Category Archive 'Haditha'

08 Oct 2007

Haditha Incident Deliberately Staged

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Nathaniel R. Helms reveals the inside story on Haditha. The incident was a deliberately crafted propaganda ploy designed and executed by al Qaeda insurgents, with which the MSM, led by Time Magazine, enthusiastically cooperated.

Buried in the mountain of exhibits attached to the once secret Haditha, Iraq murder inquiry prepared by US Army Maj. Gen. Eldon A. Bargewell is an obscure Marine Corps intelligence summary (see pdf) that says the deadly encounter was an intentional propaganda ploy planned and paid for by Al Qaeda foreign fighters.

Veteran military defense attorney Gary Meyers said he never understood why the Naval Criminal Investigative Service special agents leading the Haditha criminal investigation didn’t “examine the linkage” between Al Qaeda, the local insurgency and the events at Haditha. Meyers was an attorney on the defense team that successfully defended Justin Sharratt, a Marine infantryman accused of multiple murders at Haditha.

The report – apparently overlooked by a Washington press corps awash in leaked Bargewell documents and secret Naval Criminal Investigative Service reports – shows that Marine Corps intelligence operatives were advised of the scheme to demonize the Marines by an informant named Muhannad Hassan Hamadi. The informant was snared by 3/1 Marines on December 11 2005 and decided to cooperate.

The attack was carried out by multiple cells of local Wahabi extremists and well-paid local gunmen from Al Asa’ib al-Iraq [the Clans of the People of Iraq] that were led by Al Qaeda foreign fighters, the summary claims. Their case was bolstered by Marine signal intercepts revealing that the al Qaeda fighters planned to videotape the attacks and exploit the resulting carnage for propaganda purposes.

Eleven insurgents involved in the attack are identified by name and affiliation in the details of the summary. All of them were killed or captured in the days immediately following the Haditha incident.

During the November Haditha battle, the insurgents secreted themselves among local civilians to guarantee pursuing Marines would catch innocent civilians in the ensuing crossfire.

The prosecutors in the case against eight Marines charged with murder and cover up at Haditha still maintain the besieged infantrymen acted solely out of malice and poor judgment when they killed 24 Iraqis there. The prosecution’s investigation was launched after a story by Time magazine reporter Tim McGirk on March 6, 2006 accused the Marines of cold blooded murder in retaliation for the death of a brother Marine.

McGirk received his video “evidence” and contacts from two known Iraqi insurgent operatives already under observation by Marine Corps counter intelligence teams. One of the Iraqi witnesses McGirk relied on had just been released from almost six months captivity for insurgent activities and the other witness was considered a useful intelligence tool by Marines listening to him talk on his cell phone. McGirk never interviewed the Marines, who ironically had prepared a similar intelligence summary in anticipation of his canceled visit.

24 Jun 2007

The Marine Corps and the Press

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Paul von Zeibauer, writing in the New York Times’ Week in Review, was shocked… shocked to discover that the USMC had issued a memorandum of instructions on how to answer leading questions from the Press without inadvertently assisting them in furthering their own agenda, featuring “a searing view of American journalists conspiring to undermine the war effort.”

One Tim McGirk, a reporter for Time magazine, in January 2006, sent a series of questions to the Second Marine Division in Haditha by email.

Excerpts of the memo:

McGirk: How many marines were killed and wounded in the I.E.D. attack that morning?

Memo: If it bleeds, it leads. This question is McGirk’s attempt to get good bloody gouge on the situation. He will most likely use the information he gains from this answer as an attention gainer.

McGirk: Were there any officers?

