Probe: Marines used excessive force
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  1. #1

    Exclamation Probe: Marines used excessive force

    Probe: Marines used excessive force

    By ROBERT BURNS, AP Military Writer

    A U.S. military commander has determined that Marines accused of killing civilians after a suicide bombing in Afghanistan last month used excessive force, and he has referred the case for possible criminal inquiry, The Associated Press has learned.

    The initial investigation of the March 4 incident, in which up to a dozen Afghan civilians are reported to have died, concluded that the Marines' response was "out of proportion to the threat that was immediately there," a senior defense official said Wednesday.

    The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the probe's results have not been released. The findings have been forwarded to Central Command, which has responsibility for U.S. military operations in the Middle East and Central Asia.

    The case has also been referred to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service for a broader criminal inquiry, the official said.

    Another official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said the initial military investigation concluded that there was a "reasonable suspicion" that the Marines violated the rules for the use of deadly force, and that crimes, possibly including homicide, may have been committed in the aftermath of the convoy being struck by a car bomb.

    The Naval investigative service got the case within the past week but has not yet begun interviewing the Marines, this official said. This official said the number of Marines involved in the case is "in the 20s." They were in six military vehicles that were traveling in a convoy at the time of the incident.

    In the March 4 incident in Nangahar province, an explosives-rigged minivan crashed into a convoy of Marines that U.S. officials said also came under fire from gunmen. Reports of the number of dead and wounded varied. Injured Afghans said the Americans fired on civilian cars and pedestrians as they sped away.

    U.S. military officials said militant gunmen shot at Marines and may have caused some of the civilian casualties.

    The Afghan government has done its own investigation and the results are pending. President Hamid Karzai condemned the incident, which was one among several involving U.S. forces in which civilians were killed and injured.

    Army Maj. Gen. Francis H. Kearney III, head of Special Operations Command Central, began his investigation after taking the highly unusual step of ordering the unit of about 120 Marines out of Afghanistan.

    The Marines are in a special operations unit that deployed from Camp LeJeune, N.C., in January with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit. After Kearney ordered them out of Afghanistan they returned to the ships of the 26th in the Persian Gulf.

    Their unit is one of four Marine Special Operations Command companies that have been established since the command was created in February 2006. The one ordered out of Afghanistan was the first to deploy abroad.

    Ellie

    IN LOVING MEMORY OF MY LATE HUSBAND, SSgt Roger A. Alfano, USMC
    ONE PROUD MARINE
    1961-1977
    Vietnam 1968/69
    Once a Marine...Always a Marine

    https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1204617174

  2. #2
    Probe: Spec ops Marines used excessive force
    By Trista Talton, Staff writer and Robert Burns, The Associated Press
    Posted : Wednesday Apr 11, 2007 14:34:49 EDT

    A U.S. military commander has determined that special operations Marines accused of killing civilians after a suicide bombing in Afghanistan last month used excessive force, and he has referred the case to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service for a broader inquiry, The Associated Press has learned.

    The news comes days after Corps officials fired the unit’s company commander and senior enlisted leader. The unit was assigned to Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command.

    The initial investigation of the March 4 incident, in which up to a dozen Afghan civilians are reported to have died, concluded that the Marines’ response was “out of proportion to the threat that was immediately there,” a senior defense official said Wednesday.

    The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the probe’s results have not been released. The findings have been forwarded to U.S. Central Command, which has responsibility for U.S. military operations in the Middle East and Central Asia.

    A senior U.S. commander pulled the company out of Afghanistan days after the alleged incident, pending the initial investigation. The commander and senior enlisted leatherneck of the Marine special operations company — the first such company to deploy — were relieved April 3.

    The two Marines “are being redeployed back to Camp Lejeune,” said Gunnery Sgt. Michael Turner, a spokesman for the Camp Lejeune, N.C.-based MarSOC.

    MarSOC is not releasing names of the company’s leaders. Marine special operations companies are commanded by majors.

    According to information posted on MarSOC’s official Web site, the decision to relieve the leaders was made by Lt. Col. Paul Montanus, commander of 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion, in consultation with MarSOC commander Maj. Gen. Dennis Hejlik.

    “The commander of the 2nd MSOB lost trust and confidence in the MSOC leadership,” the Web site reads. “Further details are not available for public release at this time pending decisions regarding potential administrative or disciplinary action.”

    The Afghan government has done its own investigation and the results are pending. President Hamid Karzai condemned the incident, which was one among several involving U.S. forces in which civilians were killed and injured.

    In the March 4 incident in Nangarhar province, an explosives-rigged minivan crashed into a convoy of Marines that U.S. officials said also came under fire from gunmen. Reports of the number of dead and wounded varied. Injured Afghans said the Americans fired on civilian cars and pedestrians as they sped away.

    U.S. military officials said militant gunmen shot at Marines and may have caused some of the civilian casualties.

    Following the allegations, Army Maj. Gen. Frank Kearney, head of U.S. Special Operations Command-Central Command, pulled all 120 members of the company out of Afghanistan as the initial investigation continued.

    The statement on MarSOC’s Web site hinted that the alleged response to the ambush wasn’t the only reason the leaders were relieved. It said the MSOC “was involved in events, including the March 4 ambush, which caused the 2nd MSOB commander to lose trust and confidence in the leadership of the MSOC.”

    An officer with 2nd MSOB has been selected to take command of the company, according to the Web site. His name is not being released.

    The MSOC was the Corps’ first spec ops company to deploy. The company deployed in early January with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit from Camp Lejeune. It arrived in Afghanistan in early February.

    The company will continue its scheduled six-month deployment in support of special operations forces in U.S. Central Command as needed, according to the Web site.

    MarSOC was created in February 2006 as the Corps’ contribution to U.S. Special Operations Command.

    Ellie

    IN LOVING MEMORY OF MY LATE HUSBAND, SSgt Roger A. Alfano, USMC
    ONE PROUD MARINE
    1961-1977
    Vietnam 1968/69
    Once a Marine...Always a Marine

    https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1204617174

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