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Special projects => Corey Clagett => Topic started by: RickBulow1974 on November 15, 2012, 03:35:30 am

Title: What happened in Operation Iron Triangle
Post by: RickBulow1974 on November 15, 2012, 03:35:30 am
On May 9, 2006, Corey and his squad participated in Operation Iron Triangle, which took place in the dangerous Thar Thar region of Iraq. U.S. intelligence had confirmed that the area was 100% controlled by al Qaeda and was being used as a training camp. Corey and his squad were informed that the Rules of Engagement were to kill all military-aged males in the area. They were also told to expect heavy resistance because a Special Forces Unit had previously suffered casualties while in the area.


A Blackhawk helicopter dropped Corey’s squad off on an island consisting of two homes. The squad then approached one of the homes and discovered three military-aged males using two women as human shields. Corey’s squad handcuffed and detained the three men while the squad leader, Staff Sergeant Girouard, radioed Command to report the three detainees. The response was, “Why aren’t these terrorists dead yet?”

Girouard held a meeting of the entire squad. He then ordered Corey and another soldier, William Hunsaker, to kill the three detainees. Corey and Hunsaker were coincidentally the two lowest-ranked members of the squad.

Following the meeting, Girouard cut off the detainee’s zip-ties and ordered Corey and Hunsaker to shoot them. Corey recognized that he had been given an unlawful order. However, he knew the Rules of Engagement were to “shoot to kill.” Corey was aware of the Intelligence and knew that under the new “catch and release” program, the detainees would likely be released very quickly. These consequences weighed heavily on Corey as these detainees, once released, would most likely provide damaging intelligence to al Qaeda or even kill other U.S. soldiers. As the youngest and lowest ranking member of the squad, he was fearful of the consequences of disobeying the order.

Corey decided to follow the order and accompanied by Hunsaker, told the detainees to run away and then began to shoot, killing two of them. The third detainee was found alive and barely breathing. However, the squad doctor believed there was no way to save him. As such, Girouard ordered Specialist Graber to put the third detainee out of his misery. Graber shot the mortally wounded man in the head.

Girouard, in an attempt to make the killing seem justified, decided to create the appearance that the detainees had attacked Corey and Hunsaker while attempting to escape. Prior to returning to base camp, Girouard instructed Corey and Hunsaker on the manner in which they would cover up the shooting.

Two days later, command authorities began a criminal investigation into the deaths of the detainees. Corey and Hunsaker were instructed by Girouard to “stick to the story.” Girouard even threatened other members of the squad in order to keep them quiet. The investigation eventually uncovered the actual events of that day and Corey was charged with the deaths of the detainees, along with Hunsaker and Girouard.

During his pre-trial confinement in Kuwait, Corey was abused by American guards. He would often go unfed. He was forced to sleep while chained in the fetal position. He was subjected to 24 hours of bright lights. He was held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, enduring harsher conditions than the terrorists at Guantanamo Bay. Finally, after being threatened with the prospect of life in prison or the death penalty, Corey decided to plead guilty to murder. He agreed to cooperate with the government and testify against Girouard. Corey was then sentenced to 18 years in prison.

Incredibly, despite the extent of Girouard’s involvement, he was found guilty of a lesser included offense. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and released after 3. Additionally, Graber, who was charged with the mercy killing of the third detainee, served only 9 months in prison. Following his release, he was redeployed to Iraq and was subsequently promoted.

Corey has served his time at the Fort Leavenworth Prison complex in Kansas. Corey was recently placed in a normal cell, after nearly four years of solitary confinement. In May or June of this year, Corey will appear before the Army Clemency and Parole Board in hopes of securing an early release to a facility where he can receive the type of treatment he deserves.

Timothy Parlatore, of the Law Offices of Eric Franz, P.L.L.C., was recently retained to handle Corey’s case. A graduate of Brooklyn Law School and the US Naval Academy, Mr. Parlatore, served two deployments to the Middle East as a Lieutenant. Since his graduation from law school, Mr. Parlatore has earned a reputation as a respected defense attorney in New York City. Mr. Parlatore retained the authors of this article to assist in researching and writing the Clemency Petition. We have combined to construct the most effective strategy for obtaining Corey’s freedom.

We are approaching Corey’s case from all angles. From the legal angle, we anticipate presenting four main arguments for Corey’s Clemency. In brief, the four arguments are as follows:

1. The punishment does not fit the crime. Corey was placed in a war zone in which he was instructed to kill “all military aged men.” The “victims” were all confirmed by Intelligence to be Al Qaeda Operatives. In this environment and under these circumstances, his crime should not be punished with nearly the same severity as would a murder committed outside a war zone. Therefore, Corey’s punishment of 18 years should be shortened to the 4 years he has already served in solitary confinement.

2. The punishment should be structured to rehabilitate, not destroy, Corey’s psychological state. Like most soldiers who have gone to war, Corey suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. Instead of receiving treatment, Corey has served his sentence in solitary confinement for the past four years. As such, we are requesting that Corey’s status be upgraded to General Discharge, so that he may be transferred from the prison to an inpatient psychiatric facility with the Veterans Affairs Hospital.

3. Corey’s punishment is disproportionately harsher than those who were involved in the crime and those who have engaged in similar crimes. SSG Girouard received a sentence of 10 years in confinement and is already out on parole. SPC Graber served a sentence of 9 months confinement, was retained in the service, and has since been promoted. Corey Clagett, the most junior of all those involved, received a sentence of 18 years and Dishonorable Discharge.

4. Corey’s cooperation in the criminal prosecution deserves a substantial sentence reduction. Unlike civilian judges, military judges do not have the discretion to sentence defendants below the statutory minimum, due to the defendant’s cooperation. That discretion rests solely with the convening authority and with the Army Clemency and Parole Board. The great weight of evidence shows a legislative intent to extend lower sentences to defendants who do cooperate. In light of Congressional intent, and Corey’s open cooperation with the government in this matter, Corey’s sentence should be considered served.

We are also pursuing a public support angle. In addition to reaching out to a number of elected officials for their endorsement, we are working to obtain the support of key military officials familiar with Corey’s case. Letters from these officials will be important in demonstrating the fundamental unfairness of Corey’s sentence. Similarly, we have received and anticipate further letters of support from family and friends on Corey’s behalf. These letters will be vital to demonstrating Corey’s good character.

The legal team is also taking Corey’s case to the Internet. A website has been constructed and we encourage you to visit it at www.coreyclagett.com. Additionally, a “Free Corey Clagett” Facebook page is now up and running. We ask anyone and everyone with a Facebook account to join the Facebook group, post supportive comments, and solicit others to join the “Free Corey Clagett” Facebook page. Our intention is to present the numbers of online supporters as evidence of general public support of Corey’s Clemency.

Finally, we hope to obtain media coverage of Corey’s story. We believe that once Corey’s story becomes more prominent, public support for his Clemency will skyrocket. As such, we will be soliciting key writers from widely disseminated publications for full coverage of Corey’s story and petition for Clemency.