Friday, June 16, 2006

The Haditha `massacre' scenario begins to fall apart

The more we find out about Haditha, the murkier the charges against the marines get.

In the first place the attorneys for the accused marines are rightfully questioning the authenticity of a videotape at the very center of the case, and the credibility of the group that provided it.

That videotape, given to Time Magazine in January by some people called the `Hammurabi Human Rights Group' supposedly shows the aftermath of the massacre in Haditha in all its graphic glory and was a primary motive for the U.S. military probe into the incident.

The footage shows men, women and children who have been shot to death, some in their nightclothes, as well as walls and ceilings marked with blood, shrapnel and bullet holes.

The marine's attorneys make the very cogent point that while the images on the tape are troubling, the tape doesn't prove that a massacre took place in Haditha, especially when the source of the tape and how it was made are still mostly unknown.

"It’s clearly going to be one of the themes of the defense: How accurate is this tape and is (Hammurabi) credible?" said a source close to one of the Marines under investigation. The source, who asked not to be identified, said: "Any (prosecutor) who wants to present a videotape in court, they have to demonstrate that it’s authentic and hasn’t been tampered with."

The initial line from Time was that the tape was shot by a "journalism student" the day after the incident and described Hammurabi as working with "the internationally respected Human Rights Watch."

(BTW, based on their shilling for the Palestinians and other terrorists and their hostility to Israel and the US, I don't consider them particularly `well respected'.)

Later, after the blogosphere began fact-checking this, Time issued a correction on its Web site, writing that Human Rights Watch "has no ties or association with Hammurabi."

And the guy described by Time as a `journalism student' has morphed into 43-year-old Thaer Thabit al-Hadithi, the founder of Hammurabi and one of only two employees.

One of the attoneys mentioned that this organization was not a known or registered human rights organization and had no track record of reporting any other abuses.

"And it turns out these two employees have family members spending time in local prisons for insurgent activity," the attorney said. "I think the origins of the tape would have been better suited if it came from somebody who really did have altruistic motives in their heart."

What a coincidence, eh?

The tape also has credibility problems because there was nothing in the footage to establish that it was shot where and when Hammurabi claims..and there's that unfortunate 4 month gap between the incident's occurance and when the tape mysteriously surfaced.

I mean, you would think that if a so-called human rights organization had footage of something like this, it would immediately release it to the world, no?

Or maybe editing, creating the sets, hiring the actors, setting up wardrobe and makeup and putting a camera crew together just took a little longer than expected. All that stuff takes time, y'know!

Abdul Rahman al-Mashhadani, the other guy involved with Hammurabi Human Rights and Democracy Monitoring, wouldn't answer any questions about the organization.

"We don’t answer such questions that we consider as intelligence and information gathering," he said. "They (Reuters) should have monitored the media so that they can get a good image of us."

Difficult when Hammurabi is not a known or registered human rights organization and had no track record of reporting on anything else, and has no no media track record , wouldn't you say?

We'll find out what really happened in Haditha, and if a couple of Marines did something they shouldn't have, there's a legal system in place to take care of that.

But the more I find out about this, the more it looks like another Main Stream Media hit job.

Hat tip to Sweetness & Light

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