Memo: By asking if there was an officer on scene the reporter may be trying to identify a point of blame for lack of judgment. If there was an officer involved, then he may be able to have his My Lai massacre pinned on that officer’s shoulders. …

In the reporter’s eyes, military officers may represent the U.S. government and enlisted marines may represent the American People. Given the current political climate in the U.S. at this time concerning the Iraq war and the current administration’s conduct of the war, the reporter would most likely seek to discredit the U.S. government (one of our officers) and expose victimization of the American people by the hand of the government (the enlisted marines under the haphazard command of our “rogue officer.”) …

One common tactic used by reporters is to spin a story in such a way that it is easily recognized and remembered by the general population through its association with an event that the general population is familiar with or can relate to. For example, McGirk’s story will sell if it can be spun as “Iraq’s My Lai massacre.” …

McGirk: How many marines were involved in the killings?

Memo: First off, we don’t know what you’re talking about when you say “killings.” One of our squads reinforced by a squad of Iraqi Army soldiers were engaged by an enemy initiated ambush on the 19th that killed one American marine and seriously injured two others. We will not justify that question with a response. Theme: Legitimate engagement: we will not acknowledge this reporter’s attempt to stain the engagement with the misnomer “killings.”

McGirk: Were there any weapons found during these house raids — or terrorists — where the killings occurred?

Memo: Again, you are showing yourself to be uneducated in the world of contemporary insurgent combat. The subject about which we are speaking was a legitimate engagement initiated by the enemy. …

McGirk: Is there any investigation ongoing into these civilian deaths, and if so have any marines been formally charged?

Memo: No, the engagement was bona fide combat action. … By asking this question, McGirk is assuming the engagement was a LOAC [Law of Armed Conflict] violation and that by asking about investigations, he may spurn a reaction from the command that will initiate an investigation.

McGirk: Are the marines in this unit still serving in Haditha?

Memo: Yes, we are still fighting terrorists of Al Qaida in Iraq in Haditha. (“Fighting terrorists associated with Al Qaida” is stronger language than “serving.” The American people will side more with someone actively fighting a terrorist organization that is tied to 9/11 than with someone who is idly “serving,” like in a way one “serves” a casserole. It’s semantics, but in reporting and journalism, words spin the story.)

21 Sep 2006

Ted Kennedy Turns His Back on Accused Marine

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RaceBannon, on Free Republic, posts, with the permission of the family, a letter from a staff member at the office of Senator Ted Kennedy refusing assistance to a constituent, Mrs. Kathleen T. Hutchins, the mother of Sergeant Lawrence G. Hutchins III of Plymouth, Massachusetts, one of the Pendleton 8 being prosecuted for allegedly killing Iraqis in Haditha.

Kennedy letter

26 Jun 2006

New Information on Haditha

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Newsmax has new and detailed information on the events at Haditha, supplied by military sources, which makes the civilian casualties sound deliberately contrived by the insurgents, precisely in order to makes accusations against US Marines. It’s important to remember that the “Haditha massacre” story originated from accusations made by “activist” sources hostile to the US.

Within minutes of the early morning IED explosion, a firefight erupted between insurgents and Marines. Civilians were caught in the middle of the firefight. Also, although civilians did die, their deaths were the result of door-to-door combat as the Marines sought to clear houses and stop the insurgent gunfire.

Ample evidence proves that a firefight took place. For example, every second of the ensuing firefight was monitored by numerous people at company, battalion, and regimental HQs via radio communications.

Video evidence supports the Marines’ claims. Within a very few minutes, battalion, regimental, and division headquarters were able to watch the action thanks to an overhead ultralight aircraft that remained aloft all day. Photos of some of the action were downloaded and in the hands of Marines and the NCIS.

Some of the insurgents involved in planning the attack and firing at Marines during a daylong engagement have been apprehended and are in custody…

One Knight Ridder reporter called Haditha, a town of about 100,000 people, “an insurgent bastion,” reporting that “insurgents blend in with the residents, setting up cells in their homes next to those belonging to everyday citizens, some of them supportive.”

Knight Ridder said that around the time of an August attack, when a total of 20 U.S. Marines were killed in two days, “several storefronts were lined with posters and pictures supporting al-Qaida. … There is no functioning police station and the government offices are largely vacant. The last man to call himself mayor relinquished the title earlier this year after scores of death threats from insurgents.”

