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Haditha- Horror... or Hoax?
various FR links and blogs | 06-10-06 | t

Posted on 06/10/2006 4:53:20 AM PDT by backhoe

Is the Haditha Story Falling Apart?  ( That's my take on it- read more, and be certain to use all the links, and the links within them. Read all the "comments" in the blogs. )

Clarice Feldman at The American Thinker  Haditha: Is McGirk the New Mary Mapes? (with assistance from Sweetness & Light) has put together a narrative report of what’s known so far about the Haditha incident—and the story seems to be unraveling at the edges: Haditha: Is McGirk the New Mary Mapes?

"A Presbyterian minister who was an embedded reporter with his son’s U.S. Marine company, which is accused of killing 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha, said soldiers in private moments gave no indication anything horrible happened in the town."

And here’s more: US father visiting Haditha saw no sign of massacre

Be sure to read these- the best leads are here:  link: 197 comments

From Haditha: Is McGirk the New Mary Mapes?

Haditha: Is McGirk the New Mary Mapes?
June 9th, 2006

Evidence accumulates of a hoax in Haditha. The weblog Sweetness & Light has done an estimable service gathering together the articles which cast substantial doubt on the charge of a massacre of civilians at Haditha . Because the blog is too busy gathering and fisking the news, I offered and the publisher accepted my offer to put what he has uncovered in a narrative form.

Having done so, I can tell you that the story has a whiff of yet another mediagenic scandal like the TANG memos or the Plame “outing.” While the Marines quite correctly will not comment on the case pending the outcome of their investigation, I am not bound by those rules, and I will sum up the story for you.

(a)   On November 20, 2005, Reuters reported that on the previous day an IED killed a US Marine and 15 civilians in Haditha, a town known to be a center of the insurgency, a town as hostile to our forces as the better known Fallujah was. Reuters reported that “immediately after the blast, gunmen opened fire on the convoy” and US and Iraqi forces returned fire, killing 8 insurgents and wounding another in the fight. The paper further reported that “A cameraman working for Reuters in Haditha says bodies had been left lying in the street for hours after the attack.” Reuters never named this cameraman but he was almost undoubtedly Ali al-Mashhadani.

(b)   Ali al-Mashhadani had been imprisoned for five months before his report because of his ties to insurgents. He was subsequently placed under another 12 days in detention for being a security threat.

(c)   Tim McGirk of Time wrote about the incident at Haditha for the March 27 issue of the magazine. He unsuccessfully lobbied his editors to use the term “massacre” in the story. McGirk seems hardly a neutral reporter. He spent the first Thanksgiving after 9/11 in Afghanistan dining with the Taliban and concluding of this celebratory meal:

Our missing colleagues finally arrive, and I leave thinking that maybe this evening wasn’t very different from the original Thanksgiving: people from two warring cultures sharing a meal together and realizing, briefly, that we’re not so different after all.

Right, Tim. We all want to enslave women, bend the world to Sharia law, behead nonbelievers and otherwise carry on the honored traditions of the Taliban.

A key source for McGirk’s report that US Marines in Haditha had deliberately attacked civilians was Thaer al-Hadithi. whom McGirk inexplicably described as “a budding journalism student”. He is a middle-aged man, and was subsequently described by the AP as an “Iraqi investigator.”

McGirk also failed to note that Hadithi is “a member and spokesman for the Hammurabi.” The chairman of Hammurabi Organization and Hadithi’s partner in publicizing the “massacre” is Abdul–Rahman al-Mashhadani. It is unknown if he is related to Ali al-Mashhadani but their names suggest a possible relationship, and it beggars belief that as Sweetness& Light notes,

“Abdel Rahman al-Mashhadani just happened to be given a video by and unnamed local. And that he then turned it over to Ali al-Mashhadani who just happens to make videos for Reuters.”

Hadithi’s story is that was staying near to one of the two houses where the massacre occurred and saw it with his own eyes. According to his version of events he waited one day to videotape what had occurred, though apparently nothing prevented his doing so from the very window he “watched” it from as it took place. More troubling is why he waited months to turn the tape over to anyone.

