If you are left with the impression that the dead bodies on the ground were massacred by our Marines, that is exactly what the Times intends. Note the caption: “Victims in al-Haditha. The US is carrying out two inquiries (AP).”
Now, look at this photo closely:
It is clearly the same location. The same set of dead bodies. The second is a wider shot with three additional bodies in the foreground.
But guess what? The photo, according to this Newsweek caption of the scene, is not of the Nov. 19 incident in Haditha involving our Marines, as the UK Times would have you believe.
Read the caption:
“Insurgents in Haditha executed 19 Shiite fishermen and National Guardsmen in a sports stadium.”
Our Marines did not kill these people.
The terrorists did.
Here’s more from the Newsweek article from last May–that is, six months before the incident involving our Marines:
Hussein Hashimi has a CD-ROM full of pictures of the dead. For the last two months, the young Shiite says, Sunni extremists rampaged through his hometown of Madaen. They torched the local police stations, abducted dozens of members of the local Shiite minority, burned down the mosque and killed not only the imam but his 8-year-old son. Many Shiite families fled; others barricaded themselves in their homes. Last week Iraqi security forces finally came in and restored order. Hashimi has lists of the missing and of the dead who have been identified. He has the names of the alleged perpetrators and a map showing the home of the Sunni he accuses of being responsible for the atrocities.
So is Hashimi fighting back? Not at all. “We just ran away,” he says without a trace of embarrassment. “Sistani and the religious authorities in Najaf decided not to use force, so we couldn’t do anything.” To the Shiites of Iraq, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani’s word is law. “We must obey.”
Their obedience was tested yet again last week—and again it held firm. In Madaen and villages nearby, corpses bobbed to the surface of the Tigris River until police counted 60. Hashimi and his friends photographed 55 of the bodies and delivered the pictures and lists to Baghdad. Shiite politicians accused the insurgents of ethnic cleansing, and demanded that the caretaker government act. Insurgents in another town near Baghdad, Haditha, responded by kidnapping 19 Shiite fishermen and National Guardsmen, lining them up against a wall in a sports stadium and shooting them dead.
And more from an LA Times article from April 2005 (reprinted at SFGate.com):
In Baghdad, the Ministry of Defense said that 19 Iraqis who were kidnapped, taken to a soccer stadium in Haditha, lined up against the wall and fatally shot on Wednesday were actually Shiite fishermen, and not Iraqi troops, as previously described by an Interior Ministry official.
Saleh Sarhan, the ministry’s chief spokesman, described the victims as fishermen from the Shiite cities of Najaf and Diwaniya who had traveled to the huge Lake Tharthar in the Sunni-dominated Anbar province, northwest of Baghdad and east of Haditha. He offered no explanation for why insurgents would target the fishermen, or how they had been identified.
As Joe G., who blogged his discovery of this obvious, unconscionable error, writes:
“I think this goes beyond a slant, this is slander.”
Reader Eric. T adds:
Notice in the photo that the slain people have their hands tied i.e. murdered assassination style. This makes it seem even more of an outrage against the Marines!
This must not stand. And the Times must not be allowed to make a covert correction without a public acknowledgement. The editors must apologize for this blatant smear.
Send a letter to the editor here (include postal address and daytime telephone number for publication):
Gerard Baker, US editor of the UK Times…firstname.lastname@example.org
Get 10 friends and family members to each send a letter.
Make sure the America-bashers and troop-smearers in Europe hear your voice.
Don’t let them get away with this.
1220pm EDT udate…I have received a response from Gerard Baker. Here is our exchange.
Thank you for pointing out the dreadful error on our website involving the wrong picture and capture of murdered Iraqis. I have asked that it be removed immediately and an apology issued.
I’m sorry you have jumped to the conclusion that this was a deliberate misrepresentation and the result of slanted journalism and sorrier that you have shared that view with your readers without any attempt to verify it. The Times has been meticulously fair in its coverage of the Iraq war and of US policy in general. Our editorial line has been to support the war and we continue to do so, though not without some reservations, of course. We have eschewed completely the sort of vile anti-Americanism so common in much of the British press and our correspondents have done their level best to paint a fair picture of conditions in Iraq today.
I’m personally offended both by the error on the Times website and by your association of me with what you call the intentional slander of US marines..
You’re probably not aware of my writing but I think I think most readers would probably describe myself as one of the most pro-American columnists currently employed by a British paper. I have repeatedly defended the Bush administration’s foreign policy; I supported the Iraq war, and continue to do so. Please be apprised that this was a genuine and very unfortunate error.
Mr. Baker -
Thank you for your prompt response. I am aware of your work, which is why I urged readers to contact you. I am glad to hear that you have asked for removal and apology. Please let me know when either or both of those steps are taken and I will update my post immediately.
If you are left with the impression that the dead bodies on the ground were massacred by our Marines, that is exactly what the Times intends.
This is an accurate statement. If the Times did not intend for readers to associate the photograph with the Nov. 19 Haditha incident, why did your newspaper use the photo?
I hope the paper provides a full explanation for exactly how it came to characterize and caption an April 2005 AP photo of fishermen murdered by insurgents as “victims of al-Haditha” of the “Massacre Marines blinded by hate” on Nov. 19, 2005.
