Saturday, November 05, 2005

Marine tells of 'carte blanche' to kill

A former US marine has told a jury that he was given "carte blanche" to kill and was told to "shoot first and ask questions later" while serving in Iraq following the outbreak of war in 2003.

Jimmy Massey was giving evidence in the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court trial of five antiwar protesters accused of criminal damage of a US aeroplane at Shannon Airport in February 2003.

Mr Massey was a platoon sergeant in the US Marines stationed in Kuwait in the lead up to the outbreak of the Iraq war and served there following the invasion until May 15, 2003.

The accused have pleaded not guilty to two counts each of causing damage without lawful excuse to a naval plane, property of the United States Government and to glass door panels, property of Aer Rianta at Shannon Airport on February 3, 2003.

They are Ciaron O’Reilly, an Australian national and Damien Moran, aged 25, both of South Circular Road, Rialto; Nuin Dunlop, aged 34, a US citizen and counsellor living on Walkinstown Road, Dublin; Karen Fallon, aged 35, a Scottish marine biologist living on South Circular Road, Rialto; and Deirdre Clancy, aged 35, a copy editor of Castle Avenue, Clontarf, Dublin.

Mr Massey told Mr Brendan Nix SC, defending Ms Fallon, that prior to invasion he was briefed of the terms of the Geneva Convention and rules of engagement. He said he was told that intelligence reports "painted every Iraqi as a potential terrorist".

In response to Mr Nix’s query as to what was their "firing policy". Mr Massey replied: "To shoot first and ask questions later. We were given carte blanche to kill."

Asked by counsel if this was in breach of the Geneva Convention, Mr Massey replied: "Yes sir".

Mr Nix: "Did it happen?" - "It did, many times. Over a three month period more than 30 innocent people were killed that I know of."

Mr Massey, originally from North Carolina, said he joined the US Marines as a 19 year-old and served for 12 years before his honourable discharge in December 2003. As platoon sergeant he was in charge of machine gunners, missile men and scout snipers.

Ms Fallon, giving evidence in her own defence, told Mr Nix that she damaged the plane "primarily to stop them killing people and destroying their hospitals and waterworks. It’s OK for us, no one is bombing us everyday."

She said she honestly believed she could "make a difference" and said if her actions "could have saved one life, then it is worth it".

The jury earlier heard that repairs costing over $2.5m (€2m) were carried out on the US navy supply plane which the five accused admit they hit with hammers.

The hearing continues before Judge McDonagh and a jury of five men and seven women.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

November 07, 2005 1:42 am  
Blogger _H_ said...

Interesting article . thanks

I personally would not place to much on one persons statement either way

of more note is the genuine research such as the lancet study which has shown that a large number of US military personal had killed a civilian in terms that broke the geneva convention

we can always question the little details but the big picture tends to hold true

November 07, 2005 10:19 pm  

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