TIME’s Rathergate moment

Overview: Haditha looks like it has a pretty high probability of being, at least in part, a set-up. The insurgents have perhaps stumbled upon a brilliant strategy of the using gullible or willing reporters of the MSM, and the American legal system to apply a one-two punch to the superb efforts of the US military. TIME Magazine’s performance reminds us of Rathergate. The insurgents and Al Qaeda’s transformation of Haditha into Bloodywood, the Snuff Film capital of Iraq, presents yet another reason this enemy must be wiped out.

(1) TIME’s Rathergate moment

The more we look at the Haditha story, the more it looks like Rathergate. It even has its own versions of Bill Burkett and Mary Mapes/Dan Rather. Let’s take Burkett first:

Iraq’s Bill Burkett, Thaer Thabit al-Hadithi

Clarice Feldman in The American Thinker discussed the new Bill Burkett, the awfully fishy timelines in the Haditha matter, an unsavory cast of accusers, and a Ramirez-Burkett-Mapes-like chain of custody of the allegedly damning videotapes. Also, via Sweetness and Light, we got a sense of how bad the reporting has been to date on the new Burkett. TIME has gotten many of its facts wrong:

In the original version of this story, TIME reported that “a day after the incident, a Haditha journalism student videotaped the scene at the local morgue and at the homes where the killings had occurred. The video was obtained by the Hammurabi Human Rights Group, which cooperates with the internationally respected Human Rights Watch, and has been shared with TIME.”

TIME has since repudiated most of the preceding sentence. In one of its most laughable errors, TIME called its source, the “Haditha journalism student,” a “young man.” Here he is:


Consider these items gleaned from the articles we’ve linked to, as opposed to the breathless TIME reporting:

(a) Thaer Thabit al-Hadithi is not a young man, he is 43 years old;
(b) he is not a “budding journalism student”;
(c) there is no such thing as the “Hammurabi Human rights Group” — it is Thaer Thabit al-Hadithi and maybe one other guy;
(d) TIME’s reporting to the contrary, the Hammurabi Human Rights Group is in no way affiliated with Human Rights Watch;
(e) Thaer Thabit al-Hadithi made the video — of whatever it actually portrays — and sat on it for four months wiothout doing anything with his so-called damning evidence;
(f) TIME has already retracted its false reporting about “one of the most damning pieces of evidence” in the case;
(g) Thaer Thabit al-Hadithi’s previous employer, Dr. Walid Al-Obeidi, who said that the Hadith victims had been shot at close range, had previously been arrested by American and Iraqis and had lodged numerous complaints against the American military;
(h) the US soldier who has provided corroboration for a “massacre” though he was not an eyewitness, Lance Cpl. Ryan Briones, never mentioned it until he was arrested for stealing a truck while drunk and crashing it into a house, at which point he claimed PTSD and offered his story;
(i) another reporter who claimed civilian deaths in Haditha, Ali al-Mashhadani, had been previously arrested and imprisoned for five months for helping insurgents, and might be the brother of Thaer Thabit al-Hadithi’s partner in the so-called Hammurabi Human Rights Group;
(j) To give you a little perspective of how brutal the Sunni insurgency stronghold of Haditha is (where terrorists rule and reportedly almost none out of 90,000 dared vote), and how plentiful are corpses to be used for any purpose whatsoever, consider this Guardian story of how children cheer for “double-bills” of public beheadings, and that DVD’s of disembowlings are distributed to kids.

Thaer Thabit al-Hadithi and his sudden discovery of his four month old video make Bill Burkett and Lucy Ramirez look good by comparison.

TIME’s Tim McGirk as Mary Mapes and Dan Rather


TIME Magazine veteran Tim McGirk, pictured above, is the one who has reported all the inaccuracies you just read about. The 1974 Berkeley grad does rather seem to have an agenda, does he not. Perhaps we can get a feel for how he views the world from his reporting of his Thanksgiving Dinner with the Taliban, in November 2001, while the US was actively at war with these men, via Theodore’s World:

“There was a genuine Thanksgiving glow about the meal. The bread is good, and more Taliban fighters come in to partake. One of them, a little man with a beard like a troll’s, says he’s Mullah Mohammed Omar’s nephew. But he hasn’t seen his uncle much lately: the Taliban supreme commander has been awfully busy since Sept. 11.”

“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.”

