[JURIST] A US Naval Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS) [official website] spokesperson has confirmed that up to 10 US Marines are currently under investigation for the alleged killing of at least eight Iraqi detainees during the Multinational National Force-Iraq's November 2004 offensive in Fallujah [GlobalSecurity backgrounder]. The latest allegations surfaced when former Marine Corporal Ryan Weemer admitted the incident during a polygraphed job interview with the US Secret Service. Military journalist Nathaniel Helms has allegedly corroborated the account, reporting that he saw the Marines execute subdued Iraqi prisoners, whose bodies were later buried under rubble from an air strike.
The investigation is the latest potential embarrassment for the US Marine Corps [official website], which has also been implicated in the deaths of 24 Iraqi civilians at Haditha [USMC timeline; JURIST news archive] as well as a March 4 incident in Afghanistan [JURIST report] in which Marines allegedly fired at civilian bystanders along a several mile stretch of road following an attempted suicide bombing attack. The NCIS, the civilian investigative arm of the US Navy, will submit the evidence to a high ranking Marine Corps officer, who will decide whether to refer the allegations to an Article 32 [JAG backgrounder] hearing to determine whether the charges will proceed to a general court-martial. Reuters has more. The Los Angeles Times has additional coverage.