According to an August 2005 story in Britain’s Guardian newspaper, Haditha, under the nose of an American base, “is a miniature Taliban-like state. Insurgents decide who lives and dies, which salaries get paid, what people wear, what they watch and listen to.”

When the Marines first went into the city, they were aware of the tight control insurgents exercised over Haditha. They discovered that the insurgents had freshly paved over dirt roads leading into town under the auspices of civic works projects.

They were, according to a NewsMax source, “beautiful asphalt-surfaced roads” that even included painted lines. The only problem, the source recalled, was that insurgents had laid more than 100 mega-IEDs under that asphalt. And, in order to avoid having to change batteries in the triggering devices, they had wired them into the city power lines lining the road.

It is important to remember that the so-called details of the alleged massacre came from Iraqis and residents of Haditha, a city run by insurgents who have those residents not allied with them under their bloody thumbs.

In the Post story, an attorney for Staff Sgt. Frank D. Wuterich, 26, said that his client told him that several civilians were killed Nov. 19 when his squad went after insurgents who were firing at them from inside a house. He insisted there was no vengeful massacre, but he described a house-to-house hunt that went tragically awry in the middle of a chaotic battlefield.

“It will forever be his position that everything they did that day was following their rules of engagement and to protect the lives of Marines,” Neal A. Puckett, who represents Wuterich in the ongoing investigations into the incident, told the Post. “He’s really upset that people believe that he and his Marines are even capable of intentionally killing innocent civilians.”

According to the Post, Wuterich told his attorney in initial interviews over nearly 12 hours that the shootings were the unfortunate result of a methodical sweep for enemies in a firefight. Two attorneys for other Marines involved in the incident said Wuterich’s account is consistent with those they had heard from their clients.

Wrote the Post: “On Nov. 19, Wuterich’s squad left its headquarters at Firm Base Sparta in Haditha at 7 a.m. on a daily mission to drop off Iraqi army troops at a nearby checkpoint. “It was like any other day, we just had to watch out for any other activity that looked suspicious,” said Marine Cpl. James Crossan, 21, in an interview from his home in North Bend, Wash. He was riding in the four-Humvee convoy as it turned left onto Chestnut Road, heading west at 7:15 a.m.

“Shortly after the turn, a bomb buried in the road ripped through the last Humvee. The blast instantly killed the driver, Lance Cpl. Miguel Terrazas, 20. Wuterich, who was driving the third Humvee in the line, immediately stopped the convoy and got out, Puckett told the Post, adding that while Wuterich was evaluating the scene, Marines noticed a white unmarked car full of “military-aged men” lingering near the bomb site. When Marines ordered the men to stop, they ran; Puckett said it was standard procedure at the time for the Marines to shoot suspicious people fleeing a bombing, and the Marines opened fire, killing four or five men.

“The first thing he thought was it could be a vehicle-borne bomb or these guys could be ready to do a drive-by shooting,” Puckett said, explaining that the Marines were on alert for such coordinated, multistage attacks.

According to Puckett, as Wuterich began briefing the platoon leader, AK-47 shots rang out from residences on the south side of the road, and the Marines ducked.

A corporal with the unit leaned over to Wuterich and said he saw the shots coming from a specific house. After a discussion with the platoon leader, they decided to clear the house, according to Wuterich’s account.

“There was a threat, and they went to eliminate the threat,” Puckett said.

A four-man team of Marines, including Wuterich, kicked in the door and found a series of empty rooms, noticing quickly that there was one room with a closed door and people rustling behind it, Puckett said. They then kicked in that door, tossed a fragmentation grenade into the room, and one Marine fired a series of “clearing rounds” through the dust and smoke, killing several people, Puckett said.

The Marine who fired the rounds – Puckett said it was not Wuterich – had experience clearing numerous houses on a deployment in Fallujah, where Marines had aggressive rules of engagement.

