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Atrocity Claims

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The atrocity claims below are all taken from the "1st Marine Division" session of the Winter Soldier Investigation -- just one of 15 sessions held during the three day event.

Complete transcripts can be found here.

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...he just moved up to the old woman and started nudging her and then I saw her fall out of the way. When the convoy had completely passed, like she was on the road, really like squashed.

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He was about 70 years old. I believe he was some sort of religious, like a monk or something like that, from his dress. He had an ID card and he was in pretty bad shape so they didn't want to call in a MEDIVAC chopper so they told us to kill him.

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Whenever any prisoners were taken, the crewmen in the helicopters were in charge also of loading, in addition to maintenance on the aircraft would blindfold the prisoners, holding the blindfold on with heavy wire, safety wire. They'd bind their hands, bind their feet and maybe bind them into a fetal position and upon landing, rather than releasing them so they could walk off the aircraft, they'd throw them out--get the grunts to mark how far they could throw them and have little contests.

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The calling in of artillery for games, the way it was worked would be the mortar forward observers would pick out certain houses in villages, friendly villages, and the mortar forward observers would call in mortars until they destroyed that house and then the artillery forward observer would call in artillery until he destroyed another house and whoever used the least amount of artillery, they won.

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...we didn't give the people any time to get out of the villages. We just went in and burned them and if people were in the villages yelling and screaming, we didn't help them. We just burned the houses as we went.

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The torturing of prisoners was done with beatings and I saw one case where there were two prisoners. One prisoner was staked out on the ground and he was cut open while he was alive and part of his insides were cut out...

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When we went through the villages and searched people the women would have all their clothes taken off and the men would use their penises to probe them to make sure they didn't have anything hidden anywhere and this was raping but it was done as searching... MODERATOR. The company commander was around when this happened? CAMILE. Right.

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I saw one case where a woman was shot by a sniper, one of our snipers. When we got up to her she was asking for water. And the Lt. said to kill her. So he ripped off her clothes, they stabbed her in both breasts, they spread-eagled her and shoved an E- tool up her vagina, an entrenching tool, and she was still asking for water. And then they took that out and they used a tree limb and then she was shot.

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...when you shot someone you didn't think you were shooting at a human. They were a gook or a Commie and it was okay.

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So these guys decided that they would kind of play a little game and they let her run about fifty yards and they'd fire in front of her so she'd have to turn around, and then they'd let her run another direction and then they'd cut her off. This went on about a half hour until the time the sun started to come up. So then they decided it best to eliminate her as soon as possible, so they just ripped her off right there...

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The skipper came down to where they had found the prisoner, had asked the people around him to get going and that he would tend to the prisoner. I was machine gunner at the time and I had to set up some security around him and I came up over a rock to watch what he was doing and he took out his .45 and he blew his head off. This, like, wasn't really the first time this ever happened.

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I was picked up by a truckload of grunt Marines with two company grade officers, 1st Lts.; we were about 5 miles down the road, where there were some Vietnamese children at the gateway of the village and they gave the old finger gesture at us. It was understandable that they picked this up from the GIs there. They stopped the trucks--they didn't stop the truck, they slowed down a little bit, and it was just like response, the guys got up, including the lieutenants, and just blew all the kids away.

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...they would find VCs or something (I never got the story on them) but, anyway, they were human beings, obviously dead, and they would take them and string them out on fences, on barbed wire fences, stripped, and sometimes they would take flesh wounds, take a knife and cut the body all over the place to make it bleed, and look gory as a reminder to the people in the village.

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...in order to explain these civilian bodies it was standard procedure to carry several extra fragmentation grenades in the field and these would be planted on the bodies in order to make them a Viet Cong rather than a civilian.

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A lifer was in charge of the mail. He stopped the mail for about three days because he wanted his troops to shine their shoes or something or clean up or shave or get a haircut and he stopped the mail. So someone told him if we don't get mail by noon on a specific day before midnight, that night you're going to be offered. But since he was hard and he was in the Korean War, he thought that what happened in the old Marine Corps is happening in Vietnam, he persisted and the mail wasn't gotten out and before midnight he was fragged.

