Haditha Media Errors Exposed

June 8, 2006

To keep this straight-forward, I’m taking this item by item. It proves there are false reports being told by some Iraqis as regards Haditha. Unfortunately, the AP and the MSM appear to be gleefully reporting them without checking their facts.

From the AP today:

At about the same time, a man who stepped out of his nearby house to see what was happening at Ayed Ahmed’s home was shot and wounded, according to al-Hadithi. Aws Fahmi, 43, was left to bleed on the street for about two hours before a female neighbor dragged him to safety, al-Hadithi told the AP. Fahmi’s family was not able to take him to a hospital until two days later, al-Hadithi said.

Someone must have forgotten that Aws Fahmi was quoted ten times in this WaPo piece from May27, as a witness. Not once did he claim to be involved, let alone shot. Are we to believe he forgot? Or that the WaPo wouldn’t tell the story of a man shot and left to die in the street by our Marines?

Aws Fahmi, a Haditha resident who said he watched and listened from his home as Marines went from house to house killing members of three families … After the killings, Fahmi said, more Americans arrived at the scene. They shouted among themselves. The Marines cordoned off the block; then, and for at least the next day, Marines filed into the houses, looked around and came out.

In the WaPo piece Fahmi also claims to have observed events in part from his roof.

Then one of the Marines took charge and began shouting, said Fahmi, who was watching from his roof.

But if you look at this account from the AP on June 3, you’ll see that it is now an Iraqi lawyer looking for cash, Khaled Salam Rsayef who is bringing all the new information out and claiming to have been the observer on the roof. The names are changed but the accounts are the same.

Rsayef said his account of what happened was based on his personal observations from the rooftop of his home and windows.

Now look at these two different accounts below, both from the same eyewitness, the young girl who survived and was filmed by ABC calling for the execution of the Marines. She’s told at least two versions of her story and possibly as many as four.

AP June 3rd – In an off-camera conversation with the cameraman, Iman, the 9-year-old survivor, told of hiding under a bed for hours after the shootings. She said Marines finally found her and initially took her for dead when they pulled her out.The Marines later flew her and her brother Abdul-Rahman to a nearby hospital for treatment of their minor wounds. They were later moved to a Baghdad hospital.

But look what she had already told Time.

Eman Waleed, 9, lived in a house 150 yards from the site of the blast … She claims the troops started firing toward the corner of the room where she and her younger brother Abdul Rahman, 8, were hiding; the other adults shielded the children from the bullets but died in the process. Eman says her leg was hit by a piece of metal and Abdul Rahman was shot near his shoulder. "We were lying there, bleeding, and it hurt so much. Afterward, some Iraqi soldiers came. They carried us in their arms. I was crying, shouting ‘Why did you do this to our family?’ And one Iraqi soldier tells me, ‘We didn’t do it. The Americans did.’"

Now look at this, it gets worse:

WaPo on the 27th – Only 13-year-old Safa Younis lived — saved, she said, by her mother’s blood spilling onto her, making her look dead when she fell, limp, in a faint.

From a CNN Interview: A 12-year old survivor of the alleged massacre of innocent civilians by U.S. Marines patrolling Haditha has admitted she had prior knowledge of the plot to detonate an IED as their convoy was passing by her house on the morning of Nov. 19, 2005. "I was planning to go to school. I was about to go out of bed. I knew the bomb would explode so I covered my ears," the youngster said, according to a CNN translator."The American forces entered the house and started shooting with their guns. They killed my mother and my sister Nour. They killed her when she shot her in the head. She was only 15 years old. My other sister was shot with seven bullets in the head and she was only 10 years old." "And my brother Muhammad was hiding under the bed when the U.S. military hit him with the butt of the gun and the started shooting him under the bed. The U.S. military then shot me and I was showered in blood. Younis said she survived by pretending to be dead.

She knew the IED was going to explode? And we’re to assume there were no terrorists in that house, assuming she was even there?

Now look at this: The quote below is circling the globe and I can’t find a legitimate original news source.