Although it was almost immediately apparent to the Marines that the people dead in the room were men, women, and children — most likely civilians — they also noticed a back door ajar and believed that insurgents had slipped through to a house nearby, Puckett said. The Marines stealthily moved to the second house, kicking in the door, killing one man inside and then using a fragmentation grenade and more gunfire to clear another room full of people, he said.

Wuterich, not having found the insurgents, told the team to stop and headed back to the platoon leader to reassess the situation, Puckett said, adding that his client knew a number of civilians had just been killed.

As already stated, the Haditha massacre story reported by Time magazine was based entirely on accounts from Iraqis with an ax to grind. The facts of what happened tell a different story. The real story, it will eventually be revealed, is backed up by evidence Time didn’t know existed. It gives the lie to the idea that there was anything like a massacre in Haditha on Nov. 19. Here, for the first time, is the truth about what happened.

NewsMax can verify Wuterich’s account. The site of the IED explosion was in an area well known as an insurgent stronghold, where as many as 50 IEDs were found previously, and from where, on two previous occasions, insurgents launched small-arms fire, rocket-propelled grenades, and mortar attacks on K Company.

Within five minutes of the blast, Marines on the scene reported they were receiving small-arms fire. Within 30 minutes of the blast, and while the house-clearing was still under way, an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team en route to the site came under small-arms fire in a known insurgent tactic to ambush first responders.

At the same time, just 30 minutes after the house-clearing, an intelligence unit arrived to question the Marines involved in the house-clearing operation. NewsMax sources say the behavior of the Marines involved gave them no reason to believe anything but what they had been told.

At about the same time a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) arrived over the blast area and from that moment on, for the entire day , the UAV transmitted views of the engagement to the company command site, battalion headquarters, the regimental HQ, and the division HQ. What the UAV captured was a view of Marines in their perimeter, as they went about doing house-clearing. It was then vectored to the surrounding area to catch any fleeing insurgents. It showed four insurgents fleeing the neighborhood, loading weapons into their car, and linking up with their partners (the ones that had conducted the ambush on the EOD team).

Knowing what we now know about Wuterich’s account, these fleeing insurgents were most likely the same ones who left through the back door of the house he was clearing.

There are photos of this, and they show the insurgents getting back into their car after loading the weapons The UAV then followed them south to their safe house. From that point forward, until about 6 p.m., the safe house was hit by bombs and an assault by a K Company squad. The UAV followed the insurgents who had been inside through town.

The final tally for these engagements was two insurgents killed by direct fire, one killed by GBU bombs, and one detained. The entire action was followed by the UAV overhead…

The Haditha “massacre” being referred to is the 30 minutes to one hour that took place first thing in the morning. The rest of the day’s activities, in fact, confirmed the nature of the morning’s attack.

It is clear that the entire incident was planned and carried out by insurgents who detonated the IED, and then, in a familiar tactic, attacked the Marines responding to the blast — deliberately putting civilians at risk.

This is what happened in Haditha that day. It was a daylong engagement with armed insurgents that involved civilian casualties who died as a result of being caught in the middle of a firefight. It had been reported as a blast followed by a TIC — Marine Corps terminology for “Troops in Contact.” In other words, gunfire directed at the Marines.

21 Jun 2006

Marines Charged in Haditha Affair; Bloggers Will Defend

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Foreign and domestic news agencies are reporting that the US Marine Corps has charged seven Marines and a Navy sailor with murder over the death of an Iraqi civilian.

BBC News

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Crosspatch (a neighbor here in California) recently commented on the work already done by bloggers to investigate the irresponsible coverage of this matter in the MSM.

I have seen bloggers spending hours of their own time digging, fact checking, comparing, and publishing their findings for peer review and discussion. These are people that have jobs and other things in their lives that place demands on their time and energy but have answered what is apparently to them the call of an important mission, a call of duty.

While professional journalists should be doing the work that is being done by members of the general public in trying to get the story straight, we are already seeing results. Respected media giants such as Time are beginning to back off of some of their initial claims and distance themselves from initial sources.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am simply in awe. This spontaneous and most honest display of devotion by members of our community for our service members in seeing they get a fair shake is enough to make an old grouch misty.