The actions of his partner al-Mashhadani are equally puzzling. On December 15, 2005 Mashhadani was interviewed by the Institute for War and Peace which described him as “an election monitor.”  In that interview he expressed great satisfaction with the election turnout (which in fact was terribly low in Haditha). Why did he not mention to this apparently sympathetic group one word about the supposed “atrocity” which he claimed had occurred three months earlier?

Hammurabi apparently did share the video in March with the largely Soros-funded Human Rights Watch which in turn provided it to Time.

(d)   The videotape. On  March 21, 2006 Reuters reported that Hadithi and Mashhadani’s organization, the Hammurabi Organization, had provided the organization was a copy of a videotape showing corpses lined up in the Haditha morgue, claiming these were the bodies of civilians deliberately killed by the Marines. Aside from the suspiciously-timed release of the video and the fact that chairman al-Mashhadani had never mentioned the incident or the tape in December when he was interviewed, the video shows people removing bodies from a home, a report at odds with the Reuters report the day after the incident which spoke of bodies lying in the street.

(e)   The witnesses to the “massacre”

(1)   The Doctor. 

In the March 27 report, McGirk quotes the local  doctor:

Dr. Wahid, director of the local hospital in Haditha, who asked that his family name be withheld because, he says, he fears reprisals by U.S. troops, says the Marines brought 24 bodies to his hospital around midnight on Nov. 19. Wahid says the Marines claimed the victims had been killed by shrapnel from the roadside bomb. “But it was obvious to us that there were no organs slashed by shrapnel,” Wahid says. “The bullet wounds were very apparent. Most of the victims were shot in the chest and the head–from close range.”

Another report however, indicates the doctor bore considerable animus to the US troops.

(2)The Iraqi eye-witnesses.

In “Haditha: Reasonable Doubt,”  Andrew Walden  describes how a similar case against British soldiers fell apart , describing the Arabic “blood money” tradition which hardly is as exotic as it sounds. Ask the American Trial Lawyers Association.

Reports of the eyewitnesses are conflicting and incredible. Al-Haditha was the source of a report by the AP on the death of a man whom the Washington Post quoted 10 times as an eyewitness on May 27,six  months after his reported death, and the young girl “survivor” has given between two and four utterly inconsistent versions of the events.  

(3) The American eye witnesses.

There are two American witnesses who have spoken out. Despite the press spin, neither has a first hand account of the events.

Lance Cpl. James Crossan is the source of some very selective quotes on the incident. He, however, was wounded in the IED explosion which killed the US Marine Martin Terrazas. He was evacuated from the scene and saw none of the after-action.

And then there is Lance Cpl. Ryan Briones. He helped evacuate Crossnan and took bodies to the morgue. He was not an eyewitness. He claims he took pictures of the bodies at the morgue and has made various statements about what happened to the pictures and his camera. Aside from the fact that he is not an eyewitness, and his claims about his photographs seem unlikely, his story remained unuttered until he was arrested for stealing a truck, driving under the influence and crashing the stolen vehicle into a house. It was then for the first time that he claimed post traumatic distress and pointed to Haditha as the source of that stress. (His report of taking the bodies to the morgue, moreover, seems inconsistent with the first Reuters report that there were 15 bodies left lying in the street the day after the incident.)

The sum and substance of this thumbnail sketch on the Haditha claims is that it follows so closely the template for the TANG and Plame stories. Take a reporter with an anti-Administration agenda, an interested group (think of the Mashhadanis as the VIPS in the Plame case or Burkett and Lucy Ramirez in the TANG case) and a story too good to be checked and circumstances where the people attacked are limited in what they can quickly respond to and you get a story which smells to me like it will soon be unraveled.

This time, I’m betting the consequences to the press which rushed to judgment will be more disastrous than it was to Dan Rather. I surely hope so.

Clarice Feldman is an attorney in Washington, DC and a frequent contributor.

Clarice Feldman

More: Haditha, Just War Theory, and the Press "The left and our drive-by media

have already pronounced our troops guilty of murdering 24 men, women, and children last November 19, at Haditha, a farm town in the Upper Euphrates Valley.  And this includes not just Kilo Company, but all Marines and the entire chain of command. "

There is More---

Related Articles:

Haditha - Give Time Time

Well, it's certainly nice to know that Time is making corrections to its almost three month old piece on Haditha. I wonder if it has to do with some of the blogging that's been going on. h/t Sweetness and Light  See SnL for more.