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...in ITR in the Marine Corps you go through Infantry Training Regiment. They have a class on when you interrogate a POW or a villager what to look for--where they hide things. They stress over and over that a woman has more available places to hide things like maps or anything than a male. So it took about twenty minutes to cover where to search for a male suspect, and about an hour on a female.

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...it makes a lasting impression on some guy -- some "zip" -- that's watching his daughter worked over. So we have a better opportunity of keeping him in line by working her over.

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Back to this specific instance where I talk about the disembowelment of the women--I think the person involved was a freaked out sexist, if that's what you're trying to get at. I think maybe he had problems. He had to be--he was in the Army for 20 years.

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I went to Boot Camp at Paris Island and we had a lot of brothers from Philly there and the common term used in discussing the brothers amongst the DIs, the drill instructors, was they were "niggers." "Come here nigger, do this nigger."

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They usually tie them up and put a blindfold on them and they'll put maybe three guys in a C-54 and fly off. They'll ask the guys in the air, "What is your unit?" and all this jive, and if they don't cooperate, they just might take one of them and say, "Okay, take off the blindfold," and just shove him right out.

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The ROK Marines came up to us and one of their officers asked us if they could have the NVA nurses... They tied their hands to the ground, they spread-eagled them; they raped all four. There was like maybe ten or twenty ROK Marines involved. They tortured them, they sliced off their breasts, they used machetes and cut off parts of their fingers and things like this. When that was over, they took pop-up flares (which are aluminum canisters you hit with your hand; it'll shoot maybe 100-200 feet in the air)--they stuck them up their vaginas--all four of them--and they blew the top of their heads off.

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They didn't find any enemy but they found a woman with bandages. So she was questioned by six ARVNs and the way they questioned her, since she had bandages, they shot her. She was hit about twenty times. After she was questioned, and, of course, dead, this guy came over, who was a former major, been in the service for twenty years, and he got hungry again and came back over working with USAID, Aid International Development. He went over there, ripped her clothes off and took a knife and cut, from her vagina almost all the way up, just about up to her breasts and pulled her organs out, completely out of her cavity, and threw them out. Then, he stopped and knelt over and commenced to peel every bit of skin off her body and left her there as a sign for something or other and that was those instances.

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The bridge got a radio call that they had supposedly received a sniper round from this village. So the Lt. on the bridge told them to sweep the village. They swept the village and they called back that there was nothing found. There was nothing found, I mean, there were just people in the village and so the Lt. told them to burn the village. From my position, which was about 150 to 200 yards away, and there was a tree line in the way, smoke started coming up over the tree line and about this time, I guess about three minutes after the smoke started showing, there was a lot of screaming and just chaos coming from the direction of the village and a lot of people started running out of the tree line. From where I was standing, I saw maybe two or three male villagers and the rest were women and children--some of the children walking and some of them young enough to be carried, I would say under a year, maybe. The last thing I heard as a command was the gunnery sergeant told them to open fire to keep them back. Their village was on fire and they were in panic; they didn't stop, so they just cut down the women and children with mortars, machine guns, tank...

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I saw approximately, during my tour, twenty deformed infants under the age of one. It never made sense to me, I thought it was congenital, or something, from venereal disease, because they had flippers and things. I didn't understand what I saw until approximately six months ago I read a report that was put out by Stamford which talked about the thalidomide content within Agent Orange and it was common knowledge that Agent Orange was sprayed in the area...

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...if we had a village where we'd lost people because of booby traps, we'd call in napalm and it just burns down the village and the people.

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...we had mortar squads in the infantry used to avoid going into a village or something if we thought it might be VC infested or something like this, we'd send in Willie Peter mortars, 60 millimeters, and this would burn up the hootches --that explode--throwing white phosphorus on different hootches in the village. Start the hootches burning and also kill people.

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...they used to have these things called "Pop-ups." You hit them on the bottom and it shoots like a green star cluster up in the air. It's used for location when somebody wants to find out where you are and we used to shoot them down into the village that was below and watch the people run around and we used to get big kicks out of it.

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