The anti-war left’s favorite smear artist
As I noted over the weekend, Ron Harris’s debunking of former Marine Staff Sgt. Jimmy Massey in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is must-read. To its credit, CNN (once led by a very similar-minded slanderer), had an interview with Ron Harris this morning. Here’s the transcript:
Former Marine Staff Sergeant Jimmy Massey has published a book in France called, “Kill Kill Kill.” It accuses U.S. soldiers of atrocities in Iraq, including the killing of civilian men, women, and children.
Our next guest says Massey is lying and he can prove it. Joining us now is “St. Louis Post” dispatch writer Ron Harris. He was embedded with Jimmy Massey’s unit in Iraq. Welcome, Ron.
RON HARRIS, “ST. LOUIS POST”: Thank you. COSTELLO: You know, if this guy is lying, that’s just vile. Because he’s saying some vile things about our men and women over in Iraq.
HARRIS: Yes, that’s very true. I mean, he is claiming that marines intentionally killed civilians, that he intentionally killed civilians. And at times, he claims that they intentionally killed civilians based on orders from the superiors. And the fact is, it just isn’t true.
[CAROL] COSTELLO: OK, let’s get to specifics now. He claimed, as you said, that Marines fired on and killed peaceful Iraqi protesters and were sometimes ordered by higher-ups to do that. How can you disprove that?
HARRIS: Well, two or three things. Number one, I was there in Iraq when — I was in Baghdad when we initially pulled in. I was with Massey’s unit. I was embedded with the unit, as were three other — four other journalists, actually. And we went to that prison and I was there the next morning.
And not only did I not see any protesters, nobody saw any protesters. And not for weeks. Because during that time, it was a very, very dangerous period. It was basically four kinds of Iraqis. There were Iraqis who were happy to see the marines. There were Iraqis who were shooting at the marines and me, too, and the other journalists. There were Iraqis who were looting and that was probably what we saw most of. And there were finally Iraqis staying at home because they were afraid.
COSTELLO: Yes, but Ron, if there was completely untrue, I mean, this guy has made it into pretty big publications like “Vanity Fair.” He’s written a book that’s bee published in France.
HARRIS: Oh, it’s been published everywhere. Nobody — in not one publication or not one broadcast, is there any corroboration. It’s just Jimmy Massey’s story. Nobody ever called a journalists who were covering him. Nobody ever interviewed the marines, which I did all of. Nobody ever checked his story. They don’t even have another source that says on background or another source who didn’t want to be quoted. It’s just Jimmy Massey’s story.
COSTELLO: Well, let’s face it — let’s say these stories were true. Would the marines — wouldn’t be forthcoming about that. Oh, yes, we killed innocent Iraqi people. They’re not going to admit that.
HARRIS: No, no, no. That’s not true. In fact, the marines, we were there embedded with the marines. And the marines did shoot innocent civilians. And we covered that. In fact, covered that — the photographer with me, Andrew Cartero (ph) shot pictures of innocent civilians who had been accidentally shot by the Marine Corps. We wrote stories and Andy took photographs of a British television crew that was shot and killed by the Marine Corps on the second day of the war. COSTELLO: Well, Ron, let’s go to some of those photos. We have one photo that this photographer took, and it shows two women who are bloody. You say this further disproves Jimmy Massey’s story. In what way?
HARRIS: In that case, Jimmy Massey claimed that a 4-year-old girl was shot in the head. That was the particular shooting incident. In fact, there were civilian shot in that car by Marines. Nobody died.
Andrew Cartero, again, the photographer for “The Post Dispatch,” took those photographs. And as you can see in those pictures, there are people there. Nobody died. I talked to the medic who treated them. And I traveled with him for more than a month, Petty Officer Justin Poviance (ph). He told me nobody died in that incident.
COSTELLO: Well, let’s go to one other picture, and this is really gruesome. So I’ going to warn people to turn away if you want to see it. But this a tractor trailer. Jimmy Massey says it was filled with women, children and men. What do you say?
HARRIS: We were there. Those are photographs by Andrew Katraro. I saw it. Michael Phillips from “Wall Street Journal” saw it. Robbie Nesbit (ph) from Associated Press saw it. Those were men on a military base who had been killed by U.S. artillery, but there were no women or children in those tractor trailers. Those tractor trailer were used as sort of a makeshift morgue. They were refrigerated trucks, and they had been killed by American bombing. Initially the military thought that they had been killed by Saddam Hussein. They thought maybe it was a war crime.
COSTELLO: OK, I have to ask you this before I have to let you go.
COSTELLO: Why would this staff sergeant, Jimmy Massey, lie about these things, and say such terrible things about his own comrades?
HARRIS: Well, one of the things that has happened — number one, Jimmy Massey, I don’t know why, but I can just speculate a couple of things. Number one, Jimmy Massey was honorably discharged for post- traumatic stress syndrome. The second thing, Jimmy Massey has profited off of this. He does have a book. He has a Web site in which he sells his story on a CD for a hundred dollars. I think it’s called jimmymassey.com. So it’s been profitable for Jimmy Massey to keep telling this lie.
COSTELLO: Ron Harris from the “St. Louis Post Dispatch,” thank you for joining us this morning.
Where are the rest of the MSM dupes–from the Associated Press to the Washington Post to Vanity Fair and USA Today–who blindly peddled Jimmy Massey’s lies and lionized him under the guise of responsible journalism?
Laer Pearce is keeping tabs. You should, too.
Here’s the e-mail I sent to WaPo reporter Doug Struck this morning. I’ll let you know if I receive a response:
On Dec. 8, 2004, you had a bylined piece in the Washington Post highlighting the testimony of Jimmie Massey, the former U.S. Marine staff sergeant who testified at a deserter’s Canadian asylum hearing that his unit killed at least 30 unarmed civilians in Iraq during the war in 2003 and that Marines routinely shot and killed wounded Iraqis.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch investigated Massey’s claims and debunked them this Sunday.
Do you or someone else at the Post plan on following up?
No Pasaran covers Massey’s French dupes.
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