Torture – slaughter – murder – rape – America in denial. They beat prisioners to death and turture them to death and Americans are such cowards that we can’t admit the truth of what happened. For murder – this guy gets off with a fine and reduction in rank. Look at the language in this article and ask yourself if someone else did this to an American would we look at it the same way.
Iraqi’s beating called an act of retribution
By Alex Roth
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
August 26, 2004
CAMP PENDLETON A Marine who admitted spray-painting “Terror Dome” on a jail for Iraqi prisoners testified yesterday that he and Sgt. Gary Pittman gave a fierce beating to a hooded inmate who later died at the lockup.
Pfc. William Roy, the star prosecution witness in Pittman’s court martial, also said he and Pittman beat up another Iraqi inmate for reasons of pure retribution. The two decided to “put some pain on him,” Roy testified.
On cross-examination, one of Pittman’s lawyers suggested that Roy himself may have caused the injuries that killed inmate Nagem Sadoon Hatab, 52, who was found dead June 6, 2003 at the Camp Whitehorse jail near the Iraqi town of Nasiriyah.
Defense lawyer John Tranberg noted that Roy, a reservist who works as a county jail guard in Troy, N.Y., originally faced eight criminal charges that were dropped when he agreed to testify for the prosecution.
Instead of facing court-martial, a possible criminal conviction and potential prison time, Roy, 35, received a fine and reduction in rank from lance corporal to private first class.
Pittman, 40, a reservist employed as a New York federal prison guard, faces up to two years in a military prison if convicted of assault and dereliction of duty.
Both men are members of the 2nd battalion, 25th Marines, a New York-based unit that established the jail at Camp Whitehorse shortly after deploying to Iraq in the spring of 2003.
Many of the jail’s prisoners were violent, and temperatures reached 125 degrees during the day and hovered in the 90s even at night.
In his testimony yesterday, Roy described Hatab as an inmate with an attitude problem who resisted attempts to strip-search him and balked when ordered to stand for 50 minutes of the hour.
The so-called 50/10 policy, Roy said, was ordered by a special Marine intelligence unit to soften up prisoners for questioning.
Roy said he assaulted Hatab several times because he refused to stand.
Compliance techniques, Roy said, included applying force to various pressure points, a method he and his other correctional officers in New York used “to get protesters or unresponsive people to rise to their feet.”
Prosecutors have suggested that Hatab was singled out for harsh treatment because he was suspected of involvement in the ambush of Army Private Jessica Lynch’s convoy.
Roy said he and Pittman began beating Hatab in the early-morning hours of June 4, when Hatab refused to stand and later became entangled in some razor wire inside his cell.
At one point Pittman delivered a kick to Hatab’s chest that sent the handcuffed, hooded prisoner tumbling backward to the ground, according to Roy.
Roy also admitted grabbing Hatab by the throat several hours later and commanding the inmate “to do what we tell him to do.”
“We were aggravated with him, sir,” Roy told the prosecutor, Maj. Leon Francis. “He wasn’t cooperating.”
Hatab was found dead in a fetal position in an outdoor holding pen less than two days later. An autopsy noted several broken ribs and concluded that a broken bone in his throat caused him to asphyxiate. Pittman’s lawyers have questioned the autopsy’s accuracy.
In his testimony, Roy admitted that he and another Marine spray-painted “2/25 Terror Dome” on an outside entrance to the jail more than a month before Hatab’s arrival. When questioned about the incident by the prosecutor yesterday, Roy said they also painted a smiley face on the other side of the building.
He testified that he, Pittman and a third Marine beat a sheik who was brought into the jail June 5. They did so, Roy said, because the sheik had promised to surrender peacefully but his people resisted when Marines tried to arrest him.
“Pretty much it was retribution for his people putting up a fight against our people,” Roy testified.
Roy said it was Pittman, his immediate superior, who decided to give the sheik “the full effect.”
“At that time I felt it was part of what was expected of us,” Roy said.
Roy’s testimony is scheduled to continue today. Two other Marines face hearings next month in the case.