Safa Younis Salim, a 13-year old girl, who in an interview said she lived by faking her death. ”I pretended that I was dead when my brother’s body fell on me and he was bleeding like a faucet," she said. She said that she saw American troops kick her family members and that one American shouted in the face of one relative before he was killed.

And this from the Seattle Times:

Safa Younis Salim, the 12-year-old, said she lay on the ground, covered with her sister’s blood, and pretended to be dead while her family died around her. Her sister’s blood spurted fast; it was like a water tap, she said.

She’s one of the videotaped witnesses and I can find quotes attributed to her claiming it was just about anyone’s blood, including her own. And she knew about the IED? Meanwhile, MSNBC has the nerve to head a piece – Witness Stories Consistent???? Come on!! They should be ashamed!

Time did a ten week investigation of this story and if you search it, none of these witnesses existed. Not Al-Hadithi, Safa Younis, or the lawyer Khaled Salem Rsayef. Now, not only are they bringing out videos, they are claiming to have lived next door. And the MSM is splashing their stories all over the place. This is obscene.

It also appears as though the names of the people in the second home have been changed to match the lawyers last name and one eyewitness said it was the male owner’s sister – another said it was his wife’s sister. The body count has changed twice and suddenly the girl on video appeared.

All Time originally said of the second home was this:

The Marines then began firing, killing eight residents—including the owner, his wife, the owner’s sister, a 2-year-old son and three young daughters.(7)

On May 27th the WaPo said this:

The Marines moved to the house next door, Fahmi said. Inside were 43-year-old Khafif, 41-year-old Aeda Yasin Ahmed, an 8-year-old son, five young daughters and a 1-year-old girl staying with the family, according to death certificates and neighbors. (9 people)The Marines shot them at close range and hurled grenades into the kitchen and bathroom, survivors and neighbors said later. Khafif’s pleas could be heard across the neighborhood. Four of the girls died screaming. Only 13-year-old Safa Younis lived — saved, she said, by her mother’s blood spilling onto her, making her look dead when she fell, limp, in a faint.

Today we are being told this:

Later, the Marines moved next door to the house of Younis Salem Rsayef and his family. "There was intense gunfire and I could see a fire at the Rsayef home," said al-Hadithi, who watched from a window at his family home. In the second home, eight people were killed: Rsayef, his wife, her sister and five children.

Because the names in the first and third house are identified, there are too many families for three houses.

1st house – the home of 76-year-old Abdul Hamid Hassan Ali

3rd house – the house of Ayed Ahmed

I put the two Ahmeds in red for a reason. If it’s a mix up, it still doesn’t make sense, because the new witness states there were four male victims in the Ahmed house, not an entire family as with the first Ahmed cited above.

the house of Ayed Ahmed There, he said, four brothers, all of fighting age, were ordered inside a closet and shot dead. Everyone else was spared, al-Hadithi said.

Update: The Seattle Times has another report which appears to have the full name of those in the second house. It isn’t Rsayef.

The Marines stopped next at the home of Customs official Younis Salim Nusaif, 45, and his wife, Aida Yassin.

And now this: AP Interview: Iraqi activist details deaths at Haditha

BAGHDAD, Iraq An Iraqi human rights advocate says a few Marines accused of killing unarmed Iraqi civilians in Haditha went on a three-hour house-to-house hunt, while Marines nearby did not intervene.

An Associated Press interview with the activist (Thaer al-Hadithi) offers details, but largely follows other witness accounts that claim U-S Marines went on a vengeful rampage after a comrade was killed by a roadside bomb.

Twenty-seven and a half million Google hits for Haditha – and not one of them the truth thanks to a MSM that can’t wait to tell a horrible story we don’t yet know is true.

But due to the contradictions in their own reporting, we can be sure the AP and some in the MSM can’t possibly be accurate.

Update 2: It appears the following two stories might conflict, as well. That’s assuming the implication is that the boy was in the room when his Father was shot.

