening. I didn’t know anything except there was a firefight going on and we were going out.”
Then it grew relatively quiet for a few minutes. The talk later on was the ambushed Marines had to regroup, Karlen said.
“They had to figure out where the fire was coming from and collect their wounded. Wuterich came out of the School of Infantry. He was a good Marine. He was an instructor. They teach other guys so he had to be a good Marine. The guys who were with him said he did exactly right. All the time there were gunshots going off all over the place. I couldn’t distinguish what kind of weapons were firing. I was gearing up so I wasn’t paying that much attention. Gunfire is always going off in Iraq.”
About 30 minutes later they were told to proceed to some houses down the road that were reportedly occupied by insurgents, Karlen said. After a two minute run their 12-man squad stopped in front of some houses where headquarters thought the insurgents were hiding. Without hearing the radio traffic Karlen didn’t know they were from the same group that ambushed Wuterich’s patrol. He wouldn’t learn anything about that for several months, he said.
At the time he thought his patrol was part of a larger operation because there were groups of insurgents running all over the place, he said. There was gunfire erupting everywhere, he said. All he knew for sure about Wuterich’s patrol was that somebody’s “kill number” had been put out over the radio so he knew a Marine was dead, he explained.
After the squad cleared the first house they came to with grenades, Karlen split up from Haman’s team and went on the other side of the building with Lt. Zall, Sgt. Raphael, the Navy corpsmen and several other Marines. He was standing about 15 feet from Lt Zall and the corpsmen a few minutes later when Iraqi insurgents hiding on the roof of the adjacent building attacked them with a grenade barrage. The attack erupted when a grenade dropped from the roof and exploded about five feet from Lt. Zall and the corpsman. Karlen sustained a serious concussion in the blast, he said.
“I saw the lieutenant and corpsman get hit so we ran out and pulled them into the house under cover. Lt. Zall was hit in both his legs and the corpsman was hurt pretty bad as well. They both had broken legs, Karlen said.
Meanwhile Karlen’s team lost contact with Haman and his fire team. All he knew was that some of the Marines he was with went on the roof of the first house to get a better position to counterattack the Iraqi grenadiers. He was worried about his friend Haman and the other Marines in the squad.
“It isn’t good to get in a cross-fire between friendlies,” he said.
Immediately the fight grew in intensity. It rapidly escalated turned into a “grenade free-for-all,” Karlen said.
“Grenades were going off all over the place. I don’t know how many grenades were thrown. Almost everybody got wounded. Then we used flares to get back in contact. It was just a vicious firefight,” Karlen said
Then the ORF (Quick Reaction Force) showed up, Karlen added. His team eventually ran across the road and joined up with Haman’s group and the reinforcements. By then almost all the Marines were wounded to some degree, Karlen said. After they regrouped he joined other Kilo Marines who went on the roof on still another house to engage the Iraqi insurgents. Karlen stayed there firing on the insurgents until he was ordered to the rear to receive medical attention.
“We overpowered them with our medium machine guns. The QRF was lighting up the buildings with the two-forties (M-240G 7.62 mm medium machine gun),” Karlen said. “They didn’t have nothing to stand up to our firepower.
And then as he was driven away from the field of battle to get medical treatment he saw the AK’s leaning against that car.
Seems to me that this case is falling apart at the seams and where is the MSM? This was front page news when the coward Murtha first opened his trap and accused these Marines of murder but now that the case is disintegrating the MSM is nowhere to be found.