Four U.S. paratroopers charged with murdering three detainees in Iraq smiled before shooting them, according to the BBC.
Separately, in the Haditha massacre, a Pentagon official says evidence supports the claim that U.S. troops deliberately killed some two dozen civilians.
Atrocities like these are further poisoning America’s already toxic image in the Middle East, and a continued occupation is likely to produce more of the same.
Four US paratroopers charged with murdering three detainees in Iraq smiled before shooting them, a military court has heard from a fellow soldier.
Private First Class Bradley Mason told the hearing at a US base near the Iraqi city of Tikrit that one of the accused threatened to kill him if he talked.
He also said soldiers had been ordered to “kill all the male insurgents” in the operation on 9 May of this year.
The incident is among a string of murder allegations against US troops.
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.
Agents of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service have completed their initial work on the incident last November, but may be asked to probe further as Marine Corps and Navy prosecutors review the evidence and determine whether to recommend criminal charges, according to two Pentagon officials who discussed the matter on condition of anonymity.
The decision on whether to press criminal charges ultimately will be made by the commander of the accused Marines’ parent unit, the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton, Calif. That currently is Lt. Gen. John Sattler, but he is scheduled to move to a Pentagon assignment soon; his successor will be Lt. Gen. James Mattis.
Investigators conducted a wide range of interviews but did not obtain permission to exhume the bodies of the 24 who were killed, one official said.