"Then we did what we always do when there’s an explosion: my father goes into his room with the Koran and prays that the family will be spared any harm." Eman says the rest of the family—her mother, grandfather, grandmother, two brothers, two aunts and two uncles—gathered in the living room. … "First, they went into my father’s room, where he was reading the Koran," she claims, "and we heard shots."

His 9-year-old daughter, Eman, who survived, said she was wearing her pajamas when the Marines arrived. Her brother, Abdul Rahman, 7, also survived, and said he hid his face with a blanket when his father was shot.

Update 3: Another possible conflict and possible scenario.

One body was charred, al-Obeidi added. That was believed to be Iman’s father, Walid Abdul-Hameed, who witnesses said was burned to death after a grenade was thrown into his room.

Iman states her Father was off in his room praying, the military went in the room and she heard shots. The account directly above suggests a grenade was thrown into his room.

To be clear, I am not trying to absolve the guilty. I would simply like to see the accounts out there make sense.

Update 4: Another inconsistency: compare

“The Americans knocked at the door,” she said on the video released this week by the human rights group, which is not well-known outside of Iraq. “My father went to open it. They shot him dead from behind the door, and then they shot him again after they opened the door.

Safa said one attacker shot at other family members. She said she hid in a bedroom by the bodies of her mother and siblings. “I pretended to be dead.”

SAFA YOUNIS, FAMILY KILLED (through translator): A bomb exploded on the street outside. We heard the sound of the explosion, and we heard shouting. We were inside the house when U.S. forces broke through the door. They killed my father in the kitchen. The American forces entered the house and started shooting with their guns.

Update 5: Another one – one report has them in a different house.

Time:  Eman says her leg was hit by a piece of metal and Abdul Rahman was shot near his shoulder. "We were lying there, bleeding, and it hurt so much.

CNN:  CHILCOTE: Safa’s cousins, 8-year-old Abdul Rahman Walleed (ph) and 9-year-old Iman Walleed (ph) were next door in the first house entered by the Marines. They say seven were killed in this house

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  1. Veracity of Haditha Witnesses is Questionable

    I’m starting to understand why the Naval Criminal Investigative Service has been working so long to develop physical evidence and forensics to base their Haditha investigation on. Dan Riehl notes in comparisons of “witness” interviews in various media …

  2. Hot Air says:

    Haditha inconsistencies emerge

    Rashomon, or something worse?

  3. Squiggler says:

    Hadithata? Getting stranger every day

    Im getting pulled into the Haditha story whether I want to be or not. Between the photographer with his own motives, to the buddling journalism student who seems to be anything but, it makes one begin to wonder what is really going on. Riehl World View…

  4. The Daily Roundup

    Too many links, for your enjoyment.Tony Blankley writes of the media firestorm over Haditha: President Bush noted the extraordinary damag…

  5. hobo says:

    Thanks for all the updates and composition. I had become so darned upset over the various stories reported by different channels that I stopped keeping up. My position on the encounter from the beginning is that the reports from those other than the Marines are decisively self-serving. I just hope the defense doesn’t cave in or become unrealistically overwhelmed by the government which may default to scapegoating and using the Marines as sacrificial lambs. Given the realism of shrapnel flying all over the place at the time of the alleged attacks, I find it hard to believe there were any “eyewitnesses” i.e. the guy who says he saw thus and such from the roof.

  6. Zarqawi dead!

    The lead of AQ in Iraq has been killed.
    Al Qaeda leader in Iraq Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, blamed for the beheading of foreign captives and the death of hundreds in suicide bombings, has been killed in a raid north of Baghdad, Iraq’s prime minister said on

  7. @ says:

    so this means they didnot do it?? Not sure here .

  8. imhere says:

    It appears, that just like any story covered by the MSM, they can’t get the story straight. I will believe what is told when it is told by the appropriate authorities.
    Can we finally give the US troops Credit for finding, bombing and Zarqawi?
    I heard one report that he was alive and turned over to the Iraqi troops?

  9. Uncle Mikey says:

    Great work, Dan

  10. Hyscience says:

    So What’s The REAL Truth About Haditha? We Surely Aren’t Getting It From The MSM

    … Just too many contradictions!