Those troops are at risk every day defending us and it is wonderful to see such an outpouring of support when we have a chance to defend them in return. There are too many people out there doing whatever they can to list because I am afraid of leaving someone out and thereby diminishing their contribution, but they know who they are and honestly, it is events such as this that make me proud to be an American.

This is a real living example of the love and devotion America has for their armed forces members. If someone is going to make accusations that would bring dishonor on the institution of our military, they are going to need to run a gauntlet of ordinary Americans who are going to want to make darned sure they have done their homework first.

Unlike times not so far in the past, we now live in an America that really does support its troops, in both word and deed.

To those of you spending your own time and effort on this issue, I thank you with all my heart.

The battle will continue.

03 Jun 2006

Michelle Malkin Catches London Times in Photo Fraud

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Fraudulent Photo
Photo used by London Times to libel US Marines

Michelle Malkin today publicly identified a major case of fraud by one of the most prominent international members of the mainstream establishment media.

The Times (UK), on June 1st, ran a vitriolic anti-US news story, titled ‘Massacre Marines blinded by hate’, based entirely on selective quotation of an interview with Corporal James Crossan, a marine injured in the IED attack, which included a photo of supposed victims of American forces. The photo was actually taken six months earlier, and the bodies were the victims of a massacre by insurgents in a soccer stadium.

That lying bastard who wrote the smear story selectively quotes Crossan speculating, in a video interview with KING5 News in Seattle, on what might have happened after he had been evacuated by helicopter:

I think they were blinded by hate . . . and they just lost control.” Corporal Crossan, who passed out soon after being hit by the bomb in al-Haditha on November 19 last year, said that the unit had a lot of new members. “

They might have got scared or they were just p*****, really p***** off and did it.”

(Note: Crossan is only speculating on why marines might have shot civilians, if they actually had. He dd not witness any such thing personally.)

But he didn’t quote Crossan saying:

Crossan: We used to go out on patrols and have the little kids count the patrols and all that stuff and we couldn’t really do anything except grab them and throw them inside their houses…

KING 5 TV interviewer: Why would you do that? Because you were afraid that the kids were scouting for the insurgents or you thought they were in danger?

Crossan: There are little kids that scout for ‘em. ‘Cuz later that day we, along the main road there, we cut behind a few buildings and the next patrol that went out got hit. And that little kid that was just there and there was people all around. But the day that I got hit they were planning a major attack and it got spoiled, so, and there was like 20 some people, insurgents, that were gonna attack the cop that day.

Then we got hit by an IED and the cops sent out a squad of Marines, and the insurgents just started attacking then, just right off the bat and we just foiled it. We were just driving back from the cop. I remember taking a left and then a right, and then remember waking up from the ground for a split second. And then waking up in the helicopter and then finally knew what happened in the hospital.

KING 5: So after you were injured, also tell me, you lost one of your guys. What can you tell me about him?

Crossan: We lost Lance Col. Miguel Terrazas. He was a good guy. He was from El Paso, Texas. And he was my point man. He was pretty much the guy I went to if I needed anything.

Great work, Michelle Malkin.

The US Government really ought to deport leftwing London Times journalist Tim Reid for this one.

03 Jun 2006

Unproven Allegations May Harm Marines’ Efforts in Iraq

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USATODAY has a story quoting marines currently serving in Iraq, warning of the harm being done to US efforts to stop the insurgency by the MSM’s haste to trumpet unproven charges damaging to the reputation of American forces.

Allegations that Marines killed civilians in the western Iraqi town of Hadithah last year could undo efforts to win the cooperation of locals in the volatile Anbar province, some Marines say.
“All it does is make our jobs harder out here,” said Capt. Andrew Del Gaudio, commander of Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment. “Every Iraqi will assume Marines will act like that. It’s a perception that in this part of the world is hard to overcome.”


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