Daily Media Report

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Marine Corps Times Oct. 29, 2007

Spec-ops court of inquiry pushed back
By Trista Talton JACKSONVILLE, N.C. — A court of inquiry into the role two Marine special operations officers had in the alleged killing of 19 Afghan civilians earlier this year has been pushed back to December. The military tribunal was scheduled to begin Thursday at Camp Lejeune, N.C., but will now most likely begin the first week of December, Marine officials said Monday. The focus of the inquiry will be Maj. Fred C. Galvin, who was commander of Marine Special Operations Company-Fox, and Capt. Vincent Noble, who commanded a platoon of about 30 Marines whose convoy was attacked March 4 in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar

province. Army officials said the Marines opened fire along a crowded roadway after their convoy was hit by a car bomb. The entire 120-man company was expelled from Afghanistan shortly after the incident. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command leaders relieved Galvin and the company’s senior enlisted officer; they and six other Marines were sent back to Camp Lejeune after the incident. Their attorneys say the convoy came under small-arms fire. The incident remains under investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. Lt. Gen. Jim Mattis, commander of Marine Corps Forces-Central Command, ordered the court of inquiry. He will review the court’s findings and decide whether criminal charges are warranted.

Baltimore Sun Oct. 30, 2007

Closing arguments due in suit against protesters
By Matthew Dolan A federal jury in Baltimore is expected to hear closing arguments this morning in the firstin-the-nation lawsuit against a Kansas church accused of invading the privacy of a family mourning the death of their son killed in Iraq. The civil trial, now a week old, has pitted a grieving father of a 20-year-old Marine against members of the Westboro Baptist Church, who Albert Snyder says exacerbated his pain and suffering by protesting at his son's March 2006 funeral with anti-gay slogans. Yesterday's final witnesses included two psychological experts who presented contrasting opinions on the impact of the protests of the Westboro Baptist Church members on the family of Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder. Snyder, a 2003 Westminster High School graduate, died in a vehicle accident in Anbar province. He had been in Iraq less than a month. Kenneth J. Doka, a professor of gerontology at the College of New Rochelle, testified that the church members' picketing likely made it more difficult for the family to grieve properly. The untimely death of a young man at war would already be an extremely sorrowful event for a father to endure, according to Doka, who testified for the plaintiff, Albert Snyder. But the church's protest at the funeral only made the loss more difficult, said Doka, a recognized expert on how people survive the loss of loved ones. According to his attorneys, Snyder has suffered complications from diabetes since the protests. He has maintained that church members violated his right to privacy when they

camped out and waved signs including "Thank God for dead soldiers" near his funeral motorcade. But an expert for the defense testified that the onset of Snyder's depression came before his son's death. And it was that tragic loss - and not the church's anti-homosexual protests - that is principally responsible for his ailments, according to Dr. Neil Blumberg, a forensic psychiatrist from Timonium. "In the big scheme of things, it was a distraction," Blumberg told jurors. " ... The primary source of [his] depression is the loss." Blumberg said that Snyder's continued focus on the church protesters "makes him feel less helpless" after losing his son. In opening arguments last week, one of the defendants, Shirley Phelps-Roper, a Westboro member and attorney who is representing herself in the case, told jurors that she and her fellow protesters remained about 1,000 feet away from the funeral and never did anything to disrupt the service. The congregation is known around the country for holding regular protests at funerals, political rallies and other public forums across the country to voice opposition to the inclusion of homosexuals in the military. U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett earlier ruled that church members did not defame Snyder or his family by implying that he was gay or that he was raised by adulterers because his parents divorced. Nor did the church members invade the family's privacy, the judge ruled, because their anti-gay and anti-divorce accusations were based on a general expression of the church members' fundamentalist beliefs. But the judge also left it to jurors to decide this week whether Westboro Baptist Church is liable for an intentional infliction of emotional distress based on the message from its members' signs. If jurors decide the church or its members are legally liable, lawyers will then be able to argue over what kind of damages should be awarded to Albert Snyder.

Noblesville (Ind.) Daily Times Oct. 29, 2007

Marine speaks of service at Iwo Jima
By Steven Furlow Marion Walker didn’t sugarcoat the details during his discussion Saturday afternoon at the Noblesville branch of the Hamilton East Public Library.

World War II veteran Marion Walker, right, listens to a question at the Noblesville branch of the Hamilton East Public Library Saturday. Fellow veteran Charles Sullivan, left, was one of many veterans who attended the talk. Photo by Steven Furlow “War is not glorious,” he said. “I’ve been through hell.” Walker was a member of the second wave of Marines who fought in the battle of Iwo Jima during World War II, one of 91 men in his battalion to attack the island not killed or severely injured in the battle and one of 12 in is company that survived. “We won that island; we won it the hard way,” he said. In a unique opportunity to hear a veteran of World War II speak of his experiences, crowds of current and former service members as well as families with children gathered Saturday to hear Walker describe his role in the pivotal battle. He described serving as both cook and flame thrower operator in the Marines, preparing for and fighting a war while still in his teens. Walker was on the island during the famous raising of the flag at Iwo Jima, an image that helped solidify support for the war at home and provide inspiration for the fighting men. “Thank God for that picture,” he said. “When the flag went up, there was a tremendous noise (from the naval ships) in celebration of what we had done.” It was strange, he said. “We were just being Marines, nothing else.” The audience sat silently as Walker detailed the horrors of war he witnessed; details, facts and numbers astounded the listeners as the survivor spoke. He talked of approaching the island sailing in a Navy ship in complete blackness. “If there’s a time you’re ever lonely in life, that’s one of them,” he said somberly. He spoke proudly of his service and of those soldiers and Marines he served with, remembering their sacrifices. There was nothing glorious about what had to be done. “These things never leave you, you never forget pulling a trigger on a fellow human being,” he said. Caleb Overdorf attended Saturday’s presentation to learn more about World War II that he studied in school. “It was an honor,” he said. “There aren’t too many World War II vets left.” He added hearing Walker speak was something he would keep with him for a long time, appreciating the sacrifices the veteran made. Walker closed with imploring the children present to remember the American Creed, then reading it aloud.

“We’re survivors, not heroes,” Walker said.

V i d e o Cl i p s :
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CNN Oct. 29, 2007

Iraqi soldiers donate check to California wildfire victims