  11. imhere says:

    Didn’t Zarqawi behead Nocholas Berg?

  12. stormy7424 says:

    thank you for dissecting the rapidly growing mess of misinformation & contradictions aimed at our Marines. It’s certainly sorry they are placed in harm’s way for the benefit of people from a culture that demonizes Americans, all the while clamoring for handouts & democracy (my left foot). Obviously my vote or opinion counts for nothing, as the billionsof dollars & US lives wasted over the trash in Iraq would have never been committed in the first place. The landscape and culture of Islamabad would have been greatly improved with a neutron bomb tossed right after September 11, 2001. Would have been much more expiditious & more along the lines of something that culture would of understood. We can’t say we weren’t warned by the Russians, who harkened back to their experiences in that neck of the woods – friends by day, enemies at night….

  13. Say Anything says:

    Haditha Media Errors Exposed

    Dan Riehl has a run-down of inconsistencies in the media’s reporting of the Haditha incident, not to mention the inconsistencies of the witnesses to the incident themselves. To be frank, it is hard for this observer to tell what exactly…

  14. Before You Rush To Judgement

    If you are rushing to judgment about Haditha based on what you have read in the media you must read the roundup of conflicting accounts and twisted facts that are being reported. This is really important. Dan Riehl did an enormous…

  15. Ray Robison says:

    As I said on my blog, I don’t believe a word of these witnesses testimony. These are the families of the bad guys and of course they are going to lie. Thanks for doing the work to nail down this BS.

  16. What Is Going On?

    One of the indications that something is not quite what it seems is when stories keep changing as the “facts” are reported – often without any explanation for the inconsistencies. Such seems to be the case in the story of…

  17. Our Marines Are In Shackles!!

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  18. Rick says:

    “We can’t say we weren’t warned by the Russians, who harkened back to their experiences in that neck of the woods”
    And the Brits and the French and on and on back to the 12th century. I agree with the sheet of glass theory

  19. Haditha inconsistencies emerge

    Two to make sure you don’t miss (Hat tip: Allah):Haditha Media Errors Exposed Our Marines Are In

  20. Media Lies says:

    What happened in Haditha?….

    ….It’s difficult to say, but one thing is for certain, the media has no idea. Once you’ve read this, you’ll be convinced that the media…

  21. This Is The Internet And We Can Fact Check Your Ass

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  22. Big Holes in Haditha Massacre Story

    Big Holes in Haditha Massacre Story

  23. Wizbang says:

    Was Haditha A Hoax?

    Clarice Feldman has a piece in The American Thinker that puts into narrative form the research Sweetness and Light has been gathering which casts doubt onto Rep. Murtha’s and the media’s charge that the US troops massacred civilians in Haditha….

  24. Wizbang says:

    Was Haditha A Hoax?

    Clarice Feldman has a piece in The American Thinker that puts into narrative form the research Sweetness and Light has been gathering which casts doubt onto Rep. Murtha’s and the “>media’s charge that the US troops massacred civilians in Haditha….

  25. FloridaPatty says:

    Are these idiots on drugs?
    I work with children in the public schools 10 months out of the year, I would take a bullet for a child. Having said that…
    Do people get that? A WAR. Casualties of war are dead people of all ages, shapes, colors and sizes. It is not necessary to report that during a fight that involved guns and bullets a child or older woman or infirmed individual was killed.

  26. Zonie says:

    This was linked at FreeRepublic here: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1646512/posts
    It will be interesting to see if Hadithi’s and Human Rights Watch (a Soros based organization) story holds up under scrutiny. So far it sounds like a hoax.

  27. M. Simon says:

    You might be interested in Blood Money
    which goes into the social aspects of the “crime”, and covers other details. Like why a Marine may have lied about taking pictures.

  28. Please, let this be true.

    I will pray that the gathering storm of indignation, backed by facts, concerning the “Haditha Incident” is well founded.

  29. Georgy Malenkov says:

    America will fall because America MUST FALL.