Allah Pundit asks:
How many Iraqis will be killed in the next few weeks and months by terrorists eager to make it look like American troops have perpetrated another massacre?
How many gullible media outlets will be only too eager to believe them?
Lawhawk says put the retraction on page one, above the fold.
Reader Michael Lopez’s letter to the Times:
Dear Mr. Baker, and all other relevant ladies and gentlemen of the Times,
It has been brought to my attention that you have recently run an article entitled “Massacre Marines blinded by hate” accompanied by a photo of several executed human bodies lying near a wall. The caption for this photograph reads, “Victims in al-Haditha. The US is carrying out two inquiries”.
Being intelligent, educated men and women, you are no doubt aware of the implications of such juxtaposition; your paper is writing about alleged killings by United States troops in a town called Haditha. The accompanying photograph shows dead bodies in the same town, and calls them “victims.”
It has also been brought to my attention that the photograph in question is one of the victims of irregular troops fighting against United States troops in Iraq, and not of victims of the aforesaid United States troops at all.
Being perhaps more generous in spirit than I ought, I am going to assume that this was done solely out of avarice, and not out of malice, and that you were motivated by the desire to have a more gripping headline and photograph rather than a desire to slander my country by depicting them as assassins — for the bodies depicted have been bound and executed in a clearly ruthless, methodical manner. I will assume that you meant this merely as dressing for your journalism, and not as fabricated evidence for the trial that goes on daily in the court of public opinion vis a vis the allied militaries in Iraq.
Yet even given that degree of allowance, your behavior in this manner — if the matters brought to my attention are indeed true — has been dishonest, reckless, and amoral. Assuming that you are able to verify that this photograph is indeed of people killed by United States troops — as the article clearly implies — I withdraw all complaints and offer my apologies. Assuming that you cannot, and I confess that I suspect this is the case, I hereby demand a public and widely disseminated apology, to be placed beneath a headline of no less than 24 point type on the front page of your newspaper for at least three consecutive days, and broadcast by television during the same period between the hours of 5:30 and 8:30 in the evening, GMT.
Reader Sean responds to Mr. Baker:
I wonder how Mr. Baker would respond to this? Search for Haditha on the UK Times website and you get article headlines like this…. are these the headlines of a non-biased newspaper? I think not:
Revealed: how US marines massacred 24
May 28, 2006 – The Times
Iraqis killed by US troops on rampage
March 26, 2006 – Sunday Times
Tales of US shame and dishonour blight the week of Memorial Day
June 03, 2006 – The Times
US Marines investigated for Iraq war crimes
March 17, 2006 – Times Online
Reader Gregory sends his e-mail to the Times:
I read about your “mistake” on Michelle Malkin’s website. Your photo shows bound and murdered people. The captions claims that the US Marines did the killing when those people were killed by the very terrorists that the US Marines are there fighting. While I would love to give you and the Times the benefit of the doubt (that it was a mistake), I can no longer do that. If it was a mistake at all, it was due to a willingness at least, and more likely an eagerness, to be used as a propaganda piece for the terrorists and to bash the US led war and pander to the anti-war crowd.
Your “mistake” deserves front page coverage and all newspapers (especially those in the middle east) should be saturated with your apologies. Think about what your mistake does —- creates anger, rage, and hatred (which is destructive enough in and of itself) that will probably be directed at those from the US (or West in general). Your story and photo and caption created a ripple that can and will destroy lives.
Too many mistakes and too much biased news — you will be judged by your actions and will not be given the benefit of the doubt.
Sincerely, Gregory E. Rapisarda
Reader Patrick’s letter to the Times:
It is distressing to find the Times swept up in the fever of accusation and recrimination that is infecting the worlds press. To publish photographs of persons deliberately murdered by terrorists in Haditha and give as a sole referant the investigation of US Marines is beyond the pale.
It is beyond the scope of your profession to understand the inner workings of advanced electronic circuitry, the manifold frauds of the Enron Corporation criminals, or the strategic choices of military leaders prosecuting a counter-insurgency. Properly captioning photographs is entirely within the scope of your profession, especially when failure to do so degrades our Coalitions efforts to win the aforementioned counter-insurgency.
This professional lapse is simply inexcusable. The person responsible’s employment should be terminated. Perhaps they can find employment in the tabloid press they emulate.
Jeff Goldstein: The battle for the narrative of Haditha begins.
And yes, we know the Times is a Murdoch-owned paper.
Related: Make sure you read Greyhawk at Mudville Gazette on what’s missing from news coverage of the incident at Ishaqi.
Another must-read: Shawn Wasson on a massacre you won’t read about. Don’t click if you have a weak stomach.
Sweetness and Light on The Real Haditha. S&L also notes AP propaganda–running photos of My Lai to illustrate Haditha coverage.
Here it is on Yahoo! News…
Caption: American soldiers look over the remains of a home in My Lai, South Vietnam in this Jan. 8, 1970 file photo. The GIs are in a safe area marked off with white tape, having been swept for booby-traps that have already wounded five soldiers since the investigation of the killing of unarmed civilians by members of the U.S. Army; what would come to be called The My Lai Massacre, began. Nearly four decades later, the notorious name of that hamlet _ My Lai _ has been summoned from memory again, as the U.S. military investigates allegations of mass civilian killings by a group of Marines in the western Iraqi town of Haditha. (AP Photo/File)
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