The Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals in Washington, D.C., ruled unanimously to uphold dismissal of charges against an officer accused of criminal conduct after a political rant over the Iraq war by U.S. Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa. Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani is the highest-ranking Marine to be charged with wrongdoing in the so-called "Haditha massacre" in Iraq after Murtha publicly accused the troops of "killing innocent civilians in cold blood." A military investigation of the Nov. 19, 2005, Haditha firefight, however, found "no indication" that the Marines had "intentionally targeted, engaged and killed noncombatants." As WND reported, the case against Chessani was originally dismissed after Col. Steven Folsom, who presided over the lawsuit, ruled the charges were tainted by "unlawful command influence." Folsom cited improper closed-door meetings with investigators that gave credence to the defense's argument that Chessani was made a "political scapegoat" for the highly publicized Haditha incident. The government, however, persisted in appealing the case against Chessani, who wasn't present at Haditha but was charged with improperly investigating actions of Marines under his command and covering up details of the firefight. Late this morning, the three appellate military judges of the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals released their opinion, rejecting the government's challenge of Chessani's dismissal. "We are convinced the Government failed to meet its burden of demonstrating, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the proceedings were untainted by the appearance of UCI (Unlawful Command Influence)," states the judges' decision. "We are similarly convinced that an objective, disinterested observer, fully informed of all the facts and circumstances, would harbor significant doubt about the fairness of this proceeding." More here _______________________________________________ It is becoming clear that there is a political and activist agenda to find military personnel guilty of false charges. It is shameful to treat out military this way. Shame on them.