  30. Unraveling Haditha

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  31. danascully says:

    Thanks for being all over this story and putting it in context for us. Apparently others feel the same by all the trackbacks! You can get so overwhelmed by the MSM versions of a story. Great work!

  32. Is the Haditha Story a Hoax?

    Apparently, the Times magazine story about the ‘cold-blooded killing’ perpetrated by US Marines in Haditha is falling apart

  33. sonic says:

    You know whats not a lie?
    28 dead people and your troops killed them.
    Dodge and weave as much as you want, it changes nothing.

  34. Dan says:

    I am opposed to the Iraq war FWIW.
    I agree that there is no way the current media reports are accurate. The media has become less acurate as they become more sensational.
    Why don’t they just cover Paris Hilton or some runaway bride until the truth becomes known? No money in that I guess.
    The troops will pay the price in Iraq AND after they return home.
    Damn shame.

  35. My Lai, or My Lie?

    Perhaps this should not be surprising, but Marine Staff Sgt. Frank D. Wuterich gives a version of events exactly opposite of those described by “cold-blooded” Congressman John Murtha and the Sunni residents of Haditha in a story by Josh White…

  36. My Lai, or My Lie?

    Perhaps this should not be surprising, but Marine Staff Sgt. Frank D. Wuterich gives a version of events exactly opposite of those described by “cold-blooded” Congressman John Murtha and the Sunni residents of Haditha in a story by Josh White…


    I’ve been offline much of the weekend–a healthy thing every once in a while. The Haditha story continues to unfold. Allah Pundit is on top of all the latest developments, blog coverage of a possible “hoax,” Dem exploitation, new Marine…

  38. The Tangled Web of Haditha Reports

    While slogging through numerous sites about the Haditha “Massacre” I happened upon the very first report of the incident courtesy of Al-Jazeerah via the MidEast Wire…

  39. Listen Up says:

    Zonie, BTW Human Rights Watch that you say is a George Soros roundtable actually designed the Saddam Hussein playing cards. Did you know that? Ofcourse not.

  40. Listen up says:

    And furthermore Freerepublic.com is a remedial reading room for backwoods drunks and hicks.

  41. Marines Finally Get To Tell Their Side.

    Marine Says Rules Were Followed A sergeant who led a squad of Marines during the incident in Haditha, Iraq, that left as many as 24 civilians dead said his unit did not intentionally target any civilians, followed military rules of…

  42. douglas says:

    Facts matter. Defense Department officials designed the cards.
    Who is drunk and requiring remedial reading classes?

  43. DGF says:

    Lotta people getting their nipples mighty hard with the prospect that the MSM (that supposed bastion of “liberalism”) is getting the story wrong. Flat ass wrong. Lotta people don’t admit that some of our troops could possibly turn into beserkers. Lotta people see inconsistencies that may or may not be there, from their reading of incomplete reports from more or less competent journalists, reporting from more or less reliable witnesses. Lotta people think that Iraqis lie and GI’s don’t. Lotta people who would, as a matter of course, curse or reject whatever a defense lawyer would say normally (Q: “How do you tell when a lawyer is lying?” A: “If his lips are moving…”), jump for joy with hallellueahs of “Innocent!” when the lawyer’s client is a GI.
    Go for it. Sure, you betcha, the blogosphere’s gonna square this all away and figure everything out, sitting at their computers. Have fun. Feel important. Maybe you’ll be important, too. Who knows?
    You’ve got me confused; not convinced, but confused. More confused than what I was having read Time, but then again, Time didn’t convince me either. It’s early days. No charges laid, yet, for example. For one little detail, that is.
    For what it’s worth, what’s got me most persuaded is what Murtha’s said. He’s said that high ranking in-the-know officers have told him it’s real bad. ‘ Course, if Murtha’s lying, then it’s all bs. And if (more likely, seems to me) what he’s said was what he was told, then that seems to me that there’s damn good reason to think “it’s bad.” All institutional bias would go the other way, after all.
    We shall see.
    And of course, just because charges are laid (if they are) doesn’t mean jack, in the end, as far as what really happened. Hell, if there’s any grown-ups here, they’ll know that even the sainted Anglo-Saxon verdict doesn’t necessarily bespeak of God’s truth.
    We shall see. Blog on (or not).
    – Regards