At one point, McGirk thought he was going to be mistaken for Osama bin Laden. Perhaps it is no wonder that that particular fantasy entered his head, given what we are now beginning to learn about his views of the world.

We don’t know what happened in Haditha any more than you do. But the many and telling inaccuracies in TIME’s reporting so far seem to point almost exclusively in one direction. Are we beginning to sense a pattern here yet, ladies and gentlemen? Is the fish beginning to stink? Is TIME Magazine about to experience its own Rathergate?

(2) The al Qaeda / insurgent Snuff Film industry: Haditha becomes Bloodywood

The more we think about it, especially in the post-Zarqawi era, perhaps the best strategy for the insurgents is an ACLU/MSM strategy. Every time there is a fire-fight, the insurgents should kill a couple of dozen women and children and blame it on the American military — the blaming is best done at least a couple of weeks or months after the incident, so that the dead will be buried and will not be disinterred, and other evidence will be gone. A little videotape of some blood and guts, a terrorist connected mayor, and a couple of “journalists” like the ones the insurgents call up to take pictures of regularly scheduled car bombs and exuctutions, and voilà, a major scandal. But it doesn’t even have to be a major scandal. All the terrorists and insurgents have to do is activate the internal legal system of the military, and within a short period of time, all major military initiatives will grind to a halt, so everyone in the US military can investigate everyone else in the military. If the insurgents can both clog up the military’s legal processes and get 24/7 MSM coverage of the scandal, that is the best of all possible worlds. And it appears that they just may have hit upon this precise strategy.

AJ Strata complements our thoughts with a discussion from the Marine Times and his reflections on Bloodywood, the Al Qaeda Snuff Film center of Haditha:

[Marines] found a video camera in the possession of three men stopped at a vehicle checkpoint northeast of Haditha…Minutes later, a similar white, four–door sedan approached the checkpoint. U.S. forces guarding the checkpoint used hand and arm gestures to signal the vehicle to stop, but the car continued to accelerate toward the checkpoint, even after warning shots were fired, according to the release. The vehicle detonated shortly after the first shots were fired, killing the driver.

When the video camera was inspected, it yielded several minutes of footage showing one of the men from the first sedan speaking to the driver of the car that detonated. The Marines said videotaping suicide car bombings is an insurgent propaganda tactic used to spread fear and intimidate Iraqi citizens. Earlier, Iraqi Security Forces discovered an insurgent propaganda center in Haditha. The site raided by Iraqi forces included “numerous prepared al–Qaida in Iraq compact discs and audio tapes, three computers, several printers, banner makers, multi–disk copiers and thousands of [blank] disks and tapes…”

[Strata:] Which is more likely: Marines go on a rampage but no one reports abouts it for months, or AQ kills people of their propaganda snuff films? Since we know AQ will bomb and behead on video, seems the track record is clear which is the more likely scenario.

The terrorists and insurgents play the MSM like a fiddle, since they know that gullible or willing MSM reporters are the weak point of the US and one of their greatest assets. Combine that with their effective exploitation of American legal processes, and they have a possible strategy to achieve impossible victory — if Americans are gullible and stupid enough.


Chickenhawk Express has pointed out a number of other inconsistencies in the reports from enemy accusers.

2 Responses to “TIME’s Rathergate moment”

  1. Clarice Says:

    We have enough, I think, to start calling the Time author McGirk of Haditha as a tribute to his Lawrence of Arabia fantasy.

    And following on his infamy we have the Quinn AP fantasy of our troops beating up Zarqawi as he lay dying. Capt. Ed Morrissey notes why the story was impossible. He concludes:The logistics of the site appear determinative that the residents of the village could not have seen any of what transpired at the safe house. The sequence of events show that the US had timed their raid for maximum security and efficiency, and that the ground forces of Iraqi and American troops would have acted immediately to secure this very remote site to ensure no one escaped. The AP apparently didn’t read the Reuters description of the attack site before publishing this uncorroborated account of a supposed atrocity.

    Is the AP now in the business of reporting anything anyone says about any event without doing some rudimentary investigation first? We call that gossip, not news, and we expect better than a National Enquirer standard at the AP.


  2. ShrinkWrapped Says:

    Skepticism and “News”

    A lie can get halfway around the world before the truth even gets its pants on. – Winston ChurchillI suspect for most of us, the default position in relation to other people is to take what they say at face

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