us marine corps

Dawud Walid told us that in his work in the civil rights field, "we're always skeptical about government investigating ... actions of its own members."
flickr user DVIDSHUB /

This week, the Council on American-Islamic Relations called for the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department to launch an investigation in to Raheel Siddiqui's death. 

Siddiqui was a Pakistani-American Muslim who was 11 days into his basic training with the United States Marine Corps on Parris Island in South Carolina when he died. 

The Marines say the 20-year-old committed suicide by jumping 40 feet in a stairwell. Siddiqui's family says that's absolutely not the case. 

Raheel Siddiqui

The United States Marine Corps says a 20-year-old Taylor man committed suicide by jumping 40 feet in a stairwell. 

The family of Raheel Siddiqui says that's absolutely not the case.

Siddiqui was a Pakistani-American Muslim who was 11 days into his basic training on Parris Island in South Carolina when he died.

Raheel Siddiqui

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn, has received a response to an inquiry submitted to the United States Marine Corps following the death of Private Raheel Siddiqui, a 20-year-old trainee from Taylor, Michigan who died on March 18 while at Parris Island, S.C., for basic training.

Jenny / flickr creative commons

U.S. Representative Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn, has asked U.S. Marine Corps Commandant General Robert B. Neller for "further clarification" about last month's death of U.S. Marine Corps Private Raheel Siddiqui of Taylor, Michigan. 

In a letter sent earlier this week, Dingell describes Siddiqui as "a young man of Muslim faith who loved his country and wanted to serve it and protect the freedoms for which it stands."

Dingell wants to know whether hazing was involved in the March 18 death of Siddiqui, who arrived at Parris island on March 7 for boot camp. 

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

This Veterans Day, Michigan has the dubious distinction of having its military veterans among those receiving the least government benefits of any in the 50 states.

Michigan’s more than 650 thousand veterans get about $3,400 on average in benefits compared with a national average of nearly five thousand dollars a year.   

Kildee says one way Iran can show it can be trusted to work with the U.S. is if Iran releases Amir Hekmati, a Flint man who has been imprisoned in Iran for nearly three years. A retired U.S. marine, Hekmati was arrested on charges of spying while visiting
Hekmati family

DETROIT (AP) - The family of a former Marine detained in Iran for nearly two years says he's finally receiving visits from an uncle there and has been able to send letters to immediate family members in the United States.

The Flint Journal reports Amir Hekmati's family holds out hope the developments could signal some movement toward the 29-year-old's release and eventual return to Michigan.

Sarah Hekmati says the letters are "the first time he's been directly able to express his thoughts." Hekmati's family says he went to Iran in 2011 to visit his grandmothers.

The Secretary of Defense says he wants to cancel a defense contract that would eliminate hundreds of potential new jobs in Michigan. 

The contract would be for an amphibious vehicle for the U.S. Marine Corps. The Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle was intended to replace a Vietnam era model. A Sterling Heights based division of General Dynamics is the contractor that has been developing the 40 ton vehicle.

Peter Keating is a company spokesman. He says canceling the program now will cost as much as moving forward with production. 

"We would expect our congressional delegation in Washington DC to take a look at that and in their wisdom decide if it’s something they’d like to support." 

The marine vehicle has been plagued with cost overruns and other problems since the Reagan administration.   Escalating costs prompted the U.S. Marine Corps to cut in half the number of Expeditionary Fighting Vehicles it planned to purchase. Keating insists past problems have been resolved.