While re-reading some of the articles about the Haditha incident I came across the Washington Post article from May 27, 2006, "In Haditha, Memories of a Massacre". I had read this article several times before this one line hit me right between the eyes...
"Al Qaeda in Iraq sent copies of the video to mosques in Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia - used killings of women and children to recruit fighters."
HOW DID AL QAEDA GET A COPY OF THE VIDEO? We know that al-Haditha shopped around to many media outlets trying to get someone to pick up the story (Atlanta Journal Constitution) but did he supply Al Qaeda with a copy? It is a known fact that the "roasting in hell" Zarqawi had visited Haditha many times. Is there any question about the loyalties of the residents of Haditha??
Another benefit of the Internet - you can find transcripts of obscure interviews that never make the media wires... Here are some snippets from an interview that Time Magazine's Aparisim Ghosh gave to Amy Goodman at Democracy Now on 3/21/06. Note his response to the question about actually going to Haditha to investigate...
Democracy Now Interview with Aparisim Ghosh - co-author of Time Magazine's Haditha articles. 3/21/2006
When asked about the Haditha journalism student:
"We'd rather not say, for his own protection, but he's a young local man. It's not uncommon in Iraq for young people to have video cameras and cameras, and there's so much going on in their lives that they have plenty to shoot.... He brought the tape to Hammurabi Human Rights, which is a local human rights group, and they brought it to us once they found out that we were inquiring about this."
Asked about the first stage of the inquiry:
"The first inquiry was meant to look into the facts, what exactly happened. And it concluded that the soldiers shot back at what they perceived to be as enemy fighters from these homes and then entered the homes, and these people were killed in the process."
Asked if he was able to go to Haditha for the investigation for his story?
"No, we were not... Because it's in the heart of the Sunni Triangle. The only way we could get there would be to embed with the Marines themselves and that didn't feel right to us. If we were investigating them, it seemed to be a bad idea to be traveling with them and under their protection.. We were able to get the witnesses to come to us in Baghdad. The human rights group came to us in Baghdad. And, of course, we saw the videotape, which was from the scene. And we heard from other local people like the mayor and local -- and the doctor and other functionaries."
How Did the Bodies Get to the Hospital?
Even the stories about the how the bodies were transported to the hospital are all over the map...
Islam Online 11/29/05
"They lifted 40 bodies from pools of blood and throw them in the yard of Haditha Hospital"
Washington Post - "In Haditha, Memories of a Massacre" 5/27/06
"On November 19 Marines in an armored convoy arrived at Haditha Hospital...Placed bodies in the garden and left without explanation."
AP Article -" Update: Video Taken by Journalism Student Key as 12 Americans Face War Crimes Probe in Iraq" 3/20/06
"Dr. Walid al-Hadithi, chief physician at Haditha General Hospital, said that about midnight the day of the attack, two US Humvees arrived at the hospital... 'They (the Marines) told me the women and children were shot in their homes, and they added that the men were saboteurs."
Time Magazine - Collateral Damage or Civilian Massacre in Haditha? March 19, 2006
"Dr. Wahid, director of the local hospital in Haditha, who asked that his family name be withheld because, he says, he fears reprisals by US 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."
Asharq Al Awsat - "Revisiting Haditha" 6/6/06
"A medical source at Haditha General Hospital told Asharq Al Awsat, "the US army brought many bodies [to the hospital] and some of the victims were still alive but later succumbed to their injuries."
Asharq Al Awsat
"...a video shot by an Iraqi student, a day after the incident, clearly showed something far more sinister had taken place. Blood soaked bodies of women and children, still in their nightclothes, lay strewn through local houses." (don't know which video they saw but the bodies were already moved from the home when the video was made)
More Inconsistent Statements from the "Budding Journalist"
Atlanta Journal Constitution 6/3/06
Tha'er al-Hadithi interview:
"Heard the roadside blast, the gunshots and the helicopters" (only article that mentions helicopters)
"A window shaking explosion..." (has also claimed that windows were shattered)
"After 9am, Marines started kicking and pounding the gate outside his family home." (only article that mentions this)
"The next day he and a couple of friends visited the morgue and 3 blood stained houses." (only time any mention made of friends being with him when he made the video)
Also see previous posts here.
Six Degrees of Al-Hadithi
By now everyone knows that the "budding journalist" has a name - Tha'er al-Hadithi. We also know that he was an administrator at Haditha's main hospital before he took leave to work the Hammurabi per the AP. But exactly how many al-Hadithi's live in Haditha and why are they all tied to the story in some way???
Islam Online 11/29/05 Goma al-Hadithi - former Army officer and source for article
Washington Post "In Haditha, Memories of a Massacre" 5/27/06-
Identified Mohammed al-Hadithi as a hospital official who helped carry bodies inside.
Asharq Al Awsat "Revisiting Haditha" 6/6/06 -
"Sheikh Abdul Nasser al Hadithi - a leading figure in the city..."
AP Article -" Update: Video Taken by Journalism Student Key as 12 Americans Face War Crimes Probe in Iraq" 3/20/06 -
"Dr. Walid al-Hadithi, chief physician at Haditha General Hospital"
3 US Commanders Relieved of Duty as Iraqi Town Mourns its Dead - 4/8/06 - Knight Ridder Newspapers -
Mohammed al-Hadithi, 32, a barber who lives in neighboring Haqlania stated...
"The mujahadeen (holy warriors) will kill you if you stand against them or say anything against them. And the Americans will kill you if the mujahadeen attack them several kilometers away"
"He pointed at a Marine patrol as it passed in front of his shop. "I look at each of them, and I see killers."
US, Iraqi Troops Kill 9 People in New Offensive in Western Iraq - June 30, 2005...
"...US and Iraqi forces gave the residents of the Haditha town two days to hand over insurgents, otherwise their town would be attacked, Muhammed al-Hadithi, a local resident told Xinhua.
US Forces Terrorize City Residents as Resistance attacks invaders outside al-Hadithah - May 28, 2005...
"QudsPress reported Dr. Walid al-Hadithi, the Director of Hadithah General Hospital as saying that US occupation troops raided his hospital." (I thought Walid Abdul Khaliq was the director??)
BTW - Iraq's Foreign Minister during the Saddam Hussein reign of horror was Naji Sabri al-Hadithi... Coincidence? Too close to call but does send a chill down my spine...
Let Freedom Ring - Setting Haditha Record Straight
WizBang Blog - Marine Says Rules of Engagement Were Followed in Haditha
Red Hot Cuppa Politics - Al-Reuters Cameraman on Spot in Haditha
Mary Katherine Ham @Townhall.com - Setting the Record Straight on Haditha
Obsidian Wings - Piecing Together Haditha