#64 Proud Army Pilot Mom  6/9/2006 02:31PM PDT

I hope everyone will read Michael Yon's take on Haditha. It is one of the best perspectives I've come across and should be mandatory reading before anyone makes any judgements of our brave Marines no matter what comes out of the investigation.

Here is the link:

Haditha: Is McGirk the New Mary Mapes? (Is Haditha a Hoax?) --the story has a whiff of yet another mediagenic scandal like the TANG memos or the Plame “outing.”

Haditha--A hotbed of hearsay (Freeper op-ed)
'Atrocity' (Islamist: *Me Lie* about Haditha. Your Media laps it up)

Haditha:The Plot Thickens

Don't expect a full court press on this. Don't look for TIME magazine covers or big network pieces on the morning or evening news shows blaring these new details but one can hope it drives home the point to the American people. The left wants us to lose this war. Bloody fools. (hat tip Mike)

A Reuters eye-witness report from Haditha the 20th November 2005
No mention of a US Marine massacre - but a bloody firefight!

Note also that the article is based on a mixture of eye-witness acount and info from the US forces - according to other sources on the net I've read there was an immediate retration and correction regarding the fact that civilians had been killed by the IED.

However, the important point to note - the photographer  notes "bodies had been left lying in the street for hours after the attack".

The Questionable Sources For Time’s Haditha Scoop

The Haditha Our Media Won’t Tell You About (Makes sense now)

10/07/2005 CNN Article Exposes the REAL Haditha

DON SURBER IS FISKING THE NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL on Haditha. Read the whole thing, and fire off a copy to Bill Keller.

The clearly evident Bush-bashing glee over this stuff is both pathetic and poisonous.

UPDATE: Dan Riehl compares the amount of coverage of Haditha and the terror busts. I recommend this column by Mark Steyn, too: "A superpower that wallows in paranoia and glorifies self-loathing cannot endure and doesn't deserve to." I could say the same thing for alleged "flagship" media operations.

#54 leftout  6/4/2006 07:45PM PDT

The DBM ( Drive-By Media )  ignores the real story and gets things back on the proper "Muslims are victims" angle.
The liberal paradigm can not account for what's happening in the world today, so events are recast into the cookie cutter mold of victims and oppressors; Capitalist exploiters and third world exploited.  What the LLL's( Lying Liberal Leftists, or lll3 ) with all their "anti-imperialist" rhetoric don't realize, is that Islam is the ultimate and most pernicious imperialist power, demanding total global totalitarian rule. Islam is "a portable theocratic state."

DAVE PRICE WONDERS if people are getting ahead of the news cycle on Haditha. It wouldn't be the first time that the media and antiwar folks were suckered -- somewhat willingly -- by the insurgents. But I think it's best just to wait and see what the investigation shows. Not that that's stopping the usual suspects, of course.

UPDATE: Related thoughts from Ed Morrissey and Daniel Henninger. More here, too.

Regardless of where the truth ultimately is, at this point the major media’s treatment of Haditha is little more than a literate lynch mob in a rush to judgment. Haditha: Who, What, When, Where, Why
"The liberals, the MSM, the Murtha f*ckers, will not let this go, ever... They are our enemies from within."
Haditha: Blood Money, Lies and Videotape?--Here are some more  hoaxes, but not before they had wreaked havoc and huge losses. And of course our liberal politicos and MSM all fell for them:

The hoax that started a war

Probe: Famous 'martyrdom' of Palestinian boy 'staged' Shooting of intifada's 12-year-old poster-child called 'street theater

Even More:

Video evidence shows Marines were set up:

Seattle's KING 5 TV nabbed a must-see interview with one of the Marines injured at Haditha on Nov. 19. (Big hat tip noted below to Red Hot Cuppa Politics.)

You should watch the entire interview (we've got a four-minute segment over at Hot Air) and then you should compare it with the selective DBM

 coverage--which is hyping the parts that damn the Marines most and ignoring the full context of Lance Cpl. Crossan's remarks.

I suggest she and other MSM reporters shocked, shocked by this concept familiarize themselves with LGF's Palestinian child abuse slideshow.

