Anderson Cooper 360° reports Killings At The Canal: The Army Tapes, a powerful and provocative four-part series about U.S. soldiers who were convicted of murder on the battlefield. The series runs over four nights beginning Tuesday, November 17th, and concludes Friday night, November 20th.
Jess Cunningham, a former sergeant in the unit, explains to Boudreau why he came forward.
Three sergeants used their service pistols to execute four Iraqi men they had in custody who they believed were insurgents. Questions have emerged: On the battlefield, is murder a crime? And is the Army’s policy on detainees realistic for its soldiers in the battlefield?
While many were focused on the outcome of the presidential election, courts-martial were underway at a U.S. Army base in Germany. Ultimately three army sergeants were found guilty of the execution-style murders of the four Iraqis their 13-man unit had detained. The soldiers were certain the Iraqis were insurgents who had been shooting at them. But under Army rules for holding detainees, they knew they could not meet the burden of proof -- and they feared the suspects would be released only to be shooting at soldiers again. So the sergeants made a decision: bypass the detention center, take them to a canal, and kill them.
Anderson Cooper 360° also obtained almost 24 hours of interrogation footage which includes a confession from one of the sergeants.In the series, investigative correspondent Abbie Boudreau and senior investigative producer Scott Zamost also shine a light on the U.S. Army’s policy about how to handle detainees, a policy that was a response to the abuses of Abu Ghraib. Some say it puts an undue burden of proof on U.S. soldiers.
On Saturday, November 21st at 8pm ET, CNN's Special Investigations Unit premieres an hour-long special titled Killings At The Canal: The Army Tapes. The special will reair Sunday, Nov. 22nd at 8pm ET.