Friday, January 13, 2012

Breaking News: Marines urinating on dead Taliban identified

Washington: Two of the soldiers appearing in a shocking video showing marines urinating on corpses of the Taliban militants have been identified, even as top US officials strongly deplored the incident.

"Two of the culprits and their unit involved in the shameful act have been identified," CNN reported quoting a Pentagon spokesman.

"We cannot release the names of the unit as well as the culprits at this time as the matter is being investigated," a Marine spokesman told CNN referring to the video which has gone viral sparking outrage and unrest in Afghanistan and the wider Muslim world.
The unit was deployed to Afghanistan mainly in Helmand province in early 2011 and had returned home in September or October, the TV channel said.

Marines urinating on dead Taliban identifiedThe US cable network quoted a Marine officer saying that the military was "confident that troops involved in the inflammatory video were from the third Battalion of the second Marine regiment based at Camp Leteune, North Carolina."

The video appeared to show four servicemen urinating on three bloodied corpses and one of them apparently aware that they were being filmed saying "Have a great day buddy", referring to one of the dead.
Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has said those found engaged in such conduct will be held accountable to the fullest extent.

"This conduct is entirely inappropriate for the US military and does not reflect the standards of values our armed forces are sworn to uphold," he said in a statement.

Earlier, the White House deplored the video.

"We find this - we've seen the video, and what it depicts is - or what it apparently depicts is deplorable, reprehensible and unacceptable," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.

The video, posted on YouTube and other websites, is a big embarrassment for the Obama Administration, especially at a critical time of holding peace talks with the Taliban.

The Department of Defence has ordered a probe into the authenticity of the video as well as those who were responsible for this.

"The alleged action is obviously under investigation," Carney said in response to a question.
He referred to the telephone call made by Defence Secretary Panetta to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, in this regard, in which he vowed to hold accountable to all those responsible for this, if the video is found to be authentic.

"I don't know whether or not the President has actually seen the video. He is certainly aware of it and shares the sentiment expressed by Secretary Panetta," Carney said.

"Certainly what is apparently occurring in that video is deplorable and does not live up to the very high standards set for the US Marines or, broadly, the US military," he said.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined Panetta in deploring the video, saying "it is absolutely inconsistent with American values, with the standards of behaviour that we expect from our military personnel."

In a statement Gen Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he is deeply disturbed by the actions in this video.

"Actions like those are not only illegal but are contrary to the values of a professional military and serve to erode the reputation of our joint force. The Marine Corps has asked NCIS for a thorough investigation and I am confident that there will be accountability, as appropriate," Dempsey said. video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Natalee Holloway justice? Joran Van der Sloot gets 28 years


Natalee Holloway is a name likely to haunt a generation of U.S. parents. The teenager from Mountain Brook, Ala., went to Aruba in 2005 as part of a senior high school trip to celebrate her graduation — and was never heard from again. Many believe she was killed by Dutch national Joran Van der Sloot or, at the very least, that he knows what happened to her.

Van der Sloot was sentenced Friday in Peru to serve 28 years in a prison for fatally beating another young woman, Stephany Flores, 21, in his hotel room in Lima. It’s unusual for such a murder case in a foreign land to make headlines in America. But U.S. media have covered this case because it gives a bittersweet measure of solace to the grieving Holloway family — and to all parents who can feel their suffering.

Flores and Holloway’s parents never met. But Flores possibly met her end while trying to help Natalee Holloway’s family.

Investigators have long believed that Van der Sloot violently turned on the Flores after she found something, perhaps a clue, related to Holloway on his computer.

Flores’ murder took place May 30, 2010. That’s precisely five years to the day that Holloway was seen leaving a nightclub in Aruba with Van der Sloot and two other men on May 30, 2005.
After that night, Holloway vanished.

Her disappearance made international headlines and triggered a massive, multiagency search that included sifting the bottom of the ocean floor off Aruba in a bid for clues.

Over the years, Van der Sloot has told law enforcement officials, as well as the media, conflicting stories about Holloway. In one scenario, he politely dropped Holloway off at her hotel. In another, he left her, alone, on the beach after she collapsed. He also claimed at one point that he sold her into sexual slavery. And, of course, he has said that he had nothing at all to do with Holloway’s disappearance.

While U.S. authorities did not have the jurisdiction to charge him in Holloway’s disappearance, they have not given up hope that he will someday be forced to face charges in a U.S. courtroom.

In another turn of events, Van der Sloot allegedly contacted Holloway’s mother, Beth, and promised to reveal everything about his daughter’s disappearance — in exchange for $250,000.

The FBI, which became involved in the alleged 2010 extortion plot, set up a sting to capture Van der Sloot. But he fled to Peru with a down payment of several thousand dollars that was wired to him as part of the negotiations.

In a sad coincidence, Holloway’s family was in court this week for a previously scheduled hearing. The matter? A formal declaration of her death, necessary so that her parents can tend to matters related to the teen’s meager estate.

John Edwards Has Life-Threatening Heart Condition

Just in from CNN:
A federal judge disclosed that former presidential candidate John Edwards has a life-threatening heart condition, a court source tells CNN.
Edwards had sought a delay in his criminal corruption trial, scheduled to begin later this month.