Terrazas' father backs the Marines.

Troops to receive "core value" training

Milblogs contest: Send Murtha an inscribed book

California Conservative has video of kids throwing grenades at US troops in Iraq.

Read Mark Davis in the Dallas Morning News if you haven't already:

UPDATE: Peter Ingemi writes that the antiwar left has made Haditha morally irrelevant: At HADITHA ROUNDUP, plus this pretty much sure-fire prediction: "The media frenzy around the actions of a handful of Marines is now building and, as happened with the illegal acts at Abu Graib, will be used to advance agendas unrelated to the allegations, agendas which trade on the slander of the American military, and which use the very rare exceptions to paint broadly, even as the enemy will." ANOTHER UPDATE: Background and video here.

Sons Of Iwo Jima (Excellent Haditha "massacre" article)

Haditha Updates

Allahpundit has a post packed with information about the alleged massacre at Haditha by US Marines: Haditha: Marine eyewitnesses come forward (Update: Audio and video of the attack?)   link: 340 comments

AP Recycles Year Old Story To Smear US Military

Rush to Judgment Against Haditha Marines

And still, even More:

Abu Ghraib Squared

Allah has the full rundown...Dafydd at Big Lizards dissects the media coverage of what's known and not known...

There are very few verified details yet, but if the basic outline of this story turns out to be true we’re in for a mainstream media festival of guilt that will make the Abu Ghraib story look like a Vanity Fair piece on Al Gore: Official: Iraq civilian deaths unjustified. I’ll just point out that once again, as with Abu Ghraib, there has been no official cover-up, no attempt to shift blame, and no excuses. On the contrary, the military has already been investigating the allegations, and if crimes did take place, those responsible will be brought to justice—as with Abu Ghraib.

UPDATE at 5/26/06 6:47:30 pm:

Here’s some context on the town of Haditha, where this incident reportedly took place: Under US noses, brutal insurgents rule Sunni citadellink: 219 comments  "

Hmmm. . . is there some special conference coming up, or demonstration, that the MSM wants us to look kindly on, and, therefore, think badly about the United States?

Or could it be to distract attention from something, such as the Iran/nuclear situation? Disappointment over the fact Karl Rove hasn't been indicted for anything yet?

I'll tell you one thing---I do think it's something, because I no longer believe the MSM just releases these stories by accident anymore. This incident apparently happened last November; why bring it up now, of all times?  It is truly a shame that MSM has picked, this of all weekends, to push this issue, and completly ignore the exposure by the 101st Fighting Keyboardists of a faux "Special Forces / Ranger" that has been going around the country blasting fake autrocities. "

Others blogging this story:

* Hot Air
* Politburo Diktat
* Confederate Yankee
* My Pet Jawa
* QandO
* Just One Minute  UPDATE III: Michelle Malkin agrees that this looks very bad, but reminds us of the case of Lt. Ilario Pantano and his being falsely accused.

TOPICS: Extended News; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: anbar; dbm; haditha; iraq; marines; mcgirk; murthawatch; time
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Best quote:

Regardless of where the truth ultimately is, at this point the major media’s treatment of Haditha is little more than a literate lynch mob in a rush to judgment.

1 posted on 06/10/2006 4:53:25 AM PDT by backhoe
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To: TenthAmendmentChampion

Here you are...

2 posted on 06/10/2006 4:54:01 AM PDT by backhoe (-30-)
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To: backhoe
The truth about Haditha is that in the end there we a bunch of "civilians" that should have spent more time reporting on the movements of terrorists in their area to the Iraqi authorities, rather than standing around watching (or probably even helping) the terrorists.
3 posted on 06/10/2006 5:09:08 AM PDT by Berlin_Freeper (ETERNAL SHAME on the Treasonous and Immoral Democrats!)
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To: backhoe

Backhoe - thank you so much for doing all this work in putting together the really important links to this story. You are a treasure.

4 posted on 06/10/2006 5:09:27 AM PDT by Peach (If you can't stand behind our military, stand in front of them.)
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To: backhoe; Chieftain

thanks so much for putting all this together in one place.