  44. Haditha, The Gatekeepers and The Groundshift

    Cross-posted at Mein Blogovault Much (not all) of what is contained in this post has been stated or articulated elsewhere in the blogosphere, so please forgive and indulge me for the sake of reflection on this important issue. In its…

  45. douglas says:

    Well, some ‘official’ might’ve been saying it’s really bad because he knew that the MSM would run with this before anyone knew anything, and would run video and quotes from people who were self-contradictory without any cautionary statements of ‘reports’ vs. fact. Of course, we don’t know because we didn’t hear the quote in any context whatsoever. As someone who’s had statements mangled by the press personally, I wouldn’t trust that half a line quote out of context as far as I could throw you.
    Indeed, we shall see, and we shall see how the MSM covers the story if it turns out to be bogus.

  46. Grimmy says:

    Every American journalist/editor that’s played into this game should be arrested and tried, and if convicted, hanged for treason.
    Adhering to the enemy is part of the definition of treason in The US Constitution. Taking the propaganda of the enemy at face value during a time of war with the intention of reducing the US population’s faith in its military forces at war is as direct and open an act of treason as can be committed.

  47. Haditha in context

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  48. Adam says:

    Two things.
    One, ever ask questions to a 9 year old? See how many consistent stories you get.
    Add into the equation unspeakable violence, that would cause most normal people to retreat into a shell of shock and trauma, and you have a witness who will undoubtedly be unsure of their own story.
    This doesn’t mean it isn’t true. You cite examples where details of the story have shifted… but the basic plot remains the same. How is a 9 year old girl supposed to answer whether it was her brother, sister’s, or mother’s blood that spattered all over them, when all were killed in the same vicinity. Do you think you would be able to focus on those details? I pray to God that you never have to recall the details of your family’s death mere days after you witnessed it.
    Secondly, You say, “Twenty-seven and a half million Google hits for Haditha – and not one of them the truth.”
    Not one of them the truth? Were you there? Do you know the truth? If so, maybe you should be speaking to the investigators carrying out this inquiry.
    The inquiry, after all, is what these MSM stories are focusing on. No MSM story has said, “This is what happened.” This wouldn’t be a story for the MSM to cover if the U.S. Government didn’t take the allegations seriously. The fact that there is an investigation means that someone along the chain of command thought these allegations had some merit. So maybe you should blame the U.S. Government for investigating. Maybe you would prefer we look the other way whenever the Iraqis accuse us of anything.
    Our soldiers, for the most part, are good people trying to help Iraq. But we must not deny the POSSIBILITY that some may have acted in detrimental ways. Ignoring accusations, ignoring investigations doesn’t make them go away. The MSM hasn’t hung these Marines. If you read the news articles, words like “allegedly” and “says” and “according to” make it clear this is what is being investigated, NOT what has necessarily happened.

  49. Hyscience says:

    Haditha: What Do You Call A ‘Hadithagate’ And A Jenin – Rolled Up In One?

    Haditha is begining to look like it just might be more Hadithagate – as in a first cousin to Rathergate, and Jenin thrown together – than a case of what John Murtha referred to as Marines “guilty of cold-blooded murder.” Going so far as to refer to th…

  50. Unraveling Haditha

    Yesterday, eight Marines were charged with the unpremeditated murder of 24 civilians in Haditha. Heidi at Euphoric Reality doesnt think you should swallow what the MSM is feeding you on all of this. She has done A LOT of hard work and research…

  51. Calgacus says:

    Well done – you’re apologists for the rape and murder of a 15 year old girl and her family as the marines responsible have now admitted their guilt.
    Those are meant to be American values are they? Don’t think so – luckily there are a lot of Americans a hundred times more decent than you’ll ever be.
    So much for your “liberal media lies” bollocks.