Tags: Haditha

Haditha Video Doctored by Investigators

Wednesday, 05 Sep 2007 01:25 PM

By Phil Brennan

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In this story, Newsmax.com reported that a video taped from a Scan Eagle unmanned aerial vehicle that purported to show the action that took place in Haditha when 24 Iraqi civilians and insurgents were killed was heavily edited by government investigators and the entire video withheld from the defense.

We further alleged that what we termed “The deliberate editing of the video to show the defendants in the worst possible light,” as a Marine intelligence expert told Newsmax.

These allegations are incorrect and NewsMax regrets having reported them.

In a letter to NewsMax., Marine Lt. Col, Sean Gibson wrote that "all of the footage of Scan Eagle surveillance of the area that day was provided to all defense counsel teams involved.”

The focus of our story was a CNN broadcast that used a small, carefully edited part of what a unmanned aerial vehicle known as a Scan Eagle transmitted during its day-long surveillance flight over the battle scene on Nov. 19, 2005.

According to CNN, “The video appears to show that, throughout that day, Marines engaged in fierce firefights and called in air strikes to level buildings - often with no definitive idea of who was inside."

We believe the video did indeed show that the Marines had encountered insurgents and had taken appropriate action. We believe the video evidence was important in helping exonerate several of the Marines present from charges they engaged in misconduct during the incident.

A video taped from a Scan Eagle unmanned aerial vehicle – purported to show the action that took place in Haditha when 24 Iraqi civilians and insurgents were killed – was heavily edited by government investigators, a NewsMax investigation reveals.

The reason, according to an inside source: to avoid showing anything that exonerates the Marines who were accused of murdering the victims.

Four Marines originally faced murder charges stemming from the Haditha incident. Charges against three of them have since been dropped, but Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich is still facing a court martial.

NewsMax can reveal that the video – which was broadcast by CNN – was a small, carefully edited part of what the Scan Eagle transmitted during its daylong surveillance flight over the battle scene on Nov. 19, 2005. And shockingly, the approximately one hour of edited footage was the only Scan Eagle footage provided to the Marines’ defense teams by the prosecution.

According to CNN, “The video appears to show that, throughout that day, Marines engaged in fierce firefights and called in air strikes to level buildings - often with no definitive idea of who was inside."

Had the entire video been shown it would have revealed that the Marines knew exactly “who was inside” - insurgents were clearly shown entering the target buildings before the structures were bombed. If CNN had been able “to review the whole video, they would see that we did indeed have a definitive idea of who was inside,’" an intelligence officer told NewsMax.

The insurgents’ car parked outside the buildings “was packed to the gills with weapons, and we had just witnessed them complete an ambush on our ambulance,” the officer said. “We saw them enter the house, clapping each other on the back and congratulating themselves.”

The Marine intelligence officer who monitored the Scan Eagle’s video transmissions throughout the day told NewsMax that there was continuous video feed from the Scan Eagle for 8 to 10 hours. Yet barely an hour of it was provided to the Marines' defense teams by the prosecution or the Naval Criminal Investigation Service.

“Someone, under the supervision of NCIS, screened this video feed, and made the conscious decision to preserve only four segments of approximately 15 minutes each – according to the defense attorneys who received it upon discovery release,” our intelligence source confided.

“This 8 to 10 hours, viewed in its entirety, shows men in black, with weapons, fleeing the neighborhood of houses 1, 2, 3 and 4 [the area where the civilians and eight of the insurgents were killed]. It follows their route as they meet up with other insurgents throughout the city. It clearly demonstrates the magnitude of the insurgents’ organization, skill, and timing in attacking Marines.”

The video, he recalled, “shows them parking, exiting the vehicle, and entering the housing complex. It shows Marines assaulting the building, insurgents fleeing out the back of the building, and Marines falling back from the assault as the insurgents defend the house.”

Finally, the intelligence officer revealed, the full, undoctored Scan Eagle video “shows an insurgent, at the end of the day, under continuous observation from the air and under continuous pursuit and fire, emerge from a family's home holding their children hostage, in order to protect himself from further air strikes.”

The deliberate editing of the video to show the defendants in the worst possible light, the Marine intelligence expert told NewsMax, “should have the defense screaming prosecutorial and NCIS misconduct.”

The media have focused on the killing of five young men who arrived in the midst of the insurgent ambush in a white car, usually described as a taxi, and were gunned down by Wuterich and/or Sgt. Sanick P. Dela Cruz. Dela Cruz was one of the Marines originally accused of murdering civilians before charges were dropped when he agreed to testify against his fellow Marines.

Those media have generally sought to portray the Haditha ambush as a massacre by Marines on a rampage, and the media’s bias has been on display as recently as Friday when major newspapers largely ignored a key development in Frank Wuterich’s Article 32 hearing.

As reported by Nat Helms – who is covering the hearing for NewsMax as well as for the "Defend our Marines" Web site – the prosecution’s star witness all but collapsed on the witness stand after a withering cross-examination.

Wrote Helms: “During four hours of cross examination by defense attorney Lt. Col. Colby C. Vokey, Dela Cruz was unable to clearly explain his previous testimony. At one point he simply stopped talking and stared into the distance, seemingly at a loss for words. At other times he simply rambled on until he was ordered to quit talking.”

Richard Thompson is president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, a legal advocacy group that has represented Marine Lt. Colonel Jeffrey Chessani, who was charged with failing to fully investigate and report Iraqi civilian deaths in Haditha. Thompson wrote:

“The government has spared no expense seeking to find wrongdoing on the part of our hard-fighting Marines. They should spend like resources investigating … allegations of investigatory misconduct.”

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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