5 posted on 06/10/2006 5:10:25 AM PDT by Recovering Ex-hippie (Moderate Mooslims.....what's that?)
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To: backhoe; Coop; Just A Nobody; bnelson44; freema

Bless you bh...again thank you for your hard work and devotion.

Ping for compilation of stories on Haditha.

6 posted on 06/10/2006 5:11:57 AM PDT by SE Mom (God Bless those who serve.)
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To: backhoe

Bookmarked. Thanks for doing this hard work.

7 posted on 06/10/2006 5:13:04 AM PDT by Jemian (PAM of JT)
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To: backhoe

Thanks so much for posting this! Our brave troops don't deserve to be smeared by a by a bunch of leftists while the facts about this battle are still being gathered.

8 posted on 06/10/2006 5:15:28 AM PDT by chgomac
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To: backhoe

Excellent! Thank you for this. The truth shall emerge.

9 posted on 06/10/2006 5:17:30 AM PDT by ovrtaxt (Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie!'... till you can find a rock.)
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To: backhoe

Thanks Backhoe good job!

BTW is this the link you meant to post?

The one posted doesn't work.

10 posted on 06/10/2006 5:19:29 AM PDT by stopem (God Bless the U.S.A the Troops who protect her, and their Commander In Chief !)
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To: backhoe

Fantastic job. God Bless you. I am emailing this to all my friends

11 posted on 06/10/2006 5:20:33 AM PDT by bornacatholic (Pope Paul VI. "Use of the old Ordo Missae is in no way left to the choice of priests or people.")
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To: backhoe

Wow, backhoe. You just get better and better.

Thanks for all your hardwork.

12 posted on 06/10/2006 5:21:47 AM PDT by Rushmore Rocks
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To: Jemian; backhoe; Coop

Jemain - Guess we know where he gets his screen name.

backhoe - Good digging

Coop - A little more ammo. Traitorous Murtha needs to go down!

13 posted on 06/10/2006 5:27:13 AM PDT by Jimmy Valentine's brother (Crush Code Pink, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of the womyn)
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To: backhoe

Thanks so much for putting this together. You are doing what you can with the means at hand to support the troops. You're a great American.

14 posted on 06/10/2006 5:34:54 AM PDT by Darkwolf377
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To: backhoe

That is an impressive examination of the contradictions in the Haditha story. The media are ignoring the contradictions and weaving conspiracy theories instead against Americans. If the story does indeed prove to be false, it will vanish like it never happened. For most Americans, who get their information from the snippets on the evening news before they watch Survivor, the story will go away unnoticed and they will be left with a vague idea that some Marines were guilty of a massacre somewhere. The Haditha story will have cast doubt on our soldiers and it will thus have achieved its purpose in helping our enemies. I'm not optimistic that anyone in the MSM will face any consequences. There are too many people involved in the "lynching party."

15 posted on 06/10/2006 5:35:05 AM PDT by Wilhelm Tell (True or False? This is not a tag line.)
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To: SE Mom; Jim Robinson; backhoe; delacoert; 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub; acsrp38; angcat; armydawg1; ...
backhoe and delacoert - I salute you.
SUPPORT jack murtha's OPPONENT

16 posted on 06/10/2006 5:36:01 AM PDT by freema (Proud Marine FRiend, Mom, Aunt, Sister, Friend, Wife, Daughter, Niece)
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To: backhoe; 2111USMC; 68 grunt; A.A. Cunningham; ASOC; AirForceBrat23; Ajnin; AlaskaErik; ...

17 posted on 06/10/2006 5:37:54 AM PDT by freema (Proud Marine FRiend, Mom, Aunt, Sister, Friend, Wife, Daughter, Niece)
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To: Peach

Thanks for looking- just as I posted this, the wife-unit ( AKA the lovely Miss Emily ) arose, so I must attend to housekeeping functions. Drat it! I will return when time permits.

18 posted on 06/10/2006 5:38:41 AM PDT by backhoe (-30-)
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To: stopem

"BTW is this the link you meant to post?

The one posted doesn't work."

Yes, thanks for fixing that!

19 posted on 06/10/2006 5:39:37 AM PDT by backhoe (-30-)
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To: freema


20 posted on 06/10/2006 5:47:25 AM PDT by E.G.C.
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