Ex-Marine Says He Committed Atrocities
By JOELLE DIDERICH
10/07/05 "AP" -- -- A former U.S. Marine in Iraq alleges that his battalion committed atrocities against Iraqi civilians during the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, including shooting unarmed protesters.
Jimmy Massey, a staff sergeant who was in the Marines for 12 years and served three months in Iraq before being honorably discharged with post-traumatic stress syndrome, details the allegations in his book "Kill! Kill! Kill!", written with the French journalist Natasha Saulnier and published in France.
A Pentagon spokeswoman said Massey's complaints had already been investigated and found to be unsubstantiated.
Massey said he was in charge of a platoon in the 3rd Batallion of Regimental Combat Team 7, responsible for setting up checkpoints and providing armed cover against terrorists and insurgents.
He alleges that over a period of a month and a half in 2003, his platoon killed more than 30 civilians in Iraq.
"We in fact, I feel, escalated the violence," he told The Associated Press in an interview.
Massey, however, said in one case shortly after April 2003, Marines who heard a gunshot fired upon 10 Iraqi demonstrators shouting anti-U.S. slogans and wielding banners saying "Go Home" near the sprawling Al-Rashid military complex southeast of the city center. All but one of the demonstrators were killed, said Massey, who estimated he himself fired about 12 shots.
Massey said he later found several rocket-propelled grenades propped on a wall some 500 feet away. He interpreted the demonstrators' failure to use the weapons as a sign of their peaceful intentions.
"That day we shot the protesters in the Rashid complex was when I had a moment of clarity and I understood that by our actions of doing that, we set the tone overall for what the Iraqis were seeing and the brutality of what we were doing was being displayed," he told AP.
Maj. Gabrielle Chapin, a spokeswoman at Marine Corps headquarters in the Pentagon, said the Marines are committed to investigating all allegations of violations of "law of war or rules of engagement."
"Mr. Massey made allegations of genocide by members of his command, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, resulting in an investigation," she said.
The investigation was completed in June 2004, "and these allegations were found to be unsubstantiated in regards to law or rules of engagement violations," Chapin said.
The French-language version of Massey's book went on sale in France this week.
Massey said he was not surprised by the reluctance of U.S. publishers. "The picture that I paint within the book is very difficult for a lot of Americans to grasp, and I understand that," he said.
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