A Mighty Powerful Kick
Something that happened at the "terror dome"
Sgt. Gary Pittman, a Marine reservist from New York, is currently being court-martialed at Camp Pendleton, CA for the beating death of an Iraqi POW, Nagem Sadoon Hatam, in June 2003.
Hatab, who was 52, was picked up June 3, 2003 near Nasiriyah, and taken to Camp Whitehorse, an improvised jail. On June 6 his body was found in an outside holding pen, and he had died from suffocation. According to an army colonel who examined his body four days later, there were deep bruises on lower back and legs, large bruises on the torso and mid-back, a 7-by-7 inch "superficial" bruise on lower abdomen, scraped knees and a cut hand. Six ribs were broken (some media accounts say seven) and according to the same examination, the ribs were broken clean through, similar to a car crash injury.
The cause of death for Hatab was determined to be suffocation from a crushed windpipe--whether it was from a powerful karate-kick that broke all the ribs, or from a broken neck, is unclear from media reports and court testimony.
The karate kick was delivered by Sgt. Gary Pittman, according to another Marine reservist who helped Pittman fatally beat Hatam. Pfc. William Roy agreed to testify against Pittman in exchange for a light sentence.
He describes a karate kick that Pittman delivered to the chest of Hatam, who was hooded and handcuffed. The kick sent Hatam backwards three feet and to the ground. Presumably, Pittman was wearing boots, which would explain the massive injuries to Hatam's chest. Another explanation would be that Pittman is well-trained in the martial arts, and the precision of the kick, combined with wearing boots, and with Hatam being hooded, not expecting a kick and therefore not being able to brace for it, all resulted in (what appears to have been) a fatal kick.
Pittman's defense said that Hatam may have died from an asthma attack, but then conceded that he might have suffocated--not from the effects of the karate kick, but from a broken neck. In a diabolical twist, Pfc. William Roy admits that he grabbed Hatam by the neck, and it might have been the cause of his death. Roy faces no further prosecution, and now Pittman's defense can claim that Roy caused Hatam's death, so it's a win-win for both sides.
Hatab was suspected of being involved in an attack on US forces in April 2003, which is why he was picked up and held for two days in Camp Whitehorse, before being killed. Pfc. Roy and Sgt. Pittman admit that they beat Hatam [to death] because he wouldn't follow instructions.
For his role in the beating death of Nagem Hatab, Pfc. William Roy was fined and demoted. Sgt. Gary Pittman is being charged with assault and dereliction of duty for his car crash-like kick to the chest of Hatab. He faces up to two years in a military prison if convicted.
Before leaving for Iraq, Pfc. Roy was a county jail guard in Troy, NY, and Sgt. Pittman was a New York federal prison guard, just as some of the folks involved with Abu Ghraib were prison guards in the U.S.
Camp Whitehorse, near Nasiriyah, was aptly dubbed "2/25 Terror Dome" by Pfc. Roy and another Marine who spraypainted that on an outside entrance to the jail. 2/25 means 2nd battalion, 25th Marines.
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