Skip to comments.Dozens rally at Camp Pendleton gates(24 June 2006)
Posted on 06/25/2006 10:12:49 AM PDT by radar101
OCEANSIDE ---- Their numbers are growing. Two weeks ago about two dozen people showed up to rally outside the gates of Camp Pendleton in support of eight troops charged in the alleged kidnapping and murder of an Iraqi man.
On Saturday, the number of people gathered to show support for the detained men reached at least six times that amount.
About 150 people spent a few midday hours Saturday waving signs in support of the troops many of them have dubbed the "Pendleton Eight." Their efforts drew honks and nods from drivers and car passengers entering the main gate of the large Marine Corps base.
Although the rally was the third outside the main gate over the last three weekends, it was the first since Marine Corps officials announced Wednesday that they had charged eight members of the Camp Pendleton-based 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment's Kilo Company with the alleged April 26 murder of an Iraqi man in the village of Hamdania.
Charges of murder were levied against Sgt. Lawrence G. Hutchins III, 25; Cpl. Trent D. Thomas, 24; Hospitalman 3rd Class Melson J. Bacos, 20; Pfc. John Jodka III, 20; Lance Cpl. Tyler A. Jackson, 22; Lance Cpl. Jerry E. Shumate Jr., 20; Lance Cpl. Robert B. Pennington, 21; and Cpl. Marshall Magincalda, 23.
Other charges filed include kidnapping, conspiracy, assault, larceny, housebreaking, making false statements and obstruction of justice.
The attorneys and family members of the troops have firmly maintained the men's innocence.
Among those at Saturday's rally was San Marcos resident Joe Snodgrass, grandfather of accused Encinitas native John Jodka. Snodgrass said his grandson is doing "remarkably well" in the face of the charges.
"I'm here to thank people who are supporting my grandson, to say 'thank you, thank you, thank you,' " Snodgrass said, gripping an 8-by-10-inch photo of his grandson, Jodka, wearing his dress blues.
"These people are a token representation of the feelings of our country," the 70-year-old man continued.
Snodgrass sighed and put a hand to his chest.
"(It's) wonderful," he said. "I didn't think there were that many people who cared about my little guy. ... I wish they'd let him out, so he could see it. It would bring tears to his eyes."
Snodgrass, who was planning to visit Jodka after stopping by the rally, said his grandson has told him, "Papa, I am innocent. I was only doing my duty. I am not guilty."
"I believe him," Snodgrass said. "I know he is not lying."
According to the "charging documents," which are comparable to criminal complaints in the civilian court system, the eight are accused of each playing a role in allegedly forcing Hashim Ibrahim Awad from his home, shooting him to death, then staging the scene to make him appear to have been an insurgent.
The investigation into Awad's death began May 1, when unidentified Hamdania residents brought it to the attention of military commanders in Iraq, Marine Col. Stewart Navarre said Wednesday while announcing that charges had been filed against the eight.
A preliminary inquiry conducted by Multi-National Forces-West in Iraq found sufficient cause to recommend a criminal investigation be opened, Navarre said.
The eight were first detained May 12 in Iraq, then moved to Camp Pendleton two weeks later. The eight jailed troops spent the first few weeks of their confinement at the Camp Pendleton brig shackled in chains when they left their single-man cells.
On Saturday, most of the supporters spoke out against the treatment of the eight accused men.
"They are treated like prisoners of war instead of heroes," said Westminster resident Vaugh Becht. "There should be 1,000 people out here."
Many of those at the rally, including Becht, said they were prompted to come after listening to Michael Savage, a national radio talk-show host who has strongly promoted the rallies during his broadcasts.
Among those at the rally was Vista resident C.J. Simon, 58, who said he has never joined in a protest ---- until now.
"This is more important than the fate of the eight men," the Vietnam veteran said. "This has to do with the politics of war. We are not just a bunch of protesters out here. Believe me, because I'm here."
Simon, who stood next to his wife, B.J., during the rally, said he objected to the military's decision to shackle the seven Marines and one Navy corpsman for weeks before charging them.
Another popular criticism among those at the rally was that the accusations which started the investigation came from Iraqi citizens.
"For the word of Iraqi sympathizers to be taken over the word of our Marines ... " said Deborah Landis, who stopped midsentence and shook her head. The accusations the men face, she said, "are not true. Don't even say that. They are not true."
Up and down the street, supporters of the eight detained men, shared similar sentiments.
"There is no such thing as a war crime in a time of war," said 40-year-old North County resident Rob Thompson. Pausing for a moment, he added, "For us, there is. For our enemies, there never is. We are the only ones who follow the rules."
Sharing similar sentiments was Paul Spaans of San Diego.
"Those chains should be melted down and formed into medals," the 56-year-old Spaans said.
Contact staff writer Teri Figueroa at (760) 631-6624 or email@example.com.
............ As Robert Liles holds an American flag behind him, Joe Snodgrass, 70, from San Marcos, holds a picture of his son Marine Pfc. John Jodka, one of the seven Marines and one sailor charged with murder for the death of an Iraqi, as he walks through the crowd of supporters thanking them during a support rally for the imprisoned eight service men near the front gate of Camp Pendleton in Oceanside on Saturday. Snodgrass said he was going to go visit his grandson at the Camp Pendleton brig after he left the rally. HAYNE PALMOUR IV Staff Photographer
Supporters of the seven Marines and one sailor charged with murder for the death of an Iraqi cheer on Marines as they enter Camp Pendleton during a support rally for the imprisoned eight service men near the front gate of Camp Pendleton in Oceanside on Saturday. HAYNE PALMOUR IV Staff Photographer
Dozens??? Looks like dozens of dozens to me!
The MSM IS America's enemy.
semper fi go marines
Here's a little background thread and some links if folks wish to help out as they can.
What they are doing to these (OUR) Marines is "PURE EFF'NG BULL SHT"!!!
If our top brass don't have the BRASS ONES to support and defend our troops against the enemy, then get them the HELL OUT OF THERE!
What about our United States Marines?
Are they going to prison for killing the enemy?
According to the vidio there were 500 there yesterday.
I know the Corps has to work this through following the UCMJ but in the end I think it's going to be the left and the loonie politicians that will have stepped in the fresh manure on a hot summer's day.
The supporters are great!
Lame Stream Media! If this had been a liberal issue, they would be referred to as the Pendleton eight by the paper with no quote marks.
No slant here!
"They are treated like prisoners of war instead of heroes," said Westminster resident Vaugh Becht.
They are being treated like violent convicted criminals. They are not now guilty of anything, nor IMO, will they ever be.
When did our country become this decandent?
To me it seems some powerful people are looking for any excuse to punish our own soldiers for brutality.
What is being done to those marines is an act sadism I would expect from a corrupt ,inbred roman emperor.
Yes we do! Thank you Meg :)
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